How Dentists Can Measure the Success of Their Professional Referral Newsletter
It’s a common question among dentists: How do I know if my referral-generating newsletter is working?
The answer is simple. It’s working if it gets results. But understanding those results isn’t always easy. Read on for insight to help you better understand how to measure the success of a referral newsletter program—whether you currently use one or not.
You probably know which colleagues are referring patients this month, quarter and year, but it’s important to correlate that to your referral newsletter. Just how do you do that?
Ideally, you should measure your referrals before you implement a newsletter marketing program, to accurately gauge the impact of the newsletter. Then, once you start the program, look at changes in the professionals sending you patients, as well as the volume of patient flow from the existing referring professionals in your network.
Request reader feedback
Unless you ask for it, you probably won’t receive direct feedback from your readers. Tools can be used to gather reader feedback about the value your colleagues place on your newsletter. Methods of requesting feedback include the following:
- Conduct a brief reader survey.
- Send a personal letter or e-mail asking for candid feedback.
- Include a bounce-back postcard asking for feedback on articles and newsletter value.
Take a deep look at the quality of referrals. Perhaps you’re shifting your focus to a different type of patient, such as those with more complex needs. Or, perhaps your practice caters to a higher volume requiring less-intensive procedures. If your practice is obtaining more of the category of patients you are seeking, that’s a strong positive as you build the practice you want for your future.
Measure the right aspects. If you refocus your list to target higher-tier patients, you may actually note a decrease in total referrals but an increase in revenue from referrals. Or, you may note a decline in a particular procedure, but an increase in one that’s more profitable for your practice, based on your referral outreach. Be savvy in how you measure.
If your office properly records referrals and new patients, the data will tell the story. You will know which dentists provide the referrals with the highest dollar value; which procedures or services are most commonly referred; and trends in office visits.
Perception is paramount
Referral newsletters are designed to shape the way your colleagues see you. Receiving meaningful communications from your practice, on at least a quarterly basis, influences their decision to send you patients. These newsletters also increase the likelihood that your existing referring dentists will continue to send patients to you, as you build a strong brand for your practice.
Your impact can be difficult to measure. But consider this: How many competitors do you have in your area? Chances are, referring professionals have choices. Put the proper evaluation methods in place, and you’ll see the impact of your newsletter, even in a declining referral market. Contact us to learn more about how to measure the success of your referral newsletter.
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