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The Beginner's Guide to Lead Generation For Healthcare


Discover how a systematic approach to attracting your target audience to your website, via multiple channels, is key to growing any healthcare or wellness business. With Lead Generation, your marketing strategy is set for success as you implement a framework for consistently finding new leads and patients and clients for your business.


All health and wellness business owners, regardless of whether you’ve been around for 6 years or 6 months know how difficult it can be to ensure a steady stream of patients, clients and revenue each month.


The constant ups and downs, the roller coaster of emotions that shift from elation to dread as you go from riches to rags in the space of just a few weeks.


The successful businesses, the ones you look at with awe and that achieve the success you desire, are often only doing one thing better than you - they have a group of potential clients ready to buy from them or engage their services - i.e. a waitlist. Here's why they spend their time focusing on generating leads:


- 53% of all marketers spend at least half their marketing budget on generating leads.

- Content marketing can generate triple the amount of leads that a sales team can, and do it at half the cost.

- Over 60% of marketers said that their customer acquisition cost has increased in the past three years.

- In 2021, 78% of marketers say their demand-gen budget will grow or remain the same.


Not only are the best performers getting more leads, but they are also investing more and more - meaning that if you don't start soon you'll quickly be left behind.


That’s what lead generation is all about - it’s about implementing a process that gets strangers ready to buy from you. And that’s what we’ll be covering in this guide - an introduction to lead generation for healthcare and wellness businesses and brands.

Leads going into a sales funnel


What's In This Guide?

  • Section 1 - Introduction to Lead Generation

- The Basics of Lead Generation
- What is a Lead?
- What is Lead Generation?
- Leads and the Customer Lifecycle
- Qualifying Leads and Lead Stages
- Lead Scoring
- Benefits of Lead Generation
- Who Should Use Lead Generation?


Introduction to Lead Generation

The Basics of Lead Generation

What is a Lead?

Ok, let’s start by defining exactly what a lead is. 

A lead is someone who has indicated interest in a business’s products or services in some way.

Think of it like this - let’s say you’ve got an inquiry form on your website so potential patients or clients can reach out to you with any questions they might have, or so they can try and book a time with you.


As soon as they complete that form, they become a lead. They’ve expressed interest by taking the desired action that moves them closer to becoming a patient.


What is Lead Generation?

Ok, so now we know what a lead is, how do we get them? That’s where lead generation comes in.

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company's product or service.


Simple enough, right? Lead generation is a marketing strategy, a deliberate attempt to increase the pool of potential clients for your business. In other words, it's a focused attempt at building a waitlist.



Leads and the Customer Lifecycle

Have you heard the term ‘warm lead’ before and wondered what that meant? 


Leads are a part of the customer lifecycle that all buyers transition through as they go from stranger to patient.


This journey has the following stages:


- Attract - how a visitor finds your business.

- Nurture - how you communicate with them to build trust and prove that you are an optimal choice to solve the consumer’s problem.

- Convert - when they decide to become a patient or client.

- Engage - when they become loyal and help promote your business to their network of friends, family and colleagues.



In this journey, the closer a lead gets to becoming a patient (the convert stage) the ‘warmer’ they are. A lead generation strategy, combined with a patient acquisition strategy, is all about moving them towards through each of the stages and ‘warming’ them up.



Qualifying Leads and Lead Stages

As leads get warmer they can be assigned into specific lead categories based on how ‘qualified’ they are. When we say a lead is qualified, we are really just saying that they are ready to engage in a new level of activity with your business, such as receiving an email newsletter, a targeted offer based on their areas of interest, or maybe even a call from the sales team or receptionist.


How you define your lead stages will vary from business to business. For some, you can stick to the common stages below, but other businesses, with more complex buying cycles, may need a more detailed list of stages. Leads can usually be categorised in the following ways:


- Subscriber - this is the entry-level description for most businesses, and is usually when someone fills out a contact form or subscribes to your newsletter. They obviously want something from you but aren’t anywhere near ready to buy from you.


- Lead - a lead is someone who you determine to be a good fit for your product or service. After subscribing to your newsletter they take further action, such as downloading an ebook or other content offer. By showing additional interest outside of just subscribing, they are signalling that they likely have a problem they need solving. 


- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) - an MQL is someone who is further along the customer lifecycle and is ready to receive specific marketing communications from you. They aren’t quite ready to speak with a sales team member, but they are ready to receive specific, targeted emails related to a problem they need solving, or a solution you can provide. 


- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) - an SQL is ready for a phone call, so they should be passed along to your sales team (if you have one) so they can follow up with them. Defining someone as an SQL varies from business to business, but generally, they’ve taken specific action that indicates a readiness to buy, such as looking at a pricing page or contacting you with a product-related question.

To qualify a lead you want to compare the known information you have on them against an internal set of criteria that you can use to assess how ‘warm’ a lead is, and how good a fit they are for your product or service.

Whatever criteria you decide to use, the goal is to assess fit - will this potential patient benefit from your service? Can they afford your fees? Think back to past leads who have gone on to become a patient and think about the type of questions you needed to ask before you decided you could bring them on, as these will help you identify good fit leads early on.



Lead Scoring

To help with qualifying leads and take some of the guesswork out of the equation, you can use a strategy called lead scoring.


Lead scoring takes the criteria you identified previously as important and assigns a numerical value to each. As a lead meets each criteria, their lead score is calculated by adding (or subtracting) the numerical value of that criteria to their total. Once they pass a certain threshold, you update their lead stage.


To explain lead scoring, here’s an example:


A new lead has just come to your website via a social media ad you were running and downloaded an ebook. Historical data shows that leads who come via paid ads tend to convert at a better rate than other channels, so you’ll assign them a score of 10 based on the lead source.


The ebook they downloaded is a top-of-the-funnel offer, meaning it helps answer a general problem your target audience is looking to solve, but since it doesn't mean they are indicating a preference for you specifically, you decide this ebook is worth 5 points.


When they completed the form to get the ebook, they entered plenty of information about themselves, including answers to health-related questions. You award another 5 points simply because you’ve got a base level of information available.


After a week, you send an email with a middle-of-the-funnel offer that compares your service with that of a competitor, and the lead downloads it. This is a good sign, so you award them 15 points.


So far we’ve got:

- Social media lead source = 10 points

- Download ebook = 5 points

- Completed all form fields = 5 points

- Downloaded middle of the funnel offer = 15 points

- Total = 35 points

Depending on your lead scoring threshold, 35 points may be enough to qualify them as an SQL and hand them over to sales for follow-up.


With lead scoring, you apply a systematic approach to qualifying leads, which can help make the task easier. When you use a tool like HubSpot, which can automate the lead scoring process, you can continue to run your business knowing that you’ll be notified when a new lead is qualified.

Why Use Lead Generation? What are the Benefits?

Simply put, you should use lead generation because it is a proven method for getting patients. Your future patients are online, actively seeking information, and a lead generation strategy can get your business, brand, and messaging in front of them at the right time.


Not only this but outbound lead generation tactics, such as social media ads, reach your audience where they spend their time online, meaning you can also reach them as they go about their day. Here are 3 more reasons why you need a lead generation strategy:


1. A Deliberate Framework

One of the best reasons I can give you for why you need to use lead generation is that it’s a deliberate attempt at achieving business goals. It’s a framework that is used to attract strangers and turn them into clients or patients. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of marketing and sales.



2. Helps Your Sales Team

It’s also useful for helping your sales team find prospects to speak to. Sales is, by its nature, time and labour-intensive. Marketing can be done at scale and reach huge numbers of people.


Lead generation is a way to combine the scale of marketing with the personal touch of sales. As you qualify leads, specifically when they become SQLs, you can hand them over to your sales team for follow-up. This helps them as it provides them with a warm lead to speak to, someone who already knows your business and has an established relationship that makes the sales process much easier.



3. Gather Information and Intelligence

Finally, it’s also a good way to gather intelligence on your leads and patients. The longer you use a lead generation strategy the more you’ll see trends emerge about who your perfect clients are, where they spend their time online, how long it takes them to make a purchase decision, and much more valuable information that can be implemented by both marketing and sales.



Who Should Use a Lead Generation Strategy?

