Would you rather have a billboard placed atop a 100 foot pine in Yellowstone National Park, or on Times Square? Misunderstanding how people search the internet can result in Dentists paying for a Times Square Billboard and getting a Yellowstone Pine.
True the internet is the most powerful marketing medium ever created, but to tame the beast you need to understand him first, because making waves in a sea of noise is pretty tough.
The real question is how does one demystify the myriad of offers, gimmicks and approaches to Dental Internet Marketing? Which strategies work? More importantly how does one navigate the choppy seas of choices being offered to develop a proper strategy. If you understand the way internet traffic works, developing a strategy for reaching that traffic becomes far easier. But don’t you want to know where the traffic is first before buying your billboard? It is shocking to me how this piece of information is simply left out of the conversation. So let’s talk about it.
The first thing anyone engaging in a web campaign needs to realize is that A WEBSITE ALONE DOES NOT MAKE YOU MONEY! Yes its true everyone searches for everything online because the information is more available and easier to come by, but for someone already searching for a specific dentist, even without any effort on your part, the odds are you are already listed by any one of the many free listing services who pull lists and post them online. People can find you regardless. I am sure you have tried it by now but if not go ahead, Google yourself, I bet you you’ll get your address and phone number even without having done anything. A website is an important presentation tool for your Practice image, but lets talk about making you money, growing your practice and developing your career, or even defining your exit strategy from a mature practice. Before spending a dollar online you should consider how to make that dollar productive.
The internet represents a dramatic shift in Marketing in 2 very profound ways;
1) You can reach people online who are ALREADY SEARCHING and ARE LOCAL TO YOU! That’s right gone are the days of get in front of their face enough times on buses billboards radio and TV so that when they need a dentist, I am the man they remember. That kind of marketing is both inconsistent, and unprofitable because you are fishing for a needle in a haystack and that needle may only want a cleaning after you found him. They key thing to remember is THEY ARE ALREADY SEARCHING, and we already know what they want. Classic marketing is trying to push them to a dentist, online you can find the ones already looking, and you already know from the term they entered into their search what they want. This is a cataclysmic shift in marketing! Its no wonder that the New York Times is struggling to stay alive.
2) Everything is traceable online. I am reminded of my favorite quote from Lord Leverhume of the Unilever Companies..”Half of my advertising budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half!” The internet allows you to know exactly what worked, how to make it work better and exactly how much money did I make from my campaign. If your marketing is not designed to track its effectiveness, how do you know which way to market. Why invest in 10 strategies if I can pick the 4 that work and dump the six that don’t. Marketing has to be traceable. I have heard clients say “I have an unlimited budget for marketing I know works, if I put in a dollar and get 10 out, why would I stop at a dollar?” The online environment allows you to break down everything you do into a myriad of variables which can each be manipulated for better measurable results.
So how do you tackle the opportunity? The first thing to remember is that people entered a keyword in their search. This is the part of the conversation most often neglected. People use specific words or phrases to search for what they want. If I can show up in front of a searcher each time they look for the kind of services I offer than hopefully I can make them my new patient. So the next question is what terms are people searching on? This is the part of the conversation that tends to generate the most WRONG TURNS! People are running around selling Dentists on showing up on the first page for the phrase “Cosmetic Dentist Totowa”. Unfortunately, many dentists are sold by this pipe dream without asking how many people are actually searching for “Cosmetic Dentist Totawa”. The fact is people search for procedures with many different kinds of phrases. What do you think are the top 5 search terms used by someone searching for implants? Do any of those terms incorporate Geographic terms? All of this information is freely available. The real question is are you having this conversation with your marketer? Are you aware what the value of Times Square is, before you are being sold Times Square? Only a small percentage of people are going to click on your link and another percentage are going to call. A percentage of those are going to book appointments and a percentage of those are going to come in for treatment. If the number you are starting with isn’t a BIG one than the number you end up with certainly isn’t going to be. Read along some of the other blogs for a breakdown of the options available for you and how to dissect them.