For medical specialists, one of the best ways to gain new patients is through the referrals of other doctors. Recent studies have shown that 60% of patients trust to current doctor to provide good referrals. Having a program in place that builds a community with other physicians and makes them aware of specific services that can be offered is one way to increase the amount of referrals.
A recent campaign from a cosmetic dentist that I came across illustrated the positive aspects of adding new patients. This dentist wanted to build referrals from other general dentists in his area that did not do the type of procedures that he offered to patients. To grow his practice he initiated a campaign that had the following goals:
1) Increase awareness of his practice
2) Establish relationships with other area dentists via a study club
3) Gain specialty referrals from the area’s general dentists
The campaign utilized direct mail, a personalized micro-site and follow up e-mails. One of the response incentives was the ability for responding dentists to participate in a network group that would allow them to meet face-to-face with their peers.
Halfway through the campaign, the dentist was able to achieve a record year for referrals. The average annual value per referring dentist was $20,000, which made it easy to see how a community building program like this can quickly pay for itself many times over.
Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives