As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, some doctor’s offices are closing their doors to sales and marketing representatives. This means that it may be almost impossible to do office visits with local physicians. Physical therapy practices rely on physician referrals as a key source of new patients and often have a network of carefully crafted relationships that support their business. How can PTs keep communicating with and marketing to doctors once the front door is closed?
Doctor Communication Strategies
This might not feel new or innovative, but direct mail is still a viable marketing channel. This beyond the basic letter campaign and try more engaging and different options:
- Full color brochures and flyers stand out in the daily mail stack
- Custom invitations to open houses or physician demos
A package instantly engages both the doctor and office staff. While there is additional costs to shipping a package, the value added by the more substantial presentation is worth the investment:
- Prescription pads for your PT practice make it easy for the doctor to refer to you
- Welcome kits with branded office supplies and fun gifts for the office staff, such as healthy snacks or product samples, indicate the effort that you will put into establishing a referral relationship
- Thank you kits with the patient’s testimonial, results, and branded giveaways show your appreciation for the physician’s referral
If you cannot visit the doctor, invite the doctor to come to you. Open houses can take a variety of formats and it helps to host several a year to see which works best for your clinic:
- Morning coffee and healthy breakfasts can work great for PT clinics located in medical office parks or buildings
- Lunch demos are a great opportunity to show your skills and expertise to both physicians and the patient community. When it comes to invites, invite 3X the number of people you hope to receive to ensure a good turnout
- Happy hours can be a fun, informal way to network after the workday. These do not have to be drinking focused either—host them at a restaurant that offers lounge seating and encourage physicians to bring their staff and families
The digital marketing channels (web, email, and social media) can be challenging to use for doctor communications. But if you develop and execute strong strategies, you can start to expand your interaction options (and most digital marketing tools are free!).
- LinkedIn is our pick for the best social media to use for referral networking. Most doctors will maintain LinkedIn profiles to connect with colleagues, professional organizations etc. Use your professional profile to connect with members of your referral network and share relevant communications about your practice’s services and updates.
- Email marketing for doctors can be used in very specific ways. Sending generic or patient-focused communications to your doctor list may hurt your email strategies. Instead, focus on sending only 1-2 messages per month that are engaging and informative. The subject lines will be very important to encourage opens and click-throughs—spend some creative time thinking about that first line.
- Website marketing to doctors is best suited to soliciting professional reviews of your practice and treatment. A positive review from a well-known local physician shows both patients and other practitioners that you are an expert PT and great to work with.
As you explore your doctor communication strategies, try to implement at least 2-3 to see which ones work best. Allow several months to see the results and be proactive about asking for feedback. If you see an existing referrer at a conference or in passing, ask him or her how they feel about your approach. Honest feedback is best gathered in small, personal conversations and it helps to have an established relationship with the physician. For more tips- subscribe to the PT Marketing Blog!