While online marketing may be shiny and glamorous, word of mouth marketing is the bedrock of any successful cash-based practice. But it doesn’t always ‘just happen organically’ and there are many ways to maximize these types of referrals for your private practice. In this video, Jarod shares the most successful methods he uses at Carter Physiotherapy to get high-converting reviews and word-of-mouth referrals from his patients.
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Word of mouth marketing
What is word of mouth marketing? Simply put, it is when unpaid, satisfied customers bring you new potential customers. Word of mouth marketing is what we are trying to establish when we ask patients for reviews and referrals.
But even the happiest, healthiest patients are unlikely to write you a review or give you referrals without some prompting. Unless they are part of the Yelp Elite or a high-level “local guide” on Google, writing reviews just doesn’t cross their mind. This is where skilled word of mouth marketing kicks in.
- First and foremost, the #1 easiest thing you can do to get more patient referrals and reviews is TO ASK. Many physical therapists do this right at discharge, but the best PTs weave this into their conversations throughout the plan of care.
2. One quick tip is to get them talking about their family, their friends, and their life! Do their kids play sports? Does anyone on the team have an injury that could use PT? Do their parents have limited mobility and could benefit from PT? Talking about their life not only builds great rapport with your patients, but it also gives you opportunities to ask for a specific referral.
3. When doing this, you can also casually mention other body parts you treat. Someone who has seen you four times for their hurt knee might not correlate you as someone who could fix their friend’s sore neck.
4. In my practice, everyone including the front office staff is required to ask at least two people for reviews per week and write the patient’s name down on our whiteboard. You could adjust this number for how intensely you want to pursue reviews, especially in the beginning if you do not have enough to establish credibility. If someone says yes to writing a review, we record that also and follow-up the next time we see them.
5. Another excellent way to ask for referrals and reviews is to automate the ask through on-boarding emails. In addition to being a second ask to many patients, this also serves as a safeguard if you forget during your appointment.
6. There is also a skill in getting good reviews once patients agree to write one. A good review tells the whole story, from injury to health. Don’t be afraid to ask your patients to start from the beginning. How long did they wait to get treatment? Did they try anything else before your PT? The backstory is what the people reading the reviews will resonate with -the agonizing decision of where to go for help.
7. Finally, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to write a review. One easy suggestion is to copy the URL from the Google review or Yelp review pop-up. It saves your patients time and makes it easy for those who have never written a review before.