Rethink Your Practice’s Marketing Approach

Ryan Torresan


A marketer’s job continues to evolve with multiple marketing tactics to consider. As the communications landscape changes at a rapid pace, two things remain the same: dental offices only have so much they are willing to spend on marketing, and there is a need to measure the results of the marketing tactics implemented. Many offices do not formally evaluate their analytics to see if their marketing truly drives patients through the door.

As we approach the fourth quarter and you begin to plan your marketing budget for next year, now is the perfect time to step back and rethink your tactics. Take a few hours with your vendors, your team, or yourself to review each tactic to ensure you are able to measure and drive a positive return on investment (ROI).

Pay Per Click

Pay per click is the perfect example of being able to measure ROI. We live in a digital age where patients use their smartphone to gather information, including researching dental offices. In fact, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from a Google search. It’s time to embrace pay per click marketing. By spending $1,000 to $3,000 per month, you can generate more than 30 online appointment requests.

Once you set up your pay per click, track the click all the way to the “request an appointment form” button on your site. Use the number of appointments booked as your ROI.

Not a keyword expert? No worries. Find a vendor to determine the best keywords for your practice to drive online appointment requests.

Direct Mail

As you are probably aware, direct mail can be a tricky marketing tactic. Many consumers no longer go through their mail to find a recommendation for a local dentist, relying instead on a quick Google search, social media, and insurance directories through their employers. Direct mail is not what it used to be, but it can still serve a purpose.

When determining the best way for your practice to utilize direct mail, make sure you can measure its success. This can be done by including a call to action in your mailer. Ask patients to bring the mailer to their next appointment to “receive a gift” or provide a special coupon code to merge your digital and real world and be sure to calculate your ROI.

Social Media

When done correctly, social media is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to communicate with your patients and potential patients. By sharing photos and stories from your involvement in the community, heartwarming dental stories, and contests with a small ad buy, you are able to connect directly to your target audience, thanks to easy-to-use geo-targeting tools available on most social media platforms such as Facebook.

You don’t necessarily need a social media expert to run your social media, but you do need someone who can regularly post and respond to comments and messages in a timely manner. Be sure this person also takes 30 minutes a week to review your analytics to measure the success of your efforts and to shift gears if necessary.

When considering social media, be careful, as the increased engagement does provide patients a public forum to post complaints. With that in mind, be sure to address complaints within 24 hours and be empathetic in your response no matter the complaint and direct those patients to call you. Your goal is to move the conversation offline. Once resolved, simply ask them if they would post a positive statement on social media.

Grassroots Marketing

Do not underestimate the value of grassroots marketing. Get involved in the communities you serve! Visit local schools to provide a dental hygiene lesson or host a booth at a local community event.

When diving into grassroots marketing, be sure to insert ways to collect potential patient information. Setting up a booth at a community event? Determine a prize and use your entry form as a lead sheet, encouraging people to check if they are interested in booking an appointment. Following the event, call those interested in an appointment and use this to track your ROI.

Marketing helps drive business by connecting your practice with potential patients. Make sure you’re making smart investments with your marketing dollars by implementing tactics that are measurable and discontinue efforts that are not generating results.

When reviewing your marketing, remember that you do not have to initiate every marketing tactic. Focus on a handful of your strongest tactics and execute them well! Five great tactics are drastically better than 20 average marketing tactics. Stop guessing whether your marketing is working. Prove it!

Ryan Torresan joined Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) in 2012 and serves as vice president of marketing and public relations. He is responsible for strategy, office design, planning, and execution of marketing at GEDC. In addition, his responsibilities include brand building and multichannel/business line marketing, profit and loss management, office design, public relations, and driving complex decision-making to synchronize with challenging internal and market conditions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising from Wayne State University, where he also earned a master of business administration degree in management and international business.

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