We say all the time that good healthcare marketing requires more educational content, and less of the brag-and-boast “we have great experience, get good results, and care about you” brand-building. Our subscribers seem to understand the difference, but understanding it and executing it as a marketing strategy are two entirely different things.

The big institutions and most marketing consultants have a tough time looking past their logo and cute tag line long enough to provide consumers with anything of substance, and it is the small independent practitioner who can take full advantage of this.

Today Dr. Yoav Suprun shares another strategic marketing success story from the trenches built from good educational content. We hope you enjoy it, and for more ideas you can use immediately to market your practice, we invite you to our PT Referral Marketing Boot Camp series. See the webinar schedule here.

Thanks for reading, and thank you Dr Suprun.

David C Steinberg
The PT Referral Machine

Simple Strategy Helps Change Referral Patterns
By Dr. Yoav Suprun, DPT, Dip. MDT,CSCS

Tired of chasing doctors in your area for business? Four years ago, I decided something needed to change. Doctors must learn about MDT from their patients via word of mouth. Since opening my clinic in Miami Beach (www.sobespine.com), I chose to focus on marketing to patients and teach them about MDT.  Can you do this without spending money? Sure you can!

How do you get your patients to tell their doctor “ I want to see that McKenzie practitioner because I think my problem is mechanical”,  well, it starts with “Educational marketing”. Teach the possibilities of where aches and pains may come from and they will often want to know more. The language of MDT makes sense to people. They can relate to it because the majority of aches and pains have a mechanical component.

Coffee shops, a local gym, church sponsored events, farmers markets, bonus affairs for company employees are a great start. In my case, I chose a coffee shop 2 blocks from my office inside “Whole foods”. I posted a sign on their free corkboard titled: “The truth about lower back pain and Sciatica”. “You are invited to join a physical therapist for a free educational breakfast lecture. Learn about common causes and a method that teaches you SELF treatment for back pain and Sciatica”.

On a Friday morning, three people came to my first talk. We each had breakfast while sitting around my laptop. We were discussing mechanical LBP and sciatica. I had with me a PowerPoint presentation, 3 different spine models, a lumbar roll, Robin McKenzie’s “Treat your own back” book and Dr. Donelson’s book “Rapidly reversible lower back pain”.

The coffee shop is located just in front of the registers so people looked at us sitting around my laptop and 4 more joined the conversation. I handed my business cards to prospects and got office bookings and one home care. The following week I had 8 people waiting including the sister of a guy that came to my first talk. She came to see me for neck pain (“I have good and bad days. I saw a chiropractor which helped but it keeps coming back..”).

After resolving her problem in a couple of visits, she was so thankful that she called her physician who is also a friend as well as connected me to a local gym where she is a member. I treated her physician and as a result, I have now 2 doctors (his partner is on board as well) who refer to me although I never marketed directly to his office.  Also, I gave a talk to the trainers who started referring clients to me and see me as the “go to” person. I became the Gym’s “mechanic” as I am helping the trainers keep their clients from taking time off due to injury. Exercise program that is built on Mechanically determined directional preference (MDDP) has been proven in the literature to be appropriate (Long et al “Spine” 2004 Dec 1;29(23):2593-602.)

The breakfast talks continue to generate business. Last month I gave a talk to a forum of business women at a local bank that also wanted to know more about the true causes and self treatment options for lower back pains. Other enticing titles are “Pain in the neck?”, “Is your workout making you worse?”, and “Tips and tricks for healthy living”. When the curiosity of the listeners turns on and they start asking questions pertaining to their own problem, I always say, “I owe you a good and solid evaluation which we can’t obviously do here…”

Word of mouth works BEST. However, you must do what is right by the patient and not sell them the old and tired story of “You need to see me 3x a week for 4-6 weeks”.

Important tip – even if one person shows up, you never know how that person can boost your business. Keep pursuing education of the public and they will come. Search in your area for a good opportunity to give even once a month free talk and see what will happen to your business. I am sure you will be surprised.

Dr. Yoav Suprun is the owner of “SoBe Spine, PA” in Miami Beach (www.sobespine.com), He is the producer of Robin McKenzie’s new DVD “Treat your own back © 2012” (www.optp.com), a probationary faculty with the McKenzie Institute International (US branch), a McKenzie physical therapist at Canyon Ranch Hotel and Spa in Miami Beach (www.canyonranch.com), and an adjunct faculty in Florida International University (FIU) DPT program.

Questions or comments on the article above?  Post them on our blog here: PTRMblog.com “From The Trenches”.  We’d love to hear from you directly- email us at info@ptreferralmachine.com or call.