Are You Getting A Good Return On Your Dental Marketing Investment?

People often want to know, “If I spend x dollars in marketing for my dental office, how much will I ​get back in return?”

People often want to know, “If I spend x dollars in marketing for my dental office, how much will I ​get back in return?” In other words, what they want to know is:

“What will be my dental marketing ROI?”

But the reality is, in today’s world, things are much more complex than a simple “X dollars in –> marketing magic –> Y dollars out” equation. 

To illustrate our point, let us first paint a scenario:

An existing patient named Paul, refers his cousin, Jenny to a dental practice. Jenny googles the practice name, reads some reviews on their Google Listing, then goes to their website and reads about the doctor. After that she goes to their Facebook page and checks out their social media. Jenny is busy taking kids to soccer practice so she closes her laptop and leaves. Four days later, Jenny Googles the name of the practice again on her phone, and since she is out and about, she just clicks on the Click-to-call Google Ad that shows up first, calls the practice, and books the appointment. 

​Jenny has a great experience in the office. She leaves her appointment and meets her friend Lauren for dinner. She tells Lauren about her new dentist. Lauren needs a new dentist too but she is a Yelp user so she looks the doctor up there and books the appointment. 

​The question now is… when tracking ROI, who gets credit for Jenny?

google analytics ROI

Paul for the referral? The review tool for generating great reviews? Google since she searched? The website company for having a mobile friendly site? Facebook for the social validation and fun content? Or Google Ads since that is the last touchpoint and she called via an Ad? If we wanted to be “accurate”, the answer should probably some flavor of “all of them have a role”. 

​And what about Lauren? This is even more complex. You can say Yelp or internal patient referral. One can also argue that whoever you credit for ​Jenny, needs to also get the credit for Lauren since without Jenny, Lauren may not have found the practice. You can do the same exercise tracking Lauren, back to Jenny, back to Paul. ​This is the trouble with multi-channel attribution…

…it becomes very difficult to “spread the credit” amongst all the different touch points.

For this reason, we find it more valuable to take a more holistic approach. We track new patient month over month (D0150s), and we keep track of all of the marketing initiatives we have at play. If new patients are going up, we continue doing all the things we are doing. If they are not, we tweak one or two things at a time. A rising tide raises all ships so it is important to isolate changes, in order to understand what is really driving the dental marketing ROI. 

​It is still important to track where website visitors, phone calls and how new patients are telling you they found you. But don’t let that distract you from the fact that, in 2020…

…it still takes on average 7 touch points with a brand before a consumer makes a purchase decision.

This is known as the Rule of 7. With that in mind, trying to pinpoint every patient to a single marketing effort is a flawed model. It is important to have some directional information about what is working, while also remembering these things don’t exist in a vacuum. You are not judging if postcards, Facebook or Google Ads work individually; you are judging if the current combination of those things perform in conjunction.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t measure marketing KPIs. Quite the opposite. Here at Pain-Free Dental Marketing, as part of our DNA, we obsess about measuring as much as we can. We track everything where website visitors came from, what they did when they got to the site (we even screen record them and watch their interactions on the site), we record and listen to phone calls, and we still extract patient referral data. Our team of marketing experts want to know how campaigns are performing so they can improve them. Our client services team wants to know how the phones are being answered so we can help our clients convert more phone calls into patients.

At this point you may be saying to yourself,

“Ok, that is great guys, but how do I know my ROI??”.

Fine. If you just have to have a number, do this. Keep track of all the marketing initiative you do throughout the year. If at any point you change anything (e.g. do a postcard drop, local event sponsorship, change a front desk person), make a note of it. At the end of the month, compare your New Patient & Production numbers to the same month last year. Use how much you invested this year and the growth difference to calculate your dental marketing ROI. While you are at it, go ahead and calculate your cost/new patient as well.

This model is also imperfect. Some of the new patients you acquired this month are a result of efforts and investments from previous months (see Rule of 7 again). The key here is to be consistent. If you do that, some of those nuances will “come out in the wash”. What you are looking for are trends.

Above everything, keep your eye on the prize which is practice growth. Use data to guide your decisions. but don’t let your decisions become a slave to imperfect data. 

If you want to chat about your marketing strategy and get an idea of how it is performing, contact us for a complimentary assessment.