Are You Getting Your Money's Worth From Your Digital Marketing?

March 2016 ISSUE By Leon Klempner, DDS March 1, 2016
Marketing Internet/Website
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By: Dr. Leon Klempner*

Let’s face it. Most dentists don’t have the knowledge or the time to manage their own online marketing – the kind that will attract new patients. So they often end up blindly paying a marketing agency for generic services like search engine optimization (SEO), social media postings, or writing blog posts. Unfortunately, many large marketing companies targeting our profession don’t know what works best for a local dental practice, so they end up wasting dollars better spent elsewhere. If you’re ready to make the leap into social media with your marketing, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Start with an End Goal

Always remember that the goal of your marketing plan is increased production. Fortunately, digital media is eminently trackable and offers a wealth of feedback so you can make intelligent use of your marketing dollars. With the right data, you can easily determine how many more cases you started since launching your campaign. Or answer important questions like: How many more potential patients are clicking on your website or contacting your office with inquiries? Are prospective patients filling out web forms? Are they giving positive reviews on social media and on your Google Business listing?

Before talking about “likes” on Facebook or sharable smiles on Instagram, you must define the goal of your digital strategy and commit to tracking your ROI (return on investment). If the marketing company you hired isn’t focused on these matters, then find a new agency. The reality is that it will take much more than brand building to put new patients in the chairs!

Trust Trumps SEO

Spending lots of time and money to rank first on the local list of dentists might seem like the most logical goal, but enticing people to click on that top link is another story. Even if your practice shows up third in search results you will get more clicks than the top guy if people see positive reviews and a starred rating on your Google Business listing. A good agency will show you how to capitalize on user feedback to build trust in your practice that far outweighs expensive SEO.

Fans Refer Business

The same idea goes for your Facebook page. Your fans will generally consist of past or current patients, not new or potential ones. The power is in harnessing your satisfied patients to give your business positive reviews and refer your practice to their friends on social media. Likes on your latest Facebook post are great, but sharing positive reviews is the golden key that will unlock the flow of new business to your practice. People ask for referrals from their network of friends and community pages on Facebook every day. In addition to making sure your business page is filled with pictures of great smiles, you must encourage your patients to share their great experiences.

Is it Time for a Change?

There are a few red flags to look out for before hiring a marketing firm. First, ask about their policy regarding working with your competitors. If they’re working with a competing practice in your area then find a new company. There’s too much conflict of interest to make them effective at promoting your practice. Next, make sure they aren’t going to apply generic, one-size-fits-all strategies to your practice. Dental practices have their own specific needs. You want someone who will spend time learning about your potential target patients, focus on the best practices to get authentic 5-star Google reviews, and take advantage of the latest advertising technologies, like geo-targeted Facebook advertising.

Using a good marketing agency that understands your practice, a well thought out social media marketing campaign can bring in more new patients. Just make sure you’re focused on specific goals and taking advantage of the latest technology. And remember to ask questions. You are your greatest advocate! It’s your marketing money; make sure you’re spending it wisely!

* Dr. Leon Klempner is the founder and CEO of People & Practice, a marketing consultancy that builds and manages the online reputations of dental practices in the U.S. and Canada. Through authentic positive reviews, a strong digital presence, credible content, and engaging social media, Dr. Klempner helps attract new patients while building loyalty among existing patients. He can be reached at or 347.762.6330.

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