Targeted Marketing

September 1, 2006

I have been in practice for 16 years and will be bringing in a new doctor (or two) this summer. How does an established physician generate more patients for the practice? I lecture to other doctors and the community. I have been on radio and cable television shows. I have written articles for the local paper. I go to medical staff meetings, talk to doctors at lunch, play tennis with other docs. I send out letters to referring doctors after seeing their†patients.Despite all of these efforts, a competing group gets the bulk of the referrals at one of the hospitals. I would like to get some of that business. What should I do?

Question: I have been in practice for 16 years and will be bringing in a new doctor (or two) this summer. How does an established physician generate more patients for the practice? I lecture to other doctors and the community. I have been on radio and cable television shows. I have written articles for the local paper. I go to medical staff meetings, talk to doctors at lunch, play tennis with other docs. I send out letters to referring doctors after seeing their+patients.

Despite all of these efforts, a competing group gets the bulk of the referrals at one of the hospitals. I would like to get some of that business. What should I do?

Answer: Try getting a little more specific. Here are some ideas:

  • Market your new physicians. Hold an open house to introduce them to the community. Invite press, patients, your "high referrers," and people at the hospital who make referrals.
  • Court referring physicians who send only a few patients -- why not more? Court the hospital people -- what can you do that will make you indispensable to them and help you win some of their business? Schedule a business meeting with them to discuss how you can assist them. What are their needs? This is different from playing tennis or chatting in the waiting room.



  • Find a niche to distinguish yourself from others in your community. Is there a special clinical area of interest you have or a population you serve that others don't? Hepatitis C? Pediatrics? Busy executives needing timely service?



  • Make use of your office manager. She can meet with the staff members who set up referrals to find ways to better meet their needs.