Dentists – Here's How You Advertise Like The Big Boys

 
In my opinion, you only have a stable practice when you are able to generate patients on demand.
 
What do I mean by this?
 
Simply put, your marketing campaigns should be comprehensive and should be showing consistent and predictable results.
 
This usually isn’t the case with dental offices.
 
Much of the time they are relying on referrals and Yellow Pages. Most of them send out postcards, run radio ads etc. However, they don’t have a good idea about where new patients are coming from.
 
Let’s remedy that problem.
 
Irrespective of where you are in the world, you can use these 3 platforms to bring in a lot of patients:
 
Facebook, Google and Bing.
 
Now you are probably thinking, “I tried Facebook and Google, it simply doesn’t work…” or “Who uses Bing? I have never heard of it before…”.
 
If you haven’t seen good results from these platforms, it could only mean 2 things:
 

  • You did not set up and run the campaign properly

 

  • Your marketing team doesn’t know how to create effective, engaging campaigns which show results

 
Let’s dive in a little more.
 

Facebook – Why you can’t afford not to use it

 
If your dental practice doesn’t have an active Facebook fan page, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. And no, I am not talking about getting someone to make 1 dull post on the page every week.
 
What I am referring to is having a well thought-out social media strategy which educates people in your area, builds your brand and gives them reason to come into your office.
 
Also, if you aren’t currently using Facebook ads to grow your practice, you are not benefiting from one of the most untapped and unsaturated marketing mediums currently available.
 
Facebook’s advertising platform can turn your practice around because:
 

  1. It is mostly underutilized and for that reason you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get new patients

 

  1. Facebook allows you to target people based on gender, age, income levels, where they live, marital status, hobbies, certain behaviours etc. This simply isn’t the case with Google Adwords and other platforms.

 

  1. Facebook ads for your dental practice can go viral and result in a flurry of new patients and even media coverage if they are well thought out and resonate with your target audience

 
That being said, most businesses use Facebook ads the wrong way.
 
See, Facebook is a social network which allows people to stay in touch with their family and friends.
 
Facebook isn’t a business website (unlike LinkedIn) and that reason, you cannot expect to get all salesy on Facebook and win.
 
People either go on Facebook when they need to catch up with their friends, see what’s happening around the world or simply when they are bored. In other words, they aren’t actively looking for a specific product or service.
For that reason, you would see better results if you “intrigue” your prospects and get them to want to learn more about what you offer as opposed to jumping into a sales pitch, which 95% of Facebook advertisers do.
 
My team and I have spent over $220,000 on Facebook ads so we know that it is these kinds of ads which normally receive a lot of response:
 
“Fill out this 30-second quiz to see if your Oral health needs attention…” or
 
“Does your oral health need attention? Find out this 30 second quiz and see if you are a candidate for our non-invasive treatment” or
 
“Can you benefit from Invisalign? Click here to book a free 30 minute consult to see if this is the right treatment for you…”
 
In contrast, this Facebook ad will not show good results:
 
“80% off on teeth whitening sessions! Get yours now! Limited appointments available so hurry!”
 
See the difference?
 
Another important thing to notice is that Facebook ads run on a Relevance score” – how much your target audience is engaging with the ad.
 
The reason is simple.
 
Facebook wants to give their users a really good experience so if you create ads which resonate with your audience, you will get a higher Relevance score and this will lower the cost to run your ad.
 
In other words, the better results your ad generates (clicks, comments, shares, likes, patients etc.) – the lower the cost per result you pay.
 
This is a very important concept to understand and might be the reason why your previous attempts at Facebook ads didn’t show you good results.
 
Mostly, dental offices, if they do run Facebook ad campaigns at all, do so with the mentality of “Let’s just put this ad up and review the progress a month”.
 
If you do it this way, you are bound to fail.
 
A more realistic approach would be to:
 

  • Create a compelling ad with the right image (or multiple images in a carousel ad)

 

  • Create an irresistible offer which makes people feel silly for not going for it

 

  • Use a neutral tone (nothing too salesy)

 

  • Intrigue your audience

 

  • Actively monitor how different ads are performing

 

  • After 2 weeks, turn off ads which aren’t doing so well

 

  • Keep running ads which have a Relevance score of at least 7 out of 10

 

  • Point the ads to a page built especially for the ad (so people only see stuff relevant to them)

 

  • Most importantly, split test all the ads to see which ones perform best

 
Generally speaking, you will see good results if you run Facebook ads for your entire city and show it to women who have children.
 
