Independent dentists need an effective dental marketing plan in order to attract new patients and grow. Dental marketing consultants — marketing experts or marketing agencies who specialize in creating and implementing marketing strategies specific to dental practices such as dental SEO — can help develop a plan and achieve your growth goals.
Finding a quality consultant or dental marketing agency for your practice can free up your time, improve the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing budget, and help grow your practice. But there are also times when a dental marketing consultant or a marketing agency does not make sense for a practice.
How do you know whether outsourcing marketing efforts to a dental marketing agency or consultant is the best thing for your practice? In this blog post, we evaluate the benefits of hiring a dental marketing consultant or a dental marketing agency, identify which types of dental practices are best fits for marketing consultants, and present a few alternative marketing solutions for dentists.
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What do dental marketing consultants and marketing agencies do?
Depending on your agreement, dental marketing consultants or agencies might:
Perform an audit of your current marketing practices
Looking at your marketing efforts to date is a good way for consultants to assess which dental marketing strategies work well for your practice and which don’t.
Consultants or agencies might want to look at your current marketing materials and any insights into prior campaigns like metrics from Google Analytics. You might not have granular data on hand, and that’s OK. Consultants can still look for spikes in new patient appointments and other readily available metrics like online reviews.
Identify both traditional and digital marketing opportunities for your practice
Once consultants or marketing agencies have a feel for which marketing strategies have worked for you in the past, they’ll combine this knowledge with what they know about your market and assemble a plan.
Many dental marketing consultants will have generic campaign plans, but you can help your consultant or dental marketing agency refine those plans for your practice by asking:
- What has been successful for local competitors?
- What marketing projects showed promise in the past and can be optimized for better returns?
- What marketing assets do we already have?
- How can we incorporate our staff into marketing activities?
Create a task-level marketing campaign and implement tasks
After identifying which dental marketing strategies are best fits for your practice, a consultant will put together a task-level plan.
If you don’t have the time or manpower to put into marketing tasks, consultants can help implement the plan. Here is where your budget can begin to disappear quickly, so you’ll likely want to check in regularly to ensure tasks are being completed in timely and efficient manner.
Consultants will keep an eye on the success of the campaign, and they’ll adjust the plan to accommodate for efforts that aren’t driving growth. Often dental marketing agencies or consultants will have dashboards or reporting documents they can share with you.
Do I need a dental marketing consultant?
Consulting with a marketing expert can be a wise investment for your practice, but some practices will be better off keeping marketing efforts in-house.
There are ways for DIYers to achieve the same — or better! — growth than practices that choose to engage with a dental marketing consultant or dental marketing agency. Consider that you know your practice best and that, as a stakeholder, you’re likely to put in the required effort to see your practice grow. But also consider that growing your practice will require sacrifices.
Do you have time to spend on marketing tasks? Does anyone else at your practice have the time?
In the beginning, developing a marketing plan can take time. Depending on the current health of your online local listings, reputation, and web presence, there could be much to do. But for practices that have a good foundation, refining marketing efforts can be done with a relatively small time budget.
A good dental marketing consultant will be able to grow your practice, but it could be years before you see ROI. Also, keep in mind that returns might not show up right away. A couple things to consider when evaluating your practice’s finances:
Patient lifetime value (PLV)
A satisfied patient can stay with your practice for many years. When calculating ROI, it’s useful to consider PLV, as a successful campaign might not yield returns right away.
The long-term effects of various marketing tactics
There are some dental marketing strategies that will continue to yield returns even after your engagement with a marketing consultant is over. Good processes, such as an automated patient feedback system, and digital efforts, such as dental SEO and local citations, can continue to grow your practice for years, though they’ll likely need refinements.
Other strategies like direct mail, print advertisements, and paid search do not have the same lasting effects, and efforts such as social media marketing and content marketing will require frequent and ongoing activity.
A dental marketing consultant will be well-versed in modern digital marketing techniques and able to quickly determine which dental marketing tactics will be fruitful for your practice.
Thanks to the information age we live in, it’s also possible for you to educate yourself on modern dental marketing practices. This knowledge — combined with the unmatched understanding of your practice and local market — is great for growth. Consider whether you have the time, energy, and interest required to learn dental marketing.
What to look for in a dental marketing consultant
Do you think a consultant is the best fit for your practice? Here’s what to look for.
History of successful dental marketing campaigns
Although a newer consultant or dental marketing agency can be effective — and often less expensive — a consultant with a strong history of successful campaigns will give you reason to be confident. Ask consultants about past work and what growth metrics they’ve been able to achieve for other clients with similar budgets.
Experience in your market
Marketing consultants who are familiar with your location, community, and target audience can help expedite your practice’s growth by prioritizing strategies that are known to be successful with your audience.
As long as your budget is realistic, there is likely a quality consultant out there who can grow your practice without increasing spend.
You will likely want regular updates on task completions and progress. Be sure to ask prospective consultants how often and in what format you will receive progress reports.
As you have probably learned from your own practice, reputation is important. Look on the consultant’s website for positive testimonials and case studies, and search online for third-party reviews.
Established communication protocols
You don’t want to do business with a consultant you can never get in touch with. Ask consultants upfront about how often you can expect to hear from them.
Dental marketing consultants are good fits for some dental practices and bad fits for others. Consider your own enthusiasm for marketing and time constraints, as well as the practice’s budget and current marketing activities before deciding whether a marketing consultant is the right choice for your practice.
Other ways to streamline your dental marketing efforts
For dentists who have a DIY spirit but are short on time, there are software solutions. Software can take care of many areas of your dental marketing plan like local search engine optimization (SEO) and reputation management. Software solutions can also be more budget friendly.
PatientPop offers the first complete practice growth solution that’s HIPAA-compliant, delivers measurable improvements, and is proven to grow your practice.
Streamline your marketing efforts with a solution made specifically for doctors and dentists. PatientPop is a single solution for your online dental marketing, focusing on the critical areas of practice growth, from a superior web presence and SEO to proven content marketing strategies.
For more information on dental marketing, check out the blog post “How to attract new dental patients in 2019 and beyond.”