Internal marketing, which focuses on generating new patient referrals from your current patients, is far more cost-effective than external marketing. Because you have existing relationships with them, see them face-to-face during appointments, and have ready-made channels of communication established, encouraging them to make referrals requires no expensive outreach. With the right strategies, you should be able to get at least one referral every year from 40% to 60% of your current patients.
Implement multiple strategies to reach everyone. Different patients will respond to different approaches. With some, all you have to do is ask, in conversation or with signs. Others will respond to educational strategies, recognition programs, or fun events. Rather than trying to guess which one will work best, use a variety of strategies so you'll have something for everyone.
Don't continue using strategies that aren't working. Monitor the referrals brought in by each strategy. If any show poor results, replace them with alternative strategies and begin tracking those as well. You should always have several new strategies (or old ones that may be ready for a comeback) that you can implement on short notice.
Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit LevinGroup.com or email email@example.com.
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