What is the best marketing for dentists?
When it comes to marketing your dental practice, you have many options to pick from. You can send out flyers, post on social media, perform search engine optimization, or run Google AdWords. You can even simply focus on getting more referrals and patients through word of mouth.
But if your goal is to get the most qualified leads or highest quality dental patients, then you need to be familiar with what type of marketing can drive the best results for your practice. That’s exactly what we are discussing today! Keep reading to learn more.
What type of marketing works best?
The most common questions we get asked by dentists are:
- “What type of marketing should I be doing?”
- “What works the best?”
- “What will drive the best results?”
- “What will get me the most patients?
The problem with these types of questions is that if you ask 100 different people, you’re going to get 100 different answers. If you ask a company that does flyers marketing, “What type of marketing do you think is best?” There’s no doubt that they will try to convince you that sending out flyers is the best thing you can do.
Similarly, if you speak with a company that does SEO, or social media marketing, or whatever type of service they offer, they’re going to try to convince you that whatever they’re selling is what you should be buying.
In fact, if you ask a hundred of your colleagues, “What type of marketing has worked best for your dental practice?” you’re bound to get a hundred different answers as well. You’ll find plenty of dentists who’ve had great success with flyers, or Google AdWords, or SEO, and you’ll also find plenty of dentists who have done those things and have never seen any results.
If you want to build a successful dental practice, then here is the most important thing I can teach you about marketing:
All of the options you have available to market your practice and attract new patients, whether it’s flyers, or social media, or Google AdWords – at the end of the day – these things are all just tools. And the effectiveness of these tools, the impact they’re going to have on your business, the impact they’re going to have on your bottom line almost entirely depends on who is using the tools and how they’re using them.
It’s not the tools, it’s THE PEOPLE who get you the results
Think of it like this. If I gave you the exact same golf clubs that Tiger Woods uses, would you get the same results as him on the golf course?
If I gave you the exact same tennis racket that Serena Williams uses, would you be just as good of a tennis player? Not a chance!
While the tools are important and they do play a role in your success, it’s a very minor one and the results don’t really come from the tool but rather the person or the people who use the tool: their skills, experience, and dedication they’ve put into mastering their craft.
Likewise, when you’re trying to market your dental practice and attract more new patients, the tools or the types of marketing you are doing matter very little compared to who is actually doing your marketing.
You can be very successful doing digital marketing, but you can also be very successful doing older and traditional marketing like flyers. It’s all about the team behind the scenes who carry out the work. That’s what you need to spend your time evaluating.
The 3 things that influence your marketing efforts
Not all flyer companies are equal; not all social media companies drive the same results; not all SEO companies do the same level of work or deliver the same quality.
So, how do you evaluate the quality of the team behind the scenes? Well, you can do this by taking a careful look at these three things.
One quote that I really like is –
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
The first thing you need to consider carefully is the process a company follows. Some companies have a very well-developed and well-thought-out process that they are constantly revising and improving.
Everything runs like clockwork, they know exactly what they’re going to do for you step-by-step. Everything is documented and there are checklists and guides for every step of the process not only to get everything done correctly but also quickly and efficiently.
With other companies, there isn’t really a process. When you ask them to elaborate on their internal process or some deliberate questions about how the work is actually done behind the scenes, you’ll quickly realize that, for the most part, they’re just figuring things out as they go.
You’ll hear something like, “Well, Dr. Jones… you know… every dentist is different. We take a very custom approach to our work and we want to make sure everything is custom tailored to your unique practice.”
Now, this is a great sales answer that would probably impress a lot of dentists. But here’s the reality – When you hear a company describe their service as “custom tailored” more often than not, what that actually means is that there isn’t really a rock-solid process that’s being followed.
Sometimes, they do things one way, and other times – a different way. As a result, what normally ends up happening is, the project sometimes turns out okay whereas other times it turns into a complete disaster.
As the customer, you’re going to be the one left holding the bag. So, you need to be careful that you’re not hiring a company that’s figuring things out as they go, or worse – not just paying for someone to essentially learn on your dollar.
Questions to ask when hiring marketing experts for your dental practice
The quality of the process (or lack thereof) is why some dentists, who hire a company to do SEO, get amazing results and others see extremely poor or no results at all.
Any strong marketing company will have a strong process. So, here are some deliberate questions to ask to better evaluate that process:
- How do you carry out your work? Can you break it down for me step-by-step?
- Are your internal processes documented and written down somewhere? Can I see it?
- How do you ensure the work is done correctly? Are there checklists or quality control steps? Can you show me what your team follows internally?
