Any business that wants to grow must invest in marketing. You cannot grow your practice without it. If you really want to excel and scale, you have to understand that you’re competing with other practices who might spend thousands of pounds a month on their marketing – because it works.
In the last ten years, digital advertising has boomed. According to HubSpot, 80% of brands use paid social media advertising, with Facebook and Instagram providing the best ROI in 2022. Google boasts an additional 400,000 searches every single second as the most widely-used search engine in the world.
If you’ve gone down the route of digital advertising before and haven’t received a return on your investment, it’s most likely because you’ve overlooked a few very basic necessities.
Why has digital advertising not worked for you?
Before you even spend a penny on your advertising, you need a clear marketing message and a deep understanding of your ideal patients.
You need to have a process behind your advertising, otherwise you’re wasting your time and money. You need to have an overarching strategy, be producing quality content, and understand your audience. For example, if you’re setting your radius too large, you’re diluting your audience. Your practice is irrelevant to people who live 50 miles away.
If you’ve been investing money in traditional advertising such as radio and print media, all you’re really doing is strengthening your brand recognition, highlighting who you are and what you do. You’re not showing that you can identify the problems your patients struggle with, and that you have the solution.
Digital advertising wears the crown
Whilst some of us might be clinging desperately onto the last remains of a social media-free society, it’s no use denying the positive impact digital advertising can have for your practice over traditional methods – not least in its ability to reach a wider audience, allow more freedom of expression, and offer actual data you can use to measure the effectiveness of your ads.
I spent years looking at traditional advertising and I found that there was very little ROI on the amount of money I was spending. When I looked into Google and social media advertising, I immediately saw a quicker return.
Ads on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram aim to disrupt the user from scrolling through their feeds. To do this, they absolutely must stand out. An ad needs to be so eye-catching that it stops the viewer from scrolling any further. From this point, you only have their attention for a few seconds, so the content on your ad has to be instantly engaging, immediately identifying a problem and offering the solution.
Google advertising requires a different approach because people who come across your content on the Internet are already actively searching for answers to a problem they have. You don’t need to convince them of how much better their life will be if they pay for a solution to this problem – they’re already looking for it and are willing to invest, or have already invested, time, effort and money. The key here is to show why you’re the best equipped to solve that problem and what more you can offer them.
You have the solution to their problems
Nailing your digital advertising content and understanding how it works is only one part of the overall strategy. Getting people to click your ad isn’t going to be enough to convert that prospect into a patient.
In the world of dentistry, practices often focus their advertisement on the lead dentist as their main selling point. This is an old fashioned way of approaching sales, and crucially, it ignores the person you’re selling to – the patient! As I touched on above, you need to be evidencing what benefit you can bring to their lives if they invest time and money into your business.
Whilst it’s great to see that you’re a dental practice full of shiny equipment and a well-qualified lead dentist, the focus should always be on what problems the patient has that you can fix. For example, a patient might have a crooked smile that’s holding them back from applying to jobs because of their insecurities. By fixing their teeth, you can have a huge impact on their wider world – this is the core of your advertising.
It isn’t just about being a modern day Town Crier ringing your bell in the square and shouting about your business. People are likely to plug their ears and walk – or scroll – right on by. You need to be acknowledging their problems, evidencing that you have the solution, and showing what a positive impact solving that problem will have on their life. Who you or your lead dentist are comes secondary.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Another common issue when digital ads fail is because the advertising spend is too low. You might be nervous about spending money on digital ads – and that’s completely understandable. When you’re not a marketer, advertising can feel a lot like gambling because you don’t know what your ROI is going to be or when you’re going to see it.
I’d recommend you “feel the fear and do it anyway”. For a dental practice especially, digital advertising is the fastest way to get a return on your money. If you’re struggling to get patients through the door or to sell the high-quality high-cost treatments, you can’t just sit around and wait for them to show up. You need to take control and be more “aggressive” in your approach of going straight to the patient – and the quickest and most effective way to do that is through digital advertising.
Keep an eye out for my step-by-step guide on how you can build your own digital advertising strategy coming soon! To make sure you don’t miss it, sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you when it’s live.