This week on the DrMarketingTips podcast, Jennifer sits down with Bevens Goodman, nurse practitioner and business development manager at Array Skin Therapy in southern California, to share how the phototherapy practice built an extensive face to face, dermatology provider referral network that helped propel the practice to new heights.

Ms. Goodman breaks down how Array Skin Therapy grew from ground zero in 2011 to five locations throughout southern California with over thirty employees. She also discusses how Array has used hiring, onboarding, employee engagement, and social media to drive success.

Tune in to discover:

  • How to build a provider referral network from the ground up
  • Ways to build and maintain trust with providers after referrals are made
  • Non-referral based marketing strategies you can employ to get more patients through the front door
  • How to create an internal culture of compassion to reinforce the overall patient experience
  • The importance of empowering and investing in your employees to deliver optimal customer service

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Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2019 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

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Get Your Free 2019 Marketing Strategy Template & How-to Guide

Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2019 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

Download Now

Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Doctor Marketing tips, paging Doctor Marketing tips. Doctor Marketing tips, you’re needed in the marketing department.

Announcer: Welcome to the Doctor Marketing Tips podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes, and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Jennifer: Hey there, welcome to the Doctor Marketing Tips podcast, I am Jennifer, and I am your host today. Today, I’m joined by miss Bevins Goodman, and Bevins is with a practice out in sunny California, Array Skin Therapy. Now before I get started, let me give you just a little bit of the gist of what we are talking about today here on the Doctor Marketing Tips program, and that’s referral patterns, and setting up a good old fashioned, face to face referral program between Array Skin Therapy and the practices that they’ve worked with. They’ve been around now, almost a decade, and really when this practice got its start, they were looking at ways that they could create a referral network, and the best way to go about doing that was some boots on the ground, and so Bevins shares with us some of her inside tips for building that referral network that has led them to a steady stream of patients, and has really allowed them to take their practice from a start, to now multi locations, and now right at 30 employees.

Jennifer: And then a little bit later in the episode, Bevins gives us some insight onto the employee engagement program that they have going on at Array Skin Therapy, and their hiring process, and how the hiring process that they have put into place has led to hiring compassionate, empathetic team members who are really focused on delivering a quality experience.

Jennifer: And so between the really boots on the ground referral program, and the culture that they have created through a vary robust hiring process, has really helped Array Skin Therapy be successful in all that they’re doing, and I think it’s been a really good conversations, and I appreciate Bevins taking the time with us here today on the Doctor Marketing Tips podcast.

Jennifer: So Bevins, if you would, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about the practice, and your role at the practice, and let’s go ahead and get started.

Bevins Goodman: My name is Bevins Goodman. Let me think back here. How many years in business? I work in a clinic called Array Skin Therapy. We have been in business since 2011. We have about 30 employees. We have five locations throughout southern California. We have six providers, six nurse practitioners, we have two medical directors who are board certified dermatologists, but they are not onsite, so it’s really just the six nurse practitioners that we have.

Bevins Goodman: We see patients with inflammatory skin disorders, so psoriasis, excema, vitiligo, and other types of autoimmune skin disorders. And we treat them with narrow band UVB.

Jennifer: So tell us a little bit about your role at the office.

Bevins Goodman: I am a nurse practitioner. One of the six nurse practitioners here at Array Skin Therapy. I see patients for new patient consultations, as well as follow up visits. But my other role within this clinic is clinical and business development manager, so I’ve sort of taken initiative to start the building of the practice through social media, and web development, and Google reviews.

Bevins Goodman: So that’s kind of a new initiative for us, but the role has been really fun for me, because I’ve gotten to learn a new side, verus be just clinical, seeing patients type role that I’ve been in as a nurse practitioner.

Bevins Goodman: Back when we first started in 2011, no dermatologists really knew us or trusted us, so how we built it was essentially just knocking on doors, going to different dermatologists, in introducing us. Our founder, Kristen Miller, was a huge part of that, and the fact that she is actually also a nurse practitioner, so having the clinical insight that she had really made her a valuable asset in getting the word out, because doctors, you know, knew what a nurse practitioner was, they trusted their clinical insight. So knowing that their patients would be well taken care of at a clinic who understands phototherapy, and the benefits that it can offer their patients was really huge in building trust with referring providers.

