November 17, 2017

3 Questions Dentists Should Ask a Potential Marketing Agency

Marketing is one of those things that are “best left to the professionals” ⸺ like dentistry, neurosurgery, or applying the clear coat on your car (learned this the hard way). If your dental team currently lacks a marketing expert, but you’re ready to grow, then you’re in the market for a dental marketing agency. No matter the size of your organization, choosing knowledgeable, progressive, demonstrably accomplished marketing personnel is essential to carve out your spot in this competitive landscape. Ask these 3 questions before you go under contract.

1. What is your knowledge of and experience in the dental industry?

It’s important that you feel confident in the level of experience and expertise of the people responsible for your marketing success. Being knowledgeable about Branding, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Pay Per Click (PPC), is important. But so is industry knowledge.

If the marketing agency isn’t dedicated to understanding the needs, wants and concerns of dental patients, then it’s not likely they’ll build your online presence to engage potential patients on an emotional level. Nor is it likely they’ll have an understanding of how to establish you as an authority figure in dentistry. Nor help establish an online voice that reflects your unique practice philosophy and personality. (Are you seeing the trend here?)

Think of the marketing world like healthcare. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t seek the services of your optometrist. Even though your optometrist was required to study human physiology like your physician. Rationally, you’d go to your physician who specializes in physical impairments and has experience solving your specific problem.

The same goes for marketing.

Look for the expert who specializes in your specific marketing needs, not just any old expert in the marketing field. Though, let’s be clear, industry knowledge doesn’t make or break the decision to hire; it’s just one of many factors to consider. If a potential marketing agency does NOT have experience with the dental industry, make sure they DO have an answer to how they will have access to your industry and target audience. They should offer up some legitimate tools and data-driven strategies. Because industry knowledge is powerful. With it comes a better understanding of what makes for compelling content, access to thought leaders and authority sites, and insights on what tactical initiatives to use.

2. How do you plan to help me grow my practice by attracting more of the patients I want?

The competitive nature of the dental industry makes it imperative that you hire a reputable marketing group that has an interest in the long-term success of your practice. So, make sure the dental marketing agency you choose has a detailed marketing plan to get you from A to B, and a long-term vision. Avoid any agency that is all tactics, no strategy.

The proposed marketing plan should be personalized and specific to you, include their research, and outline their strategies, tactical plan, and calendar. Also, expected benefits should be clearly defined within a reasonable timeframe; no more than 6 to 12 months. (Before you hire an agency, make sure they have a well-defined onboarding process with timelines and deliverables, too.)

It may seem ticky-tacky, but the show of research is significant. If you don’t know who you are, what you’re selling or who you’re selling to, it’s nearly impossible to convince someone to buy your product or service. (Not to mention, figure out what tactical initiatives to use.)

Keep in mind, effective dental marketing isn’t about attracting new patients, it’s about attracting quality new patients. You don’t want a marketing agency that’s focused on just funneling anyone to you, you want quality new patients that pay, stay and refer.

For that reason, choose a marketing agency that understands (or seeks to better understand) your target audience, your buyer’s journey, your goals and your practice. This is key to a successful partnership.

3. What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) does your team measure and how will you report on our progress month-over-month (or week-by-week)?

In other words, how are they going to measure the success of their efforts? And how will that information be conveyed to you? You need a timely format that you can easily understand. Besides, you’re interested in leads, new patients and revenue, not so much website traffic, social media follows and paid ad impressions.

Reporting should address the number of leads generated, lead quality, and the flow of leads through each stage of the sales funnel. Plus, the number of new patients generated, of course. But also, how effective their various marketing tactics are in regards to generating traffic, leads and new patients.

Finally, their report should include the 3 letters everyone cares about: R - O - I.

How to Calculate Return on Investment

The key to maximizing your return on investment for your marketing efforts is tracking it. When your marketing ROI isn’t positive, your marketing agency should be able to provide explanations as to why and recommendations to change the strategy moving forward. This is why effective reporting is important, because it provides actionable insights for future marketing strategies and tactics.

Now, Go Find Your Perfect Dental Marketing Agency

Like interviewing a potential new hire, when you interview a potential agency, there needs to be a cultural and organizational fit for the collaborative working relationship to be efficient and positive. It’s important that you trust the agency will have your practice’s best interest in mind and will provide a positive return on your investment. Once you use basic criteria (like pricing and breadth of services offered) to limit your list of potential agencies, use the 3 questions above to find your match made in heaven!

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