What effect would an additional 20 new vestibular patients a month have on your clinic? How about 50, 75, 100, or thinking big how about over 100? It is totally achievable. We have been there and we want to share our journey with you so you can have the same, if not better results in less time. In order to get there let’s review some marketing strategies for your vestibular therapy practice.
Part 1 of this series reviewed how we have grown from a start-up clinic with no patients to consistently seeing well over 100 new vestibular referrals a month. We also reviewed:
Developing niche marketing streams to use our clinical skills to address common problems that face the public, dizziness being one of them.
Improving our clinical skills to ensure good outcomes. If you missed the last blog we also provided access to an Understanding Dizziness Quiz. Completing the brief quiz provides insight into your understanding of dizziness, then provides direction regarding ongoing courses and resources (some are FREE) to level up your clinical skills and patient outcomes.
Improving our marketing skills. Some of us may not feel comfortable marketing ourselves as we do not want to come across salesy, but what we have found is that if we really believe that we have a solution to someone’s problem and that we are here to serve, it will not be salesy.
If you did not get through part 1 of this series, we encourage you to take a peak as there are links to some great resources.
Moving forward, in part 2 of this series we want to focus on educating our customers.
Who are our customers?
As a health care provider, depending on where we work we can have several customers, such as our patient, other care providers, employers, and insurance companies. In some situations there is a balancing act as we need to meet the need of more than one customer. An example of this would be seeing a patient on disability. In this case not only is the patient our customer, but the physician, and insurance company are our customers.
To keep things simple, in regards to vestibular therapy, our main customers are the general public and other health care providers. In this blog we will focus on health care providers which can include, but are not limited to:
- Family physicians.
- Emergency room physicians.
- Nurse practitioners.
- Naturopathic practitioners.
- Athletic therapists.
- And other physical therapists.
Part 3 of this series will focus on strategies to educate the general population about our vestibular therapy services.
It all comes down to relationships
Really it comes to relationship building with other care providers and building a brand they trust. We need to initiate that relationship and trust through:
Consistent and persistent marketing. With marketing North 49, we have actually moved away from promoting the services we provide and our level of expertise. We need to mix a bit of this in, but have found it golden to provide educational opportunities that are listed below.
Consistent positive outcomes. If we are not skilled and end up having poor outcomes, this is no good for anyone involved. We as health care providers need to educate ourselves and a weekend course is not enough.
Really, we need to show that we can “talk the talk & walk the walk”.
Tools for educating other care providers
Lunch & learns: For us we have done this two ways.
Lunch & learn at a local physicians or specialist’s office. Here we provide lunch and review a particular topic that the physicians were made aware of beforehand. A topic that has gone over well is reviewing bedside oculomotor tests to differentiate between peripheral, central, and non-vestibular disorders. We have found that if we just go in with lunch and no particular topic, more of a meet and greet, their attendance is not as good. This is likely due to the perceived value to them. The key is with well planned lunch & learns they learn something that will help them clinically and whenever they see someone who is dizzy they remember us as we took the time to help them. By taking the time to provide education we also become the “expert” in their mind.
If you have not done a lunch and learn, this is a must. Even with COVID-19 this can be set up where you have lunch dropped off at the physician’s office, then you meet them by Zoom. We learned this from some local pharmaceutical reps in Saskatoon.
Another strategy of using a lunch & learn is to foster relationships by simply having other local physiotherapists come to North 49 for lunch and an educational presentation. We have facilitated presentations on concussions, injections, hand injuries, women’s health, etc. Nothing to do with dizziness, but what happens is that during the luncheon therapists network and find out where they can send patients with particular problems. It has helped us figure out where to send patients who need treatment for women’s health. Not only that, but we see the referrals being reciprocated.
Advertising in professional journals:
As the cost of stamps continues to increase we have found putting a 1/2 page ad in a journal that goes out to all of the physicians in Saskatchewan a very cost effective marketing tool. For us these journals go out three times a year so our ad is in a glossy journal that is delivered to the home of every physician in our province. With our ads we try to address a pain point that they may have with their patients.
2-3 times a year we send a mail out. With mail outs we have evolved from listing our services to providing education to provide a solution for a problem they may see in their clinic. In the last mail out we reviewed Meniere’s Disease vs Vestibular Migraine: the history, examination findings and treatment principles.
That being said, we also send a letter to every new physician to our province that outlines our services. So, they get the letter with our list of services soon after their arrival, then get mail outs 2-3x/year, see our ads in the journals 3x/year, and get a nice Christmas card.
You may be thinking, Christmas cards? Yep, Christmas cards. They are great, festive reminders that we are there. We make sure to put some time and effort into our cards. We use a photo of our team to make it personal and look sharp. Our card has to stand out from the other cards they get. If you are still on the fence about cards, there are physicians who have collected our cards every year and have the entire set.
By doing these things consistently doors will open to:
- Speak at rounds.
- Speak or sponsor a journal club meeting.
- Present at medical conferences.
- Teach university classes.
Once you get your foot in the door doing these things your reputation and subsequent referrals will increase significantly.
Repetition is key
They say it takes someone seeing an ad 7-8 times before it registers. With that in mind we need to make sure that when they register who we are it is a positive thing. Always trying to add value by providing educational resources has helped us tremendously.
In addition to this, something worth dropping off at the office of the health care providers we listed above is patient education brochures. Most office have little cubbies for brochures and they might as well have yours there. We have made a patient education brochure for both balance & dizziness, but also concussions.
Get to know the front desk staff of your specialists, physicians, etc.
Bring them treats and useful swag on a regular, consistent basis.
Coming up we will review key steps we have taken to educate the general public regarding our vestibular therapy services. The things that worked and the ones that did not. We will also review X factor 1 and 2 that have been vital to our clinics growth.