I can’t tell you how many dentists I’ve talked to that swear referrals are the best dental marketing strategy.
Referral marketing (also called internal marketing) is affordable, and even better — it’s easy!
You can probably pay the bills with referrals and word of mouth as your number one dental marketing strategy. Plenty of practices are content to operate this way.
But if you want to GROW?
And see your new patient numbers climb every month, like this?
Well, you’ll need to be more proactive.
No, I don’t literally mean YOU.
As the practice owner, you already have plenty on your plate!
I’m talking about your practice’s marketing ninja. You might refer to them as your office manager, your front office administrator, maybe even your receptionist.
But I like to call them your marketing ninja.
Because a LOT goes into an effective external dental marketing plan.
What follows is an exhaustive checklist that you (or your marketing ninja) can take to make sure you get the absolute MOST from every dollar you spend on your dental marketing campaign.
Let’s get to it!
Effective marketing in dentistry is all about tracking
- Give the reception team a New Caller Checklist, like this:
- Make sure the checklist is completed for EVERY new caller.
- Make sure front staff is trained to ask EVERY new patient how they heard about you.
- Make sure that “online” won’t be accepted — was it a Google ad, Google search (for which term?), did they go to your website from your postcard, etc.
- Ensure this is entered into your customer relationship management (CRM) system along with full contact information.
- Get a call tracking number for EVERY type of dental marketing you do (and make sure your call tracking service also records calls).
- Listen to calls regularly to analyze/improve reception process.
Establish a budget for your dental office marketing
- Establish a marketing budget — what percentage of your gross annual revenue will this be? Here are some starting points:
- 12%–18% if you’re an established, growing practice
- 25%—35% if you’re a new startup practice
- 3%–10% more than you’re currently spending if your practice is stagnant or declining
- Decide what you want to spend every year on marketing.
- Divide that number by 12 — that is your monthly marketing budget.
- Allocate a specific portion of your budget every month to each type of marketing you want to do. For example, if your budget is $9,000/month, you might allocate:
- $4,000/month to postcards/postage
- $2,000/month to pay to per click
- $1,000/month to Facebook ads
- $1,000/month to SEO
- $1,000/month to miscellaneous (sponsoring a local sports team or a booth at a local event, etc.)
- Commit to spending that much consistently, for an entire year.
- As you begin, analyze your budget quarterly. Focus on:
- How many leads did each type of marketing bring in?
- How much revenue did each type of marketing bring in?
- How much did you spend on each marketing avenue?
- What was the return on investment (ROI) on each type of marketing? (ROI = revenue minus investment divided by investment)
- Move more budget into categories with higher ROI.
- Once you’ve reached a level where your marketing spend is comfortable and your new patient numbers are steadily rising, analyze yearly. Focus on the same points as above.
- As your revenue grows, make sure your budget grows with it.
- If you’d like to discuss your goals and budget with one of our 25 marketing professionals for FREE, call us at 800-628-1804 today!
Research your competition’s dental marketing plan
- Sign up for competitor emails and newsletters.
- Blind shop all direct competitors.
- Go to their website and sign up for any promotions you see.
- Call them and pretend to be a prospective patient.
- Ask them about their services and specials, etc. — anything that interests you.
- Take note of the following:
- Are you opted into their database?
- Do they follow up? How often?
- What do their follow-up emails say?
- How often they email you?
- How often do they call you?
- Do they offer you something special to become a patient?
- Do they send you regular email newsletters? What do they say?
- Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective patient — would you be more likely to use them or your own practice?
- Once you know exactly what your competitor is doing to generate new patients, do it better.
- Check their websites to see what they’re offering and their branding.
- Check back quarterly for changes/updates.
- Sign up for Google alerts on them (go to google.com/alerts).
- Establish a unique selling proposition (USP) or unique offer that your competitors don’t offer. Ask:
- What are the benefits to choosing your practice over another?
- What qualities do you want patients to associate with YOUR practice?
- What is disappointing or frustrating to patients and how can you make sure it doesn’t happen at your practice?
- Establish your brand. Make sure your brand has:
- Something different from your competitors
- A professionally designed logo and tagline
- Consistent color scheme across all marketing
- Consistent voice and message across all marketing
- Consistent fonts and design elements across all marketing, from your website to your dental appointment cards
- Office elements (décor, motifs) that tie it all together
- A consistent feeling that you get
Pinpoint the target market for your dentist postcards
- Specifically identify your ideal patient. Ask yourself:
- How far do they live from your practice?
