A misconception in Healthcare is that all patients come from one source, referrals from other doctors. Healthcare IS driven by referrals. But there are two types of referrals driving business to your practice. If you’re failing to connect with both referral sources, you could be missing out on major business. Marketing plays a pivotal role in reaching both audiences.

Over half of your patients are likely being referred to you by another medical professional. So how can you reach and influence them?

Physician Referrals

Physician referrals are what most of us think of when we talk about referrals in healthcare. According to a 2021 survey, 52% of patients report that a referral from their medical provider is the most important factor when choosing their physician.

Introduce yourself

You may be an established practitioner that has been serving your community for many years. But new providers in your area may not know you…yet. It’s essential to introduce yourself to new providers. This could be as simple as sending them a welcome letter or even giving them a phone call to welcome them to the community.

Targeted email campaigns are also an excellent tool for reaching providers who may currently be missing your networking efforts.

Keep them up to date

Medical information and technologies are constantly evolving. If you are implementing new services or improving upon your current services, be sure to keep your referring providers up to date on everything you have to offer their patients.

Updating referring physicians when you introduce a new service or provider to your practice is important, and an annual or semi-annual reminder on all your current offerings is a great way to keep yourself top of mind for referring physicians.

Content is key when it comes to delivering this information in a way that engages current and prospective referring physicians. Creating engaging blog posts, videos, and social media posts is the ideal way to ensure referring physicians are paying attention to your message. Utilize your website, in person rounding, and email to deploy your content.

Make it as easy as possible

Do you have updated contact cards or brochures readily available to new practices? Is your contact information easy to find online? It is important to eliminate hurdles a potential referring provider may encounter. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to send over a referral.

Along with being easy to find online and having updated brochures to distribute, having a user-friendly website, with a dedicated space for referring providers, is a must.

Patient Referrals

Patient referrals may not be top of mind, but according to Press Ganey’s 2021 Consumer Experience Trends in Healthcare report, “patients rely on digital resources more than twice as much as provider referrals when choosing a healthcare provider today.” It is vital to connect directly with your potential patients.

Brand, Brand, Brand

Building a brand patients trust and recognize is vital to driving patient referrals. Gaining your patients trust begins before they even step foot in your practice. Your digital presence and your reputation in the community both have an impact.

Building your brand may sound like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Involving a team of experts is recommended when taking on a rebrand (or an initial branding effort), they can help you through the process and ensure a successful launch of your branding efforts. Once your brand has been launched, it is important to keep your color palette, messaging, and marketing communications consistent, so your patients and potential patients recognize you.

Storytelling is also a vital component of building your brand. Current patient testimonials are a powerful way to connect with and engage your future patients.

Brand, Brand, Brand

Building a brand patients trust and recognize is vital to driving patient referrals. Gaining your patients trust begins before they even step foot in your practice. Your digital presence and your reputation in the community both have an impact.

Building your brand may sound like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Involving a team of experts is recommended when taking on a rebrand (or an initial branding effort), they can help you through the process and ensure a successful launch of your branding efforts. Once your brand has been launched, it is important to keep your color palette, messaging, and marketing communications consistent, so your patients and potential patients recognize you.

Storytelling is also a vital component of building your brand. Current patient testimonials are a powerful way to connect with and engage your future patients.

Be Memorable

Traditional and digital advertising still serve a purpose when it comes to reaching your referral base. Advertising builds brand awareness, helps you reach new patients, and keeps you top of mind for medical providers in your area.

As medical technologies and techniques constantly evolve, so does advertising. There is an abundance of advertising tools to choose from today. It is important to select the right tactics and strategies to have a successful marketing campaign. A healthcare marketing expert can help guide you in developing the proper strategy to reach your goals.

Back to Basics

Your branding and advertising efforts will not be successful if you don’t have a basic foundation in place. Here’s are a few key areas to consider:

  • Is your website user friendly and up to date?
  • Are you utilizing Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing to ensure you populate in an online search?
  • Is your Google listing up to date?
  • Do you have updated headshots and bios of all your providers?
  • Do you have updated brochures and handouts?
  • Is your social media page claimed and being updated?
  • Is your information correct across all online platforms (Google, Vitals, Healthgrades, WebMD, etc)
  • Do you have a well-developed logo?

Back to Basics

Your branding and advertising efforts will not be successful if you don’t have a basic foundation in place. Here’s are a few key areas to consider:

  • Is your website user friendly and up to date?
  • Are you utilizing Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing to ensure you populate in an online search?
  • Is your Google listing up to date?
  • Do you have updated headshots and bios of all your providers?
  • Do you have updated brochures and handouts?
  • Is your social media page claimed and being updated?
  • Is your information correct across all online platforms (Google, Vitals, Healthgrades, WebMD, etc)
  • Do you have a well-developed logo?

We are here to help

Reaching both referring physicians and patients is crucial to capture all potential new patients for your practice. Each referral source requires a different message and a different strategy to reach them effectively.

Referral marketing may seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our Healthcare Marketing team are experts in referral marketing and equipped to help you develop a marketing strategy unique to your practice’s goals.

Contributed by Karly Kelley, Account Executive

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