I retract a previous post: building a subscriber list isn’t the foremost marketing tactic for growing an integrative medicine practice or brand. Unequivocally, that distinction belongs to securing customer loyalty, in turn, driving patient lifetime value.
According to Wikipedia, customer lifetime value—what we’ll refer to as patient lifetime value (PLV)—predicts net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. Though extraordinarily important, it’s often overlooked by most integrative and functional medicine practices.
Acquisition vs. Retention for Lifetime Value
Fact: acquiring a new patient costs more than retaining one. However, greater emphasis, energy and resources are regularly placed on the former. Businesses collect and measure analytics to attract and land new customers; they develop smart frameworks for evaluating their return on marketing and promotion investments. Regrettably, most integrative and functional medicine practices fail to identify nevertheless weigh this important lead acquisition to sale conversion metric.
Let’s take a closer look at the even-more critical retention side: keeping current customers to build your patient panel organically over-time to maximize PLV.
The Lifeblood: Word-of-Mouth Referrals for Lifetime Value
Consider that quite a few in-demand, successful l integrative, functional and lifestyle medicine clinics don’t spend a dime on marketing and advertising to secure new patients. Seriously, they don’t need to! Their secret: stellar reputations fostering staunch customer loyalty generating invaluable referrals. They developed and maximized PLV over time!
Family, friend and social media recommendations were cited by 84 percent of responders as most influential and trustworthy, according to a 2013 Nielsen survey.
Here’s the key:
Satisfied Patients + Loyalty = Retention = Word-of-Mouth Referrals = Earned Patient Lifetime Value.
How exactly do we create PLV with loyal customers evangelizing our brand and generating precious word-of-mouth referrals?
Make sure your staff understands and consistently reinforces these often common sense yet fundamentally key tenets!