- What type of home do they live in? (Older home, large/high value home, condo, renter, etc.)
- Single, married?
- Do they work 9 to 5?
- Do they have children?
- How many? How old are they?
- What type of insurance do they have?
- Are they new to town?
- What do they care about most when it comes to dental care?
- What do they care about least?
- What made them choose you over the competition?
- Think of more questions if you can. The more data you have, the better.
- Survey your current patient database for answers even if you think you know them — the results might be surprising.
- If you have more than one ideal patient, identify all of them specifically. Ask the above questions about each.
- Run a list count to find out how many of these prospects are in your service area (you can do this for FREE on our website) or call us at 800-628-1804!
- Set a marketing schedule that allows you to hit a portion of your target market every month.
Design your dental office postcards with the recipient in mind
- Direct mail marketing for dentists is a proven way to bring in new patients. Ensure your direct mail piece is designed with all of the following:
- Your target market in mind
- Your branding in place
- Your call tracking number
- Hard, provable numbers
- Social proof
- Good eye trail that allows your eyes to easily move left to right, top to bottom
- A clear, bold headline
- A graphic immediately conveys “dental”
- Color that pops in key areas (your offers and call to action)
- A subhead on the back that leads into text
- Benefits (not JUST features)
- Offers (62% of our successful general dentists include 2 or more offers)
- Practice name and logo
- Return address
- Contact information
- A clear, bold call to action in a completely different color
- NO dental jargon or technical speak
- Call your marketing consultant at 800-628-1804 if you have any questions on how we can help improve your design!
Dental web marketing Part 1: Search Engine Optimization
- Check your current website to make sure all page titles reflect the content on that page.
- Sign your website up with Google Analytics.
- Spend time getting familiar with Google Analytics. Here are some good things to focus on:
- New/unique visitors
- Home page and landing page bounce rates
- Pages per session
- Average session duration
- Traffic acquisition
- Channels – which platforms are sending you the most traffic (organic search, paid search, social, etc.)
- Source/medium – which websites are sending you the most traffic and whether that traffic comes from ads or not
- Search Console à landing pages ¾ which pages of your site bring in the most organic traffic
- Social à landing pages ¾ which of your pages entice the most clicks from social media
- Behavior à site content à exit pages ¾ which pages of your website people leave from the most
- Behavior à site content à landing pages ¾ see which pages of your site perform the best and learn from them
- Get listed on all local search engines. (See how at postcardmania.com/localseo)
- Get familiar with the Google Keyword Planner.
- Research keywords and target those with high/moderate search volume and low competition.
- Create a page and a blog post on your website targeting those keywords.
- Don’t have a blog yet? Download our Beginner’s Guide to Business Blogging.
- Brainstorm other blogs and websites that might be interested in your new blog post and send to them to try to build links back to that page.
- Check out Moz.com to learn more basics and get started with step-by-step search engine optimization.
- Once you’re ready to take it to the next level, go to Backlinko.com and sign up for his newsletters and really delve into optimization.
Dental web marketing Part 2: Google pay per click (PPC)
- Go to google.com/adwords and do your keyword research.
- Once you know which keyword you want to target, start a campaign.
- Set your budget and bid — start small if this is your first time.
- Create your ads with your keywords, benefits and quality score in mind. Your quality score is based on:
- Ad relevance (to the term people are searching for)
- Landing page experience (how useful is your content, how quickly does the page load, etc.)
- Your ad’s click-through rate (how many people searching for a particular term click on your ad versus another ad)
- Make sure you’re sending traffic to a page with a fill-in form and a prominent phone number.
- Make sure your landing page also has good content to improve time on page.
- Check in on your ads regularly to analyze and tweak based on what’s working and what’s wasting your budget.
- We know, we know — it’s pretty complicated. Call us at 800-628-1804 if you want us to set this up for you for only $300 per month!
Integrate your dentist direct mail with your online ads
- Get DirectMail2.0 if you want it to be as easy as possible — we do everything automatically for you.
- Make sure your direct mail piece has a mail tracking bar code.
- Sign in to your online dashboard regularly to see when your mail will arrive.
- Make sure your direct mail piece has a unique call tracking number.
- Visit your online dashboard regularly to listen to calls and ensure your reception team is converting callers to new patients.
- Make sure your online banner ads coordinate with your postcard.
- Make sure all the people receiving your postcards also see your online ads.
- Not sure if you have DirectMail2.0 or want to sign up? Call us at 800-628-1804 today!
Take your dental online marketing to Facebook.
- Set up a page if you haven’t already.