Jennifer: So do you physically go out and literally you guys were the ones knocking on the doors?

Bevins Goodman: Yes, that’s exactly what happened, yeah. Just going door to door, introducing ourselves to different people, and dermatologists around town, to get the word out. That was primarily how we have grown, it’s only been recently that we’ve started to look at getting the word out through direct to consumer marketing. It’s all been dermatology provider referred, up to about couple, maybe six months, a year ago.

Jennifer: So go back to this whole referral marketing effort. When you went to a practice, were you able to, because you were a provider yourself, able to see the doctor? Or did you guys have to go past the gatekeeper, then how did you go about building that relationship? Was it a one time visit? Or was it like an ongoing nurturing of the relationship?

Bevins Goodman: Definitely an ongoing nurturing of the relationship. I mean, we did have better luck because we had a nurse practitioner out in the field, so we were able to get to the referring providers quicker. But often times they were shut down, and unable to speak with the dermatologist that day, so in those instances, it just took persistence, and following up with letters and phone calls and sending over brochures, and paperwork, and things like that.

Bevins Goodman: But, for the most part, people were able to build trust because if they were sending … if they decided that they wanted to send a patient over to us, we would follow up with letters back to them, saying, “Thank you so much for the referral, we are going to be treating this patient with this type of therapy. We will follow up again in four to six weeks,” and giving them updates every so often, so that they trusted us and they knew that we were not trying to steal the patient, we only wanted to provide that one service for them. And we were doing it really, really well. Patients were coming back, reporting how happy they were with us, how supported they felt with us, and you know, the great care that they were receiving while they were here with us.

Bevins Goodman: So having the patients give us those good reviews was a huge part of how we were able to grow our practice.

Jennifer: How long did it take you from a referral relationship standpoint, how long did it take you from the time that you guys started to where you were really rocking and rolling and having a steady stream of patients, based off of those visits?

Bevins Goodman: A couple years. I mean, we knew we had a good relationship with one referring provider, and she was a really early adopter, and was very passionate about phototherapy from the beginning. And she’s a very well known and resected dermatologist in the Orange County area. So having her onboard was huge for us, and once we were able to kind of build that relationship with other providers, that’s when we started to really take off and open more locations. But it did take a year or two before we had a very steady stream. And people sort of recognizing the benefit that they would have by sending their patients to us.

Jennifer: So strategically speaking, when you … you know, there’s only so many hours in a day, and you guys are busy, you’re seeing patients, and you’re going out there to build the referral business. How did you track … what kind of system or process did you have in place to track those visits? And then really track who are the valuable referral partners to build, versus ones that maybe weren’t paying off in the long run, how did you go through that?

Bevins Goodman: So, we have a power … not a PowerPoint, but an Excel spreadsheet where we essentially have all of our referring providers on it, and we do have … we did use a system in the past to track leads. But essentially, they didn’t know at the time, like who would be worth it and who wouldn’t be worth it, so they kind of gave everybody the same sort of attention and opportunity in developing those relationships, and then sort of nurtured the ones that were responsive. So we have really worked to continue our good communication with the providers who do trust us with their patients.

Bevins Goodman: But nowadays, we do a lot of environmental scanning to see who are the new referring providers in town, who are the new dermatologists, and what practices do we need to establish better relationships with? And we’re looking to do that with sort of lunch and learn activities, and good correspondence, whether it be through mailing of brochures, or going out and meeting the providers face to face.

Jennifer: So how often now do you go out there and meet with the providers face to face?

Bevins Goodman: Well, we have gone through a bunch of different sort of strategies over the years. We have had physician liaisons in the field before. It hasn’t proved to be super effective, so we’re re strategizing that right now. Currently, we do not go out and do those face to face things, because of our re strategizing that we’re doing. We did have the physician liaisons going out there, but there weren’t, like we’ve discussed before, weren’t able to really get past the gatekeeper, so they would just drop off more brochures, more referral forms, things like that, but we weren’t seeing any bump from that, when it came to a new provider.

Bevins Goodman: So we’re working to kind of figure out how we’re going to handle this moving forward. We’ve come up with a couple different categories to try to determine which practices will have the most benefit, in order to target. But it will be me and another nurse practitioner heading out into the field, setting up appointments to do a 15 minute presentation and having lunch with a practice.

