There’s nothing more important in Marketing than R.O.I. (Return on Investment) and the dawn of digital introduced hundreds of ways to measure and test your marketing.
Now we find ourselves wading through the mountains of data collected and wonder if it was really such a blessing. The answer is undoubtedly yes, but you need to be fussier about what you pay attention to with so much information available.
Before you even consider any marketing you need to decide what your objectives are. Getting the right data starts before you implement your strategy. You must decide when devising your door drop/online advert/website listing how you’re going to measure the outcome.
The most common examples are to put a code on a coupon or a reference to quote in an online listing. Many companies ask every single customer ‘Where did you hear about us?’ Please remember that any patient will tell you the most recent or most prominent way they have heard of you, not all the various aspects of your marketing they have seen.
The most accurate way to know what’s working and what isn’t is to run a split test. Without getting too technical it means running two promotions with one difference, then recording the results. That may be the medium, for example, with the same offer both online and on a door drop, each using a different code. Then you simply see which code is redeemed more frequently.
As always if you love the sound of this but don’t want to do the leg work Smile Marketing are here to help, we can assist you from decision making right through to implementation. Click here to get in touch or call 0845 287 3051.
Several years ago the general consensus was that the internet would kill off the need for print, especially the costly and time consuming efforts such as Direct Mail. It was also once said that TV would kill the radio. We’re here to tell you neither is dead.
We all have to make our budgets stretch, with so many online opportunities there’s almost too much choice. We’d just like to say that you should still keep a portion of that pie back for Direct Mail or door drops.
The reason that it was so celebrated before the digital age really took off was simple, getting your message directly into the hands of potential clients. Over the years the amount of junk mail became almost unbearable, so the medium became somewhat abandoned.
Now that most people have taken to the internet with such ferocity (and rightly so) many have completely given up on Direct Mail. With less clutter you are much more likely to get your message through, so now is the ideal time to use this to your advantage by mailing your patient database or running a targeted door drop. This is a great way to reach new and existing patients, especially if you have an offer or discount to entice them!
If you’d like help planning and/or implementing a Direct Mail campaign or door drop why not send us a message? Or call us on 0845 287 3051.
Are you on all the Social Media channels at home but just don’t know how to apply that to your business? Or do you shy away from all aspects of this internet based nightmare? Either way it’s often best to consult with an expert before you start down the road of Social Media.
The bottom line is that Social Media will not go away and it cannot be overlooked. The first question you need to ask yourself is who will you be trying to get in touch with? There’s a distinct difference if your trying to reach GDPs or new patients. Then you need to find out what Social Network(s) they are likely to be using.
Once you’ve decided where you need to be, consider who will be posting your messages and how often. This depends on who has the time as well as who is most knowledgeable about the Social Network or Networks you have chosen to use. Sometimes it’s a good idea to split the responsibility between a few members of the team, having different set days to post on.
The next hurdle is often the biggest: what do we want to say? There’s no hard and fast rule as to how you should be putting your Dental Practice across on these platforms, but our top tips are:
- Positive: keep your posts light and upbeat.
- Punctual: Respond quickly to enquiries, not just to impress the potential patient you’re talking to, but for all the other potential patients reading it.
- Perceptive: If you’re going to comment on social events or a piece of news, have your own take on it. No one likes to read the same thing over and over again from various companies.
As the economic climate continues to improve those dental practices with a clear business plan will be able to make the most of upcoming consumer trends – whether the increased take up of dental implants, lingual braces, All on 4 or cosmetic dentistry. Smile Marketing can help you to make 2014 a success.
“I have been very impressed with Smile Marketing. Prior to working with them, we had tried to find our own way through the marketing minefield and had wasted much time and money. With the help of Smile Marketing, we have implemented a more professional and effective marketing strategy which has seen the private gross of the practice more than double. The service is excellent. They are approachable and always available for advice, responding to questions with a speed I have not experienced with any other company I have worked with, marketing or otherwise”… “I would recommend Smile Marketing to anyone who has ever wondered whether practice marketing can be effective. With Smile Marketing, it can.”
