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Solving Patient Retention Challenges with Marketing Automation

By | April 22, 2013

If you are a healthcare system, you know the pain and expense patient attrition causes. While determining yearly business goals, patient retention almost matches the need for patient acquisition. Patient attrition can translate into large amounts of lost revenue annually, posing the need for a patient retention strategy. Often times, healthcare organizations look internally to address the problems of customer service and patient experience, but there is also a need to build relationships through marketing.

When experts advise on developing a patient retention strategy, the most important element they discuss having is constant, relevant communication. It seems simple, but when there is long time between visits, it is difficult to keep patients engaged with your brand. The lack of a relationship and top-of-mind awareness leads to a feeling of indifference about your healthcare organization. You may have heard the statistic that around 70% of people who take their business elsewhere do so because they perceive an attitude of indifference. So when your patients are not within your hospital’s walls, make sure they are still receiving excellent customer service and experiences where they seek them the most – online. Health-related internet use has become one of the top three online activities in the world.

In order to improve patient retention and reach prospective patients, a mature marketing automation strategy should be used throughout the patient engagement cycle. It can also be used to monitor overall patient satisfaction and experience, allowing alignment of patient-facing departments. If your marketing automation strategy is not yet mature, here are some tips on growing a hospital email list that will fuel your patient nurturing:

Patient Email

  • Phone – Action: When setting appointments over the phone, ask patients to join the appropriate email list.
  • In Office –Action: When patients are filling out intake forms, add a prompt to join the appropriate email list, collect their email addresses, and send a welcome message that solicits their feedback and interests.
  • Events – Action: When hosting events in the community, prompt visitors to join your email list and collect addresses. A simple “thank-you” email to attendees can lead to more engaged readers—ones who will stay on your list longer and be more attentive to your content.

Before applying your patient retention strategy in marketing automation, ask yourself: Do I have enough content or the resources to produce content? The content provided in your marketing automation campaigns should be modeled along the patient’s journey with your brand: Each interaction should establish a degree of trust. This calls for writers that understand your brand, your audience and marketing automation itself. As communication between your healthcare organization and its patients becomes more consistent and helpful, watch your patients’ brand sentiment change from indifference to enthusiasm.


Check out our helpful 14-pg. marketing automation primer.

The Case for MA

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About Melissa Mathews

Melissa Mathews is a marketing communications specialist at Fathom. She is a graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in advertising. She currently works with Fathom’s internal marketing team, leading social media communications and online advertising. A Marketo-certified expert, she is also instrumental in helping the company generate and nurture sales leads through marketing automation.


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