Steps to Value-Added Marketing
How to market to physicians and their staff.
Stephen Albanese, PT, DPT
Have you ever had the time to visit a physician’s office, but did not know what to do or say when you arrived?
A good rapport with our local physicians and their staff is an important component to a comprehensive marketing plan. However, the lack of a systematic approach and the absence of value-added offerings can become a hindrance to these visits.
Marketing directly to physicians should be a consistent part of your practice. However, you need to create a legitimate reason to visit physicians and their staff. Empower your visits and create value by bringing your content library, which might include research articles, a summary sheet, case studies, and patient testimonials. Physicians will recognize your efforts and welcome your input on ways to better serve their patients.
Answer these questions before compiling your content library: Why is this information useful for physicians in treating their patients? How will it help them to make better referrals when deciding how to most effectively treat their patients?
Once you have the answers to these questions, make a plan.
Look at your current referral patterns. See what diagnoses physicians are sending you.
What are your core competencies?
- Create material for common diagnoses. If you have a general outpatient orthopedic practice, concentrate on the common ones physicians will be seeing (spine, knee, shoulder, and arthritis). Create a flyer, brochure, or display card that has information on common injuries and conditions. The APTA provides resources to create this material and also offers evidence-based research that explains how physical therapy can benefit patients with different diagnoses. To add a personalized touch, include an excerpt from a patient testimonial (be sure that you have a signed release from the patient to use their statement). Once created, use a printing company to produce materials that look professional.
- Ask referral sources about their needs. This dialogue creates a relationship between you and the referral source, showing that you are a health care team member who is interested in the best treatment for their patients. This ensures that you are fulfilling their needs and also creates trust.
- Gather resources. The APTA offers articles that can help you provide your patients and referral sources with evidence-based research that shows the value of physical therapy intervention. Create a list of resources that you have referenced in your preliminary research and keep track of any resources that you use for your specific marketing pieces.
- Organize your library. Organize your material, print or electronic, so that it makes sense. For example, organize the material by season, by target audience, and by body part. Make sure that the print and electronic materials are available in a centralized location. This organization will ensure all team members have access to material they need.
- List the offices that you will visit and keep track of who you spoke with at each office. This can be a spreadsheet or a more sophisticated customer relationship management system (CRM) where you track information, including name of practice/referral source, with whom you spoke, type of conversation, material provided, summary of visit, and plan for next visit to ensure that your conversations are moving them toward becoming a loyal referral source.
- Continuous Process Improvement (CPI). In business development, as well as in every aspect of your practice, always have a process to continually improve. Before each visit, make a vision of exactly what you want the outcome to be and write it down. After the visit, document what went well, what didn’t go well, and what could you have done to improve the visit. Answering these questions will not only improve the material you present and how you present it, but also greatly improve your sales and relationship building skills. After all, selling our service is the gateway to serving our patients.
Turn marketing into a habit. Create a plan for the entire year that includes what material you will deliver, the offices you will visit, how frequently you will visit them, and the message you want to convey. The following outline gives you a sample topic for each month that can be used to develop evidence based, value-added material.
Stephen Albanese, PT, DPT, is a PPS member and partner at Access Physical Therapy & Wellness. He can be reached at email@example.com.