Using Marketing to Increase Referrals for Home Care Agencies
Part Two: Finding the Right Home Health Marketer
I had several requests for more information on examples of what other agencies have done to successfully increase referrals. The logical first step on the road to increased referrals is finding the right person to lead the effort. So, I've got a great example of an approach one small start up agency took.
This particular agency became certified seven or eight years ago and spent the first year of their existence making sure everything operationally, and organizationally, was in order. They scored perfectly on their first state survey, which occurred approximately one year after their initial certification. Up to this point, they were content with their very small, and very manageable, agency. Now they had the confidence to grow.
The owners of this agency developed a very nice brochure, bought some logo pens, and decided upon an appropriate salary of $35K/year for their "community liaison". They then put the word out that they were looking for a marketing rep and the resumes' came in promptly. After visiting with several candidates, the co-owners of the agency (both clinicians) mutually agreed upon "Stacy" (this is a fictitious name, in order to protect the identity of this very nice lady).
Stacy was extremely nice and outgoing and everyone in town liked her. Over the course of the next six months, Stacy handed out more brochures and pens than anyone imagined a human could possibly do. Although the activity was there, the referrals didn't come. The owners knew they should fire her, but didn't because they knew Stacy was staying very busy......and she was really nice. Three months and no increase in referrals later, they let Stacy go.
I called the owners on an unrelated matter shortly after they let Stacy go and asked them if they were growing like they had hoped. I was given the story I just shared with you and recommended them to a marketing friend. He helped them grow their small patient census by a multiple of 5X in less than a year's time.....by simply helping them find a qualified marketing professional.
Here is his suggestion to them:
1. Create a list of the top referral sources in the area (physicians, social workers at hospitals, etc)
2. Create a contest to award the top healthcare sales professional in the area with recognition and a prize (free trip to Mexico..or something similar)
3. Call around to each of the top referral sources to inform them of the award and tell them they've been chosen to nominate three individuals in order of which ones they worked with the most frequently.
4. Put together a compensation package that would attract real healthcare marketing professionals ($35K base won't do it in this case)
5. Call the reps that were mentioned by multiple referral sources and invite them to interview for an opportunity marketing for your agency.
6. Make a hire.
7. Educate them on health care referral laws (anti-kickback, etc.) and turn them loose.
I know this is sneaky but following these steps, they found the most successful healthcare marketing professional in their area. I love this story!!
See Part one: Howdy Doody visits