You could experiment with other demographics but be aware that 90% of the health related decisions in a householder are made by women.
 
Another thing to note is that if you are able to bring in a mom through the door and she likes her experience at your practice, she will bring in her spouse as well as her children, which can dramatically increase your monthly revenue.
 
Needless to say, if you aren’t using Facebook ads to bring in new patients, I would suggest giving it a shot.
 

Google AdWords – The Behemoth

 
Google is the biggest search engines around and accounts for 66.1% of all searches made in the US.
 
However, Google Adwords is very different from Facebook.
 
People on Google are actively searching for what they want i.e. they know that they have a need.
 
On Facebook, people are just scrolling on their newsfeed and will click on your ad more because of a sense of curiosity than anything else.
 
What this means is that the traffic you receive from Google will be of a higher quality since they are actively searching for products or services.
 
Now, since this platform has been around for 19 years and since most businesses know about it, the cost for advertising here is much higher than on Facebook.
 
However, if you set up the campaigns properly, you will be able to eventually dominate your city and get patients in at a decent cost ($150-400).
 
That being said, since Google AdWords is so competitive you have to figure out exactly what you should say, how you say it and where you’d like the ad to show.
 
Usually businesses advertising on this platform have the aim of securing the top 3 spots available on the first page of Google since these spots are prime real estate and people click on them a lot more than on spots lower down on the page.
 
For dental offices, it usually costs anywhere between $6 to $45 per click.
 
Why such a huge difference?
 
Because Google provides only a limited number of advertising spots on its search pages and depending on how many competitors there are and how far they are willing to bid up the price, you will have different cost per clicks to work with.
 
However, just like Facebook ads, Google has a “Quality score”, which in my opinion is more difficult to score high on.
 
The simple reason is that Google has strict guidelines on how you should advertise and if you don’t do it the right way, they will disapprove the ads.
 
Here’s how to create a well-performing campaign on Google AdWords:
 

  • Use to-the-point language since space is limited

 

  • Make sure the offer provides a lot of value

 

  • Have a call to action

 

  • Link the ad to the page on your website which exclusively talks about what you offer in the ad (never link to the homepage)

 

  • Over the next 30 days check how different ads are performing

 

  • In 2 weeks, check if the quality score is at least 7/10 – if it isn’t, stop that ad

 

  • Create multiple ads and split test them to see what works better

 

  • Use only a similar keyword set for each ad (i.e. use separate ads and ad groups for cleaning and Invisalign)

 

  • Once your ad position stabilizes on Google, bid the price up a little to entrench yourself in that spot for the long term

 
This usually is a lot of work so I would advise you to hire a professional marketing firm for it.
 
However the results that you will see once you have a successful campaign will definitely outweigh the costs incurred to get there especially if you have a system which gets patients to come back over the long-term.
 

Bing Ads – The Hidden Goldmine

 
No one really talks about Bing ads.
 
Over 5 billion monthly searches are carried out on this platform every month in the US alone.
 
Bing also has a 33% share of the search market in the US and for that reason is a very viable option.
 
Many people don’t know that whenever someone buys a new laptop or computer with Microsoft Windows on it, you can bet that Bing is installed on it as the default browser.
 
This is exactly why people over 45 who aren’t tech-savvy use Bing. A good chunk of this demographic will be your ideal patients.
 
Advertising on Bing has one major benefit: The prices are very low.
 
Since most people don’t think about using it, you can expect to pay $4-9 per click on Bing Ads for your dental practice.
 
Now, how you set up the ads on Bing is very similar to what you would do on Google – the only difference is that Bing gives you a lot more leeway on what you can say in the ads.
 
Looking back over the years, I can’t recall a single instance where I have ever had even an ad disapproved on Bing.
 
That being said, please remember to give a lot of thought to your campaigns so you see the best results.
 
Action: If your practice relies only on referrals, that is risky. A good idea would be to get a marketing team together to start running campaigns on Facebook, Google and Bing. The key here is to test different ads, monitor progress and turn off ads which aren’t bringing patients in. This simply strategy can 2X your revenue in as little as a year.

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