The Power of Local Partnerships
10th April 2017
With the mushrooming of Allied health private practices, both parents and referrers have more choices when it comes to selecting local providers. More local therapy businesses means referrers being inundated with promotional material, coffee invites, mail outs, flyers, special offers and the like. Word of mouth is gold in our industry and most of our referrers know us personally. Therefore, a strong feature of our marketing plan is to build genuine local partnerships.
First, identify your current and future partners. Your partners are all the people who know your current and future clients. Grab a pen and start mind mapping; you should come up with at least twenty people. Next, build a spreadsheet with their names and contacts, alternatively load them into your practice manage system with tags for identification, reporting and messaging. These are the people who need to know what you do and why you do it.
Here are some ideas for kick starting the process of making you and your business stand out locally.
Be generous. Gift them a relevant book, ideally a book on a shared topic or one related to the services your provide. Shout the doctors toys for their office, or perhaps a monthly fruit basket. We all know they really want lollies, so go bold and drop them a branded lolly jar and keep up a steady supply of treats.
Extend an invitation. Invite them to a local event such as a NDIA talk, parent presentation, or to a local interest group on a mutually engaging topic, better still, host an Allied health discussion group once per term at your rooms.
Sponsor local events. Here are some true examples: a speech pathologist sponsoring a school’s story writing competition, an OT sponsoring a toyshops Lego building competition, a physio donating a prize of running shoes to Little Athletics. Neat and niche.
Go the extra mile. Provide doctors, referring educators, and Allied health colleagues with super useful reports, letters, emails and phone calls. Free student screenings may be gratefully accepted. Thank them for their referrals personally and with a charity donation, Business for Good is ideal for this, check out B1G1.com
Donate your time and expertise. Offer to speak to groups of all sizes and varieties. Provide a practical handout that is beautiful and branded.
Get out more. Make those calls to colleagues and arrange catch-ups. Attend local pre /school events, fetes, prep information nights, lunch, and learn withGP’s and Paediatricians. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation with follow-up promotional materials.
The purpose of marketing is to build strong and positive memories of what you do, why you do it and what makes you different from all the others. Trust is huge in our industry. By making your business messaging personal and specific to the partnership, you are much more likely to forge effective professional relationships.
“Trust, it turns out, is not an event. You can’t go from anonymity to a trusted brand in a day. Instead it’s a step by step process that requires time and money and commitment.” – Seth Godin
This article featured in the February Edition of Paeds Biz.