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How to encourage your patients to spread the word

Don’t overlook the potential of obtaining referrals from your existing patients. This should be an integral part of your marketing activity. If done effectively, it can be a low cost, high return method of marketing and growing your practice.

Before beginning your referral campaign you need to make sure that your patients are happy. They are unlikely to refer others to you if they haven’t been impressed with your practice and the service they have received. Address any issues with this first.

Here are some ideas to help you increase the number of patients referred to you by your current patients:

  • Just ask! Find an appropriate moment such as at the end of a successful appointment when the patient is happy. Let them know that you are accepting new patients and you’d be grateful if they’d mention you to their friends and family.
  • Make good use of referral cards by handing them out at every opportunity. For example, ensure that your receptionist hands one to each patient with an explanation. It can work well to include an incentive for both the referring patient and the new patient such as 50% off a consultation.
  • Include a ‘new patients welcome’ message on all correspondence from the practice such as letters, emails, and newsletters. Make sure patients are aware that you are accepting new patients.
  • Put up posters in the reception area and treatment rooms. These should be professional looking and eye catching like all your marketing material to create the right image of the practice. Again these should include an offer for referrals.
  • Facebook and other social media is becoming increasingly popular. It’s free to use but requires time and effort to make it work for you. You need to make regular, interesting and engaging posts. The more ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and comments, the more people will see the posts and the greater the likelihood of referrals.
  • E-newsletters can be a great cost effective way to get messages out to lots of patients. Include a ‘new patients welcome’ message and an offer for referrals.
  • Thank patients for their referrals to maintain good relationships. You may like to make a phone call, send an email or a card. A public mention e.g. in a newsletter can make the referring patient feel good and may inspire others.

Keep a record of patients that come to you as a result of a referral from an existing patient. By tracking all your marketing activity you will be able to see how successful it is.

If you have any questions about any of these ideas or if you would like help with your marketing please get in touch.