Marketing to Physicians

In the past, assisted living facilities worked with a limited number of referral sources, such as hospital discharge planners and social workers. This focus has now expanded to include anyone who influences decisions about senior care. Clergy, estate planners, family members, and Meals on Wheels volunteers are just a few examples of referral sources that assisted living marketing is targeting. Though these nontraditional sources are important, the biggest influencers are still medical professionals, especially doctors. While a doctor’s referral isn’t necessary for a senior to become a resident, it can significantly influence a senior’s final decision. That’s why physicians are a much sought-after source of referrals for ALFs. Getting a doctor’s preference can lead to many referrals and residents. However, doctors are notoriously difficult for marketers to reach and persuade. They tend to be busy and critical of marketing attempts. Moreover, they often stick to sources that are unfriendly to advertisements, such as medical journals.

To overcome these obstacles, try these strategies that ALFs have used to garner referrals from physicians.

Use a powerful relationship database (CRM) to organize marketing efforts

Building relationships with physicians is key for winning their approval. Focusing on and tracking these relationships isn’t a simple task; it requires a complex database of detailed information. Besides personal information, ALFs should record a doctor’s interests and preferences, especially regarding ALFs. In addition to doctors, the database should include information about staff members in the practice who handle the referral process. Depending on the practice, these staff members could be as important as the doctor for determining the final referral.

Hire a physician liaison

Because of time constraints, doctors are unlikely to make the first step toward building a relationship. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to hire physician liaisons to create and maintain business relationships with doctors. Strategic and knowledgeable liaisons can get a doctor’s attention and put an ALF ahead of the competition.

Choose mediums that physicians actually use

Most doctors don’t use a desktop computer very often. Their job requires mobility, so they’re more likely to check a phone or tablet than log into a computer. Also, for the majority of physicians, this mobile device is typically an iPhone or iPad, not an Android product.

Successful ALFs make their digital marketing mobile-friendly, especially for iOS products. In addition, they put a lot of thought into making high-quality, content that stands out from competitors. Every ad, article, or email is crafted to catch a busy doctor’s attention, while also building credibility through well-researched content.

Ask physicians what they value most

Regularly asking doctors what they expect from ALFs can help guide a marketing strategy and lead to better results. Certain expectations are obvious, like, doctors wanting their patients to feel comfortable and receive top-notch medical care. Other values may be unexpected, though. A doctor may want to know how certain health conditions or medications are managed. By asking physicians what they value most, an ALF can build a solid strategy that takes these desires into account.

Create content that’s based on facts.

Physicians may have different priorities for ALFs, but they both share a desire for metrics. With their education and training, doctors are skeptical of claims that are not backed by evidence. Marketing that speaks to emotions without facts can do more harm than good.

Ultimately, doctors want to be assured that an ALF is committed and capable of managing their patients’ health. This reassurance requires more than beautiful pictures and persuasive language. It takes statistics, details, and research to communicate a level of responsibility that a doctor can trust.