Marketing a dental office can be a struggle. You need new patients to grow your practice, and you want to limit expenses. So when you invest money in marketing and it doesn’t work, you not only have spent money on the marketing- you’ve missed out on new patient revenue. That makes bad marketing extremely expensive, even if you didn’t invest much in the marketing campaign. Having a digital marketing plan can help you avoid wasting time and money by giving your investment the best chance at achieving a return. It will give your campaign direction and give you a means for measuring its success. Creating a digital marketing plan gives you confidence as a business manager. Read the guide below and the other posts in the series to know how to create your dental digital marketing plan for 2023 and beyond.

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Step 1 in a Dentist’s Digital Marketing Plan: Have a Goal

If you skip this first step, the rest of your efforts will be frustrating and less productive. Without a goal, you will have a difficult time directing your campaigns.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when setting the goals for your digital marketing:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What problems do they have that I can solve?
  3. What qualifies me to help them solve those problems?
  4. How can I reach my target audience with this message?
  5. What do I want my audience to do once I reach them?

woman's hands typing on a laptop at her deskThese questions will help you craft your message’s story, deliver it in a way that your prospective patients will receive it, and cause your prospective patients to take action. Be as detailed as you can while still limiting the scope of your message. Do not try to target all people with teeth. That’s not a target audience. That’s the internet and you can’t target the entire internet.

When you ask “what problems can I solve?” think about the types of cases that you would like more of.

Narrow the scope with some simple questions:

  1. Adults, kids, both?
  2. Seniors, middle-aged adults, both?
  3. Cosmetic or general dentistry? Both?
  4. TMJ or sleep dentistry? Both?

If you said ‘Both’ to all three of these, you can still narrow it by eliminating prospective patients that you absolutely do NOT want to attract more of. Unless you have a dental marketing team that understands the goal-setting part of a dental digital marketing plan, you may unwittingly waste money on clicks and leads that you have no hope or interest in converting into patients.

Some examples of patients you may NOT want to target include:

  1. People looking for free or “cheap dental care”
  2. People calling outside of normal office hours looking for an “emergency dentist”
  3. People searching for things like ‘dentist near me…’ (good…but) ‘…who accepts Medicaid’ (probably a deal-breaker for you if you’re reading this)
  4. People looking for your competitor’s office and searching for it by name such as “Smythe Dental Office”
  5. People who would have to drive an hour or more to visit your office

All of these scenarios probably seem like obvious nonstarters to you. Why would anyone who knows anything about dental marketing target these people? Actually, it takes a lot of effort to AVOID targeting these searchers because the ad platforms available to marketers are programmed to try to build the largest audience possible. They want to get you LOTS of eyeballs. After more than 20 years of experience in marketing and running a dental marketing agency for more than 10 years, we understand that not every person on the internet who is searching for dental information is a prospective patient for your office.

Goals Beg for Metrics

Once you know who you want to target, you can also identify how much opportunity there is according to some of Google’s tools. You can also set goals for how many new patient leads you want in the form of emails and phone calls. Nowadays, you can factor in requests for telemedicine consults as well.

If your dental marketing expert has experience running similar campaigns in your city, you may be able to get some target numbers. Or you can just throw out some desired outcomes as a starting point and do your best to reach them, knowing that your goals may be way above or well below what’s actually possible and that you’ll need to adjust as you go.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that these are your goals in a hypothetical digital marketing plan:

  1. Target men and women aged 30-70 looking for cosmetic dentistry but not orthodontics within a 20-mile radius of your office.
  2. Achieve 500 new visitors to your website each month.
  3. Achieve 15 new patient leads per month (3% converted visitors to leads) in the form of:
    1. 10 calls
    2. 4 emails
    3. 1 tele consult request
  4. Achieve 5 new patients scheduled from those leads. (33% of leads)

Those are fine goals. How will you know if you achieve them? By measuring metrics with reporting systems. We’ll have more information about metrics and how to measure them in our next article. If you want to receive notifications when a new article from us is released, subscribe to our New in Dental Marketing email list. We’d love to help you grow your dental practice. You can also call us right now to speak with a consultant at (970) 672-1212 or you can schedule a consultation online.