A few years ago, Tri-County Ob/Gyn located in LaGrange, Kentucky, approached Practice Builders for help with a common problem: not enough patients. Their small-town office was practically in the backyards of thousands of potential patients, yet day after day prospects drove right by the practice and into the city 15 miles away for Ob/Gyn services. No one seemed to know the practice existed.
Adding to their frustration was the fact that Tri-County offered several important capabilities and benefits that their competitors did not:
- The only female Ob/Gyn practicing in the county (at the time)
- The only Ob/Gyn in the state offering cryoablation
- Incontinence treatment capabilities
- Advanced laparoscopic services
- All of Tri-County’s physicians had trained in the very same large urban area to which they were now losing patients.
- All were board-certified, had satisfied patients and enjoyed good word-of-mouth
With so many advantages, Tri-County should have been booked solid with new patients, yet they struggled to break out of their "best-kept secret" prison.
Practice Builders developed a marketing plan to build Tri-County in five key areas:
- Brand Identity
- New Medical Referral Sources
- Key Referral Program
- Internal Marketing
- External Marketing
This included a new practice brochure, insert sheet, program sheets, a new logo and tagline (slogan), and periodic "Physician Updates", to present the practice as an educational resource in the medical referring community. Click on the thumbnail at left to see one of these inserts.
New Medical Referral Sources
Practice Builders created a database of all medical referral sources in the market area who were not currently referring to Tri-County. These were all sent a "needs analysis " survey, mailed the practice’s new marketing materials with a cover letter, and then followed upwith a visit from one of Tri-County’s physician/owners
Tri-County also began holding evening educational sessions on topics of interest in Ob/Gyn.
Key Referral Program
To reinforce relationships with current referrers, referrers were categorized as “A” (the best, most-frequent referrers), “B” or “C”. “A” referrers were met monthly and treated to breakfast, lunch or some other activity, and invited to an annual event . The goal here was to have fun – no business discussion.
Tri-County began sending thank-you cards to referring physicians for every first-time referral.
Physicians in all categories were also invited to an “open house” at Tri-County.
Postcard Tri-County started to track and record the source of each inquiry call. Staff members were trained in how to handle these calls (very important) to increase conversion to appointments and give the new patient a great first impression.
Welcome letters with the new practice brochure were mailed to all new patients. (This instills respect, a senses of excitement and reduces “no-shows.”)
Tri-County mailed a postcard to its existing patient base to influence patients who might seek care in the city. Click on the thumbnail at left to see a postcard that was used.
Notice the postcard headline: “Visit a Louisville Ob/Gyn Practice Without Leaving La Grange.” This promoted two of the practice’s chief strengths: big-city, cutting edge capabilities, and the convenience of a local office. Does convenience seem unimportant? Practice Builders’ 30 years of experience has shown us that convenience is a HUGE factor in whether a prospect chooses your practice.
The postcard reassured and comforted prospects (expectant mothers) with phrases such as, “When you welcome that wonderful new bundle of joy in the world.” “heartfelt commitment”, and “confidence and peace of mind”, as well as “highly-experienced, well-credentialed team of specialists”.
Third – and perhaps most important – Dr. McDanald began asking his patients for referrals.
Practice Builders designed a new website for Tri-County, a series of print ads, and a compelling Yellow Pages ad.
A new public relations campaign proved to be key to Tri-County’s impressive success:
We arranged for Dr. McDanald to appear three times on local network affiliate TV. In each appearance, he discussed an Ob/Gyn issue of concern to women in his market – endometrial ablation, for example. These helpful and informative appearances built goodwill in the community, made Dr. McDanald much better-known, and reinforced his image as a both caring and expert practitioner.
Tri-County Ob/Gyn increased its revenue 65% in two years. And they now get more of their preferred cryablation, incontinence and advanced laparoscopic cases.
Your practice can do what Tri-County Ob/Gyn did. Follow a professionally-created marketing plan, implement it with care and enthusiasm, and you can expect better results for your practice no matter what the economy does.
At Practice Builders, we are always happy to hear about your practice’s goals and discuss how we will bring you better results. Call us toll-free at 800.679.1262 now
After years of success and hard work, Dr. Howard Babushkin noticed a disturbing trend in his general dentistry practice: practice revenue began flattening out, then began to decline.
