The most powerful form of advertising has always been and probably will always be word of mouth. PT practice marketing cannot compete with a personal recommendation from a trusted friend or family member. However, that also means that every patient who has a positive experience at your clinic can share word of mouth referrals about your care. It is your role as the practice owner or marketing manager to encourage patient endorsement. Providing easy tools to foster word of mouth referrals is key.
Start by introducing programs and incentives for word of mouth referrals. Begin when they are physically present in your clinic and seeing positive results from your care. You need to capture the patient’s feelings of happiness and achievement. Then, you can convert them into a desire to share those emotions with their loved ones by referring them to your practice. Train your physical therapists and the front desk to congratulate patients on their progress. Follow that up by asking them who they know that could benefit from being pain-free and actively mobile. Take time to listen to their friends’ needs and provide informative brochures on how PT can help. Lastly, explain your practice’s referral program and give the patient referral cards to share with friends.
Word of mouth referrals are a personal exchange. Your patient is advocating your practice and care as a means to improve the life of a friend. You and your staff need to value this interaction. It is important to commit time to genuinely listen to your patient and encourage them to refer others to PT.
Patients may hesitate to approach others and to recommend service or product, especially one that is related to health and personal wellness. Empower your patients and make this conversation easier for them by sharing your practice’s knowledge and expertise through marketing materials—referral cards, rack cards, newsletters and brochures. These materials put your deep knowledge of PT into the patients’ hands and allow them to be your brand ambassador.
How do you continue to encourage past patients to send referrals? A patient from 2 years ago probably will not be actively talking about your practice unless they are reminded about their results from your care. This is where mailing a monthly patient newsletter can boost your word of mouth referrals program. Even if the patient is doing well and does not need PT, receiving an informative newsletter can spark their interest and may relate to a friend’s current condition. They can give the newsletter to a friend and talk to them about their positive experience at your clinic. Thus, providing a word of mouth referral.
For more information on increasing word of mouth referrals through your physical therapy marketing, call us today at 800-594-7656!