10 Effective Acquisition Strategies Healthcare Marketers Can Use to Attract High-Value Patients 

Healthcare marketing
Patient acquisition & retention

Are your patient acquisition strategies driving the results you want?

In 2022, 87.6% of people reported having a usual place to go for medical care.

This fact highlights two important things for health systems and the marketers who promote them to consider:

  1. Opportunity for Growth: 12.4% of the population still needs a regular healthcare provider. This represents a substantial opportunity for health systems to attract new patients by implementing targeted acquisition strategies.
  2. Potential for Conversion: Even though nearly 88% of people have a usual place for medical care, it doesn’t mean they are fully satisfied with their current provider. There is always potential for these individuals to switch to a new provider if they find better services, convenience, or care. This opens a door for health systems – who are ready and willing to take action – to attract these patients by showcasing their unique offerings.

Understanding these two points can help your organization better tailor its marketing strategies to grow its patient base. A well-structured patient acquisition strategy is essential for attracting people who do not currently have a healthcare provider and those who might be open to changing providers.

Below, we’ll talk about what patient acquisition is, why it’s so fundamental, and practical strategies for capitalizing on this opportunity to drive growth and revenue for your organization. 

What is patient acquisition, and why is it so important?

Before we can talk about how to go after the remaining 12.4% of the market, first, it’s essential to understand what patient acquisition is and why it’s vital for health systems.

Patient acquisition is how healthcare providers attract and convert prospects into patients.

Even with hospitals recovering from one of the worst financial years in decades, back in 2022, a Kaufman Hall analysis revealed that 40% of hospitals are still losing money in 2024 and that “high-performing hospitals are effectively pulling away from the pack.”

Patient acquisition plays a vital part in how hospitals can continue on the road to financial recovery and get back to year-over-year patient and revenue growth. 

What is the difference between patient acquisition and patient retention?

While patient acquisition focuses on drawing new patients into your practice, patient retention is the other side of the revenue growth coin worth mentioning.

Patient retention is about keeping your current patients engaged with your practice.

Acquisition fuels growth; whereas retention fosters stability and loyalty within your patient base and a consistent revenue stream for your organization. Acquisition fuels growth, whereas retention fosters stability and loyalty within your patient base and a consistent revenue stream for your organization.

To learn more about using engagement to create loyal patients, check out this article: What is Patient Engagement in Healthcare and Why is it Important?

10 Strategies for Improving Patient Acquisition 

So, now that you know what patient acquisition is and how it fuels your health system’s growth, let’s look at ten different patient acquisition strategies that can help you attract more patients and enhance your overall outreach efforts.

1. Reach the Right Audience through the Right Channel at the Right Time

Effectively reach your audience

Research shows that when marketers use four or more channels to communicate with their audience, their campaigns can become 300% more effective.

This shows that you should invest in multi-channel and multi-cycle communications to maximize your patient acquisition efforts.

But if you want to maximize your results, not only do you have to use the right channel, but you must also be able to reach the right audience.

Here are some tips to consider:

To get a real-life example of the power of reaching the right audience at the right channel, check out how one of our community hospital clients used four channels to achieve a 54% engagement rate from prospects, resulting in almost 100 leads from their initial outreach!

2. Leverage Data and Predictive Analytics 

Reaching the right audience at the right time requires access to data, but not just any data: high-quality consumer insights.  

Go beyond clinical claims data and supplement with consumer data, including social determinants of health, to build a complete profile of your patients.

Once you have that data, you can apply predictive analytics to foresee trends and patient behavior.

To learn more about using data and predictive analytics to boost your acquisition strategies, dive into these webinar replays and hear from experts on how to acquire high-value patients.

3. Create an Offline Marketing Campaign in Addition to your Online Campaign

Try pairing your digital strategies with traditional offline marketing to cast a wider prospect net.

Take, for example, one of our health system clients.

They used a direct mail campaign – and all the data and predictive models we’ve been discussing to convert new movers in their area into new patients.

Here’s what they were able to accomplish as a result:

Here are some other offline campaign ideas. 

4. Invest in healthcare-specific software 

We’ve already discussed many ways to optimize your patient acquisition strategies, and there are still many more to come!

But how do you manage all these strategies?

Where will you get that data from?

How can you show the ROI of all your hard work?

And how do you do more with less (smaller teams, smaller budget, etc.)?

That’s why you need a healthcare marketing CRM. A good healthcare marketing CRM can help you answer all those questions – and so much more. 

Use specialized tools to gather data and analyze your market, effectively engage patients, and track the ROI of your acquisition campaigns.

5. Offer Self-Scheduling Options

Gone are the days when customers had to put up with whatever experience a brand offered. Thanks to big retail brands, consumers are now conditioned to expect fast and easy experiences from the brands and businesses they interact with.

Your hospital and the experiences you create for your patients are no different.

One way to meet this consumer demand and help with your patient acquisition strategy is to make online booking options easy for patients. Allow them to book appointments on their own time by offering online self-scheduling systems.

Here’s how you can do just that.

6. Develop your online presence & Create a Cohesive Brand

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential. A consistent and professional online brand instills trust and enhances recognition, making it easier for potential patients to choose your healthcare services.

Here are a few things you can do to develop your online presence and brand.

7. Manage Your Online Reputation 

Reviews are not just helpful when looking for a new restaurant to try over the weekend.

Patients looking for a provider are using reviews to help them determine where they will get the best care. 

A survey by Software Advice, found that almost half of the participants would be willing to go to an out of network healthcare provider based on the positive patient reviews they read online.

This is why you need to manage your online reviews about your practice vigilantly and respond promptly and professionally.

8. Keep Your Current Patients Happy 

At the beginning of this article, we briefly touched on patient retention and why it’s just as important as acquisition. Satisfied patients can be a source of referrals and positive testimonials for your organization.

How do you keep your loyal patient base happy?

9. Enable Your Patients to Make Decisions by Providing Them with Educational Resources

The healthcare system is complex. Most people don’t feel empowered to make informed healthcare decisions. 

Focusing on creating educational content will allow your organization to build trust and credibility with your prospective patients and equip them to make informed decisions.

Here are a few examples of the types of helpful content you could create.

10. Establish referral partners 

No one says you have to market your health system all alone.

Form alliances with other providers to create a referral network. Grow forward, together.

Here’s how you can get started.

How to Kickstart Your Patient Acquisition Strategy

Now that you know exactly what patient acquisition is, why it’s so fundamental to the sustained growth of your healthcare system, and are armed with many useful techniques, you can confidently implement these strategies to attract and retain more patients, ensuring the long-term success of your organization.

Implementing these strategies effectively requires a deep understanding of your service area’s unique opportunities and challenges. Without this insight, you could be missing significant revenue opportunities and failing to connect with the right patients, leaving money on the table.

At Personify Health, we want to help you expand your reach, serve more people, and grow your health system.  

With our predictive analytics and social determinants of health (SDOH) data, we can help you find the patients most likely in need of your services (including high-value specialties like cardiology, oncology, and orthopedics), the best way to reach them, and how to get them to act.

If you want to use data to power your patient acquisition strategies, take our Free Service Line Growth Assessment to identify the most significant revenue opportunities within your key service lines and see the exact people in your area who are most likely to use those services.