If you’re looking to grow your practice, there are numerous marketing strategies to follow. From website re-designs to direct mail and social media campaigns, the promotional options are endless. But, all of these strategies have two things in common: they take an enormous amount of time and money to successfully implement. Not to worry, though, because there is one way to easily promote your practice and gain new patients; from positive patient referrals.
Patient referrals are an absolutely essential component of attracting new patients, and often cost nothing other than a small amount of time. While a growing portion of patients are empowered to find their own specialist, there is still great impact behind a personal recommendation for a medical specialist from a trusted friend, co-worker or family member. So, what we’re saying here is that patient referrals are important for practice growth and you should take advantage of that. How can you start collecting your patient referrals? Follow our tips below.
Patient testimonials are a great marketing tool that can be used almost anywhere – websites, brochures, pamphlets, flyers, on social media, etc. Patient testimonials not only show that you have patients who will vouch for you and your practice, they are also proof that you’ve earned the trust and respect of your patients enough to have their referral written for anyone to see. Also, asking a patient for a testimonial also shows them that you respect them and their opinion of you.
Communicate With Your Patients Outside of Your Office
This tip cannot be stressed enough. Communication is key to any great relationship, and your relationship with your patients will suffer if you do not communicate well. We don’t think you should have to be best friends with your patients or exchange recipes, but it doesn’t hurt to keep tabs. For example: If one of your patients recently had a procedure, call them or send them a personalized email to check-in on them. Find out how they’re doing and suggest some exercises or health information they might find useful. Not only will this ensure better patient outcomes, it will also show your patients that you’re willing to go above and beyond to make sure they’re doing well. Some practices also keep tabs on other important happenings such as birthdays, anniversaries, or other big events in their patients’ lives.
We’ll also take some time here to discuss the importance of social media for your practice. Right now you’re probably thinking, “there’s way too much time and effort needed to effectively utilize social media in a healthcare setting”, and while those are valid points, it’s important to remember that there is a great return on interest when it comes to social media and patient engagement and referrals.
Social media be an effective and relatively easy way to stay involved in your patients’ daily lives, and by doing so you can generate quite a bit of patient referrals. For example: You can tweet out quick health tips on Twitter, post exciting practice news on Facebook, share relevant industry news on LinkedIn and even communicate with patients through direct messages when necessary. The more you show up in your patients’ newsfeeds and give them the opportunity to engage with you and your practice, the more those patients will feel a stronger, more personable connection to you. This personal connection should therefore increase the number of referrals that patient gives. Plus, they can simply refer friends and family by suggesting they follow you on Facebook or leaving a review on your page.
Don’t be afraid to spend some time every day on social media, whether you’re attacking the full suite of social media sites or just Facebook. Those 30 minutes per day spent engaging with your current and future patients could earn you quite a bit of revenue in the future.
Hold a Referral Contest
You can also hold a referral contest online to increase the number of written patient referrals you have on hand for marketing and promotional purposes. All you need to do is set a time frame and platform for the contest to run on, choose a prize for the winner, decide how you will pick a winner, and then announce all of the rules and information in an effective manner. If you choose to run this contest on an online platform such as Facebook or Yelp, remember that you have no control over whether these referrals are published. If you choose to collect referrals through email, on the other hand, you will be able to control the publishing of each referral.
Provide Amazing Service
What will really make your current patients want to refer you to everyone they know? Great service. Each newly referred patient provides your entire staff with the opportunity to make a great first impression. You may have great credentials or graduated from a prestigious university, however if you or a member of your staff treats a patient poorly, your referral volume will suffer.
Our tip? Create a ‘New Patient Guide’ or ‘New Patient Policy’ for your staff. Implement a certain standard of excellence when it comes to the level of care a patient receives during a visit to your office. Make appointment scheduling easy. Be over the top in all aspects of your operation.
Don’t Forget to Thank the Patients Who Give Referrals
During their first visit, take time to ask who they were referred by, if applicable. Then, make sure to thank the patient who gave that referral. Whether via email, phone, or written thank you cards, it really does make a difference.
Are you a current Benchmark Systems client? Contact us today to learn more about our solutions for medical practices!