In order to build a busy personal injury practice, you don’t want to simply rely on attorneys to keep your practice busy. Any practice that relies too heavily on any one source places themselves in a very dangerous position. I’ve seen situations where busy law firms that had kept clinics full of patients suddenly closed their doors and the doctors were left scrambling. When it comes to new patient marketing, you want to have lots of “poles in the water”. What does this mean? If you go fishing, the more fishing poles you keep baited in the water, the more fish you’ll catch. In marketing, the more types of marketing activities you have the more new patients you’ll have. Chiropractic marketing consultant Ben Cummings says, “I can’t give you one way to get a 100 new patients, but I can give you 100 ways to get one new patient.”
One powerful internal strategy that I use in my practice is an Auto Accident Kit that you give to all of your patients, especially new patients. This can be as simple as an envelope that contains the auto accident checklist forms that you can get from Medical Arts Press. Or purchase a pen with your logo and information on it online. You can get little vinyl holders (they look like checkbook holders) that can be imprinted with your information to hold the forms. If you want to go a step further, there are accident kits that include a disposable camera, tape measure, flashlight, etc. Google “auto accident kit”, and check out sites like tradekey.com or alibaba.com for suppliers that can deliver these for around $3 each. Tell the patient that this goes in the glove box of their cars and it will help them remember what to do in the case of an accident. This is not heavy-handed marketing at all, and will be viewed by most patients as a genuine courtesy.
But why not ramp things up a bit and get someone else to pay for your marketing? I always like picking up new PI patients for FREE! As you’ll see on the back of the card, there are sponsorship slots. There’s one for your practice, a law firm, a body shop, and an imaging center. You can approach these businesses and explain the purpose of the kits, and ask if they’re interested in participating. Tell them that all you ask is that they kick in $1 per kit to help share the costs, and that since you bought the kits in bulk that’s why you’re able to offer such a low price. If they want any of the kits for their own use in their business, give them as many as they want. Remember, the goal of this strategy is to plant seeds for future referrals.
These kits are also excellent to use for trade shows, health fairs, community lectures, or any other event where you have the chance to pass out marketing material. You’ve never seen a trade show giveaway that attracts attention like this one! I’ve literally had people pulling their friends over by the arm saying, “You’ve got to get one of these little things!” Here’s the script to use when you hand them out:
“Would you like one of our free auto accident kits? This goes in your glove box, and tells you what to do in case of a car accident. We see a lot of car accident patients in our practice, and not one knew exactly what to do after a crash. This card tells you exactly what to do from A to Z, there’s a camera to take pictures of the car and the scene, even a flashlight. I hope you never have to use this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And now if you do get in an accident you know a good doctor who can help you out.”
At this point most people will just say thank you and leave, but you’ll find a certain percentage who will say, “My neighbor just got rear-ended last week, why don’t I give him one of your cards.” If this happens, you want to have your referral kits we discussed ready to hand out. Just be very casual about it, and you won’t come off as desperate or needy.
An excellent source of external auto accident referrals are body shops. Think about it—what is more logical for a co-marketing partner than a body shop. You have to answer the “what’s in it for me” question with them. One way to generate auto body referrals is to simply bring some donuts or cookies by with your logo on the box to introduce yourself. Leave some of your cards and take some of theirs, telling them you’d like a have a good shop to send patients who have been in a accident and need to have their car worked on.
You can take several more advanced steps with this strategy. You can offer to include information/coupons from the body shop into a “New Patient Kit” that goes to all new patients. Remember, they are a small business just like you. If you can help them grow, they will naturally reciprocate.
The keytag strategy is a guerilla marketing strategy with body shops that can be outrageously effective. You can find all kinds of places online that will print keytags for you (these are the things that you get from the gym or the grocery store that have a barcode on one side and a logo on the other that attach to your keychain). Leave these keytags with the body shop with the instructions to attach them to the keys of their customers who have been in an accident. When they give the keys back they simply say, “I’ve left the contact information for you of a good doctor who can help you if you have any pain or injuries from your accident.” That’s it!
Tell them that you’ll waive their “sponsorship fee” to be featured in your accident kits. This way they have a real incentive to pass out your keytags—you’re out there promoting their business as well. This is the theme you want to influence all co-marketing ventures you establish: what’s in it for them. If you can successfully answer that question, your marketing will become a breeze!
Dr. Jonathan Walker is the president of PI Marketing Elite, an A to Z system designed to help physicians ethically and honestly bring in more high-quality PI cases. He also practices full time in Ocala, FL, and has a well-rounded practice with a focus on providing objective diagnostic evidence of spinal ligament trauma. Dr. Walker may be reached directly at 732-PI-ELITE.