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How to Attract New Weight Loss Patients on a Shoestring Budget

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How to Attract New Weight Loss Patients on a Shoestring Budget

— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN

High cost advertising and overwhelming marketing expenses do not dictate your ability to attract new patients to your weight loss practice. With any size budget, it is helpful to integrate other effective ways to attract new patients that involve minimal overhead costs.

To attract new patients to any practice, you must pave a clear and convincing pathway to your physical and/or virtual door. In fact, it is best if you pave more than one effective pathway. For weight loss practitioners, this may include various paid and organic strategies. While you may find it surprising, there are many practices spending very little on paid advertising while enjoying a thriving and profitable practice.

As you likely know, you need more than just marketing to build your weight loss practice. How you show up online, how you and your team communicate with your patients, what you offer, how you present and provide your services, as well as the outcomes you help create for your clientele is what fuels your ongoing success. Coincidentally, these also help attract new patients at minimal cost.

Patient Attraction Strategies on a Shoestring Budget

The best way to attract new patients is to show up authentically where they are “hanging out,” provide the transformation they seek, build trust, showcase social proof of your positive outcomes and clearly identify the next step to becoming your patient. Rinse and repeat.

Implementing many strategies at once is not recommended since it creates overwhelm and lack of consistency. That said, below are some of the best ways you can attract more patients in a streamlined fashion on a shoestring budget. Pick what resonates most with you and your team:

1. Maximize Use and Leverage of Your Greatest Existing Marketing Tool: Your greatest existing free marketing tool is your knowledge communicated in an easy to understand way along with your stories. This is also a great way to be recognized as the expert you are! What does this look like?

  • Short videos on your social media channels of you answering common questions your patients as (or should be asking) on a regular basis. These can be done simply on your phone, with or without a prompter, with or without editing — people don’t expect perfection. In fact, perfection can make them a big skeptical.
  • YouTube channel with a collection of the same or additional longer videos.
  • A regular website blog with optimized titles and phrases throughout.
  • Your very own podcast that your patients (current and prospective) can listen to while working out, driving, getting ready in the morning or whenever they listen to podcasts.
  • Create free short form resources you can promote organically and have patients gain access to via a downloadable document or video after sharing their contact information with you (growing your e-mail list).
  • One video or piece of content can be leveraged in many ways and you can batch content for you and your team to save time. And, don’t forget to add them to your Google My Business listing for added search and reach.
  • Publish a book! It has never been as easy or cost effective as it is today to become a published author. This can become your “business card on steroids” for your patients and open up doors to get on various platforms to attract more patients.
  • Create content Google will find by making sure your titles and content are keyword rich for what your patients are searching for as well as your geographic area, physician name and practice name.

2. Clearly Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition: In a competitive field, you need to be able to clearly communicate online and in person how you are different and why your practice is superior to the multitude of other weight loss options “out there.” What do you want to be known for? Some examples include:

  • Concierge-style practice.
  • Best self-pay weight loss surgery option in the region.
  • Expertise treating a particular demographic (i.e. women, men, adolescents, young adults, athletes, busy executives, busy professionals, busy parents).
  • Most effective online program.
  • Best comprehensive onsite weight loss program in the area.
  • Combination of the above.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Details: Know your ideal patients well, attend to details that matter to them and deliver what they want most. What does this look like?

  • Personalized card, e-mail, audio or video welcome for new patients as well as existing patients as they meet milestones or inspirational messages to keep them motivated. You can automate this to a certain degree, but adding your personal messages to the mix tends to be very appreciated.
  • Easy to navigate website.
  • Simple and convenient methods to reach out to you and your team (secure e-mail, text, membership site).
  • Kind and efficient team.
  • Streamlined process for receiving care and purchasing services/products.
  • Clean office that is warm, uplifting and inviting.

4. Referral Program: When you have happy patients, encourage them to not only share their 5-star review on Google, provide them with an easy way to refer other friends/family that could also benefit from the transformation you facilitate. What does this look like?

  • Team ready and willing to ask for referrals from your patients.
  • Referral program with a gift for both the referrer and the referral once they have a consult or become a patient.
  • Streamlined process for your team to ask for referrals (as well as obtaining permission and a written or video testimonial from these happy patients).
  • KPI measurement expectation for your team with regards to the number of referrals and reviews requested and obtained each month.

5. Provide Ongoing Value Via Your E-mail List: One of the most overlooked assets in your practice is your e-mail list of current and prospective patients. These people have chosen to add themselves to your list for a reason. This is your chance to provide them with ongoing value and occasional highlights of new services and products they can purchase. What does this look like?

  • Weekly e-mail update with an article, recipe and link to one of your educational resources from strategy 1 (coincidentally this enhances your SEO as well).
  • Monthly e-newsletter.
  • New product or service highlight.
  • Blast e-mail of monthly special(s) for the products and/or services you offer.
  • E-mail regarding a new weight loss challenge you are offering.A way for them to share the information with friends or family who may benefit from what you offer as well.
  • Reminder of your referral program.

Bottom line, if you know your patients well, you will be able to discern what they value/desire most. You can then utilize these strategies to provide that to them (and others like them that need your services) both for free and through clear call to action that leads directly to your paid services and any nutritional products you have for sale.

Whether you have a shoestring budget or not, these strategies will help you attract new patients to your weight loss practice. Master one consistently and move on to the next one that resonates with you and your team. Fortunately, many overlap and are synergistic resulting in faster results.

About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss physicians and their teams helping them simplify creation of a profitable and enjoyable bariatric practice.

About Robard: For 45 years, Robard Corporation’s medical obesity treatment programs and nutrition products have been utilized by physicians, surgeons and hospitals across the United States to successfully treat patients living with obesity. To learn more about us and how we can help your practice and patients, visit us online at, email us at, or call (800) 222-9201.

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