Jennifer: Absolutely. And that’s where, I mean, that’s the difference maker right there. We talk to physicians all the time who they want to build their referral relationships, but they’re not willing to go out there and shake the hands and do it themselves. And if the provider goes out, you’ll get beyond the gatekeeper, and you’ll get into the back office, and you’ll be able to build that relationship. And you guys are personable, so once you’re in there, you’re able to build those relationships, and that’s where it’ll come from. It won’t come from … at least in my opinion, and my knowledge of it is, it won’t come from hiring a liaison. I mean, liaison would be good if you needed someone to go over there and schedule the lunches, or to build those relationships, you know, two or three times, but then, they’ve got to bring the provider in, in order to kind of close the sale.

Jennifer: And so it sounds like you guys are completely on the right track. Do you do anything … and I’m sorry I keep asking you about these referral relationships, but we don’t do a lot of episodes where we talk about this, but more and more, you know, successful practices seem to still lean into the building of referral relationships, and I work with a lot of doctors, specifically some of the younger ones that are joining practices, don’t necessarily … I don’t want to say they don’t believe in it, but sometimes there’s a lack of education that goes back to the physicians on how to really roll up their … pull up their socks and get out there, roll up their sleeves, and just hit the ground and make it happen, and a lot of people don’t do it anymore. So do you have something specific, like do you have in place, once a year you make sure you touch base with some of these providers, or do you include them on a holiday card list? Do you do a party at the end of the year? Anything like that?

Bevins Goodman: Mm-hmm (affirmative), that’s interesting, that’s exactly what we’re working on re strategizing right now. The physician liaison’s kind of like what you discussed before, is we … and I want to get back to your question, but I want to mention that I think we recognize that physician liaisons aren’t able to get the compassion across like we are, as providers. In our experience, we’ve seen it be more about the numbers versus, you know, the relationship building, and communicating the benefit of what they will receive here as a patient, and how much it will impact them based on how much happy their quality of life would be, with no more itching, and clearer skin, and improved confidence, and we’re really able to get that point across, versus it seeming sales-y. So I think that’s why it’s been much more beneficial to have a provider out in the field, versus a physician liaison.

Bevins Goodman: But back to your question, we are coming up with that right now. We do have a group of core providers who are advocates for our organization, and are big believers in phototherapy. And so they don’t require a lot of outreach, they are constant, they are consistent, they are reliable, so they don’t require us to check in on them a lot. And so we have come up with a system where we’re going to be doing mailers, maybe three times a year, and that’ll include referral paperwork in it, as well as more brochures, and a letter thanking them for their continued support. And yes, they definitely get a Christmas card once a year, and we … that’s kind of the system we have in place for the core group of providers.

Bevins Goodman: And then we have a different ranking system for the other people. We have tier one and tier two. And we’re still kind of working on what that is, but with our tier ones we want to … you know, those are people who we could see a big benefit of becoming closer partners with, so those are the type of people that we would want to offer to do a lunch and learn. Something that we feel strongly about is offering to have them come to our site and see what one of our clinics is like. Having them see the equipment, you know, see that it is clean and professional and that the staff are very well spoken and presentable has really been helpful in building those relationships as well.

Jennifer: And I think that translates nicely over to what you’re starting to do from a consumer side, because that education needs to be made from a consumer standpoint as much as it does from the referring physician. And from what it sounds like is you built the business in large part because the patients that you treated went back to their dermatologist and told them how happy they were with the results. So with that, can you share with us a little bit about some of the non-referral based marketing that you’ve been doing here in the last couple of months for the practice and what kind of results you’re starting to see?

Bevins Goodman: Yeah. Well, we typically, like you said, everything that we’ve built so far has pretty much been through word of mouth, but we are recognizing now that a lot of our patients … or not our patients, but potential patients, people who have these disease processes, they don’t typically … some of them don’t go to the doctor, so they don’t even have the opportunity to get a referral, because they think, “I’m sick of creams, I’m sick of stuff like that, I’m not going to go to a doctor because I don’t want someone to give me another cream.”

Bevins Goodman: So we recognize that instead of getting them to us through a dermatology, we have to find them and educate them that there is another option out there. And people go to the internet for everything, so when they’re typing in treatments for excema, or treatments for psoriasis, we want to be able to educate them that there is another option out there to them, and that it is effective and it is safe.