Make 2014 the year you have a clear roadmap to increased income by giving us a call.
We are delighted to announce that Rebecca Cockman, who has a wealth of digital marketing experience, joins Smile Marketing as Marketing Executive. With considerable project management skill, Rebecca will be helping to launch new websites for dental practices as well as assist with various online opportunities – from patient e-newsletters and promotiona to Social Media and Google Adwords.
There’s never been a better time to assess your own practice marketing strategy, if you have one at all. Now you can get a Free Marketing Consultation to see where you are and where you need to be going. We deal in a huge range of marketing services so we can recommend what fits best with you, your business and the patients or referrals you intend to target.
Feel that you’re in need of much more assistance? A Lunch ‘n’ Learn for 5 or 6 employees with tips about what marketing you should be working towards, what strengths you should be playing to and getting you on the road to higher income, might be just what you need. Get in touch for more information.
We are fast approaching National Smile Month (20th May – 20th June), always a great opportunity for dental practices and referral centres to add some momentum to their patient communications and provide valuable oral health information, advice and tips.
Involvement with National Smile Month enables dental practices to raise their profile through well targeted PR activity, advertorials and their ‘internal marketing’ (newsletters, waiting area literature, posters, etc)
As an agency dedicated solely to the dental industry, we are naturally joining in with Smile Month too, not only by helping our clients with their PR and internal marketing but also launching our new consultancy retainer package which includes payment by results. Yes, it’s unheard of isn’t it? We’ll be including a proportion of our fees based on forecasted results, pre-agreed with clients. Whether new patient enquiries, appointments, practice income or bottom-line performance, we’ll work closely with dental practices and businesses, on a strategic and tactical level, to ensure they receive the return on investment they require.
With clear business and marketing planning, we are confident we can help improve practice performance. The excellent feedback we have had from award winning clients gives us the confidence to be flexible with our fees.
To find out more, contact us.
It’s now commonplace to think that direct mail has been replaced by email marketing. Why? As email is quicker, less expensive and more ‘modern’, you hear people say “snail mail” or “I can’t afford postage anymore” and other phrases to justify their decision not to use direct mail.
But let’s examine a few things. Ask yourself which is the most cluttered, your email inbox or your doormat? I receive over 100 emails per day and I don’t open then all. Like most people, I do a quick ‘sift’, so not everything is read, or even noticed unless it has an exceptional message. On the other hand, I receive around one or two pieces of direct mail per day, excluding bills! Each one gets noticed at least and if it is relevant or exciting, I read it. Direct mail can still get a fantastic response, if well targeted and relevant to the recipient.
The Internet and email have been ‘hardwired’ into our psyche. After all, most people are online and rightly so because great email marketing and a web presence are a ‘given’ for any business, whether a dental practice, dental supplies company, law firm specialising in dental transactions or other business serving the dental sector.
The truth is, it’s good to mix things up. Email marketing is important, as is a spread of media, tested and measured. A great marketing plan should include email marketing but it should include direct mail as well. Are you testing it within your recall programme? If you are an orthodontic practice or an implant referral centre targeting GDPs, are you sending personal invites for your training events or ‘study club’ sessions? If you are a general practice with patients spending regular, hard-earned income with you, are you sending them ‘thank you’ cards.
In our team, we have experienced marketers who ‘cut their cloth’ in direct marketing – direct mail and email marketing - and know how best to ensure you maximise your response, that is, patient enquiries and, of course, appointments.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be taking you through what makes a great mail shot and the 10 easy steps to a perfect direct mail campaign. For a quick chat about how to improve the return on investment from your direct mail activity, contact us.
For some dental practices and other businesses, having a marketing budget can be too limiting. Whilst business planning and close financial control are vital, dispensing with the idea of a fixed marketing budget represents a fundamental change of thinking. Firstly, it starts with thinking of marketing as an investment, not a cost. That’s a mindset change.
