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?
- Attracts new high-value clients through ongoing dialogue with existing high-value consumers
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.