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Email marketing to referring physicians is a great way to stay connected.

Building and maintaining relationships with referring partners is a cornerstone to any specialty practice and email marketing is an excellent tool to help in this endeavor.

But what should your emails say? When should you send them? And how do you determine what’s working and what’s not?

Needless to say, setting up automated email funnels for various groups can be tricky. Today we are here to help you build your roadmap to email success.

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Writing emails to referring physicians to increase patient referrals

Since doctors are the ones referring patients to your practice, they need to be your focus. As a medical specialist, one of your most valuable relationships is with referring physicians. Whether you’re writing your emails in-house or you’re working with a marketing group to build your email campaigns, the first step is to categorize your relationships.


There are three groups of physicians to consider here.

  • Potential relationships: Doctors who have not referred anyone to you, but that you would like to build a relationship with. (Cold leads)
  • Previous relationships: Doctors who have referred patients in the past, but not within the last few months. (Warm leads)
  • Current relationships: Doctors that have recently referred patients. (Hot leads)

Each of these groups needs to have their own automation funnel, or email sequence, which we will go over next.

If you’re new to email funnels, this article will get you up to speed on the basics.

New Physicians: Using an office newsletter to build relationships

Email marketing to gain referrals from a provider that has never referred to your practice is the most difficult group to engage so it’s very important that you are selective with the content you include in your newsletters to these offices.

The most important question you can ask yourself here is:

How can I best provide value to the person I am reaching out to?

Here are some proven tactics to use:

  • Personalize each email by medical specialization. By targeting the physician’s specialty you can provide information that is specific and therefore most useful to that office.
  • Let them know you researched them. If you’re sending cold emails you don’t want people to think you’re emailing every doctor this side of the Mississippi, but that you chose to reach out to them for a reason (which should be the truth anyway). Tell the referring provider you’re courting exactly why you chose to reach out to them. These reasons could be:
    • Their location is close to your office
    • They are new to the area
    • Their specialty is often linked to your specialty
    • You have a relationship with one of their partners
  • Introduce your facility. Let them know who you are and why they may be interested in building a relationship with your practice. This is your chance to focus on your strengths.
  • Ask them a question. Give them an opportunity to tell you what they are looking for or what they are having trouble with. You can send out a survey asking things like:
    • What difficulties do you face when referring patients to another physician’s office?
    • What are the biggest factors you consider when choosing a specialist to refer patients to?


Important note: Always be respectful and courteous of their time. When marketing to physicians that you have not worked with previously, make it very clear that they can choose to stop receiving your emails at any time and make it easy for them to do so.

Winning back physicians who have referred patients to you previously

There could be a number of reasons that a physician who has previously referred patients to your practice is no longer doing so. Marketing to doctors in this category means striving to understand what caused them to stop referring and what you can do to make them interested in sending patients once more.

Here are some strategies to use when reaching out to this group:

  • Update them on what’s new with your office. If they haven’t talked to you in a while, they likely aren’t up to speed on any new equipment, software, and referring guidelines you may have. Letting them know what they missed could mean you’ve already resolved the thing that made them leave in the first place.
  • Remind them of your referral process. Sometimes reminding people of how easy it is to work with you makes a big difference.
  • Let them get to know your staff better. Did you hire a new office manager? Let people know who to contact to get in touch with you. Giving everyone the chance to learn who’s who on your team will help strengthen relationships with physicians. Putting faces to names also helps make your business memorable.

Maintaining relationships with physicians who are currently referring patients


Making sure you’re fostering strong relationships with currently referring physicians is vital. The content you send to this group is highly dependent on the nature of your current relationship. So, always be sure you’re only sending emails to these doctors if and when they are wanting to receive them. If you have determined that these providers are interested in getting emails from you, here are some tips:

  • Tell them something they don’t know. Do some research so they don’t have to. Maybe there is a new imaging technology that is being developed for their specialty or maybe there are some new findings on how to interpret the results of a scan. Find the information that is most valuable to show them you care about their interests.
  • Make every email personalized. Maybe you have a doctor that is interested in hearing about new medical technology, and another doctor that is interested in hearing about upcoming community events. Ask people not only if they are interested in getting your emails, but also, what they are interested in hearing about.
  • Learn how you can help them. It may be that there are ways you could help your referring providers out that you don’t know they need. So why not ask them? Finding out how you can best help people means you will understand what you can do to provide value to them.

Effective email marketing to referring physicians takes time

Maintaining mutually beneficial relationships doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take work. With these tactics, you can provide value through email marketing to your referring physicians, which in turn, will help you gain more patients and improve your reputation as a knowledgeable and trusted specialist. Every physician’s office is unique and research is an ongoing process. Measure your progress often to find what emails are best for your facility.