As a dentist, your patients are probably your main day to day focus. Things like spending time on marketing for your dental practice always seems to get pushed down the priority list and part of the reason is that it’s often hard to see what’s working and what’s not.
Whether perceived or real, the level of difficulty required to dig into the effectiveness of marketing makes it seem like more of a hassle instead of a good use of your time.
Often, that feeling is absolutely correct! It can be a pain to dive into all the different marketing metrics and avenues that you spend money on.
Whether you force yourself to do it or outsource it, there are a lot of benefits to actually tracking your metrics. Having results on display in front of you is an enormous plus and big time saver! Below are some of the important ways to track your marketing efforts:
1. QUANTIFYING RESULTS THAT CAN BE HARD TO QUANTIFY
It can be difficult to say that an SEO strategy is working or not working based on your day to day interactions with patients. Sometimes they mention that they googled “best dentist near me” and found you that way. That’s great feedback, but getting the numbers and data to back things like that up is even better.
With some tracking in place (working with tools like Google Analytics), you can quantify how well things are actually working. You can easily see things like
Leads from your website
Calls that came from Google Maps, and many more
Simply setting up Google Analytics will handle a fair amount of the quantification of your SEO efforts.
For other marketing efforts, building something very simple in Excel can have a big impact, and help keep you on track with your spending. Below is a very basic, yet effective screenshot of a simple marketing tracker:
It requires some simple manual work but helps highlight which marketing avenue is working best for you! There is, of course, a lot more underneath the surface, but doing something as simple as this can make a real difference. We’ll get into the “underneath” metrics in a bit.
2. SEE WHERE YOUR PATIENTS ARE COMING FROM
This is another category where anecdotal feedback from patients is great, but it’s even better to see the numbers that show truly where patients are coming from.
It’s not an easy thing to know offhand! The common default answer is thinking it’s through referrals. That could be true, but referrals likely aren’t responsible for all of your business, and it still helps to know the numbers to back that up.
You have to spend some money on marketing to get the remainder of your business. Where you spend that money is important and you have to be able to see its effectiveness.
In your practice, is it easy to answer the question “what marketing methods are bringing in the most clients?”
To thoroughly answer that, the data needs to be consulted!
This can be as simple as something like the above Excel spreadsheet (under point #1). If your patients are mostly coming in from referrals, that’s great! You can expand on that and see if offering incentives or rewarding patients for referring you would bring in more referrals too.
For example… offering gift cards for referrals might yield the same amount of referrals that you had for no incentives, but sending hand-written cards might be more effective and have some patients refer you multiple times!
It’s hard to measure that without keeping track of things though. This section is as much about knowing where your clients come from as it is writing it down and tracking it in some fashion – potentially through your CRM!
If you can easily identify where your patients are coming from (how they’re finding you), and you can support it with numbers, you can really lean into those successful ways!
3. WHAT MARKETING METHODS ARE THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK?
So now that we’ve quantified some results, and we’ve seen where customers are coming from, we want to see what is the highest return on our investment (including the time spent on it!) from the different marketing strategies that you use for your dental practice.
If you’ve spent $1,000 on advertisements and you get 5 new patients from it, that’s great! If those 5 patients add $300 each to your production, then that ad has paid for itself… mostly.
That doesn’t include the time you’ve spent building the ad. Once you include the 5 hours it took to make and finalize the ad (and say you want to be making $100/hr) then your cost jumps to $1,500 vs your immediate revenue of $1,500.
Here’s the math…
Initial monetary investment = $1,000
Time investment = 5 hrs
Your hourly wage = $100/hr
Monetary equivalent of time investment = $500
Total investment = $1,500
New patients = 5
Production per visit = $300
Immediate revenue benefit = $1,500
Return on Investment (ROI) = Revenue/Cost -1 = $1,500/$1,500 -1 = 0%
Now, the lifetime value of each of those 5 new patients will come into play and their $300 will be more in a lifetime value lens so you’ll still net to a positive investment on the ad, but the immediate return might not be what you’re aiming for.
If you’ve spent $5,000 on SEO and it brings in 20 new patients and those patients add an average of $350 to your production, then that marketing spend yields $7,000 in immediate revenue (assume a 100% collection rate).
If it took you 10 hours to do at your $100/hr, then you’ve still made a solid return on your investment, even before even considering the lifetime value of a new patient ($6000 in costs vs $7000 in revenue)!
Here’s the math…
Initial monetary investment = $5,000
Time investment = 10 hrs
Your hourly wage = $100/hr
Monetary equivalent of time investment = $1,000
Total investment = $6,000
New patients = 20
Production per visit = $350
Immediate revenue benefit = $7,000
Return on Investment (ROI) = Revenue/Cost -1 = $7,000/$6,000 -1 = 17%
Important things to keep in mind here are:
the importance of knowing the return of your investment in marketing spend,
remembering to include your time invested in the calculation, and
understanding the different production per visit (PPV) from patients that come in from different channels
At the very least, doing a quick calculation like what we’ve done above can really help guide your marketing efforts and add a level of confidence to know what the best use of your time and money is.
4. KNOWING YOUR WEBSITE NUMBERS
Your website is a powerful marketing tool that can make or break a dental practice. Whatever marketing for your dental practice you have almost won’t matter is your website is outdated.
If your website isn’t great, you might see a very high bounce rate (when someone visits your website and then immediately leaves). Tough to get a new patient from that.
If your website is phenomenal, you might see a high number of bookings/calls just from people visiting and being impressed by your site.
Looking at things like visitors, where they come from, and what words they search to find you (among other metrics) can really show how your website is received by the public, how good it is at getting potential patients to book a visit with you, and how your SEO is working for you.
You can get a decent amount of this info after setting up Google Analytics. Once you get a hold of it, you can create some really illustrative dashboards to chart your website performance.
Example SEO dashboard put together to show the results of an SEO Strategy
All in, marketing is a part of your business whether you want to spend time in it, want to invest in it, or don’t want anything to do with it. Knowing, understanding, and being able to quickly see the numbers behind your efforts is hugely important. They can incredibly influence the growth of your practice!
Jack Tompkins is Chief Data Officer of DentalX, a dental practice management company.