“Flattening out” was bad enough; when his revenue began to actually decline, Dr. Babushkin came to Practice Builders for help.
Dr. Babushkin outlined several ambitious goals:
- To increase his practice revenue 25%
- Reduce his work schedule to 4 days per week
- Bring in new business to keep his associate busy and productive
- Keep the office open 5-6 days per week
- Position the practice as a boutique, spa-like dental office, with amenities including aromatherapy, reflexology and a subdued, calming atmosphere
Several obstacles had to be overcome first: the practice was in a very competitive marketplace (Manhattan), they were doing little marketing, and their patients were reluctant to spend out-of-pocket, tending to do only what insurance covered.
Practice Builders developed a comprehensive Marketing Plan to achieve Dr. Babushkin’s goals, focusing on four areas:
Postcard Market research showed Dr. Babushkin’s practice was located in the middle of a neighborhood of young urban professionals. These prospects, who tend to pay cash and be more interested in elective procedures and receiving state-of-the-art care than in finding the lowest price, were just the kind of prospects Dr. Babushkin wanted to attract. It was simply a matter of motivating them to come in.
A new promotional practice brochure, tagline (“Total comfort. Platinum service. Leading-edge dentistry”), new marketing resumes for Dr. Babushkin and his associate, new stationery, a practice folder with inserts, a pass-along invitation and a new website all worked to show these ideal prospects the unique benefits of coming to Dr. Babushkin’s practice.
Dr. Babushkin was already building a new, state-of-the-art dental office, so the practice was renamed “Manhattan Oasis Dentistry” to reflect his new capabilities.
PostcardDr. Babushkin’s staff was trained to track the source of every inquiry phone call. Practice Builders provided word-for-word scripts for the staff to maximize appointment bookings and conversions.
A welcome letter was developed and sent to all new patients along with the practice folder, new practice brochure and resume. These instilled high expectation and a sense of excitement in new patients, established an emotional connection between patients and Dr. Babushkin and his associate, and reduced “no-shows”.
Both doctors and all staff members began to ask patients for referrals. This is one of the most effective internal marketing strategy for any practice – and it costs you nothing. Practice Builders trained the doctors and staff to listen for certain statements from patients that would allow them to ask for referrals in a completely natural, confident way.
Many of the new marketing materials were placed in the waiting room. Quarterly “golden nuggets” were emailed to all patients who had agreed to receive them.
PostcardPractice Builders developed 2 new Yellow Pages ads for placement in key directories.
All callers to the practice were directed to the new website for future consideration, even callers who did not make an appointment.
The practice’s new website was registered with search engines, local Chamber of Commerce, and various associations. Their domain name was prominently featured on all marketing materials.
Practice Builders held a one-day on-site training program for all staff members. This included advanced phone skills training, an explanation of the marketing program and use of all the new marketing materials to grow the practice.
One year later, Manhattan Oasis Dentistry’s revenue had increased 20%. Patient volume increased so much, they had to refer some patients to other practices. Many patients complimented their marketing materials.
What was the key to Dr. Babushkin’s success? He followed a custom-designed marketing plan created to achieve his own specific goals. That was the foundation for all his later success.
Practice Builders can professionally create a marketing plan for your practice, targeted to achieve your goals, meet your needs and build the more-rewarding practice you have always dreamed of.
We did it for Dr. Babushkin. We can do it for you, too.
Call us toll-free at 800.679.1262 now to discuss how Practice Builders proven marketing methods can achieve your goals for your practice.
Onondaga Physical Therapy was a young, successful practice, with two years of steady growth to show for the hard work they had put in.
Despite their early success, however, owner Lauris S. Rigdon, PT, noticed a disturbing trend: His patient count was dropping off. Growth in his two locations had flattened, and the specific types of cases he wanted – aqua therapy, orthopedic postsurgical rehab, and neck-spine-low back pain – were only trickling in.
A competitor had begun offering aqua therapy and was aggressively marketing to
Mr. Rigdon’s patients and prospects. He needed a marketing strategy to establish himself and differentiate his practice from competitors.
