Build Your Practice through Word of Mouth Marketing

It’s the most cost-effective way to attract new patients.

The single most effective way to grow your practice and build a loyal patient following is to deliver an exceptional patient experience. Happy patients are your best referral sources. Studies indicate that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.

When it comes to attracting new patients, nothing beats a recommendation from a current patient. 

What is Word of Mouth Marketing?

Word of Mouth is a powerful and effective marketing channel in the highly competitive healthcare industry. Organic word of mouth occurs when a current patient recommends you and your practice to someone else. This is a FREE marketing channel; therefore, you should leverage it as much as possible. A happy patient will share their positive experiences both online and in person.

How can I leverage Word of Mouth Marketing to build my practice?

The beauty of organic word of mouth marketing is that it allows you to focus on what you can control – the patient experience. In a 2022 study in the Journal of Medicine and Life, the provider’s expertise and communication skills were noted as the most important factors leading to patients referring a provider. By focusing on being an empathic listener and effective communicator while treating the patient’s health issue, odds are your efforts will result in a happy patient. The more you can foster authentic, positive relationships with your patients; the faster your practice will grow.  

Once you have established a solid relationship with a patient, be honest and tell them how much you appreciate their business and that you welcome referrals. People enjoy sharing positive experiences and recommending their favorite providers to family and friends.

Word of Mouth Marketing in Action

Jenna and her family of five had just moved to town. Jenna needs to find healthcare providers for all her family’s needs – dental, orthodontist, primary care, mental health therapist, OBGYN, speech pathologist, etc. How does Jenna determine whom to see? She asks her sister, who lives in town, for recommendations. While waiting on the playground to pick up her children, she asks other moms for recommendations. Because finding new healthcare providers is such an important decision, people rely heavily on personal recommendations, then follow up by checking online reviews.

As a provider, you want to be at the top of the list of personal recommendations. Therefore, your current patients must know that you are actively building your practice and welcoming new patients. Be sure you and your staff let patients know you accept new patients.

Word of Mouth Marketing Best Practices

It takes time to get results from word of mouth marketing, much like building a practice where you are busy treating your ideal patients. When you have a happy patient, be proactive and ask them to leave you a review and refer friends to you. 

Other strategies to leverage word of mouth marketing include getting out into the community and actively spreading the word about your practice and your specialties. You can do this in several ways, including:

  • Offer free seminars on an area of your practice that you want to grow. For example, if you are a chiropractor and want to treat more high school athletes, offer to talk at the high school on injury prevention strategies. Generally, you want to give talks of interest to the community you wish to serve at a location where your ideal patients congregate (schools, gyms, churches, community forums, etc.)
  • Write articles for your local newspaper or other publications/blogs that your ideal patient reads. Often, these publications are always looking for fresh, free content. For example, if you are a speech pathologist who works with stroke victims, offer to write an article for the local paper or community organizations geared toward the elderly population.
  • Before and after you engage in community events, be sure to post about these events on your social media channels.

Want to learn more cost-effective ways to grow your practice exponentially?

Become a practiceGRO Insider, where we share exclusive content and free training that we don’t share anywhere else. Our mission is to educate healthcare providers on practice growth strategies to attract more of their ideal patients to their practice. If you found this article helpful, consider broadening your marketing knowledge by taking the practiceGRO Marketing 101 course.