The Wall Street Journal reports that we Americans no longer spend most of our time in front of the television1. Instead, we’re on our computers, tablets, and smartphones. On the way to work, waiting in line at the grocery store, at Little League games, and even right before bed, we’re checking emails, social media posts, and our favorite apps. From school kids to adult professionals, most of your target patient base is online and owns a smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop computer.
If you’re like many successful dentists, you probably acquire a good number of patients from word of mouth marketing, when someone tells a friend about your practice. This hugely profitable way of gaining new patients has been working for dentists since the first barber-dentist hung out his shingle.
Today, however, word of mouth marketing is not as prevalent as it was in the past. A study by Compete2 reveals that only a third of patients research oral health treatments and dental practices by talking with family and friends. In stark contrast, nearly 90% use search engines and websites for dental office research.
The facts prove that your potential patients are online, and this probably isn’t news to you. The bigger issue is how to attract and convert those prospects into booked appointments.
Best Free Advertising, Most Cost Effective Marketing
Next to the free advertising that happens by word of mouth, Internet marketing can be the avenue that brings you the highest ROI for your marketing budget.
ROI means RETURN ON INVESTMENT
What marketing channels have the best ROI? Online content marketing brings in three times the leads, but costs 62% less that other marketing avenues3.
Not long ago, the prime advertising channel for all dentists, regardless of specialty, was a yellow pages ad. Today, phone books are obsolete, and the new “phone book” is the Internet.
Direct mail is also a big player in marketing for dentists. While targeted direct mail is still a good marketing technique in some situations, the average response rate is a mere 4.4%4.
ROI on Dental Marketing
To figure ROI, you’ll need the average profit per new patient. This can be quite difficult to figure for dentists, so it’s best to use an average based on last year’s pateint numbers and profits.
Average Profit per Patient x Number of New Patients from a Direct Mailer (or other marketing campaign)
= Total Estimated Profit of Campaign
2015 Average New Pt Profit $1000 x New Pts from Direct Mailer 30=Total Estimated Profit $30,000
Now you can figure ROI for the direct mail program.
Total Estimated Profit – Total $ Investment=ROI
30,000 Profit – 2000 Total Investment = +$28,000 ROI
In the above example, I used direct mail as the marketing channel. You can use the same formulas for any type of marketing, whether online or print, radio or TV.