The ACP Private Practice Committee is pleased to introduce a new series of articles for members in practice -- written by prosthodontists, for prosthodontists.
These articles are intended to share tips and wisdom that members have picked up from their experience in practice -- with useful ideas for prosthodontists new in practice and those who are further into their careers.
Contributed by: Dr. Donald L. Ridgell
In 2017, marketing as a prosthodontist is as challenging as ever due to the lack of knowledge of dental specialists within our perspective patient pool and the growth in the number of larger corporate dental offices that have opted to become more of a price sensitive one stop shop.
In today's world of constant information, studies show we must somehow generate 14 impressions in thirty days to garner the attention and trust of a new patient. This creates quite a challenge in a crowded marketplace for the traditional practitioner with a smaller budget than that of local corporate dental offices. For example, there is over $10,000 spent daily on the top 10 prosthodontic keywords in Greenville, South Carolina alone. This means that choosing a niche market online is critical to return on investment.
The key to success is to eliminate unqualified leads by including parameters to avoid certain demographics that cannot afford high-end esthetic dentistry and/or are only looking for a family dentist. There is a need to narrow down a target market online. For example, in rural areas you could focus on homeowners with an income of over $75,000 annually within a 50 mile radius of your office.
Our goal is to create a new age sales funnel, coined with the term “click funnel”, where we take a “multi-channel marketing” approach online using data to test and analyze the market using the principles of the Scientific Method as to where we approach each campaign as an experiment with fixed and unfixed variables. Our measuring stick is strictly conversion to a new patient. This is a little different than that of a traditional campaign where the number of impressions is considered. However, we focus on not wasting impressions on individuals that are not verified leads as they are costly impressions in the dental field, sometimes even up to $10 CPC (Cost-Per-Click).
There are a number of platforms that can be used to generate leads; the main methods are Facebook and Google Search Engine Marketing. Each platform has its own unique approach due to how the potential patients will encounter the practice online.
On Facebook, the average user will find our page through scrolling their News Feed rather than searching. Therefore, it is a tougher task to make sure they are not looking for a general dentist. The average Facebook user in the United States is a 40 year old female. This is a great target audience being an older demographic that typically holds the buying power within the family. In order to approach this market, we take an educational approach about our experience, expertise, and abilities. This is best paired with a personal touch to the marketing that involves highlighting engagement with patients, employees, and testimonials that are meant to create an emotional reaction. Smiles are an important factor of their lifestyle and confidence. One approach is to portray the impact our work has on our patients through first hand stories that highlight the impact created by our profession. The ACP Social Media Tool Kit under the Practice Resources tab has great links and is a great resource for relevant articles to include in your Facebook marketing campaign.
For Google, take the approach of bidding directly on keywords for services that prosthodontists specialize in. We want to win the battle for keyword ranking for the 25 most relatable keywords for our main services including Crowns, Dentures, Veneers, Dental Bridge, etc. This fluctuates constantly due to the number of bids on each keyword and requires constant monitoring in order to ensure that the budget is not being used up too quickly or that the bids are not too low to engage clicks. In order to avoid wasting our budget on general dentist patients that are not concerned with our specialty, we put negative keywords such as general dentist, family dentist, braces, free, pro-bono, among other keywords that are not concerned with our specialty.
All of this falls in line with a marketing program that involves tracking the keywords, unique visitors, bounce rate, traffic to the site, etc., all in relation to the number of new patients. This includes heat maps, site tracing, and a variety of programs/software that facilitate an increase of new patients. The most important part is to use an innovative, regional firm that understands the goal of using a limited budget wisely to draw in qualified leads at an ideal cost per patient via today’s guerilla marketing tactics. We are in a niche market seeking niche patients that are best served using a boutique digital agency.
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