How to Track and Measure Your Dental Marketing Efforts

Effective Dental Marketing:  You can apply every marketing strategy in the book, but if they aren’t effective, those efforts won’t bring new patients to your dental practice. Tracking what’s working and what isn’t is how you measure dental marketing effectiveness. Are your dental marketing efforts hitting your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Do they help your […]

Effective Dental Marketing

You can apply every marketing strategy in the book, but if they aren’t effective, those efforts won’t bring new patients to your dental practice. Tracking what’s working and what isn’t is how you measure dental marketing effectiveness. Are your dental marketing efforts hitting your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Do they help your dental practice to reach its financial goals? Are the marketing costs worth it? By measuring your dental marketing outcomes, you can ensure a high marketing ROI (or return on investment). 

How do we measure marketing?

Above all, the question to ask when planning a dental marketing strategy is, “How can I measure it?” If your marketing goals are not quantifiable, then you won’t be able to accurately assess your marketing ROI. In other words, you won’t be able to see if your dental marketing spend is actually a liability. Measuring success involves tracking your metrics monthly, and, depending on the marketing activity, even weekly. There are many metrics you can track, such as email clicks, social likes, and dental website visits, but not all of them will be relevant to you. The metrics you choose to analyze should relate to your overarching marketing goals. As a dentist, one of your primary aims is to attract new patients to grow your dental practice. 

Examining your dental marketing analytics and tracking dental marketing KPIs can help you measure your success. Let’s look at each one separately. 

Dental Marketing Analytics

Dental marketing analytics are the numbers behind your campaigns. Insights into patterns can inform your strategy for both paid and organic dental marketing campaigns. By taking a highly data-driven approach, you can increase your marketing ROI.

Below are a few analytics to consider:

  • Website Traffic: Who is visiting your dental site? How many new vs returning visitors do you have? How long are people staying on your site? What are the top 3 pages on your site? What are your most popular dental blog posts? These are some trends to consider when analyzing website traffic. Google Analytics is one of the most popular platforms to track website traffic.
  • Social Media Followers: How many new followers do you have on each social platform? Which platform has the highest engagement rate? Which posts are being reshared? Reports of ongoing trends can help you figure out which social media strategies are effective. You can use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout to generate reports that analyze the data. 
  • Email Subscribers: This is a pro-level tip since not many dental practices keep an email subscription list. If you do (first of all, congratulations! You are way ahead of your competition), you should be tracking: How many people are opening your emails? How many unsubscribes are you getting from each email campaign? Which links are people clicking? Asking these questions can reveal the effectiveness of your subject lines and copy. Hubspot is a great program for tracking email marketing campaigns. 
  • SEO and Keyword Rankings: What keywords are leading people to your site? What is your Google ranking for keywords related to dentists in your city? What is your website’s visibility? By tracking a few of these metrics, you can determine things such as if your meta descriptions need to be improved or if you need to increase the dental marketing spend on SEO optimization. Use Google Analytics to track your SEO efforts. 

Dental Marketing KPIs

Dental marketing KPIs are measures that track how successful your dental marketing campaigns are. In other words, how is your marketing campaign performing? KPIs are measurable and quantifiable. Let’s look at a few marketing KPIs to measure your dental marketing strategies. 

  • Leads: A lead is when you get a potential patient’s contact information. In the dental marketing world, a First Time Caller from a call tracking software such as CallRail would also be a great KPI to track. Over time, as existing patients have called a tracking number in the past, First Time Callers becomes a great indicator of New Patient potential. More first time calls usually mean more new patients. Another form of lead would be an appointment request submission on your site or online scheduling tool. At this stage, we dont know if they will actually come in or not, so for now, those count as just leads.
  • Cost Per Lead: This is how much it costs you to get a patient lead (form submission or new patient phone call). Cost per conversion is calculated by dividing an ad campaign investment by the number of conversions (patient leads) over the length of the ad campaign. This metric is important to track to ensure that your costs are in line with expectations and how they are trending over time. As a marketing campaign matures, cost/lead should decrease and stabalize.
  • Patient Acquisition Cost: How much did it cost to get a new patient? The patient acquisition cost can be calculated by dividing your total marketing investment by the number of new patients the practice acquired. At Pain-Free, we believe a “raising tide raises all ships”, so we look at the overall marketing spend and new patient results as a whole. It is almost impossible to distinguish “SEO Patients” vs “Google Review Patients” vs “Social Media Patients” in any meaningful way since patients generaly engage with multiple channels in their journey to choose a practice. The key thing here is to track investment and to see steady growth in the numbers.
  • Production & Collection: One of the best ways to know how well your marketing campaigns are performing is by tracking your production and collection. It’s also important that your front desk is dilligent about asking new patients “how did you first hear about us?” and entering that in your practice management system. That way your marketing team can pull reports around which channels are making an impact to the bottom line. But once again, this is directional since we know most patients will read Google Reviews and check out your website, even if they were an existing patient referral. What we are looking for here are outliers and opportunities to change where the marketing dollars are going. Here at Pain-Free Dental Marketing, we’ve gone a step further by writing some custom software in partnership with Dental Intel in order to be able to extract, how much production & collection our practices have done per marketing channel or referring source. We use this information to make smarter decision on the marketing ROI.

Effective Dental Marketing Takes Time and Consistency

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing instant results from your marketing efforts. It takes time to start seeing more traffic and leads from your marketing efforts. Give your campaigns time before hastily switching to something else. Having said that, marketing shouldn’t take years to start working. Within 90 days of starting actively marketing, your practice should “feel” some initial results (more phone calls, more website leads, more referrals, etc). If you are tracking the KPIs above and they are not moving after 90 days, it is time to re-evaluate the approach.

Moreover, showing up consistently builds trust among potential patients. If you’ve set a goal to make 2 blog posts a month and 3-4 social media posts a week, stick to your plan. Keeping things updated and following specific brand guidelines will give patients a reason to keep engaging with your brand. Make sure that your strategy is something you can maintain. One way to do this is to create a content calendar, which will help you to plan a long-term strategy.

Set a Marketing Budget

Once you’ve identified your marketing goals, it’s time to create a marketing budget. Your strategy will help you determine which distribution channels are most effective to reach your target audience. One way to calculate your budget is to base it on a percentage of your collections. The right marketing budget for a practice will vary based on the age of the practice, target demographic, type of dentistry, and many other factors.  An established practice should have a higher marketing budget than a startup. But on average, an effective marketing budget should be anywhere between 3 and 6% of the collections. This should include both internal and external marketing as well as any tooling. The ADCPA supports this range.

In conclusion, there is no one size fits all marketing budget. For instance, a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills might use an influencer marketing strategy. That is to say, the practice would have to budget for paid collaborations with celebrities and influencers. A family dentist in Dallas will have a different target audience and might focus on content marketing, Google Ads, and SEO optimization. 

Hiring a Marketing Agency

All of this talk about KPIs and dental marketing ROI might sound overwhelming. Let our team at Pain-Free Dental Marketing take over the game plan and analytics for you. We’ve got marketing strategies and solutions customizable to your dental practice, and we’re ready to help. Contact us here