Bevins Goodman: So that is what we’re concentrating on now, is the direct to consumer and educating patients about phototherapy, because a lot of patients don’t know what it is, a lot of health care providers don’t know what it is, so that is our biggest challenge right now is getting the word out there about what phototherapy is, and how it can benefit people with these inflammatory skin disorders. So Google Ads has been a huge part of how we have gotten our referral from the internet so far. I’d say that’s the only place we’ve had referrals come in through the web, so far, is through Google Ads. We’re hoping to grow that with our new social media efforts. We’re also hoping to grow that through increasing our Yelp reviews, increasing our Google reviews.

Bevins Goodman: We have good reviews of the ones that we do have, but they’re very small, they’re very limited. We’re hoping to increase those reviews by being more proactive with getting those, with having an email go out to our patients and asking did they have a good experience here with us, and if they did, would they mind filling out this review?

Bevins Goodman: We know that it’s very difficult for patients to remember to go home and login to their computer, and figure out how to get to Yelp, but if they get an email, where it says, “Click here,” we’re hoping that we are able to increase substantial reviews that way.

Jennifer: And when you start doing that, I think you’ll be very pleased with the results, because the numbers are typically pretty strong, because there’s such an affinity between your healthcare providers and your willingness to leave a review. And it sounds as if your results are strong enough that there won’t be a lot of complaining that goes on with that, too, because we often, when we send out invitations for reviews, we get negatives as well as positives, but it gives us a chance to make some changes internally, not that that is something you guys will have to deal with, but it’s just something we deal with every single day, when we send out invitations.

Jennifer: Let me ask you this, Bevins, how many employees do you guys have across the practice?

Bevins Goodman: We have 30. About 30. That includes front desk as well as nurse practitioners and nursing staff and admin.

Jennifer: And then of those 30, what do you do to create your internal culture, or to reinforce the overall customer service experience? What are you doing internally with your employees?

Bevins Goodman: So the culture is really really really built on compassion. I would say that’s the first thing patients will report to us, is that they feel very well supported by the compassion in place. And I think the best way that we’ve been able to do that is through the hiring process. We feel very strongly that we only will make offers to people who are able to empathize with other patients, who get along really well in a team setting.

Bevins Goodman: So we’ve been really lucky to build an incredible team of people who get along not only really well with each other, but are very very compassionate and empathetic to our patients. So, we don’t have to typically worry about bad apples, or whatnot that way, because all the employees who come onboard here have gone through a very rigorous interview process, and have been able to express that they’re team players and are very passionate about helping people. So that is what the culture is really based on. The culture is also based on empowering of our employees here. Not only to do we do inflammatory skin disorders, we are passionate about the professional and personal growth of all the employees within Array. If people are interested in going back to school, we are very very supportive of that. We have a few different nurses here who are going back to get their Master’s Degree, and we hope that they will stay onboard with us as nurse practitioners in the future, and we’re able to grow and utilize them at a new clinic.

Bevins Goodman: So we have a culture based on empowering of our employees. People, we ask everyone to bring up their opinions, we have staff meetings where people throw out different ideas and get involved in many projects outside of their direct scope of work. So it’s a really incredible place to work, and our culture here is built on supporting one another, as well as our patients.

Jennifer: So it sounds like you have a great culture. Are you using the, kind of your employee’s stories and that culture that you’ve built into your marketing at this point?

Bevins Goodman: What do you mean by that?

Jennifer: I mean, especially when it comes to social media, if your patients are drawn to the empathy and compassion that your employees are offering, then why not use your employees and those positive stories between the patients and the employee in the marketing of the practice? Of a lot of the practices that we work with, if they’ve got an employee who’s made an impact, or has been there for a certain amount of time, or gets a really good like kudo from a patient, they’ll use that in the messaging that they’re putting out.

Jennifer: So for example, yes you can come to Array, and you can get compassionate care, or you know, you can have an alternative treatment that maybe your dermatologist didn’t offer you, and the results are fantastic, but also, you know, it’s something that maybe you didn’t come to the doctor before because you didn’t think there was another option, and you’re a little uncomfortable about walking in the door. Look at these compassionate, caring people that you’re going to interact with.

Jennifer: And so, just another opportunity for creating those raving fans, and you can work with an agency all you want, but your agency can’t be in your office to help you from a marketing standpoint, so you have to get those photos, and those little videos, and create that kind of connection, and then send it to the agency to put it up on your behalf.