Practice Builders designed a marketing plan to reverse the negative trends and achieve Mr. Rigdon’s goals for Onondaga PT:
- Establish a unique, differentiating and compelling brand identity for Onondaga PT to set it apart from its competitors
- Reduce vulnerability to competition by increasing and diversifying medical referral sources
- Increase practice revenue 85%
- Attract more of the specific types of patients they wanted
- Increase community awareness of Onondaga PT as an elite brand
New Brand Identity
(To set the practice apart from competitors)
New Logo and Tagline
PostcardTo set Onondaga PT apart from its competitors, Practice Builders created a new practice logo and positioning-based tag line. “Helping you live, work and play better” was chosen to capture the benefits of Onondaga PT offered prospects, and to overcome the “like everyone else” identity that had held them back.
Promotional Practice Brochure, tri-fold
PostcardThis was the cornerstone of Onondaga PT’s new marketing materials. More than merely providing a list of Onondaga PT’s services and capabilities, the goal was to build an emotionally compelling reason why patients, referring doctors and businesses should choose Onondaga PT. Both copy and graphics emphasized emotional benefits.
PostcardA magnet was later created at Rigdon’s request to promote an important benefit Onondaga PT offered its patients: the chance to return more quickly to a pain-free, active lifestyle.
New Medical Referral Sources
(To reduce vulnerability to competition)
Physician Liaison/Practice Representative
The practice’s co-owner (also a PT) and one staff member agreed to function as practice representatives visiting potential referrers’ practices. Visits were made on a regular basis to build name/brand awareness of Onondaga PT and build relationships with front offices. (Building relationships with front office staff is crucial, since they are often the real directors of referrals.)
Practice Builders created a series of mailings to potential referrers, each highlighting a different benefit that Onondaga PT offered the referrer and their patients. The new practice brochure with a cover letter was mailed first. Additional mailings were made at bi-monthly intervals, and were targeted to orthopedists, family practitioners, PCPs and internal medicine practices.
Key Medical Referrer Program
Prioritizing Current Referrers
First, Onondaga PT prioritized all its established referrers into A, B and C categories based on current relationships and future opportunities. All received the mailing sequence described above.
The practice reps always made sure the referrer had plenty of Onondaga PT’s materials on hand, to make it easy for them to refer patients to Onondaga.
(To create “raving fan” patients who would refer family and friends, increasing Onondaga PT’s patient base and revenue)
Practice Builders provide trained Onondaga PT staff to track and record the source of each inquiry phone call. A new Practice Kit and Welcome Letter were sent to all converted new patients to instill high expectation, a sense of excitement and to reduce no-shows.
Connecting with Patients
PT’s were trained to connect emotionally with patients. Does their condition affect their work, recreation and relationships? Being sensitive to what a patient is going through goes a long way toward creating a loyal patient and ultimately, a “raving fan.”
Ask Patients For Referrals
This is one of the most effective strategies any practice can implement – and it costs nothing. Onondaga’s physical therapists were trained to watch for certain kinds of statements from patients that allowed the PT to ask for a referral of family members or friends – all in a natural, comfortable way. The practice is also developing “thank you” cards they can send to patients who refer.
Onondaga PT experienced a 33% increase in patient visits, and a 60% increase in net receipts after implementation of their marketing plan. This is an example of the results your PT practice can enjoy from a professionally-designed marketing plan, created specifically for your practice and put into action by your practice.
Practice Builders has assisted hundreds of PT practices like yours. Call us at 800.679.1262 and we will be happy to discuss how we can help you attract more of the specific patients you want, increase your referrals and build a more rewarding practice.
Obstetrician/gynecologist Jose Aun, MD had been in solo practice for nine years in El Paso, TX, a city on the border with Mexico. The area has a large Hispanic population and while he was seeing no shortage of obstetric patients, he wanted to attract more surgical cases, including hysterectomies and surgeries for incontinence and endometriosis. Dr. Aun had never done any marketing in the past, and was seeing few referrals from primary care practitioners. His practice was heavily weighted with Medicaid patients.
Dr. Aun and his wife Alma engaged Practice Builders in Summer 2008 to develop and implement a multi-faceted marketing plan. The goals were:
- To increase patient volume by 10-15% with both new and existing patients
- To increase the number of surgical cases
- To create a more favorable payor mix
Elements of the campaign that helped deliver on Dr. Aun’s goals included:
Promotional Practice Brochure
PostcardA full-color tri-panel brochure that details all the services available and conditions treated in Dr. Aun’s practice, this piece became a cornerstone in both cross-selling services to existing patients and attracting new ones.
