Emergency and specialty practices rely on referrals to survive. So how do practices—including primary care hospitals—get their names out there? They develop a game plan. Here’s what Robin Brogdon, MA, of BluePrints Veterinary Marketing Group had to say about promoting critical services in a Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Practice Association (VESPA) webcast.
The key to attracting and retaining referral sources is knowing your audience, or referral sources, according to a VESPA newsletter that summarized Brogdon’s main points. Odds are you have multiple referral sources. During her webcast, “Marketing Your Emergency Practice,” Brogdon noted three sources for emergency practices: primary care veterinarians, fellow specialists or crisis care professionals, and the community. So the first step to getting to know your audience is to create a list of your referral sources.
The second step is to reach out to these sources—make phone calls or schedule practice visits to introduce yourself and your services. Once you’ve made initial contact, you can begin feeling out your sources on what they’re looking for from you. If your practice already has some stable sources, go ahead and ask them too. For example, in her webcast, Brogdon recommends asking referring hospitals if there’s anything else they’d like your hospital to do for them. Or what they most appreciate about your practice.
Again, knowing who your audience is and what they want are your stepping stones to developing a successful marketing plan—for any practice. Once you know that you can work backwards and create a strategy to meet their needs.
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