Let’s start by recognizing the difference in focus and results when one is doing internal marketing versus external marketing. Internal marketing consists of actions that can be taken from within your office and does not require you having someone going around and knocking on doors. The key product of internal marketing efforts is increased weekly patient visits. Internal marketing is all about getting those who know and use your services to get to know you better and use you more. If you go to a restaurant and received great service and good food you will typically tell more than one person about it and the same goes for your patients.
Internal marketing efforts are not a one-man job; it takes a team approach to be effective. What you are ultimately going for is an over the top patient care experience from start to finish that results in your largest referral source – “your patients” – singing your praises to their friends, family members, and co-workers. This group collectively now becomes what we call “return business.” Practices in the top 10% across the country already understand the importance of “return business” and work hard to have it remain above 65% of all their total evaluations each month. At a minimum, a high-quality PT practice should be able to remain above 45% month in and month out.
The Importance of the Patient Care Rep
The most significant internal marketing team member to have an effective internal marketing system is your Patient Care Rep. A patient care rep is someone who knows how to create, they just walk in the door ready to go. What you are looking for when hiring your PCR is a dynamic, take initiative, good communicator type who likes to multi-task and play games. They are responsible for all the in-office promotions, holiday celebrations, patient and staff monthly games, social media marketing, website updates, collecting patient success stories and surveying each patient three times from start to finish. They are the ones who will train other staff members on the “give me five drill,” create and distribute the “Welcome To The Practice Folder,” along with handling any patient upsets.
Easy Ways to Improve your Internal Marketing
So here are a few ways you can immediately improve your internal marketing:
Company Games and Activities
By getting your entire staff involved in the activities you will be showing a very fun, friendly environment that most all people based on survey want in their own workplace.
- “Guess who that baby is” photo contests. Have your patients guess who’s who.
- Gift wrapping door contest during the holidays. Allow your patients to vote on their favorite!
- “Guess how many…” are in the jar contests.
- Potlucks in the summer and/or holidays (cookie baking contest, chili cookoff, etc..) – let your patients vote on the winners!
Team Building Activities
We have all heard that we are what we eat or, a group is only as good as it’s members. When you are trying to create a company culture that can be felt by all – including your patients – then you need to know it all starts with you, followed by your staff. You need to be the type of owner who is fully interested in others as opposed to one’s self. If you are constantly trying to give more in value than what you expect in return, those around you will feel that. If they are a social personality type, then they will also seek to exchange in abundance with you and the group. Start with some of these suggestions:
- Summer picnics
- Bowling party
- Community-based Charity events
- Volunteer time for local causes
- Have a post by post bonus system
- Acknowledge the staff members who go above and beyond in the monthly staff meetings
It can be challenging at times to really bond as a team when you’re all focused on delivering exceptional patient care every day. So much of our staff’s energy gets placed outwardly to the patients that we sometimes forget about ourselves and how important it is to take care of each other. So try to routinely think of ways that you can create opportunities for team building that shapes the team attitude in the direction you desire.
Build Your Company Culture
Your company culture is your company’s personality. How do you do this? You live your values and your company mission in everything you do. You create an environment that showcases the type of staff you have and the personal integrity that they all live by. If you value exceptional patient care, show them that.
- Start by creating a dedicated “wall of fame” (preferably in the waiting room) where you put up your success stories showing a photo (when appropriate) of them before and after rehab with their story of success in the middle.
- Create another section in your office where you display all your awards, accreditations and honorary certificates as a sign of excellence. Also, make it standard practice to be training your staff every month internally to ensure some degree of professional enhancement is happening, thus increasing skills across the board.
- Be sure to onboard new team members with ten-minute one-on-one meetings with their supervisor to ensure that during their first 90-days they feel heard and have no misunderstandings about policies or procedures.
Internal marketing will always boil down to people, processes, and products. From my experience, far too many people place too much on the processes and not enough on the people. Without the right person representing your company to your patients, you will waste far too much time and money on doing things only to fall short on results.
Contact us for more information about our Marketing management services and how we can help you get your internal marketing efforts on track to success.
Brian Gallagher, PT is the founder and CEO of MEG Business Management, LLC. He has more than 27 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation and 19 years in business and specializes in Physical Therapy practice management and executive coaching nationwide. As a licensed business management consultant, Brian has helped hundreds of business owners nationwide improve their business operations through proper restructuring to achieve improved systems of efficiency and productivity as well as marketing and sales with effective public relations which have proven results for double-digit growth year-over-year with businesses around the country.