Because of consolidation by large healthcare systems in the medical industry, it has become more difficult for independent medical practices to have patients referred to them. The larger healthcare systems are referring patients to doctors within that particular system.
Patients are the customers in the medical industry. The challenge, then, is how do independent practices attract new patients.
One independent medical specialist practice in the Midwest was seeing a drop in patients as healthcare consolidation was happening in their marketplace. The practice, which will be named ABS for this study, decided to market itself to attract new patients.
It selected a variety of marketing tactics including social media marketing. The question that ABC asked was this: Could social media aid in conversions?
In this scenario, conversions are defined as potential patients being delivered to the their website, calling a specific phone number for an appointment and then becoming new patients.
ABC had worked with Social Flair for three years using social media marketing to build awareness for their brand and to help establish the practice as experts in their field.
Social Flair proposed a simple test: Double the number of posts per week from eight to sixteen by repurposing evergreen content already posted and then examine the impact on calls from the website.
The program in place provided useful content to social users who might be searching for answers or news about ABC’s specialty. Included in the mix were posts that promoted content on ABC’s website. Approximately 37% of the total number of posts included a link to some part of the site each week to help move traffic there.
On a monthly basis, this meant that the average number of posts per month that promoted website content during the test increased from 13 to 26.
The program to double the posts was known as the Gap Program because it posted in weekend and evening time slots where there were post gaps.
The Gap Program was tested twice. Test 1 was conducted for a single month. Test 2 ran for three months.
Both tests produced impressive social media results in terms of Reach (up 23%) Engagement (up 41%) and Impressions (up 27%). But it was website traffic, the number of calls and the number of new patients (conversions) that made up the criteria for success.
-Website Traffic –
In terms of website traffic, the number of sessions originating from social media posts more than doubled (717 to 1717) during Test 1. Following Test 1’s completion, the number of sessions dropped.
They increased again during Test 2. When this second test concluded, website sessions dropped off dramatically again to near pre-Test 1 levels (1720 to 1010).
– Phone Calls –
During the two tests, a unique phone number dedicated to the test was not used. However, there was a unique phone number assigned just to the website so that phone calls to that number could be tracked. Thus, these two tests don’t illustrate a direct tie to phone calls, but provide evidence that an indirect link exists.
For the single month of Test 1, there was no significant increase in call volume. However, Test 2’s longer run of three months saw a 31% increase in the last month. This gain came during a six-month period when only three other months experienced increases and those were only single-digit:
- Month 1 (non test) – up 3%
- Month 2 (Test 1) – down 1%
- Month 3 (non test) – up 6%
- Month 4 (Test 2) – down 10%
- Month 5 (Test 2) – up 6%
- Month 6 (Test 2) – up 31%.
Further, the number of calls received in the last month of Test 2, 2,519, was the highest number of monthly calls received since this metric was first tracked over three years ago. It is also 209 calls more than the 2nd highest number of monthly calls, which was recorded 19 months before these tests were performed.
Finally, after Test 2 concluded, the number of calls dropped by 9% the following month.
– Conversions/New Patients –
With the higher call volume, the number of new patients increased in the last month of Test 2 by 42% over the previous month! In fact, the number of new patients from website calls reached the highest level recorded in the last three years, since this metric was first tracked.
It is also a 17% increase over the 2nd highest number of calls from the website. That figure came in 19 months before this test. At the conclusion of Test 2, the number of new patients dropped by 38% the following month.
Data from both tests illustrate that more posts delivered enhanced post results in the form of reach, engagement and impressions. This is because more posts created more opportunity to reach and engage more fans.
More importantly, though, a higher volume of social media posts also drove more traffic to the business website. This can be seen by the increased number of website sessions during the test periods.
We can also conclude that the increased social media posts have an indirect and positive impact on the number of phone calls from the website due to the increased traffic.
Finally, the increased volume in calls resulted in a higher number of conversions: More people called after visiting the website and then became patients.
Thus, in this scenario, the higher number of social media posts had an indirect but positive impact on the number of new patients.
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