Not getting what you need from your current marketing? This article explains why.

Gosh, there are so many factors that go into getting great results from your marketing, but let’s touch on a few of the biggies.

  • Not knowing your target audience
  • Not having a clear call to action
  • Not having a deadline
  • Only focusing on one-off marketing such as online, mailers, etc.
  • Not having a consistent message across marketing channels
  • Not tracking results

Let’s tackle these one at a time.

1. Not knowing your target audience

Believe it or not, you are not the answer to everyone in your geographical area. Many dentists do not stop to think about this and feel that everyone within a five-mile radius could be their patient. This yields poor results and is how a lot of dollars get wasted.

You have a definite patient profile for your practice, and, more than likely, there is more than one within your practice.

It all depends on what services you offer. A dentist that does implants and orthodontics has a much different patient profile than the doctor who focuses strictly on restorative work. A dentist who participates in many insurance plans also has a different demographic than one who is mainly fee for service.

A little homework should be done to identify your target market or markets before doing any kind of marketing or advertising.

2. Not having a clear call to action

All too often we see dental practice ads that are purely image or branding ads; logo big and at the top, picture of the doc or the office, some tagline, maybe some bullets of services, phone, address, web. Big deal. Or, in other words, so what? This sort of advertising is great if you have deep pockets and aren’t looking for your phone to ring.

You need to give people a reason to call you. You need to get their attention and nothing does this better than having a call to action. This could be a discount but doesn’t have to be. It could be a complimentary second opinion, or a free gift at their first visit such as a spin brush or “to-go” whitening tray. It could be an invitation to a special event that would be of value to them.

The other part of this “offer” is making sure people know just what they need to do to get it. Do you want them to call and schedule an appointment? Tell them that. Get a free guide by going to your website? Let them know.

Ditch the branding and add a call to action and we guarantee you will have a better response.

3. Not having a deadline

This is a big one that we deal with a lot. We have had more than one dentist who wanted to take advantage of lower printing costs by doubling the quantity of their mailing piece to stretch the mailing for a few months or more.

Here’s the problem. When I get your mailer and see your offer and think, “I’m interested,” the next thing I’m going to do is look for an expiration date. If I don’t find one, I’ll think: “Great, I’ve got time on this.” Then what do I do? I SET IT ASIDE. And other stuff gets piled on top of it, only for it to never be seen again…

Don’t do this! The money you think you are saving on the printing is ending up in a pile on a table somewhere. We need deadlines in order to get us to take action.

4. Only focusing on one-off marketing such as online, mailers, etc.

The best way to market is to have a strategy. In that strategy comes a variety of marketing tactics you’re going to do to reach as much of your target audience as possible.

Doing a postcard mailing will get you some new patients. Having lots of excellent reviews show up when I search for you will most definitely help attract patients. Focusing strictly on online marketing only will make your phone ring. But, if you really want to maximize your marketing spend, you need to be in more than one place.

You don’t need 50 new patients from a mailing. You need 20 from the mailing, 10 from online, 15 from Google Adwords, and 5 from the newspaper.

Just like #1 above, you need to know your market. You also need to know where they are. Not everyone is online. Not everyone reads the newspaper. Not everyone is on social media all day long. You need to be in more places than one so as many people as possible see your message over and over.

5. Not having a consistent message across marketing channels

The best way to make #4 work is to have consistent messaging. That means your website looks like your office. Your billboard looks like your website. Your social media looks like your billboard. You get the idea. All too often this is not the case. It’s hard to get that rising tide to lift all boats when the message is all over the board. If you are running an Invisalign promotion, I should see the same messaging in your office, on your postcard, on your website, on your social media, and in the newspaper. That’s how you make an impact and get the most out of your marketing spend.

6. Not tracking results

Marketing is an investment and, just like any other investment, you should be tracking results. There is a saying I’ve heard many times: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Most dentists do not track what is happening with the money they are spending. Lots and lots of dollars are being wasted every day without them even knowing.

You need the data to prove that your marketing dollars are working. Numbers don’t lie. They will be all you need to make those tough decisions on whether or not to continue advertising in the newspaper, online with Yelp or spending money internally on your patient referral program.

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Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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