The importance of an internal marketing plan

June 21, 2011

By Katherine Eitel

I’ve trained more than 100 practices and have never seen one that didn’t already have the resources to be successful. But practices usually don’t see it or believe it.

Your current patients are worth the effort of reactivating and “re-impressing.” New patients typically cost a practice $500 to $1,500 in acquisition costs. Once they’re in hygiene maintenance, you must continually regain their attention, loyalty, and decision to choose treatment. Every time you do, you generate referrals and treatment at a fraction of the cost.

The “internal” side of an annual marketing plan includes community involvement, image, and patient service distinctions. But it primarily revolves around communicating in such a way that patients generously and enthusiastically refer others, remain loyal in the face of competition, and accept recommended treatment at a high level. And statistics show … they do!

It’s not as hard as you might think to create this internal campaign, and given the right intention, energy, and attitude, it can also be a tremendous team-building catalyst. I’m talking about something more than a modest referral program and a smile at the front desk. Both are essential, but this strategic plan keeps your name in front of patients on a regular basis and wraps it in a message that sets you apart.

A classy social media campaign, innovative community/philanthropic projects, and rock-solid systems for communicating your offerings and points of difference to patients are important components. With financial concerns at an all-time high, this definitely includes good communication about your expanded financial offerings.

In my experience, all members of the team are willing to embrace these initiatives with amazing results and relatively low costs.

A recent study by the Academy of Dental CPAs (ADCPA) indicates that CareCredit patients are more loyal and more likely to accept recommended treatment. It’s a no-brainer to invest some time in expanding your internal marketing and increasing the number of CareCredit users in your practice. It’s truly where the gold is!