Lead generation is not suitable for all businesses, and by now you can probably understand why. In our experience, if you meet the following criteria, you can assume a lead generation strategy will work for you:


1. Highly-Priced Product or Service.

Generating leads can be costly, especially considering they aren't guaranteed to spend money with you. In fact, many businesses will only turn 20-30% of their leads into a customer (some convert at an even lower rate), so it's important that when a customer does make a purchase you are generating enough revenue to be able to cover the costs of acquiring the leads.



2. High Average Order Value

Very similar to the above point, in that you need enough revenue to cover your costs, except that average order value can refer to multiple products or services, rather than a single purchase. For a dentist, this might mean a new patient decides to have their teeth straightened AND whitened. For a physio, this might be a new patient deciding for both treatment AND a remedial massage. If you sell wellness products you might find that multiple products usually sell as a bundle. By purchasing multiple products or services the customer has a high average order value.



3. High Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is a metric we focus on a lot with clients, and it refers to the overall amount of money a patient or client is worth to you, over the lifetime of them being a customer. This metric combines average order value, purchase frequency and average lifetime to come up with a monetary amount you can use in your marketing.


For example, let's say you offer personal training services and a new client books a 10-session pack with you worth $300. In 6 months time they repeat this purchase for another $300. Then, after a year, they return once more but this time they bring a friend, resulting in $600 in revenue.


Over the lifetime of them being a customer they have spent $1,200 with you. Businesses with high CLTV can benefit from a lead generation strategy as the upfront costs of bringing in new leads is paid off over time.



4. Long or Complex Buying Cycle

Some healthcare practitioners, such as specialist surgeons, need a lot of information and consultation before a patient can go ahead with treatment. Because it may take a while for you to generate revenue, it helps to have a large number of potential patients waiting to speak with you.


Lead generation can also have a significant impact on the education process, which can help overcome the obstacles associated with a complex product or service.

Lead Generation in Action

The Lead Generation Process

Now that we understand the basics of lead generation, let’s cover how the process works and how you’ll turn strangers into leads:

  1. First, your audience will find you online via the channels they spend most of their time on. This might be on social media, or perhaps through your blog, or maybe when they do a Google search. 

  2. Next, once they are on your website, they’ll click a call-to-action (CTA) - which is an image, button or text that encourages them to take a certain action, such as downloading a resource or subscribing for your newsletter.

  3. After clicking the CTA they’ll end up on your landing page. This is a specific type of webpage designed to promote the offer you are enticing them with, and contains enough information to grab their attention, but not so much that they can leave without downloading the rest of the content.

  4. On the landing page, they’ll complete a form that captures their information. 

  5. Once they complete the form, they’ll enter your CRM where you’ll be able to access and build upon the information you captured.

Creating a Lead Generation Strategy

Getting started with lead generation can feel like a daunting, overwhelming task. But with a framework to build from and a process that works, any business can create a lead generation strategy that will work for them. Here’s how:

1. Outline Basic Business Information

You want to start by getting very clear on your business goals so that the goals of your lead generation strategy align with them. You also need to have a picture of your buying process. What steps does a patient or client need to take in order to buy from you? Define the steps so your lead generation funnel moves through the same ones.


2. Identify Your Buyer Personas and Buyer Profiles (if you are B2B)

A Buyer Persona is a fictional representation of the types of people who buy from you or use your product/service. They are created using real-world information that you know about your existing patients and clients, or data that is compiled through research, or both.


Each persona is usually based around a single attribute, such as a medical condition (for example, back pain) or a desired outcome (such as whiter teeth, or improved mental health). Grouping your potential patients and clients together in this way makes it easier to market to them since you can promote a single product or service that most appeals to them, and all the patients that fall into a particular buyer persona can (usually) all relate to the same messaging, making it easier to advertise to them.


Creating your buyer personas can take time, and it's usually best to have 3-5 separate personas. The type of information you'll gather will vary depending on your business and what you need to know about potential clients in order to effectively market to them, but in general you'll want to collect the following:


- Demographics (Age, gender, income, location etc.)

- Challenged (What problems are they trying to solve? What obstacles are stopping them from finding or choosing a solution?)

- Outcomes (What is their main motivation? What is their ideal or desired outcome? When do they want to achieve it?)