- Go to Facebook’s Ad Manager.
- Choose your campaign’s objective.
- If you want to target your own customers, upload a list of your database to as an Excel spreadsheet to your Custom Audiences.
- Upload your own audience when creating your ad.
- If you want to target people near your practice, run a Local Awareness campaign.
- Select a radius around your practice.
- Select the age range and gender.
- Choose where you want your ad to be shown on Facebook.
- Click-to-call ads are available on mobile only.
- Set your budget and its schedule/how long you want your ad to run for.
- You can set a daily spend or a lifetime spend for the entirety of the ad.
- If you want your ad to run only during office hours, you need to set a lifetime budget.
- Write and design your ad.
- Upload an image that is 1,200 x 628 pixels
- Ensure your image isn’t copy-heavy or it will be rejected by Facebook
- A good rule of thumb: Copy shouldn’t take up more than 20-25% of the image
- Text section character limit: 90 characters
- Headline section character limit: 25 characters
- Link description limit: 30 characters
- Include a strong call to action!
- If you want to target a specific type of raw prospect according to demographics, try running a lead generation ad.
- These ads collection information from interested prospects with just a couple clicks, and they never have to leave Facebook or even type in their email address — Facebook auto-populates their data because they’re logged in.
- Isolate your target audience. You can choose from several selects:
- Income level
- Marriage status
- The age of their children
- Interest in healthy habits
- Past purchase behavior
- And lots more
- Then complete your ad according to the instructions.
If you want help setting up or running a campaign, call us and we’ll do it for you! 800-628-1804
Leads for dentists can easily slip away — don’t let them!
- Ensure that the message communicated on your ad is continued seamlessly onto your landing page.
- Make sure your phone number is prominently located on the page.
- Include a web form with minimal fields (no more than three).
- Make sure your call to action button is a different/contrasting color from the rest of the page.
- Make sure your call to action button does NOT say “submit” but rather communicates a benefit (e.g., “Claim My Offer” or “Book My Appointment!”).
- Make sure you have an offer for leads that aren’t ready to book an appointment just yet — that way, you can get their contact information and follow up.
- Add social proof/ratings to every page with a lead capture form.
- Place key trust seals next to your lead capture forms. (Anti-virus software, BBB ratings, etc.)
- Keep in mind that asking for a phone number can create a dip of 5% in your conversions. (Unbounce.com)
- If you change your offer, run a split test to compare how many people convert.
- If you change your landing page or homepage, run a split test to compare how many people convert.
- Make sure you’re following up with inquiries as quickly as possible.
- If you want professional help running a split test or analyzing web page efficacy, call our experts at 800-628-1804.
Follow up is essential to effective dental clinic marketing
- Make sure you have a follow-up email funnel in place for leads you capture but don’t convert into new patients.
- Set triggers in your CRM system to send these emails automatically.
- Make sure your follow-up emails are educational and friendly — not too sales-y.
- Always end the email with a question (e.g. “Did you want to book an appointment with Dr. Smith?”)
- Send dental reminder postcards (or dental recall postcards) to get current patients back into your office.
Your website IS your practice — don’t skimp!
- Make sure your website is branded the same as all of your marketing pieces.
- Make sure your website is responsive (mobile friendly).
- Make sure your website has:
- Color that pops
- Lead capture forms
- Consistent contact info in the same place from page to page
- Useful, real photos — not stock photos — of you, your practice and your staff
- An about us page with something about you, your practice and your staff
- Ratings and reviews — not just testimonials
- Video content
- A blog that is updated regularly
- When assessing your current web developer (or a new one), make sure they can deliver:
- An aesthetically appealing design
- Key marketing elements
- Lead capture forms
- Trust elements in key locations
- Affinity-building elements
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Optimized page titles
- Site organized properly
- Text that is readable for search engines
- Copywriting that is
- Optimized for SEO
- Proofread without errors
- Conversational (not technical)
- Communicates benefits (not features)
- Excellent programming
- Tidy code
- Quick load times
- Cross-browser tested
- All links working
- All images loading
- Site tracking
- Which pages are visited the most?
- Which pages cause most visitors to leave?
- Which pages do visitors spend the most time on?
- To keep improving, read these:
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- Web Design for ROI by Lance Loveday and Sandra Hiehaus
If you need help setting up or completing any of these steps, call our marketing experts at 800-628-1804 — it’s absolutely FREE. It’s our mission to help your practice grow!
Visit our gallery of dental postcard templates to see lead-generating and dental recall postcards that are currently working for our clients!