When Slower Seasons Affect Your Practice
by Dan Zimmerman on Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Summer is the time for fun with family and friends, taking vacations and enjoying some down time. However, it may also be a season that you experience down time in your practice. There may be times during the year where you don’t see patients as regularly, such as summer or around holidays. If you are running your own practice, how can you prepare for these slower times?
Here are 5 ways you can plan ahead for slower seasons:
- Network. Find opportunities to get out and connect with other like-minded professionals in your community. Join associations. Consider sitting on a board or volunteering for a favorite organization. While you may not be directly promoting yourself or your business, you are getting your name out in the community. And as a bonus, you will find yourself getting to know others, building friendships and investing in a community you care about.
- Increase your marketing and public relations efforts. This could include some paid promotions, whether purchasing print or digital ads, sending out mailers, or it could also include unpaid public relations efforts. Consider reaching out to local publications and pitch something unique about your practice that they could write a story about. You can also look for ways to use the digital space to promote your practice and provide useful content, such as writing a blog your patients can follow.
- Build a loyalty program. A great way to keep patients coming back is to build a loyalty program. This could be based on how many years the patient has been coming to your practice, or a number of visits. Share a token of appreciation, whether a small gift, or even a nice note of thanks for their loyalty. When you go above and beyond to find ways to make your patients feel appreciated, the more likely they are to return and refer you to others. While it may be tempting to build a formal referral program, focus more on how you treat your existing patients, which will pay you dividends in the long run.
- Make the patient experience memorable. The best way to make your patients feel valued is to listen. When they express concerns, help them feel heard. Ask questions. Get to know your patients, whether asking about their weekend, hobbies or family. When your patients feel you care about them, whether on a personal level or as a patient, this will increase the likelihood that they will refer you and share their positive experiences with others. These referrals and shared experiences are what will help your practice grow.
- Expand your online presence. If you’re not on social media, develop a profile on a couple of platforms for your practice. Don’t use your personal social media accounts to connect with your patients, as this can cross boundaries and HIPAA guidelines. Social channels can be used as a way to share valuable content with your client base and potential patients. If you’re on social media, develop a content strategy and look for ways you can share content and connect with your patients in a unique and valuable way.
While these efforts may not directly bring in new traffic during slower times, they will pay off in the long run. You may see more peaks during busier times to offset the slower seasons. And you are likely to develop a strong client base who will proudly share their experiences with others. What more could you ask for?
- social media