- Personality Traits (Are they introverted or extroverted? Do they want to try new things, or stick with what they know?)

- Buying Process (How and when do they get their information? What social media do they use? Who else is involved in the buying decision? How important are reviews and referrals?) 

- Common Objections (What objections do you need to overcome during the process of getting them to become a patient?)


Once you've got your information together (either through speaking with past customers, looking through your CRM/database or performing additional research) you want to collate everything into a condensed version that takes the averages and common themes from the responses to help tell the story of your ideal patient. Below is a handy infographic that shows how you can visually display the relevant information, once you've collated it.


Buyer persona example for the medical industry


For a step-by-step guide on how to create a buyer persona for your business, check out this guide from HubSpot.


A Buyer Profile is the type of company that is a perfect fit for your business. They have certain characteristics that align with what you need to make a partnership work or for them to be able to use your products or services. This usually includes information such as revenue, size, location, industry, and other relevant information about the company.


By identifying these two things you get unbelievable clarity on the types of information your audience is after, what questions you need to cover in your content, and where to find them (social media networks, online directories, physical events, etc.) 



3. Determine How You’ll Connect With Your Audience

You need to understand how your buyer personas find and consume information online so that your efforts reach them where they ‘hang out'. The process of creating your buyer personas should give you a pretty good example of how your audience consumes media and information, so now it's about deciding what channel or platform you will use in your marketing. Many healthcare businesses, especially small ones, need to be careful where they spend money on advertising since you likely can't afford to be everywhere your patients are.


Most businesses will find success with Facebook (since you can reach large numbers at a relatively low cost) and Google Ads (since you can target specific keyword searches that are directly related to your business), but these are definitely not the only options you have.


Organic social media can work for businesses that have the time and resources to create amazing content and build a community. SEO is a tactic every business needs to consider in order to boost their rankings in Google searches. If you have a larger budget you could consider radio advertising, which is great for potential patients who spend their commute in the car, or have the radio on at work.


Print advertising, such as magazines and newspapers, is becoming more affordable these days, since these businesses need to compete with online advertisers. What used to be prohibitively expensive is now within reach for most businesses, especially if you consider niche magazines, or local community newspapers and magazines.


It's equally important to consider the requirements of each channel, namely content creation and management.


Different channels have different requirements on the type of content you need to use - Facebook uses both written and visual, Google is purely written, radio requires a compelling script, magazines require artwork designed by a graphic designer - and you also need the time and ability to manage your efforts across each channel, such as regular optimisation and refreshing ads, as they naturally become 'stale' over time and can lose their impact.


If you need some inspiration for what channels and tactics you'll use, check out the section below this one.



4. Plan Out Your 'Offer' (& Create It)

The effectiveness of your lead generation strategy is heavily dependent on the quality of your offer. With lead generation, even though no money changes hands, there is still a transaction taking place - the lead provides their personal and contact information, in exchange for valuable information that helps them solve a problem.


Your 'offer' can be many things - an ebook, a newsletter subscription, a webinar, a how-to guide, or a free consultation. Whatever the format, the goal is the same - to provide valuable information to a potential patient in exchange for their contact information, so that you can continue to build a relationship and trust, ultimately moving them closer to becoming a client.


Choosing the right offer is vital when designing your lead generation strategy. The best offers I've seen have a combination of the following:


- Actually solve your audience's problem. In most cases, the offers that work the best at not only generating new leads, but also converting them into patients, are the ones that provide helpful, actionable advice that the audience can use immediately to solve their problem. 


- Strongly related to your core product or service offering. It should go without saying, but your offer must be related to the product or service your buyer persona will be interested in, otherwise you may have a very difficult time in convincing them to move further in their buying journey with you.


- Can be used as a 'teaser' to your product or service. Having an offer that can help solve your audience's problem is a great first step, but to really make it effective you should use it as a teaser, an introduction to what your audience can expect if they become a patient or client. For example, the offer (which in this example is an ebook) explains some at-home exercises to help relieve back pain that has come about from sitting at your desk all day. Throughout the book you could (and should!) include testimonials from past patients about how your physiotherapy and rehabilitation program helped them get serious results and improve back pain and posture. 


