Mastering Patient Acquisition and Retention

June 24, 2024 | blog | By Noelle Lantefield

A Healthcare Marketer’s Guide

Patient acquisition is one of the most crucial tasks for healthcare marketers when it comes to patient retention. What many might not realize is that patient acquisition begins with the very first interaction potential patients have with your brand. The way that first impression lands is essential—it needs to be positive, whether it’s through your website, the lobby, an interaction with a healthcare provider, or a phone call. Consistent and streamlined messaging throughout these interactions is key.

In this blog, we’ll dive into our years of experience in patient acquisition and share strategies to increase or maintain your patient base and patient satisfaction.

Patient-First Mindset: The Heart of Effective Marketing

Patient-first mindset, patient-first mindset, and one more time for the people in the back… patient-first mindset. We can’t stress this enough: every update, change, and message should be viewed through the lens of “if I were the patient, how would I perceive this?”

Consider these scenarios: Is your phone system dropping calls from anxious patients who’ve just received a scary diagnosis? Is your signage confusing for someone visiting for the first time? Is your website easy to navigate for booking an appointment? Do your key messages resonate deeply with potential patients? Dig deeper into your consumer’s behavior and know what is lacking in the healthcare system around them, what they are desiring, and how you can bridge that gap.

These are just a few of the many questions to ask yourself as a healthcare advertiser to enhance your patient experience.

By shifting your perspective to prioritize what patients need to see and hear, rather than what you want to showcase, you’ll significantly impact your ability to attract and retain new patients leads.

Building Trust: The Cornerstone of Patient Acquisition

Patients, especially potential ones, may be navigating a stressful and unfamiliar phase of life. Our job is to alleviate some of that burden, provide reassurance, and make their journey as smooth as possible — all in the hopes of earning their trust. Trust and patient loyalty are vital when it comes to patient acquisition. If patients don’t trust you with the small interactions they have with your brand, how can they trust you with their health?

Aligning the Patient Journey with the Marketing Funnel

One of the simplest ways to ensure you’re in sync with your patients and building that trust is to align their journey with the basic marketing funnel. Let’s break it down:

Awareness: At this stage, you’re letting your audience know you exist as an option for future healthcare needs. Are your awareness-level advertising efforts in line with your customer journey? Are you leveraging the right media platforms like OOH, TV, print, and radio or the right digital approaches such as social media and search engine optimization (SEO)? These are all key media channels to build that awareness, so when patients find themselves in a situation where they might need you, you are already top of mind.

Consideration: Imagine a patient just diagnosed with a serious condition. They’re overwhelmed with shock and fear. They’ve heard of you before but don’t remember many details. This is when there is an opportunity to home in on key messages that build trust and spark interest, such as expert care, ease of access, nearby locations, and a comforting environment. They’ll start searching for more information, so this is where channels like paid search, video, content marketing, and display ads come into play. This is also where it’s important to have educational content available on your website to serve as a resource for patients wanting to learn more about their condition and treatment options.

Conversion: Now patients are making a decision about where to go for their care. Focus on showcasing your expertise, range of services, team approach, and timeliness. They’re actively comparing options and looking for reasons to choose you. Make their navigation through your brand easy and continue building trust. How quickly can they reach someone? Can they book an appointment online or without a long wait on the phone? Address these questions proactively to make their decision easier.

Loyalty: Once they choose you, it is important to nurture the patient throughout their journey. Continue communicating with the patient in a warm and helpful manner at every touchpoint. Is your patient portal easy to navigate? How do they feel about their interactions with your staff? Is the office environment welcoming and supportive? Do patients have access to support groups and additional care, and are these easy to find? Ultimately, you must ensure their experience is as promised by your brand. This creates patient loyalty where they become your advocate, recommending your organization to family, friends, and online communities.

By maintaining a patient-first mindset and aligning your healthcare marketing strategies with the patient journey, you can effectively acquire and retain patients, ensuring they feel supported and valued every step of the way.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Patient Acquisition

Patients come with different expectations and needs. Some are researchers who want all the information to make the best decision. Is your website easy to navigate and does it provide clear answers to their questions? Is there a helpline where they can efficiently get the information they need?

Others might be anxious and overwhelmed, looking for guidance. Is there someone available to help guide them through their journey? Are there support groups they can join? Then, there are those patients who are further along in their journey, and actively researching providers. Does your website have dedicated pages that answer the specific questions they’re Googling, or are they landing on generic awareness pages?

All these considerations ladder up to one of the most important goals in a healthcare company—patient acquisition. By taking a holistic approach and addressing the unique needs of different patients at various stages of their journey, you can effectively attract and retain patients, ensuring they feel supported and valued every step of the way.

Reduced Marketing Costs: A strong brand reputation can help reduce your marketing costs. When customers trust your brand, they’re more likely to convert without the need for extensive marketing efforts.

NOELLE LANTEFIELD is an account executive at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising, and marketing, leadership, culture, and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

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Noelle Lantefield

Account Executive at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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