You already know how important patients are for your practice. Patient referrals are an inexpensive way to market your practice and acquire more patients. It is always better than investing a huge amount of money in marketing to acquire new patients who don’t know you. To get word-of-mouth marketing going for your practice, you need to provide great service to your patients and try the following strategies.
- Personality showcase: You might be an excellent practitioner, but your patients need to know it. Your expertise and thought-leader personality will definitely encourage referrals and result in higher conversions. For this, you need to regularly post blogs, reply to questions on your website or any other platform and participate in different forums. Consistently doing these activities will make you the first doctor to contact in case of any health issue, boosting your practice’s online reputation.
- Online presence: Strong online presence is a great way to promote patient referral. You can’t be all over the web in a day. For this, you need to have an engaging website for your practice. It helps you connect with your existing and new patients when outside your practice. A referred patient is likely to explore your practice online where he/she will visit your website. The content on your website should be informative and engaging enough to attract new patients to your practice.
In addition to a website, you need to have a strong social media presence. More than 70% of people are on social media. According to a study by PwC, 43% of people read reviews on social media. People look for a suggestion on physicians, treatments and hospitals on social media platforms. Don’t miss this great opportunity for interacting with new patients. Participate in different health-related discussions conducted by any of your patients. Pleased patients will refer you to their group on these platforms.
- Ask for referrals and testimonials: One of the biggest mistakes most doctors commit is not asking for referrals from their existing patients. According to a report by Texas Tech, out of 83% satisfied customers, only 29% refer the product or service because they were never asked to do it. But you need to know when and how to do this. You should not be too quick. Instead, send a thank-you note to your patients for visiting your practice and promise even better service in the future. Then you can ask them about your practice and request them to spread the good word to their near and dear ones.
In addition to the above, you should ask for their feedback/reviews and testimonials. Keep things transparent to build trust, and encourage your patients to post reviews online. You should value their opinions and thank them. This will help you create a strong online reputation that will influence your potential patients. Testimonials on websites and social media pages are viewed by many and act as a great reference material for your patients.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
- Offers: We all love discounts. To promote referrals, you can offer discounts or gifts to entice your existing customers. Keep these time-bound for higher results. This will help patients act quickly so they don’t forget to refer your practice because of their busy schedules. You can offer incentives such as a free health checkup, discount on next visit, two-for-one offer, etc. Such monetary incentives will motivate existing patients to send more patients. In addition to the reward, keep thanking your referring patients time and again.
- Local events: In addition to a strong online presence for your web audience, you need to know your local community. For this, you should conduct health camps or other public events. Start with marketing of the event both online and offline. Provide handouts, freebies to educate patients about your services and treatments. This will help you address patient questions and help you build patient trust and your reputation. Happy patients are likely to refer you to others.
In addition to the above-mentioned methods, there are other initiatives that leave a strong impact on your patients and boost referrals. Let’s see some of them.
- Start the referral process: Create simple forms and provide them to your patients whenever they visit your practice. Clearly state the discount or offer, if any.
- Train your staff: Educate your staff about the benefits of getting more referrals. Train them how to convince existing patients to refer others.
- Measure patient satisfaction: Collect feedback from your patients to learn what they think about your service and staff. This gives you knowledge for continuous improvement.