- Are 'evergreen'. Just as a conifer retains its leaves all year round, the best lead generation offers don't have an expiry date. They are considered evergreen, meaning they will always be relevant because the information and value they contain will never go out of date (aside from the occasional update) and will always be something your potential patients want. This isn't to say content offers tightly related to a time-specific event (for example, weight loss tips for after the Christmas holidays) can't be successful, but by their nature, they have a shelf-life and this means you will always be creating new ones, or only promoting them at certain times in the year.


- Can be promoted wherever your audience is. When creating your buyer personas we talked about identifying how they get their information and how you can best reach them through your marketing, and it's vitally important your offer matches the platform you choose. An ebook, for example, can easily be promoted via Facebook Ads, but may not be as effective over the radio or in a magazine. A free consultation, while arguably not as valuable as an ebook, is more versatile and can be used across more platforms.


Once you've decided what your offer will be, you'll need to undertake the significant task of creating it (this is where using a healthcare marketing agency can really come in handy!)


Creating a great, valuable offer is one of the best ways to prove you are worthy of your audience’s attention, that you deserve their trust and that you would be a great problem-solver for them if they decide to use your services or buy your products. 



5. Build Your Campaign Assets 

Once you’ve figured out your offer, it’s time to start building the assets you’ll need to capture leads. These assets will be dependent upon your offer and the channel you are using, but they are:


Website Assets

Regardless of your offer or where you'll promote it, you need a way to capture those leads as they find you. For this you'll need:


- A landing page. This is a type of webpage that is purpose-built for one thing - to convince visitors to exchange their contact information for your offer. They are different to a standard webpage.


- A form (so they can actually provide their contact information).


- A call-to-action banner. This is an image you can place on other parts of your website that also promote your offer to visitors who came across your website through means other than your lead generation campaign. Your CTA needs to be visually appealing and eye-catching, and use the right copy that drives your audience to take action.


Email Assets

While sending a follow-up email to anyone who accesses your offer, it is considered best practice to introduce yourself via email. Your email should do a few things:


- Introduce yourself and explain a bit more about what you do. You should assume that the new lead knows nothing about you outside of what you have told them when promoting your offer, (which should be very little, as the messaging should all be about the audience and their problem) so your first email should be an introduction to you, your services and what makes you uniquely placed to solve your leads' problems.


- Outline how, when and how frequently you'll communicate with new leads. Setting some clear expectations upfront around communication is best practice when a new lead enters your CRM.


- Provide a way for them to contact you for more information. The goal of a lead generation strategy is to generate new leads, but you also want to start moving the conversation toward them becoming a patient or client, so be sure to end the email with a way for your leads to take the next step with you.


Advertising Assets

What you need to create here will depend heavily on the channel you are promoting your offer through.



6. Plan Out Your Next Steps

The last thing you'll do before you start actually creating your content offer and setting up your ads, it to think about what happens after you generate a lead.


It’s vitally important that your lead generation strategy also includes some sort of guidelines around how you’ll nurture leads towards becoming patients. Otherwise, you’ll capture leads and they’ll just sit in your CRM.


Will you hand leads straight over to sales? Will you nurture them with an email sequence? Will you retarget them with paid ads?


This process is called 'customer acquisition', and, much like lead generation, is the set of deliberate steps you'll take to nurture new leads towards becoming a patient. At the time of writing, our guide to patient acquisition for healthcare brands is still in draft, but in the meantime, you should have a read of HubSpot's guide to customer acquisition, which is very good. 

Lead Generation Tactics

So, now you know all the pieces of a lead generation strategy, let’s look at a few examples.


Social Media Ads

Social media is one of the more common forms of lead generation. It allows you to reach a huge audience at a relatively low cost, and the variety of platforms makes it easier to find the right audience.


Facebook and Instagram

Facebook and Instagram and great for finding and connecting with potential leads through paid advertising. 


You can choose to use their Lead Ads, which is a way to capture leads without them having to leave Facebook, or you can direct viewers to your website. 


Personally, I prefer the latter as doing so allows much more control over the message and allows me to use a variety of media on the landing page, and I’ve found that leads who come through a landing page are usually more interested than those who complete a pre-filled form on Facebook.



