Dr. Bobbi Stanley discusses three ways to maximize your internal marketing
Give them a sign
As a general practitioner, we provide comprehensive dental care to our patients. Our services include general dentistry, hygiene, and pediatric dentistry but can also include advanced services like orthodontics, periodontal grafting, oral surgery, or dental implants. It is imperative that we inform our patients of the services that we provide, or they may assume we offer only basic services as a general dental practice.
Many patients visit our office for a specific procedure because their dentist “does not offer that service.” We assume that our patients visit our website and research us on a regular basis. Or we may assume that if the patient needs or wants the treatment, they will ask for it. This is often not the case. Are your patients seeing another dentist for a service you provide?
Several years ago, I spoke with a longtime patient at her 6-month hygiene appointment. She informed me of her recent bridge removal and implant placement at a nearby dental office. When I inquired why she did not allow us to place the implant for her, she looked surprised and said, “I didn’t know that you placed dental implants!” It only takes one of these conversations with a patient to realize that you are not fully utilizing your internal marketing, and immediate action is required.
The solution was to put our offerings in writing, and we implemented “stations of the cross” for dentistry. Dentistry consists of many disciplines, and it is important that our patients know which of these services we provide. We established stations on the walls around our office to inform and educate our patients. These strategically placed signs are tasteful and cannot be missed.
Each station has a large sign that is perpendicular to the wall, so when they look down the hallway, they can see one or more signs that protrude above their head. The signs clearly state, “We Do ___________” (fill in the blank with Implants, Braces, and Invisalign®, etc.) These signs serve a dual purpose of educating the patient on the depth of our services and reinforcing our credibility as comprehensive dentists. To support the signage, there are multiple photos of our patients who have received the featured service. This shows our dental skills, and the featured patient is honored to be on one of our “Walls of Fame.” We ceremoniously ask our patients to sign their photo, which solidifies the value of the completed. Having a patient write, “Thank you for my new smile,” or “I only trust my smile to Stanley Dentistry,” gives us more credibility in the patients’ mind.
In addition to the stations located in the hallways, we have slideshows on the televisions in each operatory, the lobby, and common areas. In the past, we allowed patients to watch TV while they received treatment. Now, we have a carefully curated slide show scrolling on the monitors. Each slide is different and ranges from dental trivia, slides for each of our team members with their families and a bit of personal information, and most importantly, a slide that says “We Do _________” for each of our services. The slideshow is playing throughout their appointment.
Show your work
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore we capture high quality photos of our patients once treatment is complete. When possible, we exhibit a before-and-after comparison photo collage. This opens conversations for patients to ask questions about the photos and note the differences in the before and after. Many times a new patient will comment, “That’s what I want,” while pointing to a photo.
We also engage the patient with our radio. We have a custom channel made for us that provides soft music to foster a spa-like atmosphere. About every 10 songs, there is a promotional message that reinforces an aspect of our practice. For example, “Did you know that Dr. Stanley is a leader in dental implants? If you are interested in replacing your teeth or a missing tooth, ask about our dental implants today.” The message is brief but supports our other internal marketing and ensures there isn’t a competitor’s commercial playing in our practice.
Internal marketing is the least expensive form of marketing with potentially the largest return. We have a captive audience that has already entrusted us with their oral health. Before you spend thousands on traditional advertising, be sure to maximize your internal marketing. You may be surprised how these simple ideas can increase the revenue per patient in your practice.