When you market your dental practice, you have a wide range of options. Whatever path you choose, you need to know your return on investment (ROI) to determine if you should continue doing it or not.
Dentists have to wear a lot of hats. They can simultaneously be a doctor, the HR department, the marketing manager, and the chief financial officer of their practice. While dental school does a great job of preparing you for dentistry, it doesn’t do as much to help you be better at business.
Most dentists that I’ve consulted with over the years weren’t tracking the returns on their marketing strategies when we first started. Dental marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, and without tracking, it’s hard to tell what is worth it and what is a waste of time and money.
Four Things You Need to Track for Marketing
Even if you think your practice is doing great, it can pay off big to learn exactly how you’re doing so well. If you become complacent during bountiful years, a hungry wolf at the bottom of the hill that was prepared for changes in digital marketing can pass you by.
On the other hand, if you’re not seeing enough new patients, then you need to know where to focus your marketing dollars moving forward.
1. Number of Leads From Source
You might know exactly how many new patients you saw last month, but do you know how every one of them found you? Do you know how many found you, but didn’t follow through on becoming a new patient?
Your marketing budget may be divided up between ads (radio/TV), referrals, digital marketing, and print media. If you are investing $5,000 a month for a newsletter campaign and $2,500 on digital marketing, would you want to change your strategy if you found out twice as many leads came in the practice door from the internet than from your newsletter?
While some strategies might take a while to work out, and understanding the data can sometimes be challenging, you have to have methods in place to understand where every single patient came from.
These days, online tracking is easy. A large share of new patients are likely coming from the internet, but even that information isn’t specific enough. Did they find you on Yelp or Healthgrades and then call you, make an appointment through your site, or did they just Google “dentist near me” and click on one of the top results? It pays to know.
2. Cost per Lead
Ultimately, marketing is a game of numbers.
Some methods might be time-consuming or relatively expensive for how many leads they generate, but those leads might be very good, so it’s worth it.
Conversely, some methods cost very little per lead generated, but lead quality may not be as high, so you’ll need larger numbers to bear fruit from those strategies.
3. Cost per Acquisition
In the example above, if your $5,000 newsletter campaign ultimately brought in 5 new patients, then each one was a $1,000 investment. Pretty straightforward, right? ($5,000/5 = $1,000 per).
That may or may not be worth it to you (depending on the next metric), but it’s important when comparing your marketing strategies, and it can help identify problems that need patching.
4. Lifetime New Patient Value
You got their attention, they made their appointment, but was it really worth it?
It can be tough for a dentist to reduce their patients down to numbers, but you’ve got to know how much money a patient will bring into your practice if you’re going to succeed long term. One marketing strategy might attract price shoppers, generating new patients with a lifetime value of only $1,000. Another strategy might bring in more patients for implants, with patients averaging a value of $3,000 or higher.
Once you find out the lifetime new patient value, you need to figure out how to duplicate your best patients. Find out where they came from, how they interacted with your website/team/doctor’s, etc, and try and copy those marketing tactics to get more patients like your best patients.
Your marketing drives the leads; your team handles the close
You might be doing everything right from a marketing standpoint, only to lose a patient after they are already sitting in your practice.
Ineffective closers might be washing your marketing budget down the drain, but that is a problem that is easily fixed with a little bit of training, but you can only fix it if you are aware of the problem in the first place.
If you’d like to know how to better deploy your marketing budget with expert precision, then click here to get started on a free practice analysis.