Word of mouth is not a marketing strategy.
I call it hope marketing and it works like this: You get one patient, you treat them well, and you hope they tell their friends and family. And then you hope their friends and family come to see you. And then you hope they tell their friends and family. And so on.
Word of mouth is not the only form of hope marketing though.
At my clinic, we made agreements with patient facilitators to bring patients for a commission.
Everything was great at first.
We got new patients, they got their commissions. But as soon as their lists began to run dry or another clinic offered them better commissions, patients stopped coming. And we found ourselves with an empty calendar, no leads, no website traffic, and no idea where to begin.
The mistake was not getting them involved. The mistake was abandoning our marketing hoping others would do it for us.
Instead of relying on external factors –which you can’t control or influence–, take ownership of your marketing efforts.
If I could go back to 2013, I would still work with the facilitators, but at the same time I’d double down on our own marketing efforts.
It’s great if you’re getting referrals from your patients, from your colleagues, or from anyone else. But instead of seeing those referrals as your bread-and-butter, think of them as the jam on top. Great to have, it makes toast better, but you can still have breakfast without it!
“There are two things you never outsource or delegate in your business: the checkbooks and your marketing.”–Darren Hardy