There is a cost associated with the acquisition of a new patient, called the “Patient Acquisition Cost” (PAC). Once you know what PAC you are comfortable with, you can reverse engineer your marketing to drive more patients in your practice. In the training video below, I assume a patient acquisition cost of $160, an amount a practice owner can recover in two visits, if the net revenue per visit is $80.
When you are trying to drive more patients to your physical therapy business it’s important to determine which channels bring you new patients at the lowest possible patient acquisition cost.
Many practices buy lunches for doctor’s offices to build a referral relationship. Ironically, this may result in a higher patient acquisition cost than other, less traditional methods. Let me explain.
A lot of private practices run ads in local newspapers to drive more patients to their practice. When you’re creating an ad in a local newspaper, it’s important to pay attention to the initial experience that the prospective patient has with your physical therapy business (their first impression). This can increase or decrease your PAC substantially.
In order to fine-tune this initial experience, you need to intelligently test different marketing methods. The better you are at being able to establish that initial, meaningful contact with patients, the better your results will be and the greater your return on investment with your marketing.
Now, when you’re testing the marketing method that works well for you, you want to test high-priced and low-priced methods. You want to test online and offline methods to determine the single, best way to attract new patients to your clinic.
Here’s the important part – only change one variable at a time so you know what’s working and what’s not.
Stay with me, because here’s another critical piece of the equation that 99% of private practice owners miss.
Not only should you be testing single variables at one time, you should also be doing multiple tests simultaneously.
For example, let’s say you’re running an advertisement in a local newspaper offering a free consultation for lower back pain (this is called your offer).
You want to change one variable to see if its working.
Let’s say you change the offer.
- A free ‘pain relief’ consultation (a more generic offer)
- A free book on “Lower Back Pain” they can call and request (a specific offer that helps you generate leads)
So this way you’re changing the main offer of the actual advertisement and you’re changing one variable at a time.
What’s important is you should be testing these individual variables simultaneously by running three separate advertisements using different media (magazine advertisement, letters, website)
The reason you do this is because if you were to test only one variable at a time and one test at a time, it would take you a long time before you figure out what’s working and what’s not.
So testing one variable and doing multiple tests, running multiple advertisements at one time, is the best way for you to determine which ad is working and which is not. You can test any one of the following:
- Headline (“What you always wanted to know about low back pain… revealed by your physical therapist)
- Offer (which can be a free consultation or a discount for your services)
- Advertising medium (letter, postcard, ad, website)
You definitely want to test in multiple media, both online and offline. Avoid the mistake of testing the least expensive media.
And remember, whatever happens with one media is indicative but not always predictive of what will happen in another media. So you can test an ad with a newspaper, a magazine article, local val-pack, and perhaps even a door hanger or a car magnet.
Your best investment in your private practice is going to be testing what brings you new patients in a predictable, measurable manner.
At the end of the day, you want to test and test until you find a method that delivers new patients at a patient acquisition cost that is acceptable for your clinic.