When you invest in dental marketing to attract new patients to your practice, you want to know that it’s working. In fact, pretty much every dentist we work with says “I’ll spend a million dollars on marketing if you can prove to me that it’s working.” Guaranteed response rates? Sign me up!
And yet, talk to most dentists about their actual results and their response is “Eh. Well, my front office said we got a few patients from that campaign. It was okay.” I’m well known for being a data hound, so I like to find out exactly how they came to this conclusion. Nine times out of ten, the answer is “We ask every new patient how they heard about our office at their first visit.”
Well sure, that’s one way to know if your dental marketing is working. But it’s not very scientific and you’re barely scratching the surface of knowing your results, because you are only asking the people who actually converted.
Thanks to advances in digital tracking, we can now tell you with nuanced detail how many people responded, where they live, how many calls you got, how many opportunities you lost, and a whole lot more. Here are just a few simple techniques you can use to get a better picture of your dental marketing results:
1. Dental call tracking
Call tracking has become quite reasonable and nearly all the big brands are using it. For a small fee, you can place a dedicated phone number on each marketing media you use. Put a new patient number on your website, another on your postcards, and a third one on your Facebook ads. All of these numbers forward to your office, but along the way the caller’s information is captured. Not only will you be able to see the quantity of leads generated by your campaign, you’ll also see the date and time of the call, the caller’s physical location, the length of the call, and you can listen to a recording. Sweet!
2. Dental call screening
Knowing the quantity of new patient opportunities is the first step, but the real magic lies in listening to the calls. This will help you gauge if your dental marketing message has succeeded in attracting new patients who meet your quality standards. You’ll be able to hear if callers have a particular dental insurance, are price shopping, or if you’re attracting Medicaid patients. And most importantly, you’ll learn if the phone is actually being answered.
Nationally, about 35% of dental marketing calls reach voicemail, and of those callers, 70% of them hang up without even leaving a message. For those new patients who speak to your front office, typically only about 40-50% of them schedule an appointment. Let’s break that down:
Not bad, until you realize you only scheduled 38 out of 100 possible new patients. A 38% conversion rate. Ouch. So maybe the issue isn’t that your marketing didn’t generate new patients, but that the opportunities are slipping through your fingers like water.
3. Google Analytics
In marketing, there’s a concept called the halo effect. It means that your patients need to see your brand and your message in a lot of places before they’re ready to pick up the phone. They’ll get a postcard in the mail, suddenly realize they drive past your office on their way home, look up reviews on Google and then finally visit your website before calling. If your team simply asks “How did you hear about our office?” you’re going to be told “I was on your website.” Legitimately they were, but that’s not what got them there in the first place.
Review new visitor traffic on Google Analytics for your website and you can often identify spikes in traffic that correlate to the launch of your postcard campaign, a new TV commercial, an increased social media effort and more. Look for the halo and you’ll have a much clearer picture of whether your dental marketing is truly working.
A true, strategic dental marketing company thrives on transparency. Sharing detailed results of their marketing means you can hold them accountable to what they promised, and it means they can provide valuable insight and recommendations on what to adjust to increase your results. Both parties benefit and you know your dental marketing investment was well worth it.
Not sure where to incorporate tracking into your marketing plan? Download our free dental marketing idea guide for inspiration!