An important part of building a successful practice is marketing health care services effectively. Medical marketing has now become a crucial ingredient for building a profitable and effective medical practice. One of the most untapped resources we find physicians overlook is obtaining referrals from your current patients. There is no better or more cost effective way to grow your medical practice. Obtaining referrals from your current patient base should be an integral part of your medical marketing activities.
Because seeing a doctor is such a personal, and at times, intimate experience, most individuals are more comfortable consulting a doctor who has been referred to them by a friend, relative, or colleague. For this reason, referrals play a major role in helping you – the doctor- build your medical practice.
Not sure about how to go about getting such referrals? The following are a few simple things you can do to increase the number of patients referred to you by your current patients.
Simply Ask For Referrals
Typically it takes many years of practice, an established brand, and excellent reputation in your community before patients you have treated over the years will voluntarily refer you to their friends and relatives. The alternative to waiting a decade for referrals to your medical practice is to ask your patients for referrals.
At first, you might find it difficult to ask for referrals, but if you choose the appropriate moment it can be very easy. For example, at the end of a successful interaction with a patient; when the patient is happy with the outcome of his or her interaction with you, you can ask your patient for a referral.
Many doctors complain that it’s embarrassing to do so, or believe that it will reflect poorly on them. Some physicians think that patients will think that the doctor’s practice is not doing well. But they couldn’t be more incorrect! Many patients will willingly refer a doctor if the doctor has asked them to do so, and they have had a positive interaction with him or her.
Because referrals constitute an important marketing tool for any doctor’s medical marketing plan, you should keep track of the patients who visit you on account of referrals by your existing patients. Part of understanding how well your marketing activities are benefiting your medical practice requires that you track everything, including referrals to your practice.
Use Follow-up Marketing to Ask for Referrals
Marketing health care in a manner which leads to building a successful practice is to a large extent dependent on your follow up marketing activities. Encourage patient referrals using e-newsletters, care-to-share programs, bill stuffers and tell-a-friend offers. By informing patients about all that you do, preferably in a relevant and useful way, the patient will remember you at just the right time to refer your name to a friend or colleague. Used in this way, follow-up marketing techniques designed to support your medical marketing efforts can lead to significant success.
Always mind your manners…say Thank You!
Thank you notes go a long way in helping you maintain a good relationship with your patients, and in improving your healthcare marketing campaign. If you receive referrals from patients make the extra effort to personally thank him or her by sending a thank you card via traditional mail. Simply by demonstrating appreciation for their recommendation, you can be sure they will continue to help you build your medical practice just by word-of-mouth.
Rx MD Marketing Solutions provides full service marketing for doctors, marketing for physicians, marketing for cosmetic surgeons, marketing for dermatologists, marketing for aesthetics, marketing for general practice physicians, and marketing for dentists. We are more than medical marketing consultants; we help explode the profits of your medical practice!