A decade or so ago, how you advertised for new dental patients was straight forward – you put an ad in the local Yellow Pages. If you really wanted to aggressively grow your practice you might also buy space in the local newspaper and airtime on local TV or radio. Why? That was where potential patients received most of their information.
Just as dental technology has changed, so has dental marketing. The phone book sits on a shelf gathering dust while people in need of dental services fire up their computers or mobile devices to do an internet search. According to a Kelsey Group study, 74% of online activity is related to local content. If you don’t have a strong online presence, such as a properly optimized website, they won’t find your practice. The fact is you are losing money if you don’t show up prominently on the internet.
There is nothing wrong with using “offline” forms of marketing but consider the return on your investment. A full page ad in the Yellow Pages can cost over $2,000 a month, and glossy lifestyle type magazines can be even more. Between production and airtime, it costs thousands to run a 30-second commercial on a local television station. The question is, will enough people in your area who are looking for a new dentist see these ads to generate a positive return on the investment?
The difference with effective online marketing, is that it enables you to place your marketing message in front of your prospective patients at the exact moment they are actively searching for a dentist. Additionally, online marketing provides much greater flexibility than offline because once that ad or commercial is produced, it is very expensive and cumbersome to change. There are definitely situations where offline marketing is advantageous and should be employed, however online should be the cornerstone of your dental marketing efforts.