Getting Referrals from Physicians by Creating a Marketing Strategy
One of the most productive groups to focus your marketing efforts on are primary care physicians. PCP’s see a lot of patients and a majority of them need or could benefit from your services. The trick is to develop a strategy to reach out to family practitioners on a regular basis. A good goal to shoot for is to have some kind of marketing message reach PCP’s once every three months. What I am referring to here is direct marketing, which for example, could be sending a letter about your practice, business cards, a practice brochure, etc. Indirect marketing, on the other hand, should occur more frequently. This involves calling or sending a letter about a new client that you just started seeing to consult about the case. Although this requires extra time to do so, the benefits for you and your client far outweigh the time involved in doing so. This also helps to create what marketers refer to as “top of mind awareness”. In essence, it is the idea that you will be fresh in the mind of a potential referral source by maintaining regular ongoing contact.
To achieve this goal, you need a strategy to help you reach your target audience. The first step is to compile a list of PCP’s in your area. To create your list, contact the local hospitals in your area and ask if they could send you a physician’s directory. These are free and are usually found in the hospitals themselves, however, most likely the marketing department will send you one. Keep in mind that these directories do not include all of the physicians in your area, but they are a great start. Once you have directories from your local hospitals, bookmark the family practice and internal medicine sections. You could also include other specialists that you want to target as well. You may also want to go through the phone book or check online directories to see if there are other physicians not included in the directories.
Once completed, identify how many total physicians you want to include in your marketing database and divide them into four equal groups. You could group by location, for example, within your zip code and neighboring towns. This may also help you determine which areas or practices generate the most referrals. These groupings of physicians should be targeted with some kind of marketing message at least once every three months or quarterly, hence the four groups. To achieve this, I created a database using Microsoft Access (which is part of Microsoft Office) showing each of my four groups which I refer to as Area 1, 2, 3 and 4. Using a database allows me to easily print out mailing labels or merge the addresses into a document. I also use a project management program called GQueues that I use to set reminders to send mailings to each of my four groups. These reminders are set up as recurring, so once I complete the task a new task is created automatically three months later. You can do the same thing in Microsoft Outlook or other task management programs. This is a great way of not forgetting who to target and when. All you need to do now is craft your marketing message (e.g, letter, brochure, etc.) and start sending them out as scheduled. Having a systematic approach such as this will definitely help create top of mind awareness with the physicians in your area and the referrals will start pouring in.