Internal marketing will increase new patient referrals and set a practice apart from its competitors through building and maintaining relationships, brand awareness and a strong online presence. It is important to set up consistent internal marketing actions to regularly produce a strong flow of new patients each month. At your next team meeting, discuss the importance of internal marketing and how everyone is a part of the “marketing team."

I. Build Personal Relationships

  • Make every visit an experience the children and their parents want to tell all their friends about. People remember how you make them feel and like to share positive experiences. The best compliment an office can receive is a personal referral.

  • Host an annual patient appreciation event that shows gratitude towards existing families. This can be done at the office or off-site at an ice cream shop, local park, movie theatre or family entertainment center.

II. Establish a Marketing Team

  • Encourage a team approach to marketing by selecting multiple team members.

  • Designate a marketing team leader who will be responsible for delegating the various marketing duties and holding the marketing team accountable.

  • Choose team members who have the right skills and personality to assist with specific responsibilities.

III. Create a Referral Appreciation System

  • Make sure all referral sources are being tracked in dental software under the referred patient.

  • Create a system to thank parents who refer new patients. Write handwritten thank you notes which can include small gifts (Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon, local restaurants and frozen yogurt shops, etc.)

  • Check state regulations for gift giving guidelines, as some states have specific rules regarding what type, how much or if gifts can be given at all.

IV. Verbal Skills

  • Review verbal skills for phone calls with the front office team. A parent’s first impression of the practice will determine whether or not they keep their appointment. First impressions are lasting impressions.

  • Use the patients’ and parents’ names when speaking to them.

  • Encourage VIP’s (Very Important Parents) to tell their friends and family about the practice. Let them know the practice is always accepting new patients. Encourage VIP’s to write an online review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Health Grades, etc.

V. Create a Social Media Presence

  • Take time to review the website and all social media accounts to view them from a parent’s perspective. Parents research dental practices online before inquiring about a visit. Your website will give the parent a “first impression,” while any social media accounts will allow them to see reviews and give them a look into the practice, team and community involvement.

  • Getting existing patients involved in social media is a great way to create organic content on social media. In the office, encourage parents to post a photo of their child on their personal page and tag the practice page. All of their social media friends will see that their child had a fun and stress-free visit. This is organic marketing, not paid advertising.

  • Designate a team member to monitor and post on social media accounts 1-3 times per week; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Post fun and engaging content such as patient photos, theme days, team member birthdays and anniversaries, community event photos, and current contest giveaways.

Referrals from satisfied parents are a direct result of strong and consistent internal marketing actions and a family’s commitment to the practice is directly correlated to the confidence and trust they have in their dental care team.


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