Bevins Goodman: That’s a great idea.

Bevins Goodman: You know, we haven’t been doing that so far, but we really should, and I want to mention something, we have an employee here who is an all star employee, and we treat a sort of rare disease called cutaneous t-cell lymphoma, and our employee actually told our patient about a foundation that is devoted to patients with this cutaneous t-cell lymphoma, and the patient went to a conference that was put on by The Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Foundation, which is essentially about supporting other patients who have this. It’s where patients are able to go, and speak with other patients who have this rare disease, and it’s impacted her life so greatly. And she kept us up to date with how the foundation has grown and how the conferences have increased in size over the last couple years that this patient has been involved with this organization, and this past weekend, we actually went back and did a presentation for other patients with the cutaneous t-cell lymphoma, and we’ve gotten phone calls from people who saw those workshops about wanting to come in and schedule appointments.

Bevins Goodman: So it’s funny how that kind of happened, but it was all due to our nurse going above and beyond, and wanting to share a supportive resource with a patient who didn’t know anybody else who had this disease [inaudible 00:25:53] and I think that would be a really impactful story to share with the public, so thanks for that idea.

Jennifer: It absolutely would, and a quick video on a nice smartphone, of your nurse or the employee telling the audience that same story and explaining that those resources are available, would go a long way. And so the more that you can put your employees front and center, especially if patients are going to interact with those employees? The more you can do that, the better. And it doesn’t sound like you have a problem with turnover, or that you have a cultural problem, business ta lot of practices that we work with do, and so recognizing employees that have done a really good job, or recognizing anniversaries and birthdays and things like that help to communicate the culture that you’ve got, so that as you expand you’re able to attract the best of the best.

Jennifer: And so it kind of plays many parts. I mean more and more, we’re finding yeah, I mean, you can focus so much on attracting new patients, but if you can … that’s one side of marketing, that whole external side, and really taking advantage of the digital footprint to attract patients, but spending more time now with your employees, because your employees are your biggest fans and your biggest

Bevins Goodman: They really are, yeah.

Jennifer: They’re going to bring the folks in.

Bevins Goodman: Absolutely. Yeah. That’s a great idea. You know, I have been tossing around the thought of doing an employee highlight or something on our blog or website or social media, but it’s interesting, because our employees are so against this idea. They’re not really wanting to put themselves out there, so it takes me a little convincing and able to get our employees to want to take pictures, or do anything for online, which is so interesting in today’s age, because everyone seems to be wanting to put themselves online. But we have had a problem with that here.

Jennifer: I’m going to have [crosstalk 00:27:46]

Bevins Goodman: Modest employees.

Jennifer: I know. They’re modest until it comes to their own social media. I’m going to have Danielle send you a case study with a practice that we work with that went through a pretty rapid expansion, and because of that they got their offices, it went from like eight offices to 20 plus.

Bevins Goodman: Wow.

Jennifer: And they created this social media contest around the … each office was empowered to come up with their own social media theme for a particular day, and they did this big contest. The numbers that they [thaw 00:28:17] were through the roof. So I’m going to have Danielle send that to you.

Jennifer: And I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so if you could, from a marketing perspective alone, or from a let’s grow the practice, or here’s what’s working, are there one or two tips that you could leave for our listeners, that they could implement back at their practices?

Bevins Goodman: I would say what’s been really helpful for me in this position is knowing the patient. Knowing the patient population, knowing what it is that they struggle with on a daily basis, and what matters to them. For us it’s convenience, and it’s getting in and out quickly, and so kind of targeting all of our marketing towards that, it has been been super helpful. As well as the patient knowing that we’re going to be working closely with the referring provider, so that they feel we are a team with them, and that they are well taken care of.

Bevins Goodman: Those are things that I would say have been really helpful to us in our practices.

Jennifer: You know what I love about all this stuff that you’re talking about that works? Is not things that require lots of understanding of how marketing works, but it’s really, it goes back down to the basics, you build solid relationships, you find out what people need, and you address the need immediately. And it’s refreshing to hear that. I think that those are sometimes the soft skills that some of us forget about that.

Jennifer: So I just want to say thank you for joining us, and I’ll send you over that case study, and really, that’s about it. Thanks Bevin.

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