When a dental practice owner needs to choose the best dental marketing partner, among the things he’ll have to decide will be which type of dental marketing provider he should work with. Often the choices are narrowed to working with either a dental digital marketing agency or a dental digital marketing consultant. That said, it is often difficult to decide which is more apt to guide your practice to success. Are they even the same thing? Both will need to work with the practice to create and implement the best dental marketing strategy for your practice to be successful. Understanding the difference between these choices should help you identify which might be right for you.
At Web Marketing For Dentists, here are the questions we ask to clarify the difference between a dental marketing agency and dental marketing consultant:
- What is a dental marketing agency?
- What is a dental marketing consultant?
- What are the differences between both and how to make the right choice?
- What is digital marketing (quick reminders for dentists)?
- Real life example of how you can choose between both.
Dental digital marketing agency vs dental digital marketing consultant?
Dental digital marketing agency: definition
A dental digital marketing agency is a services organization that provides marketing services to dental practices with one and only one purpose: generating dental leads to help them grow their practice through the internet.
An agency is usually delivering a product or service that they offer to the marketplace and that product or service is focused on delivering specific kinds of value. It's a specific skill that translates into actionable deliverables for a client.
A digital marketing agency actively employs digital marketing tactics for your dental practice. They're building things. They're promoting things. They're generating interest or generating marketing opportunities for your dental practice. That's what an agency does: they work to get you dental leads for your practice.
What's a dental digital marketing consultant?
On the other hand, a consultant in general is a strategic exercise.
The strategic exercise is about what's the plan for how I'm going to go out and get new leads.
What's the strategy that I should take? What approaches should I take? What tools should I employ? How do I make it succeed in the practice?
It's more about a roadmap and a plan. The dental marketing consultant, usually after having audited your dental digital marketing practices, will help you determine a vision for your dental practice’s growth, its mission statement. He will help you determine the values of your dental brand. Such crucial foundational work will lead him to tailor the perfect marketing plan for your dental practice growth.
Now, very often both are working together: the digital marketing consultant will work with dental marketing agencies, or you can have an agency that also functions as a dental consultancy firm so they can have both characteristics shared between them.
Dental marketing agency and dental marketing consultant: what are the differences?
It’s important to understand the differences between both entities because it will help you make the right decision in hiring.
In the case of a consultancy, which is really oftentimes where wise dentists want to start because they want to start with what's the strategic vision and plan, that doesn't necessarily include having the same person that's developing that strategy, develop and deploy the actual techniques or approaches or perform the activities that delivers an executes, the plan itself. They need to either hire an agency or work with an agency to do that for them.
The problem with that approach or with only being reliant on or having a relationship only with the consultants is that the agency in the role of actually operating the day-to-day execution of a plan and trying to generate leads are looking at incredible amounts of data across different campaigns, across different clients, across different practices.
Frankly, a practice that is marketing for implants in New York city is going to have a very different approach, appearance, set of characteristics, and competitive landscape than a practice that's marketing for veneers in Boise, Idaho.
The conditions, everything that's associated with it, are very different.
So, because dentistry is a hyper-local product or service, you must be very attached and close to the actual metrics to the performance, to the data.
And obviously it helps when you're the one that's actually performing the marketing work itself. When you're the one that's actually doing the work, you see the results from the work firsthand, and you can make the changes, the tweaks, and you can identify which of those changes actually make an impact or work or help or don't.
And then you learn minutiae and idiosyncrasies about the marketplace that are much more detailed than what a consultant could possibly know.
On the other hand, the consultant gives you a broader picture to give you an expectation of “where should I be investing my money?”; “how much return should I expect for that investment?” ; “what are the best general approaches to take?”.
That doesn't necessarily mean though that the consultant will have all the data and all the experience of the minutiae of the day-to-day execution of campaigns, which in a digital world change from day to day.
- So, on the positive side, it's good to be able to work with the dental marketing consultants because he will give you a holistic general approach of what others are doing and what's working well for people in general. It gives you a directional approach.
- The problem with it is though that general approach has no guarantee of working. Unless you have a close relationship with a person that's managing the day-to-day activities of the execution of your plan and has experience with different scenarios of failure or success, AND… can read the data, read the results in a way that feeds the next steps, the execution plan. Then you are too far removed and disconnected from the activities that are going to actually generate the leads to take full responsibility for them.
That's what typically happens. Someone that's purely only a consultant is oftentimes too removed from the work itself, from the minutia to know what exactly is or isn't working and what needs to be changed in a day-to-day capacity. Whereas an agency can do that for you.
The key really is to find the combination of both, to find a place where you can both have the agency experience as well as the consultant’s vision.
They're doing the work for you, they're doing the day-to-day and have the consultancy approach as well, where they can use, they can figure out the right way to prioritize these different tools and opportunities and identify the best applications of them based on the, the tremendous amount of specific market data that they have in their experience of executing these campaigns.
