How to Drive Referrals with Better Internal and External Events

“EVENT”. Even the title should conjure up images of excitement and anticipation.

And so it is with your family of patients, and your community…

 

Events have some key qualities that make them the perfect direct response advertising medium.

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

1.    They have a set date.

2.    The events take place only at a specific time.

3.  Events last only a specific duration.

4.  They create anticipation.

5.  Events create energy throughout the project.

6.  When done properly, the effects last for weeks and when done right, years!

 

Internal Events

 

 So, let’s talk about some events that can be used to help drive new patients into your practice and former patients back to your practice. Let’s start with some of the most common.

The first is some type of patient care classes. Now whether these are done regularly or only done periodically, when executed properly they are successful at not only educating your existing patients but also introducing new patients to the practice.  These classes also naturally generate large numbers of both patient referrals and better existing patient compliance.

 With regard to patient classes, I am a firm advocate in making these voluntary.  In fact, we never advocate force feeding any patient education. However when you tell your patients that their attendance is likely to increase the effectiveness of their care and shorten its duration, they are more likely to not only attend but bring guests as well.

 The key to making these patient education events successful, like all direct marketing is to stress benefits. Now obviously, two of these patient benefits, I mentioned above. The additional benefits include getting out of pain faster, spending less money on treatment, and certainly less time in your office.

 Don’t be afraid of stressing these benefits in all your promotional materials too. Just by doing so, you will find the effectiveness of your presentation improving as well as the class attendance increasing dramatically.

 Perhaps the next most successful events are health screenings of some type.  Health Fairs, when done inside your office can also be extraordinarily effective. I have done these in my office with MDs, DMDs and PTs too.

In Chiropractic, scoliosis screenings are not only legendary, but still remain a very effective way of introducing new patients to the practice. They are also very effective at educating parents of adolescents and children about the devastating effects of scoliosis on spinal and general health when left untreated.

Again, simply apply the same basic strategies. Specific date, time, duration, applied staff and office energy, and appropriate promotional materials, all stressing benefits.

 

External Events

 

 I really like external events, because they are very effective at not only bringing new patients into the practice but also very effective at introducing you to the community.  One of the largest advantages of participating in external events is that there is a wide array of media that is available to you. This includes newspaper, radio, external fliers, as well as the energy you and your team actually generates in your office.

   There are many types of external events that have proven quite successful for many practices around the country. Basic spinal Screenings, scoliosis checks, weight loss clinics, group body composition screenings, blood pressure clinics, SEMGs, etc. The list is limited only by your vision.

Just be creative here, but be very sure to  stay aligned with your personal direction and purpose. If you have a particular focus in practice, so should go your promotions. In this day and age however, a limited focus is not a strategy I advise, as the private healthcare market is just so competitive in so many areas.

 One of my favorites, out of all these external systems is forming alliances.

Why I mean by forming alliances, is that  you agree to sponsor events for a certain group or organization at their place of business. This group or organization, also in return agrees to prominently display your business cards and your literature in their place of business.

 Now, not only do you get the benefit of being a featured guest speaker or presenter, but also you become a known quantity. When a group member needs your services, the owner readily directs them in your direction.

 Honestly, I will refuse to speak for or work with any group or organization that does not reciprocate. My time is just too valuable, as should be yours.

Simply take a polite, business like stance, and be firm. Make sure staff knows your policy too. Last year, I simply refused to do an event for a very large fitness center that did not promote, or reciprocate as they had agreed to do with a prior event.

 Compare this with the strategy of blindly seeking places to speak, sponsor screenings, where there’s no reciprocity.  This can represent many hours of frustration, wasted energy and most especially a waste of finances.

 Plus, with this strategy, like me, you will get to build lasting relationships. In my main office, some of these relationships have spanned more than 20 years, and made me hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 With an effective marketing calendar, you too can skyrocket your practice, regardless of where you practice with effective event planning, and these very simple tools.

 Now, have at it! Only action produces results!

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