Practitioners have no shortage of public outreach options – but some strategies drive business more effectively than others. Whether you're trying to augment your patient base or build relationships with other healthcare providers in the community, expanding your primary care referral network is a good start.
Establishing a strong referral network can empower your brand to go further and reduce your marketing burden, freeing you to focus on caregiving. Here are five ways to drive referrals and help your practice succeed.
1. Do an Outstanding Job With Your Existing Referrals
Word of mouth is among the strongest marketing tools in any field, and its prevalence exists for good reason: People love to talk about the services they receive and the businesses they patronize – no matter whether they're satisfied or outraged.
It's a safe bet that you'll never stop people from sharing their experiences in your care, so the best thing you can do is to ensure you provide exemplary service. By treating your referral patients right, you'll keep them from feeling the need to complain to their referrers and thus improve your chances of getting repeat business from those providers.
Also, remember that word of mouth doesn't stop at patient-provider interactions. Primary caregivers are prone to tell their peers about good specialists – after all, who wouldn't want to help their colleagues? By proving yourself worthy of referrals, you'll build a reputation as a dependable urology service provider and attract more interest from primary providers who want to boost their own reputations as good doctors.
2. Get Involved With Your Local Primary Care Physicians' Societies and Get Listed in Directories
Physicians' societies and medical organizations don't just provide primary caregivers with great networking opportunities. They're also rife with amazing chances for specialists to build referral bases that contribute to sustainable business.
Even if you can't join a particular medical organization, staying in the know about its goings-on makes it a lot easier to meet caregivers where they tend to congregate, such as at regional conferences and seminars. Many organizations also publish lists of their members, which you can use to research the primary providers in your area and determine which ones might be open to partnerships.
What about professional associations that serve the urological field? If you're like many urologists, you may already be a member of the American Urological Association, but there's no reason to stop there. Your state or region may have its own urological society, and joining is a good idea.
Being a part of a urological society can make it easier to build trust – Having that credential or logo on your website will go a long way. If you're listed in a reputable local directory, you can also capture business from primary physicians who're searching for urological specialists conveniently located near their patients.
Of course, listing your practice with digital marketing tools, such as Google Maps, Yelp, or doctor-specific rating sites, is a great idea too. Just remember that your professional colleagues may be more inclined to stick to official directories.
3. Provide a Full Range of Services
Nobody likes getting the runaround – patients and primary caregivers included. If your referrals have to go to another specialist because you don't offer the testing they need or have the right diagnostic equipment on hand, they're not going to want to come back, and doctors aren't going to want to keep sending you clients. As an example, you need to have solutions in place for urodynamics and lithotripsy.
Does you practice need help with urodynamics staffing or assistance with urodynamics testing. If so, reach out to BHN for assistance by click the button below:
Unfortunately, expanding services can be tricky for urology practitioners. It's not as if urodynamics equipment and lithotripsy equipment are cheap, and when you account for software, training, consumables, and everything else, trying to outfit your practice for every possible case might saddle you with more debt and infrastructure than you feel comfortable taking on.
The good news is that you can provide full service and attract more referrals without doing it all yourself. Urodynamics and lithotripsy providers make it effortless to offer a complete range of testing on-premises without investing in expensive hardware or constantly having to make time for continued training. Whether you need on-demand testing, ongoing staffing, or training, there's a solution designed to fit.
4. Develop Good Relationships With Primary Care Physicians in Your Community
Getting to know people is an established tactic for building stronger business ties, and urology is no exception to this rule. By letting other professionals view you in a personal light, you can cultivate trust through familiarity, gradually increasing the odds that they'll come to rely on your services. Although relationship building takes time, it's definitely worth the trouble in the long run.
Physicians may be more likely to refer a patient to a urologist when they know that doctor and their nursing team in person. This makes perfect sense because being more familiar with a specialist makes them less of an unknown factor. In other words, referring physicians won't have to wonder about the quality of care their patients will receive if they've already been exposed to your organization, methodology, and professional values.
There are many different ways to go about building relationships, and it's important not to seem like you're intentionally trying to ingratiate yourself with someone or take advantage of their good nature. The key lies in being open, upfront, and willing to lay off when people don't seem receptive.
Fortunately, the internet exists, so it's a lot easier to get your foot in the door than it once was. Whether you use sites like LinkedIn to reach out to primary providers or stick to other social media platforms, these tools serve as natural places to strike up organic conversations. They're particularly useful for discovering if you already have a connection – like being alumni of the same school, sharing hobbies, or even living in the same neighborhood.
At some point, you'll want to bridge the digital divide and reach out in person, but remember that the best introductions come without any attached strings. If you're only inviting other physicians over so that you can hit them with surprise sales pitches, then you need to rethink your approach.
On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with inviting someone out to lunch or asking them if they'd enjoy taking a tour of your facilities. You could even let them know you're in the area in case they'd like you to drop off some literature and say hello.
5. Offer Educational Materials and Resources to Primary Care Physicians and the General Public
Creating and disseminating useful content specific to urology can accomplish more than merely lifting the veil on an often-misunderstood topic. By sharing knowledge in an open, accessible way, you can establish yourself as an authoritative source of helpful information and engender trust among caregivers and prospective patients alike.
Imagine you were an oncologist dealing with a patient who presented with confusing urinary tract symptoms. If you found a reputable blog where a urology provider explained how urological testing can help distinguish problems like bladder cancer from other lower GI diseases, you might be more inclined to lean on that form of testing as a diagnostic tool. By the same token, you might be more likely to reach out to the blog's publisher and ask if they could help your patient.
This example just goes to show one of the ways urologists stand to benefit from publicizing what they know. By furnishing caregivers with easy access to reliable data, you can help inform their treatment decision-making processes and raise the likelihood that they'll recommend your services to their patients.
Establishing yourself as a knowledge authority isn't about showing off your skills, although this strategy will do wonders for people's perceptions of your competency. Instead, it's simply a matter of getting others into the habit of trusting your work and opinions.
Aim for an approach that's genuinely helpful to primary caregivers and patients, and you'll make it easier for people to feel comfortable working with you. By getting people accustomed to engaging with your brand – whether via online information, mailers, or other forms of content that skip the marketing lingo in favor of hard facts and useful insights – you can overcome the usual familiarity hurdles in record time.
It's also important to remember that the same content you share with your care network can help break down patient trust barriers and contribute to a more lucrative web presence. If you make your content evergreen and periodically keep it up to date, it'll continue working on your behalf for years to come.
Is Your Primary Care Referral Network Working for You?
Growing your referral network is a smart way to not only increase patient bookings but also forge stronger partnerships with other professionals. While there's no magic solution that works for every urology practice, you can mix and match the aforementioned tips as needed to hit your perfect marketing stride – without spending too much time on outreach.
How do you invest in building your referral network to drum up business? We'd love to hear any suggestions we missed, so share your ideas in the comments below.