What is healthcare referral marketing?

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What is healthcare referral marketing?

Through the innumerable forms of marketing, referral marketing stands out as vastly superior for most businesses- but ESPECIALLY for healthcare specialty practices.  Healthcare referral marketing is also an entirely different beast as compared to referral marketing for retailers and small business, due to the nature of the relationships built.

Traditional forms of healthcare marketing seek to expand your practices overall visibility.  This sort of marketing focuses on advertising campaigns, website seo, directory listings, social media, email & direct mail marketing, & PR opportunities.  It’s a great way to define your practice and your physicians as a brand, and to spotlight your presence online and in the community, so individuals nearby KNOW you and keep you in mind when the need arises.  This sort of passive marketing is a perfect way to generate visibility to potential patients, and as patients seek to become more and more informed about the physicians and ailments, they increasingly turn to the internet to research their healthcare providers before making an appointment.

Healthcare referral marketing takes a different approach.  Rather than connecting directly with the patient, this form of marketing establishes a connection between the practice and the potential referring physician. If a practice or physician has the time and ability to network, they may do this themselves- often through conferences, learning events, and networking groups. However, more often than not, practice physicians are too busy with the day-to-day business of caring for patients to spend much time on social activities. This is where the role of a physician liaison becomes hugely important and beneficial. The physician liaison acts as a conduit between their client or employer, and the potential referring physicians. They establish and nurture this new connection, facilitating the new patient referral process and contributing to the long-term consistent growth of the medical practice they represent. Physician liaisons effectively become an emissary of the physician they work for, and will sometimes attend events for them, set up meetings and lunches between doctors, and deliver marketing outreach materials to the referring physician.

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Arguably, referral marketing is one of the most important aspects of marketing for any healthcare practice. Large, successful hospitals have been employing teams of physician liaisons for years, using them to reach out daily to internists and general practitioners to present to them their range of treatments and reasons to refer patients to the hospital. If a small specialized medical practice wants to grow, they need to strongly compete for referrals, using the same tactics of large hospitals at a more personal level. So why is it that so few medical practices have any sort of referral marketing strategy in place?

The answer lies heavily in the fact that most physicians aren’t sure where to turn, how to get started, or how to manage a marketing program like that. It’s easy to place an ad in the yellowpages (virtually useless), or in the local paper (very small, inconsistent ROI). It’s easy to rely on the relationships they established 20 years ago, and rest on their laurels. But if they don’t start competing for referrals soon, they’ll find that those referring doctors they’ve been relying on may very well be swayed by the advances of physician liaisons employed by hospitals.

Getting started on building a referral marketing strategy for your practice is as easy as contacting us for a consultation.  We’ll reply to your email within 24 hours, and when you decide to work with us we’ll get you started growing your patient base with our team of professional physician liaisons.

Healthcare Marketing Agency- Physician Referral Marketing (PRM) provides the tools and the know-how to grow physician practices & increase visibility both online and off. PRM specializes in strategic marketing campaigns & referral development through a uniquely direct relationship establishment with demographically relevant doctors and hospitals.To stay on top of the latest healthcare marketing trends, contact PRM today at 888-336-1344 or visit www.physicianreferralmarketing.com.  Also be sure to visit our FacebookTwitter, or G+ page for the latest news in healthcare marketing. Nationwide service, with headquarters in Michigan and a regional office in Arizona.

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About the Author

Laura Mikulski is VP of Business Development & Physician Relations at Physician Referral Marketing in Detroit MI, bringing with her years of expertise in SEO, social media management, physician reputation management, medical copywriting, physician practice internet marketing, sales & business development, and brand building.

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