Referral Programs make Marketing for Your Practice Succeed

 

According to Forester Research, consumers trust word of mouth from friends and family more than any other form of “advertising”.  The same holds true and more so for medical practices.  Why then do so few practices focus on encouraging patients to be advocates?

In the Web 2.0 world, the old saying, “It’s who you know!” is driving business and marketing.  That makes current clients terrific resources for cultivating potential new patients.

Referrals are the Backbone

Referrals can boost the clientele of any medical practice.  Whether you’re a one-person operation or a biz with many employees, encouraging your current clients and employees for referrals (and possibly providing incentives) is a smart marketing move.

One of the most persuasive and cost-effective ways to promote your practice is to encourage loyal patients to act as brand advocates and drive new business to you.  The advantages of these programs are tangible and many:

  • Increases sales from a targeted audience at a low cost

Many client referral programs pay for themselves several times over annually, which makes them one of the most cost effective ways to market your         services.  With results like that, can your practice afford to not have a referral program?

While it’s true that many clients will refer new patients to your brand naturally, building a marketing program that promotes and rewards referrals from your best clients (or professional referral system) can increase new consumer acquisitions several times over.

  • Gives existing consumers “bragging rights”

Also known as the advocacy boost, an interesting phenomenon occurs hen clients make recommendations. They not only attract new clients, but they also increase their own attachment to you, increasing their overall patient value.

  • Delivers measurable results

Unlike many marketing programs, you can closely and continually measure your ROI (return on investment).

Never Underestimate the Power of Just Desserts

When asked for a favor, many of us enjoy and appreciate a pat on the back.  I know I do.  So condor offering  “dessert” for any successful referral a healthcare professional, employee or patient provides.  Desserts could include a bonus in the paycheck or a gift to the referring physician.  As far as a “dessert for the patient”, think about what you can offer them which would be relevant and desirable.

Getting new patients through referrals only sweetens your business dealings.

What has worked in your practice?  Share your tactics in the comment box below.

Tips on Marketing your Medical Practice

If you are like me, there isn’t much money to budget for health marketing. Every dollar spent in medical  is precious and so, it is important to spend it on proven methods and efficiency rather than trying avenues that won’t work.

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Whether you are just opening your medical practice or improving it to fit into today,  it always helps to look at what similar practices are doing to become successful. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Figure out what worked and pinpoint what they did wrong.  Learn from their mistakes and you will save yourself years of spending with trial and error. Discover your own way to emulate the right techniques.

The thing is, that while emulating the techniques, you must also identify what makes you different and stand apart from other practices in your community.

Perhaps it is that you stay open longer or that you communicate through social media.  Maybe there are techniques that you do which aren’t readily available.  Think of giving webinars or teleseminars for patients in the community to educate and engage not only your current patients but prospective patients as well.

Participate in community health fairs and consider giving lectures at the local libraries and schools.  These actions will get your name and image in front of your target market.

What else have you tried that has worked well for you?  Share your experiences and your thoughts in the comment box below.

 

Marketing Your Medical Practice to the Non-Tech Generation

We all hear about the latest and the  ”new best” way to market for new patients.  The list starts with emails, digital messages, social media with fan pages, tweets, and  webTV.

Yet, there is still a segment of the population that does not rely on the computer.  How are you going to reach them?  The most successful way is still the referrals from family and friends who are very happy with your services.  But, there are other ways.

Let’s not forget the tried and true methods that seem to have fallen by the wayside:

  • Sign up to participate in the local health fair.  Disseminate information while giving free blood pressure readings or screenings in something pertaining to your specialty.  It will feel good to get out into the community.
  • Give a free lecture to the community  at your local public library (yes, people still go there)
  • Write a newsletter that the people in the community and patients can read.  You would be amazed at how many of these circulate around.  One is dropped and picked up by another.

It’s not easy these days but with a little ingenuity, thinking up new and creative ways can actually be fun!

Tips for Medical Marketing and Health Writing

One of the most useful courses NOT given in medical training is the business and marketing of a medical practice or private healthcare facility. While some are lucky enough to have a mentor, an older or more successful physician to show the ropes, most nearby physicians view a new doctor as competition. Mostly, one is left to figure everything out by trial and error.

This is why an article written by Dr. Giovino called “You Should See My Doctor”: Cost-Effective Marketing Ideas for Your Practice was and is still so important, despite having been published in Family Practice Management nine years ago, in January 2002. (The principles still hold true.

Telling it like it is without mincing his words, Dr. Giovino states:

“Marketing is something of a dirty word among many physicians. Mention it, and they immediately picture that used-car salesman peddling his lemons on late-night television. True, that’s a form of marketing, but it’s marketing gone wrong. Done right, marketing is not synonymous with trickery. Instead, it is nothing more than influencing choice by demonstrating the real value of a particular product or service – in this buy azithromycin 250 mg case, health care.”

Although the advice was aimed at Family Practice doctors, the marketing wisdom holds true for all specialties.

His key points are:

· Marketing isn’t necessarily a dirty word; it’s simply influencing choice by demonstrating the value of your services.

· The best way to begin your marketing efforts is by providing excellent care and service to your current patients.

· In competitive markets, physicians need to embrace the marketing methods of other industries and shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

Don’t miss an opportunity to send out the “happy birthday” letter. Kindness to patients goes a long way. Along the same lines, don’t miss out on sending the “welcome to the practice” letter to stress the appreciation for coming to the office as a patient.

Another simple marketing tool is the appointment reminder. At the time of the visit, you can already be entering into the computer or patient list, when you want the next appointment to be scheduled.

Finally, maintain good relationships with other specialties within your area. They will be a good source of referrals.