Word of mouth (WOM) marketing is considered by 59% of small business owners to be the most effective form of marketing. Yet, many healthcare organizations fail to use WOM to its’ full potential. This is especially true for medical practices, where smaller marketing budgets and a lack of defined referral programs are more prevalent. What happens if referrals drop or stop completely? Here are four tips to jumpstart your word of mouth marketing program.
A WOM program is a marketing program that motivates customers (patients), to talk about their experience with a particular brand or organization and recommend it to others. A successful program is one that people want to take advantage of. There should be some kind of incentive for patients participating in the program. Consider the perks your practice can offer and try to keep the reward in house, meaning, the “reward” is something the practice already offers and is attractive to patients. The program should also clearly state how many referrals are required to receive a reward.
Spread the Word
The only way patients are going to know about your WOM program is if you tell them about it. Invite each and every patient to become a part of your program through email. Information about the program should also be displayed throughout the office and in exam lanes.
Keep Track of Referrals
Keeping track of referrals is one of the biggest challenges for any business, but it is a necessity if your WOM program is going to be successful. That means your staff must be comfortable asking new patients how they heard about your practice. This can be done on a form, verbally or both. By keeping track of referrals, the practice can thank the patient for making the referral and also know when the referring patient has earned a reward.
Research and Measure for Efficacy
Marketing is an evolutionary process. As such, it is important to measure the efficacy of each and every tactic. Without proper tracking methods in place, there is no clear way to know what is working or not. If you find that the WOM program isn’t getting much response, consider the reason and explore options that may make it more attractive to patients.
WOM marketing is an effective tool that medical practices should use to build their practice but it should never be the only marketing tactic utilized. For more medical marketing tips, visit our marketing blog here.