Internal marketing is the most affordable marketing strategy possible for dentists, but it does take some work. This plan harnesses the power of word of mouth, as well as implementing a feedback program to grow your practice without external marketing costs associated with extensive print or digital advertising.
The ideal solution would be to balance both internal and external marketing for your dental practice, but the most important thing to remember is to make it work for you. Your ideal mix could be primarily internal with some external based on budget constraints, or it could be 50/50. All practices, though, should be utilizing these internal strategies!
Emphasize Patient Experience
Interpersonal relations should already be an emphasis in your practice, especially when focusing on comfort-based dental care. When every member of your team welcomes patients, is conversational, and engages with them throughout their visit, you can be confident in word-of-mouth marketing.
Happy patients share their experiences and are more likely to refer their friends and family to your practice. A referral is one of the most powerful marketing results you can find, and interpersonal relations within your practice can help increase them.
To launch internal marketing through improved patient experience focus on these areas:
- How the phone is answered
- How patients are greeted
- Creating a collaborative environment for patient education
- Onboarding new patients
- How the treatment team interacts with patients
Learn from Patients
Soliciting feedback is another essential piece of an internal marketing program for dental practices. If you aren’t getting feedback, how will you know what is working and what isn’t? This can be done informally while the patient is paying and making their next appointment, as an email followup, or, ideally, both.
Improving your dental practice requires data, which is why we recommend an email survey the day after their appointment. You’ll begin to see trends in what areas need improvement, and what your team is excelling in.
There will likely be a few outliers, but once you have enough data (roughly three months into this process) you’ll be able to take the feedback and implement changes throughout your practice.
New Patient Onboarding for Your Dental Practice
First impressions are important! Creating a new patient onboarding process can help you create patients for life. This includes how they’re greeted, how they fill out paperwork, and how the treatment team interacts with them for the first time.
This is particularly important for those with past negative experiences. Questions that include how long it’s been since they last visited the dentist can help clue your team into potential anxiety. (We recommend not asking direct questions.) Offer comfort-based amenities like noise-canceling headphones, music, and/or a blanket.
Another valuable way to improve patient experience for both you and your new patients is to include your forms on your website. This way, they can fill them out before they come in. This makes it more efficient for both parties and can relieve some of the unfamiliar experiences with a new dentist.
And lastly, don’t make your patients feel ashamed for their oral health. Whether it’s anxiety over past experiences, finances, or poor education, we want to empower patients, not make them feel ill-equipped. Proper phrasing and comfort-based care are key!
Internal marketing for dentists begins with a great patient experience and ends with using feedback to improve. The only cost is training time for your team and is time well spent. When paired with an external marketing strategy like digital and paid advertising, you can grow your practice and help more people achieve optimal oral health.