Your best marketing is already sitting in your office.

At the end of each year, OptiCall aggregates data from over a million phone calls to determine the latest trends in medical marketing. This year’s Medical Marketing Outlook provides a comprehensive look at what brings patients to practices as well as how you can use your marketing know-how to build your own patient base. Once again, the survey has found that referral marketing – also known as word of mouth – is the best way to market to your patients.

Word of mouth reigns supreme

According to the survey, word of mouth is by far the most powerful form of marketing. Referrals are the reason behind more than 50 percent of all booked appointments. This number has been increasing each year, suggesting that referral-based marketing will continue to grow in the years to come. In fact, it’s the ONLY form of marketing whose impact has reliably increased over time.

Internet-based marketing (including social media) came in a distant second place, making up around 24 percent of all booked appointments. Radio and television took third and fourth respectively, with radio advertisements resulting in 8.4 percent of all booked appointments and television advertisements leading to 4.67 percent of all booked appointments. Signage including billboards made up for 2.43 percent of patients, and insurance lead to 2.04 percent of patients.

Print, direct mail, and health fairs came in last place, resulting in 0.51, 0.46 and 0.43 percent of booked appointments respectively.

Why word of mouth?

What makes word of mouth such an effective marketing strategy?

“Consumers are overloaded with information every day, and as more companies and medical practices put more in to digital marketing efforts, the noise will just get louder,” said Opticall in an official press release. “Consumers are also becoming more skeptical of company messaging and putting greater trust in what their neighbor, friend, or relative has to say.”

If you want to increase your referral rate, OptiCall has several recommendations:

  • Maintain a strong OD referral network. In other words, keep in regular contact with optometrists who refer patients to your office. Make sure to thank them for each referral, host regular events, and otherwise stay in touch.
  • Focus on providing quality care. By providing your patients with compassionate, thoughtful care from start to finish, you’re more likely to leave a good impression. Patients who leave your practice feeling happy and cared for will be more likely to recommend the practice to their family and friends.
  • Concentrate on quality patient testimonials. Patient testimonials can be very helpful, but quality is more important than quantity — hundreds of quotes from anonymous patients mean very little, especially when compared to a strong physician network and happy patients who recommend your practice to their peers. Focus on gathering and highlighting those outstanding testimonials instead of worrying about how many you have on platforms like Facebook. 

In the end, word of mouth isn’t just important – it’s essential. Contact us today for more information on our comprehensive marketing solutions and how we can help you grow your practice. Sightpath Creative can help create interactions and energize a referral network to drive procedures, with ongoing practice development support on a variety of levels. Sightpath Creative would be glad to help assess, create and deploy messages for you all year long. Learn more about Sightpath Creative.