Build Your Referral Network by Reaching out to Health Care Providers


When it comes to marketing your spa or massage practice, referrals have the highest return on investment (ROI). Not only do they require less cost-per-lead; they tend to be high quality leads. Beyond satisfied clients driving new business through your door, consider the potential of leads from physicians and other health care practitioners, including chiropractors, psychotherapists, occupational and physical therapists and acupuncturists. Since all of them are seeking the best care for their patients, a referral from one of them can be golden to your business and reputation.  

But building a referral network among physicians and other health care practitioners takes time.  Unlike your clients who meet with you on a regular basis, you need to proactively reach out to health care providers to let them know about your expertise and offerings for therapeutic massage as a complement to their treatments and services. And keep in mind, not every health care provider is the right person to affiliate with. You want professionals that share your values about client relationships and are well respected in the community.

One of the first things you’ll want to do before your start your outreach to health care providers is to develop an introductory packet that introduces you and your services. Explain what your clinical specialties are and the specific symptoms and conditions you focus on. Include your education, experience and training. If possible, include client testimonials.

Also make sure that your website is up to date with current information about your treatments, background and training for clients who come to your site based on the referral from their doctor or other health care practitioners. Optimize your site with the proper terms for the treatments you offer and conditions where you have special expertise. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you aren’t sure about the terms to use, there are firms and individuals who can help you determine what are the best terms to use and how to incorporate them into your web and social media copy. Nowadays, it also helps to include an online appointment capability on your site.

Develop an outreach plan

Start with your own practitioners: Your doctor and other health care professionals you see regularly should be at the top of your contact list. Even if they know you, they may not know about all of your services and the types of clients you help. Educate them about what you do.

Create a target list: Ask your clients, friends and family members about their doctors and other health care providers and if they would be comfortable if you contacted them using their name as a referral. Business partners can be a source of leads, too. Joining LinkedIn groups also can be a way to identify potential contacts. Look for groups to join that will enable you to interact with health care professionals that would be appropriate for referring patients.

Have a contact plan: Your plan for contacting your targets can vary. In some cases, you may want to call the office and see if you can arrange a time to come in and discuss your services. You also can email or mail your outreach packet beforehand and then follow up to see if you can schedule a meeting.

Share your expertise: If you are giving a talk somewhere and the information is relevant to physicians or other health care professionals that you’d like to reach, send them an invite. Similarly, if they are speaking somewhere that you hear about, attend the lecture and introduce yourself. Also, if you have a blog or are a guest blogger on someone’s site and are speaking about a condition you think will be relevant to medical professionals, send them an email with a link to the post.

Getting referrals from doctors and others in the health care field will take some effort. But the referrals will help build your practice as well as raise awareness about the value of therapeutic massage as complementary medicine.

Business & marketingMassage therapySpa therapy