When you want to grow your practice, marketing is key, but many doctors don’t realize they have one of their greatest and most effective marketing tools already in their office: their List. This tool is crucial for using one of the Four Pillars of Marketing. This pillar is called internal marketing (or database marketing), and it uses relationships that you build with people to get them to return to you in the future.

Understanding Your List and Why It Matters

Your List is a list of current patients (active, inactive, and really inactive included), as well as people who have requested information from you in exchange for a way to contact them. In the case of your current patients, these are people with whom you already have a relationship. They’ve been to your office before. They’ve interacted with you and your staff. They are the people who know you, like you, trust you, would probably return to you, and could refer others to your practice. These are the people you want to continue to foster relationships with so they do return to you in the future.

Your potential patients are those who have connected with you in some way and exchanged their own contact information with you for something you have to give—the answer to a question, a free offer, your newsletter, etc. They are people who have expressed interest in you and your services, which means that they are likely to come to you in the future if you foster a good relationship with them.

Together these people make up a List that you can easily organized and marketed to.

Although all four of the marketing pillars are equal insofar as you need all of them to have a well-rounded marketing strategy, this pillar is possibly the most crucial. Your practice cannot survive on new patients alone. You need your patients to return to you. Not only that, but the value of a single patient goes up considerably when he or she returns to you even just one time in the future. Keeping patients happy and fostering those good relationships even after they have left your office—or after they have contacted you—is absolutely vital and one of the best ways to grow your practice.

Using Your Database to Its Full Potential

How you grow those relationships is through your internal marketing. Remember, even the people who really like you are busy. They have a lot of things to worry about in their own lives. After you’ve solved their problems, they only remember you for a short period of time. After a couple months, your name has probably been lost to other more pressing things they need to remember. So maintaining a relationship with your patients is key for keeping your practice in their minds. Reminding them how much you care for their health and well-being makes it more likely they’ll come to you again.

So how do you do all that? You use a database to reach out through marketing “touches.” This could be e-mail blasts to update patients about upcoming events or changes in your practice. This could be adding patients (unless they opt-out) to your monthly newsletter mailing lists. This could be establishing automated campaigns to connect patients to additional information about something specific—orthotics, heel pain, diabetic issues, follow-up after a procedure, etc.—in the weeks and months following their visit to your office.

There are many ways to go about using a marketing database for your list to stay in contact with people. The key is to organize it effectively and maintain it with up-to-date information.

How Top Practices Can Help with Your Internal Marketing

Establishing and maintaining an effective database for your list can be a bit complicated. Your internal marketing is easy to overlook, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to grow your practice and keep your schedule full with the kinds of patients you want to see. Establishing and then maintaining relationships with patients, even when they aren’t in your office, increases the odds that they will return in the future. E-mail [email protected] or call (717) 425-2679 for more information or to get started.