- How do you manage the projects? What systems or software do you use? Can you show me what happens behind the scenes day-to-day, week-to-week with your other clients?
Note that although two marketing companies may offer, say social media marketing, you need to carefully evaluate the quality of the systems and processes of one marketing company against another because they are not all equal.
Before putting your money down on a team, you must diligently evaluate the skills, experience, and passion of the people who are ultimately going to be doing the work.
You need to find out if your marketing is being done by a group of specialists, where each person on the team focuses on one specific area of the project and have years of experience in their specialty, or if the marketing is done by one or two generalists who do a little bit of everything.
Think of it like starting a sports team, a soccer team, for instance. If you’re just playing the game for fun and don’t particularly care about how successful your team is or how many goals you score, then it doesn’t matter who’s on your team because just about anyone can kick a ball around.
However, if you’re assembling a soccer team because you want to win, if you’re saying, “Hey, we like soccer; we enjoy playing it, but at the end of the day, we’re here to get results. We want to win. We want to score more goals than the other team, we want to go to the championships,” then the caliber of people on your team is going to matter a lot.
Knowledge ≠ Expert
Just like anyone can kick a soccer ball and learn the basic rules of the game, these days anyone can watch a few YouTube videos and learn how to do some basic Google AdWords, or SEO, or social media marketing. But that doesn’t make them an expert or even the type of people you need on your team if you want to get the best results and go really far.
It’s common to see a lot of dentists wanting to build a website or do marketing by hiring a family friend or a friend of a friend to do the job. Then, when that website or the marketing produces little-to-no results, the default assumption is “websites don’t work” or “SEO doesn’t work; I tried it once and I never saw any results.”
Countless dentists never stop to consider the fact that perhaps the one who is actually doing the work matters a lot more than what they’re actually doing.
Circling back to the earlier example about golf clubs: this is like buying a new set of golf clubs, not getting a good result on the golf course, and then proclaiming that it’s the golf clubs that must be the problem.
Again, if you want to do marketing that actually gets results, then you need to understand that talent matters. Here are some good questions you should consider asking your prospective marketing company:
- How does your company recruit people? What process do you go through to find the best talent?
- How many people work at the company and who does what?
- Who is going to do Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 of the project? Is it the same person or different people?
- What experience or qualifications does each person have? Why is that particular person doing Step 1 or Step 2 or Step 3?
You really need to drill down and find out whether your marketing is actually being done by solid industry experts or by a few interns in the back room.
3. Level of effort
You need to deliberately evaluate if the aim of the company you’re working with is to deliver the highest level of quality possible or if they’re simply looking to cross things off their to-do list.
When it comes to managing the marketing aspect, regardless of what type of marketing your prospective marketing partner is doing, you must ensure that the team isn’t just doing a “good enough” job.
Because here’s the problem –
When you only put in half the effort or build something to half the quality (like a website, a flyer, etc), you won’t get half of the results. You won’t get ANY results!
Think of it from your perspective: The strongest driver of new patients for most dental practices is word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. Now, ask yourself: Why is that?
Is it because you have a TV in your office with Netflix? Is it because you have very comfortable chairs in your operatory that makes everyone want to come back and refer their friends?
NO, it’s actually because you deliver exceptional dental care.
A patient comes in, sees that you’re an expert at what you do, that you take your job very seriously, that you care about them, and that you’re committed to giving them the best dental care. They notice and appreciate these little but quite significant things. That’s what makes people want to come back and refer their friends and family to your practice.
But imagine for a second if you did NOT take your job seriously. What if you didn’t offer exceptional dental care? What if all you were aiming for was “good enough?” What if your dental care wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either?
Imagine if I asked your patients “What’s it like going to Dr. Jones? Is she a good dentist? Should I go there?” and they answered with an, “ugh… I don’t know… I guess she’s okay… it’s nothing special, really.”
Do you think that if you did a half-good job at dentistry that you would get half the referrals? If your dentistry wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either, do you think people would be willing to refer their friends or family to you?
Of course not! If that were the case, you would likely be out of business by this point.
This is the essence of why some dentists see great results with marketing while other dentists try the exact same strategies but see little to no results. It doesn’t matter so much what you’re doing, what matters is who’s doing it, what’s their process is, how talented they are, and the level of effort they put into getting the results for you.
My final piece of advice? Don’t spend too much time thinking about whether it’s better to do social media marketing or send out flyers or invest in SEO. As a dentist, you should focus your effort on evaluating and recruiting the best people for your team. If you do that, then the rest will fall into place.
If you are struggling with marketing your dental practice, come back for more marketing insights or schedule a chat with our team.