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Many medical practices have successfully grown with little to no marketing at all. The majority of these practices rely on referral or word of mouth marketing. The challenge with this medical marketing strategy is that the entire business depends on one tactic. These practices are putting all of their proverbial marketing eggs in one basket. What happens when patient and provider referrals are not enough? What happens when negative reviews keep potential patients away?

There is no denying that word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to grow a medical practice. If a practice is providing superior care to patients and referring providers are happy with the relationship they have with the practice, nothing more is needed, right? Wrong, there is actually a lot more that can be done to strengthen the practice’s position in the competitive marketplace.

Smart healthcare owners have realized the importance of marketing diversification and are cross promoting their services over a variety of marketing mediums. They are also employing referral marketing strategies that establish and strengthen brand loyalty (because, let’s face it, you are a brand). Here are four referral marketing tips you can employ on a small budget.

  1. Cross Promote – Healthcare practices that offer more than one service line can use marketing to educate patients on the breadth of services offered.
  2. Reward referrals and create brand ambassadors – Patients often need a reason to tell others, so give them one. Talk to your team and come up with a program that motivates others to share your brand. This can include discounts off products or services offered for both the person making the referral and the person receiving it.
  3. Reward Brand Loyalty – A challenge many businesses have is creating a concrete reason why patients should buy a product from them when they can purchase it online for less money? One of the best solutions is to reward patients for their brand loyalty. Encourage them to purchase their products, procedures and services directly from your practice as opposed to other options by providing rewards for their loyalty. Consider a free product or service after they attain a certain purchase level.
  4. Build Strong Referral Relationships – The relationship your practice has with referring providers is always at risk. It is important to strengthen them by building rapport not only with the providers, but also the entire team. Referrals don’t only come from the provider. It is often another staff member that determines where a patient should go for care. Physician Liaisons work to build relationships with not only existing referral sources, but potential new ones as well. This helps your practice stay top of mind and ensures that any issues are addressed timely and professionally so the referral relationship is not jeopardized.