New patients, right?
Sure, new patients are ultimately the return on investment goal of most dental practice digital marketing endeavors, along with improved retention, reactivation, & recall percentages, along with amplified online reviews.
But let's dig a little deeper and match specific ROI goals as they relate to social media, local seo, & paid search for dentists.
ROI of Social Media for Dentists
Dentists properly applying social media marketing to their digital identity generally have two things in common:
- Practice culture is consistent to what is posted online with what patients experience when visiting the office.
- They are connected to their existing patients.
Of course social media is a buzzword marketing term and the pundits (like me) will tout its effectiveness and even necessity, but without an engaging practice culture and without connecting to your patients there will be no quantifiable return on investment with regards to retention, reactivation, reviews, & referrals.
How Can Dentists Maximize ROI with Social Media?
Having a good team in place and actively promoting your social media presence inside of your dental practice are essential foundational elements to getting the most out of your social efforts.
Here are a few ways you can do just that:
- Run contests - like this one here.
- Upload email lists to your social profiles - see how to do it on Facebook here.
- Use in-0ffice display tools to bridge the offline/online gap.
- Window clings
- Internal signage
- Social URLs on patient forms & communications
- Calls to action - invite your patients to connect...and tell them when, where , & how to do so
- Offer easy ways for patients to refer friends & family to your practice - like this.
- Make it easy for patients to leave you a review - and tastefully indicate how thankful you are to patients that review your dental practice. (overtly asking patients to review you is a violation of Google & Yelp guidelines BTW).
Achieving ROI from social media requires dentists to be consistent, cooperative, & communicative.
- Consistently match the online persona of your practice with the offline reality - fakin' it til you make it will get you nowhere. And it's completely transparent - in the bad way.
- Regularly update your social media profiles by actively communicating beneficial health info, humor, local news, contests, tips, offers, images, testimonials, calls to action...etc.
- Enlist your patient's help to build your community by providing your own special brand of top-notch dentistry, making it simple for existing patients to deliver you more word of mouth referrals.
ROI of Local Search for Dentists
Local SEO ROI (too much acronym confusion for ya?) for dentists - or any local business - comes in the form of improved online visibility and amplification of your digital word of mouth.
This means that you and your practice show up more on local searches, and your reviews are spread around various public-facing sites - not just a RateADentist or DemandForce software integration.
The type of improved and enhanced online visibility an effective local seo campaign delivering quantifiable ROI to your dental practice involves 3 key ingredients:
- A well optimized website (or blog) - using schema markup (this makes it easy for search engine web crawlers to ID your practice...and location, hours, reviews...etc.).
- Claimed & optimized local search engine profiles (Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local).
- Quality citations (Citysearch, Healthgrades, Vitals, Angieslist...etc.).
The search engine results pages are not going to get any less crowded, and dentists need to control that real estate as much as possible to remain competitive in the digital age.
How Can Dentists Maximize ROI with Local SEO?
Stake claim to your listings around the local search ecosystem, here's a quick & dirty action plan to help you realize local seo ROI as part of any digital dental marketing plan:
- Talk to your dental website company about adding schema markup language to your site.
- Claim your search engine local profiles & work to remove any duplicates - Download our free Google My Business Quick Start Guide if you need help.
- Seek out other sites to claim and optimize your quality citations - see how we do it.
- Start asking patients to leave you reviews on a few of these sites.
- Ask them in the office face to face
- Ask them via email on a regular basis
- Ask them on any correspondence you send their way
- Ask them on literature or even handouts you provide in their goodie bags when they leave the office
Defining local seo ROI for the digital marketing dental practice is not difficult, but if you don't have the foundational aspects (3 key ingredients referenced above) in place your efforts will always be misguided and incomplete.
ROI of Paid Search for Dentists
'Paid search' refers to pay-per-click advertising (PPC, CPC) - on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, YP...wherever - and it can be a significant game-changer when applied correctly and attached to the goal of increasing new patient leads.
To calculate new patient acquisition return on investment at its simplest form, basically its:
avg. value of a new patient - cost of acquisition = ROI
...or you could dive deeper and say
avg. value of a new patient - cost of acquisition / cost of services (overhead, materials, bills...etc.) = ROI
When we get right down to it, PPC advertising for dentists is all about lead generation.
New patients just don't show up in your chair every day, they need to be captured, scheduled - then actually keep the appointment.
The make or break point in any paid search new patient acquisition campaign for dentists comes when that new patient lead calls your office - or fills out your online appointment form.
This is where the rubber hits the road, and where a lead becomes a scheduled new patient.
From there it's up to you how well your incoming calls are handled and how effectively systematic your appointment confirmation/reminder process is.
Of course your ads first have to be THERE when someone in your target area searches for a dentist, or teeth whitening, or dental implants...etc. And your offers need to be compelling enough to evoke action on behalf of the prospective new patients - driving them to click your ad and visit your landing page.
But if after all of this happens and potential new patients hear, "Hi, thank you for calling ABC Dental Care - please hold..." - you're dead in the water and just burned a lead you paid to have call your office.
Alternatively, if a prospective patient finds you ad, clicks it, then fills out your online appointment form - and nobody contacts that person for another day or two - you'll also be dead in the water paying for burned leads.
How Can Dentists Maximize ROI with Paid Search (PPC, CPC - Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Bing/Yahoo Ads...etc.)?
Without getting too much into the weeds with regards to paid search advertising for dentists, let's identify some essential components of a successful new patient acquisition campaign.
One of the most important aspects of defining success with paid search is time - how much time has elapsed from the when a prospective patient interacted with your ad (clicked), converted to a lead (called or completed online form), to when their appointment was confirmed by your scheduling coordinator.
Here are several keys for dentists to define ROI from your paid search new patient acquisition campaigns:
- A well-trained, pleasantly speaking scheduling coordinator with a knack for closing the deal: New patient leads need to be closed - with confirmed appointments.
- Proper keyword & location targeting: too broad you waste money, too fine and no one finds your ads.
- Compelling ad copy: if no one clicks you save money...but you also waste time and get zero new patient calls.
- Valuable offers: if you don't provide them, a local competitor already is.
- Device specific landing pages: probably one of the most overlooked aspects of a successful new patient acquisition campaign via paid search. Mobile clicks go to mobile compatible pages with click-to-call functionality and desktop clicks go to form submission pages with option to call.
- Call tracking & recording: see the exact times, days, even keywords responsible for driving calls to your office - then listen to how well (or not) those calls are being handled. How much money could this save you??
Digital Dental Marketing ROI Does Not Happen In A Vacuum
In other words, YOU are responsible for maximizing your social media, local seo, & paid search return on investment by making sure your goals align with the digital dental marketing methods applied to the task.
In review, dentists in the know define return on investment (ROI) differently when we're talking about social media, local seo, or paid search digital marketing.
- Social Media = more reviews, referrals, & retention/recall/reactivation rates.
- Local SEO = increased online visibility, boosted website ranking factors, widespread digital word of mouth.
- Paid Search (PPC, CPC) = new patient calls, online appointment form submissions, & confirmed appointments.
How does your dental practice define return on investment with your digital marketing efforts?