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Your dental marketing should come with a guarantee

Nov. 7, 2016
When it comes to dental marketing, getting the right results isn't rocket science. It's actually harder.
Colin Receveur, CEO, SmartBox

When it comes to dental marketing, getting the right results isn't rocket science. It's actually harder.

Your spending on dental marketing is best viewed as an investment. You’re investing money to get more patients appointed so that you can make even more money by treating them.

Most investments don’t come with a guarantee. In fact, the phrase, “Past performance is not a guarantee of future results” is widely used in conjunction with stocks, mutual funds, and other investments.

Your dental marketing certainly doesn’t come with a guarantee. Many people think it should because, after all, marketing is not​ rocket science. Right?

Actually, it’s harder.

Rocketry has clearly defined principles that make it possible to control almost all the variables involved with a launch. Rocketry deals with a finite set of known quantities and conditions. If a rocket launch fails, it’s almost always due to a design flaw, a manufacturing flaw, or human error.

Marketing is, at best, a “fuzzy” science. Humans are perhaps the greatest unknown quantities on the planet. That makes it nearly impossible to account for all the variables involved with getting enough people to take a certain action, like picking up the phone. Marketing firms can get you more “clicks” or “views” online, but those don’t necessarily translate into appointed patients.

The current state of dental marketing

A lot of marketing firms spend a great deal of time and money collecting and analyzing data on the results of their marketing campaigns. This is easier than ever since the Internet has become a major marketing venue. The hard part of analyzing data from marketing is isolating the variable or variables that led to the results. And since the audiences for various products and services are different (think of the age and income disparities between the average Lexus buyer versus the average Kia buyer), applying the results of marketing data analysis is even trickier.

Decades of marketing experience have yielded some principles that work, more or less, more often than not. Those principles don’t yield reproducible results because humans live in an uncontrolled environment and are impacted by random and unknown influences. What works for a dentist in San Diego may very well not work at all for a dentist in New York.

With these kinds of variable results, it’s no wonder that dental marketing firms don’t offer guaranteed results.

Dental marketing done right

The end goal of all your marketing should be to get more prospects to pick up the phone and book an appointment. Everything else—hits, clicks, views, likes, followers—are a means to that end. By themselves, they won’t get you more patients. So the first metric by which you should judge your current marketing’s effectiveness is by the number of new patient calls. If the phone’s not ringing, you’re not making money.

The second metric is the average case value of the new patients you’re seeing. Traditional dental advertising focuses on “right now, or at least soon” results. To accomplish that, advertisers “chase” prospects by offering incentives—coupons, specials, free exams, and the like. The problem with chasing patients is that you get price-shopping, insurance-driven, and one-and-done patients. You won’t make much off of each patient, meaning that you and your staff will be working longer for relatively little return. You certainly won’t get the kinds of cases that will help you grow your practice.

What dentists need to succeed are more​ and better patients. If your current marketing isn’t providing that for you, you’re arguably throwing money away.

The way to get more and better patients is by attracting them rather than chasing them. To do that, your marketing has to position you as the preferred choice, the only logical choice, to solve your prospects’ dental problems. When you’re viewed as the trusted, relatable expert, new patients who are willing to pay more for a dentist they like and trust will be attracted to your practice. Regardless of your market, those better patients are out there.

When every aspect of your marketing works together to attract the patients you want, you have a patient attraction system that works for you 24/7. It takes time and effort to set up and maintain such a system, but the rewards are worth it.

Colin Receveur, a nationally recognized dental marketing expert and speaker, is the author of a number of bestselling books on internet marketing. His company, SmartBox Web Marketing, helps more than 550 dentists on three continents to get more patients, more profits, and more freedom. Reach him at [email protected].


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Author's note:

SmartBox Web Marketing has data that is so solid and so reproducible that we’re confident in offering our $10K Guarantee to our dentists. We get the results we promise, or we let our dentists out of the rest of their contracts and give them a check for $10,000. To be eligible for the guarantee, all you have to do is to answer 90% of your phone calls and follow our recommendations. Contact SmartBox for the complete Guarantee. We compiled the numbers for our elite-level dentists for the first quarter of 2016. On average, our elite dentists received 71 new patient phone calls each month. That’s more than 850 new patients calls a year. Is your current marketing firm regularly getting you those kinds of numbers? If it is, consider yourself extremely fortunate. If not, consider learning more about setting up your own patient attraction system by visiting

Editor's note:

This article first appeared in the Apex360 e-newsletter. Apex360is a DentistryIQ partner publication for dental practitioners and members of the dental industry. Its goal is to provide timely dental information and present it in meaningful context, empowering those in the dental space to make better business decisions. Visit the Apex360 home page here, and subscribe to the Apex360 e-newsletter here.

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