Quick overview of digital marketing tactics for dental practices
Dental Ads (dental PPC)
PPC is probably the first thing to consider for your dental practice to grow fast because it's so quick and it's so agile. Yes, you pay for it, but there's a value to that. You pay for it and then you get to see the rewards. If you get the kind of traffic and the kind of leads that you're hoping for it's a great starting place. Search ads is a kind of advertising that never existed before Google came on the scene and intoduced Google search. There was no way of getting into people's brains in the same way that you can get into their brains with search (paid advertising). They think, then they Google so it’s almost mind-reading.
Every other ad medium is just not quite the same. It's hoping that because somebody drives a certain car or lives in a certain place, they're going to want a certain product. You don't have to do that with Google ads because you just wait until they search on a keyword that has something to do with your business and advertise to them at the time they’re thinking about what you do and expressing that interest.
And, if your dental paid advertising is properly executed, you (as a dental practice) can be there when your dental lead is searching for something you do and answer them: “hey we do that!”. Pretty simple. It’s like paid serendipity!
That’s pay-per-click and it's very much oriented around Google search ads as Google is by far the main player in this space.
Instagram ads and Facebook ads are also good to generate dental leads, but they're much more traditional style marketing. You're interrupting somebody in the middle of them doing something that’s not related to what you do. But you hope that because of their age, lifestyle, behaviors etc they will perhaps be interested in what you do and divert their attention to you. Obviously, that’s just not as powerful as being there when your future patient is thinking about exactly what you do.
Email and SMS campaigns for dental practices
Next is email and SMS campaigns and these can be as quick to run as simple reminders to people who had treatment plans with you: “Hey, that treatment plan is about to expire. Call us back to make sure you get the treatment that you need. Or perhaps you just want to remind people who reached out to you that you still offer free consults for new patients - 5% of those people will eventually book an appointment with you.
And then there are also the educational campaigns, usually reserved for email, where you're doing more explaining. You're doing education through email over time, and you're giving valuable content to help them move forward in their decision-making process. You're explaining things to them about procedures, benefits that they can accrue from doing a procedure with you and even reasons why they may be stuck currently. And this gets into a lot of the other areas, which are all very content, heavy social media on their own. Besides the fact that you can do Facebook ads and ads. You have a Facebook account, you have an Instagram account, you have a Twitter account. You can increase the amount of content that you post, the number of videos that you post, of blogs that you link to from their podcast, etc. And that's, you know, that's another big piece here is just creating content in general. Even if you didn't do so, social media would be valuable because people really do appreciate good content. That’s what the internet has become about: finding answers to your questions. Um, if you're already answering your future client’s questions, they're more likely to come to you.
And then this all funnels towards SEO, which is this organic positioning so that you're well-positioned in the search engine results pages (SERP’s).
This area here is the Google My Business area, the Google map, and the Google reviews. To be there and to have good reviews is only the beginning.
Once they get to your website, you want them to be able to consume some relevant content to answer all the questions they have, especially on you, as a dentist, to reassure them about your skills, techniques, etc. And most of all you’ll need to have content that will be useful to them and answers their main pain points, questions and fears (dentist visits are never super funny…).
As a conclusion, let’s say that there are two main ways you can do dental digital marketing:
- Slower projects on the one hand. Usually less costly, building on the long run your own asset (website and content) to rank organically on Google. This involves usually a mid-long-term partnership between your dental practice and your marketing partner.
- Faster techniques with almost immediate results. Short term relationship between your practice and your marketing experts. That’s why for example, at Web Marketing For Dentists, we are also able to offer free trial, month to month renewal when we take care of the digital ads marketing budget for our clients. And that is also why we are known for our main mantra: “If we don’t make you money, we don’t take your money”.
This was a quick overview of some of the most used digital marketing tactics to generate dental leads for your practice.
And in order to choose wisely between working with a dental digital marketing agency or a dental digital consultant, you want to think very carefully about the kind of digital marketing that you want to do.
Again, we start mostly in PPC because it’s fast, relatively cheap, easy to calculate ROI, easy to track, and has lots of benefits. But everything else can fall in at the same appropriate time.
One main tip to decide with whom to work
The theory is, and what I'm supposed to say is that because Web Marketing For Dentists is known as Dental digital marketing agency, the agency is bigger and it can do more, right? We've got strategy people like me, we've got the tech people, design people, and we of course also have several project managers. At first, one should obviously think: more skilled people, better jobs and better results.
That's not quite true because truthfully the quality of ideas, quality of execution and quality of results are the bottom line, what's key.
And the truth is you can also get that from dental marketing consultants – as long as … they are smart!
The way results are delivered may differ depending on whether they are coming from a Digital marketing agency or a dental marketing consultant. But at the end of the day, what matters the most is for you to work with smart people.
I happen to work for agencies and as a dental marketing consultant and I can assure you that the most important thing is really to have your dental team be joined by someone smart enough to understand how dental digital marketing works while both being involved with you in your dental practice growth.
A real-life example of how to make the right choice between dental marketing agency and dental marketing consultant
Listen to this short video I made for you.
Would love to hear your thoughts about the differences you’ve experienced between your dental marketing agency and any dental marketing consultant you’ve been working with.
Leave a comment below!