So much of the debate about how to market a dental practice is about whether marketing dollars are better spent online or offline. What are the best types of ads to use and which is a better return on investment (ROI)? Let’s examine each of these points and see if I can make some better sense of the best direction for you and your practice.
Both internet dental marketing and offline dental marketing have plenty of places to spend your advertising dollars. With internet dental marketing, you can build a world class dental website that builds like and trust with new visitors, engages patient prospects to interact, and entices existing patients to purchase more treatments.
You could also invest in marketing your “website” to drive more visitors. There are a number of ways you could do that as well, see list below:
- Content Creation: Fresh, original and relevant content is king and will be rewarded by search engines in better traffic rankings
- Lead Generation: Using call-to-action messaging that redirects the viewer to landing page offers with sign-ups
- Dental Blogs: This in the number one way to demonstrate your expertise as a doctor and illuminate your practice difference
- Dental Social Media: To communicate with existing patients and have them share your information with their family, friends and coworkers; this also helps to increase referrals
- Dental Email Marketing: Nurture your leads and convert them into patients
- Content Optimization: Using keywords and keyword phrases on your blogs, images and other forms of internet dental marketing to improve your search rankings
- Website Dental SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Using keyword and keyword phrases on your dental website that will attract quality links, giving you more authority; which means better search rankings
- Local Dental Directories and Review Sites: e.g. Yelp, Merchant Circle, Goggle local search (map); it is extremely important for all directory listings to be identical, otherwise the search engines will be confused
- Paid Search or PPC (Pay-Per-Click): If you have deep pockets and want to really move the needle
What about offline dental marketing? Well, there are an enormous number of things you can spend your advertising dollars on. So many I could write a whole whitepaper dedicated to offline ideas and channels, but for now I will examine just the front runners:
- Outdoor Practice Signage: needs to be legible and easy to see
- Direct Mail: is an extremely effective medium for dentists because of its ability to target patients in close proximity to your office and not waste dollars on people outside your trade zone. Problem: almost every practice uses it incorrectly.
- Yellow Page or directory ads: can still be good sources for older prospects that do not use a computer. My preference is to use “in-column listings”. Remember to use large, easy to read type.
- Local Newspaper Ad: profile the doctors and employees of the practice
- Press Releases: champion a community outreach project your practice is behind
- Referral programs: If you are optimizing the patient experience, you will be receiving referrals. A referral program facilitates incoming referrals and makes it easier for patients to refer your practice. It also increases the probability of referred patients to take the next step and book an appointment in your office
In regards to dollars spent, what I like about internet dental marketing is once the initial website and internet marketing is in place, it can be tracked and measured to:
1) Know what revenue is attributed to what lead
2) Are those leads covering my investment?
If so, you may begin your Happy Dance. If not, adjust, track and measure these leads until a solid ROI has been achieved. Then begin your Happy Dance!
It is harder to track offline revenue. In my opinion, the best is direct mail, but it takes time and multiple mailings.
You and your team have to be vigilant and ask every new patient where they heard about your practice. Half the time they don’t know or remember how they find you!
I like and have used most all of these forms of advertising, both offline and online. I believe online is becoming the best, most cost-effective form, because:
- Over 60% of referrals, no matter how glowing, still go online and check you out
- Prospects can get far more information about your practice off of your website than they ever can through an ad, direct mail piece, or directory
- An up-to-date sight can have a number of ways to engage a reader, such as: Videos about the doctors and practice; patient reviews and case studies that are educational; get directions through mobile devices; download forms; make or confirm an appointment; use infographics to understand treatments; share helpful dental tips; refer friends/family; ask or read about FAQ; and more
In summary, both work and can earn you a return on your investment, if done correctly. However, internet dental marketing can be more cost effective and easier to manage over time.
The following link to Q and A page is a great place to learn more about “internet dental marketing” -Internet Dental Marketing