Private practice for psychiatrists is more than just treating patients. Sure, you need to be truly good at your craft, but treating patients is only part of the equation. People need to know who you are. There are four larger principles that will help you market your practice.
1. Get a website. Consumer buying trends indicate now more than ever that people know what they want prior to making a purchase. With the use of computers and smart phones, your potential patients are online researching their options for services before they ever call you. Get in the game and become visible online.
2. Talk to PCPs. Statistics indicate that PCPs practice caseload can represent between 60%-80% of patients whose primary presenting symptom is depression or anxiety. That is a significant potential patient population for you to tap into. Call them, meet them for lunch, and send them information on your practice.
3. Follow up. Keep in mind that it is not all about you. If you are fortunate enough to get a referral from a practitioner you have networked with then let them know about it. Politely request that your patients sign a release of information so that you may communicate with the practitioner who referred them to you. By following up with a phone call, fax, or letter, you will let the person referring know that their patient did make their appointment and that you value their referral. Remember, this is their patient that they referred to you.
4. Advertise. Although most referrals are going to come from referring practitioners such as PCPs or therapists, not everyone finds a practitioner this way. Make sure that you can connect with potential patients who open the phone book. A small, simple, and inexpensive ad in your most popular phone book will allow access to patients who don’t have a PCP and are not in therapy. You might even find that the majority of these patients don’t have a PCP or therapist because they don’t have insurance, making them a great source of cash paying patients.
Following these marketing principles will provide you with the foundation you need to gain greater visibility in your community. Let people know who you are, make yourself easy to learn about, and follow up with those who send you patients and you will be on your way to becoming a well known practitioner.