Many people initially turn to their trusted primary care physician when they have a mental health concern. It’s natural for them to seek help from the doctor they already know and trust. These inquiries put physicians in a unique position to help you grow your counseling practice. One way of attracting more referrals is to write a marketing letter to physicians.
What a Marketing Letter to Physicians Accomplishes
Physicians are a valuable source for new patients because they can prescribe medication, but they can’t offer therapy. Therefore, if you establish yourself as a trusted mental health resource with a specific medical practice, the doctors will send you patients. But to establish this trust, the doctors first have to know about you and your practice.
A marketing letter to physicians helps you introduce yourself and your practice. It also provides an opportunity for you to tell the doctors more about what you do and the patients you serve.
When writing your marketing letter to physicians, consider:
- Strong Writing. Physicians are busy. They don’t have time to read through a long, complicated letter. On the other hand a letter is more persuasive and personal than a pre-printed brochure, which is likely to end up in the trash. Just remember to keep your letter short and well written.
- Avoid Jargon. Yes, a physician likely could understand the more technical aspects of your counseling practice, but they shouldn’t have to. Be clear about precisely who you are and what you’re offering. Avoid industry or insider terms that may look like you’re trying to show how smart you are instead of being helpful.
- Contact Wisely. Tell the physician why you’re contacting them. You should make contact because you know their patients and your potential patients are the same people. Do your research. You shouldn’t send a letter to a pediatrician if you specialize in veterans’ mental health care.
- Be Specific. There are a lot of counselors out there with excellent credentials. Don’t just write about who you are. Write about the benefits of your practice, exactly who you work with, and how you serve them.
- Offer to Meet. Physicians may want to meet or talk with you further before they recommend you. Offer to have a call or meet them at their office to discuss your practice more. Be sure to have your pitch memorized for that discussion.
- Follow Through. Be sure to follow through with every contact from a physician. It’s not helpful to send physicians letters if you don’t respond to their inquiries quickly and begin building your relationship.
Benefits of Physician and Counselor Collaboration
Physicians do more than recommend patients for counselors. Physicians and counselors who have strong relationships work together on behalf of the patient, giving them better, more well-rounded care.
Some of the benefits of physician and counselor collaboration include:
- Improved Patient Care. A physician sees a patient for an average of eight minutes per appointment. Counselors see their patients for an average of 45 minutes. They also see them on a regular, more frequent schedule. This face time means that counselors gather a lot more information from patients than physicians typically do. Counselors can provide insights to physicians about medication changes, patient symptoms, or any other clinical concerns.
- Training Opportunities. A partner counselor can provide mental health training and continued education for physicians and their staff. This training might include helping patients cope with terminal illnesses or delivering difficult medical news in the most sensitive way.
- Financial Benefits. While patient care is your primary concern, medical practices can earn revenue from these partnerships under the Affordable Care Act. Medical groups can receive bonuses from insurers for meeting patient goals like lower hospital readmissions and reduced emergency room use. Counselors can help physicians reach these goals by assisting patients in establishing better habits and providing mental health treatment while physicians manage patients’ physical health concerns.
Marketing letters to physicians are just one tool you can use to help grow your counseling practice. The letters help you establish strong professional connections with physicians who serve the same people you do, ultimately benefiting patients.