Presentation Folders and Resume
PostcardThe presentation folders included stepped inserts that each addressed a common gynecologic condition that could lead to procedures Dr. Aun wanted to grow within his practice. Combined with the Practice Brochure and a matching professional resume, these became powerful “pass-along” materials that help grow word of mouth referrals and attract new patients.
PostcardFull-color posters were hung in each treatment room. Each one touched on a common gynecologic condition that could lead to procedures Dr. Aun wanted to increase. They included incontinence, problem periods, and more. Dr. Aun notes that these motivated patients to bring up existing conditions which patients thought they had to just accept, increasing self-referrals.
Dr. Aun previously had no web presence. Patients have been extremely impressed with the website Practice Builders created for the practice. It helps generate additional referrals by establishing a 24/7 web presence, and includes interactive forms and the capability to make appointments.
Physician Practice Representative
Dr. Aun designated one staff member to visit potential refer source practices. Visits were made on a regular basis to primary care physician offices to create awareness of Dr. Aun’s clinical abilities and build relationships with front offices. This has been a key strategy for increasing referrals from other physicians.
Practice Builders conducted training sessions to instill a marketing mentality within Dr. Aun’s staff. This included tracking referrals, cross-selling services, following up on missed or cancelled appointments and other critical functions that establish and maintain a rapport with patients.
Within one year, Dr. Aun has seen a 50% increase in the number of referrals coming from primary care practitioners. His schedule is full and he has seen a 30% increase in surgical cases. In addition, he has seen a 20% increase in private pay patients and a corresponding decrease in Medicaid patients.
Dermatologist Bonnie Furner had been in practice in San Antonio, TX for many years when she decided to stop accepting all insurances except Medicare. Although her schedule was booked out a few days in advance, Medicare was becoming an ever-larger percentage of the business. It had grown from 10% to 25% in the past two years and that trend was likely to continue unless Dr. Furner created more demand from cash patients. Dr. Furner also wanted to generate more revenue by growing the cosmetic side of her practice.
With over 10,000 patient charts, a loyal patient base and an excellent reputation as a clinician, Dr. Furner should have been busier. But few referrals were coming from other physicians because she did not accept insurance. Practice Builders recommended a strategy that focused on branding Dr. Furner as the clinician of choice for “beautiful skin” procedures, generating word of mouth referrals, and reactivation of former patients. Because 80% of Dr. Furner’s patients had private insurance but would have to pay cash upfront and most likely higher deductibles if they were reimbursed, marketing focused on the highly affluent patient willing to pay a premium for an elite physician and an exclusive in-office experience. Cross-selling new services to existing patients was an important strategy for building the cosmetic surgery side of the practice.
Elements of the campaign included:
Promotional Practice Brochure
PostcardA full-color tri-panel brochure that details all the services available in the practice, this piece became a cornerstone in both cross-selling services to existing patients and attracting new patients.
PostcardSent to former or inactive patients, the reactivation package included a letter from Dr. Furner, the practice brochure and a special call to action with a time-sensitive offer. It also included an incentive to share the materials with a friend.
Message on hold
Callers to the office heard on-hold messages that described the cosmetic procedures performed in the office and the results that could be achieved as part of the boutique experience.
Postcard Full-color posters gave a visual of the results that could be achieved from those targeted cosmetic procedures that Dr. Furner wanted to grow in her practice.
Underscored the importance of delivering a high-end experience, enhancing the perceived value of every visit. Cross-selling was also an important concept for staff.
Through application of the above strategies, Dr. Furner doubled her revenue on the cash-pay side of her practice. And although cosmetic procedures are only 25 percent of the services she performs, they account for 50% of her income. Word of mouth referrals generate 90% of her new patients. She notes that her practice is as busy as she wants it to be, in a highly competitive marketplace.
Dr. Furner has been so pleased with her results, she is once again turning to Practice Builders to assist her with building her website. Her primary goal is to establish a web presence that maximizes exposure for her boutique practice and grows it to the point where she takes on a partner.