At the “Today’s Practice” event held in Las Vegas, I started my talk by saying, “if you are a staff physician at a hospital, you won’t need to stay for my talk. If on the other hand you have a practice that you are responsible for bringing in new patients then you want to pay attention to this talk, and take good notes”.
So if you are in a private practice, you will want to read this. If you are a staff physician and have no responsibility for attracting patients to your facility, you can pass on my article as well.
If I you wonder why I wouldn’t want everyone to listen to my presentation or read this article, that points out a foundational principles that we teach, and that is,
TIP number 1, You need to know who you want to attract, and who you want to repel with your marketing.
One of our members Dr. Rick Schaefer is a perfect example of this. He started a knee clinic in the Milwaukee, WI, and grew it from the ground up and in less than a year was bringing in over 3 million dollars a year in a small clinic that just specialized in knee pain.
The clinic is called “Knee Specialists of Wisconsin” and they don’t focus on all knee related issues, they focus specifically on “Knee Arthritis”. There actual name is “Non-Surgical Treatment for Severe Knee Arthritis Specialists of Wisconsin”.
Why they focus on such a specific ailment is because they can focus on one procedure and scale their office resources to have just the equipment to provide that procedure.
Obviously they did there research to make sure there is a large enough market to make it worth having that specialized of a niche, but the point is they, were able to find an area to focus just on that.
Now when individuals respond to their ads (print, radio, and TV), and they are not a fit for their procedure, let’s say a knee sports injury for example, they refer them to another orthopedic group that does work with the sports related knee injuries. That does two things, it creates a new relationship/referral source with this other doctor group, and then orthopedic group send the patients that are a go fit for Dr. Rick’s procedure. The point is, you don’t want to compete with someone who could become a great referral source for you directly. If they said well “we can operate on your knee as well” they would never receive another referral from them.
Tip number 2, it’s related to the referral networking and that is Dr. Rick sends a letter out to the patients primary care physician. You see most of Dr. Rick’s patients are responding to an ad (print, radio, or TV) so their main doctor doesn’t know they are seeing Dr. Rick. This is a way to keep the doctor apprised of their patient’s progress. It also turns into a great way to receive referrals from other doctors of his patients that he has never talked to or met. One doctor that received Dr. Rick’s “patient update letter” sent him two more patients in a month that turned into over $4,000 worth of work for Dr. R.
Tip number 3, It is related to sending out a paper newsletter. Many of our Doctor members that we work with have learned to create paper newsletter to go out to their patients and well as other potential doctor referral sources. Now I know some of you may ask, why would don’t you just send out an email? Why go through all the hassle and expense of sending out a paper newsletter. The reason is you send a paper one is because, when someone takes the time to read your paper newsletter, you have their undivided attention, and that is a precious commodity today. Sally Hogshead, famous marketer, made the statement that today most people’s attention span is about 9 seconds. That’s the same as a gold fish! So you have to differentiate yourself form others so you need to fascinate people. Going back to the paper newsletter, you see most folk’s sort their mail over the trash can today. So if your newsletter makes it to the A or B pile to read (why wouldn’t it, it’s coming from a Doctor) when they sit down to read it, they are not distracted, or should I say much less distracted than an email. When you are reading an email and another one come in, what do you do? You look at the other email and maybe click on the new one, with the best of intentions of going back to the original one (but you very rarely do). This way if they become distracted they are most likely to pick it back up and read it from where they left off. When people read your newsletter there is a relationship that develops between the two of you. It lends credibility to you and your clinic and people are interested in what their doctor has to say.
The newsletter is also an effective tool to stay in touch with patients that have come in for an evaluation but have chosen to not move forward with a procedure yet. It’s also another way to get more referrals.
Another one of our doctors, Dr. Jeff Anzalone, writes a separate newsletter for his patients, as well as another, to doctors that refer cases to him. In the newsletter to the other doctors he also includes tips on how other doctors can use our (GKIC) principles to help teach other doctors how to market their practice. Smart when you think about it. He is providing a great service to these other doctors and they are happy to refer additional patients to Dr. Jeff’s practice
In the next issue I will provide a recipe for what should go into a newsletter.
If you would like to know more information about how to build your practice through smart marketing contact me at Ron@DanKennedy.com or call me at 773-632-4642. If you would like to know more about Dr. Rick or Dr. Jeff drop me a quick note.