So you’ve done the hard work of coming up with an internet inbound marketing strategy, launched a top drawer social media campaign, patient leads are pouring, and now you wait for the effort to pay off. Unfortunately, you may be waiting a long time because an important component was left out. Unless a plan is in place to manage those leads effectively they may not translate into the new patients you expected.
Knowing how to handle those hard earned leads is the most essential part of making online marketing work. That means your staff must be educated on the importance of those leads and how to respond to them in the most effective way.
Here are four important steps in handling leads generated by online marketing:
Step One: Qualify the Lead
Not all leads are created equal. Some may simply be curious. Others may even be vendors or other physicians checking out your practice. Your staff should be trained to respond to every lead with a high level of respect and competence. Much of web marketing is about building relationships long before a patient ever walks in the door of your practice. Even vendors know potential clients as do physicians who may be looking to refer a trusted patient your way. Focus on building positive relationships rather than booking appointments.
Step Two: Focus on Booking a Consultations Rather than Appointments
It is a mistake to try and sell procedures rather than relationships. There is no better marketing technique for your inbound marketing than offering a free consultation. Focusing on appointments can feel intimidating to a potential client while a consultation is an offer to provide an information service in person.
Step Three: Never Miss an Opportunity to Collect Information
There should be numerous and varied opportunities to record information on your web site and blog. Opt-in forms for a newsletter is a passive way of seeking information. At every opportunity look for ways to collect a lead’s name, address, phone number, and email address. But don’t make it where they are required to leave too much. When it comes to Internet leads it is wise to only require name and email address. Require too much and you may not get back any information at all. Find fresh and innovative ways to keep your practice at the top of prospects’ minds. Follow up with valuable information rather than hard sale approaches to get leads to make an appointment. The goal is to establish yourself as an authority.
Step Four: Continue to Follow Up
The key here is to find the balance. No one like getting the same flyer left in their mailbox week after week. Have a system that uses follow-up calls, email messages and other reminders in a non-obtrusive way. Consider having an open house or a free seminar and invite leads on the list you have compiled. Following up weeks and even months after that first contact can help to maintain interest so that when that lead starts shopping around again he or she will think of you.
More is invested and, at times, squandered when it comes to handling those hard earned contacts and leads than most realize. By following these four steps you can ensure you don’t waste those efforts.