So what is the alternative to setting a fixed marketing budget? Start by calculating the ‘lifetime value’ of your patients or customers, say over 3 years. Whether it’s a patient coming in regularly for routine treatment or a patient that has had some cosmetic work, braces or root canal treatment, practices should be able to calculate patient value over a period of time.
Then it’s a case of working out what you are prepared to spend to win each new patient or referral. There are many industry stats banded around about the cost of acquiring new patients e.g. £70 for a private patient, £290 for an orthodontic case, £380 for a dental implant case and so on.
So if a patient is worth say £5k over the next 3 years, are you prepared to spend £250 for a new patient of that type, or more or less than that? It’s all about setting return on investment targets for marketing activity, whether a practice rebrand, poster campaign promoting dental implants, a specific ‘Whitening Wednesdays’ campaign or a patient open day being organised at the practice. It’s also about measuring what’s working best, on an ongoing basis.
There are several benefits of this approach. It encourages dental practices to analyse their patient list/database. This doesn’t get done nearly enough. It helps them to identify their most profitable patients, the good old 80:20 rule. It also allows them to think about whether they are targeting the right patients or referrals for their practice. Last but not least, a crucial benefit of this approach is discovering whether the most appropriate media is being used to maximise return in investnent.
For alternative ways to look at improving profitability, contact us on 0845 287 3051.
Great marketing should be measurable shouldn’t it? At least if at all possible, and virtually all forms of marketing can be measured. It’s astonishing how many times I discover dental practices, in fact many types of business, that are not monitoring their marketing activity, whether it’s external media, on-line activity or ‘internal marketing’.
Yet with simple monitoring processes in place and a team motivated to understand the importance of looking at what is working well and the marketing activity isn’t pulling its weight, practices can save a fortune.
Hundreds and often thousands of pounds can be saved by understanding best practice dental marketing and having a solid, measurable plan in place. It’s not unusual for us to save practice owners more than they pay in our fees….and they are also receiving a marketing plan, new ideas and tried and tested marketing techniques as well as having the burden of media liaison, booking and paperwork taken away. This of course is highly valuable, saving lots of practice time, whether for the practice principal, practice manager or other persons responsible for bringing in new patients and maximising practice income.
In our quest to help dental practices measure their marketing and save money in 2013, it can all start with an initial chat on the phone about our Dental Marketing Healthcheck. Find out more by contacting us on 0845 287 3051.
Once you have decided to embark on some local PR for your practice, you need to think about how to get the press excited, and that means news that the editor thinks will benefit readers.
Just announcing your news isn’t enough. The launch of your new treatment or the additional clinician at your practice may be news to you, but to a reporter or editor, who has to read hundreds of releases about new products and services, it’s not likely to be interesting news. Therefore, it may find it’s way quickly to the bin.
Suppose as an Ortho practice you’ve just added lingual braces to your brace treatment options and as part of the launch you’ve decided to offer patients a free initial consultation. You won’t drum up much interest if your headline reads “orthodontic practice launches invisible braces” and your first paragraph reads “(named) practice, based in (place) is now offering invisible braces. As part of the launch, the practice is offering a free initial consultation……”
You’re more likely to get interest and get a story written about you by changing your headline and first paragraph to focus on the offer and what’s in it for readers. For instance the headline might read: “free consultation offer for adults seeking invisible braces”. The first paragaph could say something like: “For adults who’d prefer a discrete brace option, (named) practice, based in (place) is now offering the latest in invisible braces. As part of the launch, the practice is offering a free initial consultation……”
Before you start writing the release, do choose the angle (what’s interesting about your news) to use . If you will be sending your release to various media (local newspapers, dental press, local radio and TV stations, your contacts, etc.) you may have to use different angles for the different media.
In our next Blog, we’ll focus on some more practical tips for “hooking” the editor and convincing him/her there is something in the rest of the release that will be worth publishing.