This is a precarious position occupied by many physical therapy practices, hospice providers, home health agencies, and other referral-based healthcare providers. Trying to expand your referral base is a catch 22. Marketing to existing referral sources costs much less per referral and protects referral source loyalty. If you aren’t staying in touch with your active referral sources, you can bet one of your competitors is. Marketing to prospective referral sources, on the other hand, has a high non-responder rate and lowers your return on investment in the short-term.

The answer to this conundrum is balance and a diversified marketing mix. Your most expensive and strongest marketing impression is when you pay a very professional person to visit a referral source. Therefore, you want to focus most of that expense where it will get you the most return: on your loyal referral sources. Then focus some of that expense on hot prospects, while trying to avoid forcing your community liaison into cold-prospect situations.

The process of warming up a prospective referral source requires repeated, reputation-building impressions. The lowest cost impressions you can make on local referral sources come from physician newsletters (developed specifically for your practice and for consumption by doctors) and Facebook Referral Source Marketing. Use these strategies to warm up prospective referral sources so a cold call is never truly cold, but recognize that winning the curiosity or trust of a doctor takes time and consistency. Physician newsletters sent by postal mail cost a small fraction of sending a sales rep/community liaison. The cost savings are especially evident when you consider the cost per impression. Fortunately, loyal referral sources tend to dramatically increase referrals in response to the physician newsletters developed properly. Physician newsletters can independently produce a strong return on investment through active referral sources while also warming up prospective referral sources for future conversion. This way, you can grow your practice now and for the future, while supporting your community liaison and increasing your return on investment from the community liaison.