Whether you’re a chiropractor, dentist, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon, you likely survive because of outside referrals. Unlike a primary care physician in a private practice or hospital doctors, specialists are usually only necessary when a doctor says so. This isn’t always the case, of course, as evident by self-seeking patients. But having your practice on the tips of every doctor’s tongue is a crucial step for marketing specialty practices.

When a person is sick or has back pain, he or she will usually go to a primary care physician. After treatment, the problems persist; what now? The physician will likely suggest some sort of therapy or long-term treatment from a specialist. Based on local offices (i.e. your competition) and any referral agreements, it is up to the doctor which specialty practice to suggest. This is great if you’re the only chiropractor in the county, but that is seldom the case.download

One of the worst outcomes of a referral is to have a patient return from a specialist to a primary physician and say, “That was a terrible experience.” Not only does this look bad for the physician, it means that doctor is unlikely to refer your practice ever again. The quality of service turns around and becomes a marketing strategy for your practice, which is just another reason to always focus on the patient.

Here are three things to keep in mind when marketing specialty practices:

  • The patient’s experience is essential. Providing exceptional service is your number one priority and eventually leads to more referrals from both the patient and the referring physician.
  • Success hinges on your ability to deliver clinical expertise. This shouldn’t be a problem, considering you’re already an expert. Don’t let anyone think otherwise.
  • Make it easy for the referring physician. Don’t play phone tag with another doctor or a potential patient; have systems in place to handle referrals quickly and efficiently. It is often best for specialists to leave slots open specifically for same day referrals.

Referral Machines

The key to marketing specialty practices is to generate referrals. You know this, but did you know that most specialists spend little effort marketing? There is always room for growth, which is one reason so many specialist practices are opening up down the street from yours. This added competition is pressure and a signifying marker for you to step up your game. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, because specialist marketing is a two-fold process. On one hand, you need to increase your presence to patients and other physicians, which, consequently, is done in one fell swoop.

Going online is the most effective and affordable way to market. In simple terms, a quality website is a hub for all of your other outreach platforms. Make sure to invest in an easy to use, functional, and informative website from which people want to view and read information. Too many sites take up space on the Internet; you don’t want to become one of them, do you?

Next, you need to tap into social media. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook are great places to start for specialty practices. You can generate awareness with potential and existing clients, which, at the same time, increases outside referrals due to your reputation. You’ll want to you simultaneously stock up newsfeeds with positive, quasi-promotional content that increases your online exposure. This leads us to the next point…

Content Farming

Today’s patients are more informed than ever. When they are sick, they Google their symptoms and check out the drugs and treatments you prescribed them. A lot of medical content on the Web is likely incorrect or at least opinionated. The best way to counter this is to become the dominant source of information. Are you a chiropractor? Publish articles on your website, write blogs, and share all of it through social media. Write a piece on back pain in 30-year-olds, bone loss, muscle cramps, and other niche topics that just one patient will find intriguing. While marketing specialty practices, keep topics specific, a strategy that helps when people are searching you out online.

Photo by: Maureen Condon