LinkedIn is a great channel to connect with business buyers. That’s not to say you can’t reach this group of people on Facebook, but LinkedIn’s targeting is better suited to business audiences, and the information it has on its users means you can filter by criteria much better. 


You can run advertising on LinkedIn, or you can connect with prospects and engage on a more personal level with them via LinkedIn messages.



Content Marketing

When it comes to generating the lowest cost leads, blogging and content marketing has to be amongst the best.


A great content strategy aims to educate your audience around topics that they care about, just like this blog is designed to help our clients and target audience understand lead generation.


Blogs can be low cost lead generation tactics because, if done well, you don’t need to pay to get your message in front of an audience.


Another great thing about blogging is that you can share them across social media for free. Once your followers visit your blog, you should definitely have a call-to-action to grab their attention and capture them as a lead.


The downside to this, though, is that a content strategy can take months (usually at least 6-12) before you start to see consistent results. So if you need leads quick blogging might not be the best use of your time.



PPC Advertising

PPC Advertising is simply industry talk for Google Ads. Essentially it’s about showing your ad at the moment your audience is searching for something related to your business.


These ads can be great for generating leads as you show up at the moment of intent - if someone is actively searching then it can be a good assumption that you’ll want to capture them as a lead.




Not a lot of healthcare business owners and practitioners think to use partnerships when it comes to growing their practice and generating leads, but it’s actually an incredibly powerful method once you get the hang of it.


The basic premise is this: find someone within your industry (or a complimentary industry) who has a significant following and look to partner with them to provide their followers with value. In exchange, you get exposure to an audience of potential buyers.


A great example is teaming up with a podcast producer. By offering to speak on their show about a topic that is of interest to their audience you can help them provide value to their followers. In return, you get exposure as an expert and can tell people about your business and where they can learn more about you. 

Tips for Lead Generation Campaigns

When it comes to running successful lead generation campaigns, the list of tips will never be exhaustive - you’ll always find a new way of doing things that improve your performance. However, there are some standard tips that every campaign must follow.



Use the Right Tools

Lead generation is all about being deliberate. It’s not an ad hoc approach to marketing, and as such needs to be supported by appropriate systems and tools. You’ll need a great CRM that connects with all your marketing tools and provides your sales team (or yourself) with all the information needed to reach out to prospects and leads.


You also want a form tool so you can collect leads, as well as well-designed call-to-action images to place around your website.


Finally, you need to be able to build dedicated landing pages to support your campaigns.



Create Multiple Pieces of Content

When it comes to lead generation, more is better. You are going to capture more leads if you have more content offers (ebooks, how-to guides, courses etc). Here’s some of the content you should be creating to support a lead generation strategy:


- How-to guides

- Checklists

- Case studies


Also be sure to create content that appeals to the different audiences you have. What works for a middle-aged professional might not work for a stay at home mum, so create different versions of each offer.



Create Content for Each Buying Stage

It’s also important to understand that every visitor to your website is in a different stage of the buying journey. Some may just be starting out, and want foundational information that explains the problem your business solves. This could include blog articles, how-to guides or checklists.


Others may be further along and starting to evaluate alternatives. In this instance, a case study can be a good way to show how you can help them solve their problems.



Be Consistent with Your Messaging

The best campaigns provide a seamless transition across channels. If you are running a Facebook Ad campaign, make sure that the landing page is aligned with the copy from the ad. If you’ve just come off a podcast, the landing page you directed listeners to should be relevant to what you talked about on the show.



Be Flexible and Prioritise Testing

Rarely do we get things perfect on the first try. Your lead generation campaign is no different, so you should plan ahead and be ready to test out different versions of all aspects of the campaign to see what works best for you and your audience.


Test your ad copy, your imagery, AB test your landing page copy, test having long vs short forms, even test out the colour of your form submit button - you never know what aspect will bring success.

Grow Your Business with Lead Generation

Congratulations, you've made it the entire way through the healthcare guide to lead generation!


You should now have a solid understanding of the fundamentals to crafting and executing a lead generation strategy, along with some inspiration on a variety of tactics and channels you can use to reach your audience. Good luck!


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