Creating a digital marketing plan for your dental office is key to your success in marketing your practice online. Step 1 of our dental digital marketing guide is to set a goal. You can think about your marketing campaign as a meeting with your team at your office. If you gather everyone together and open your mouth, your meeting will go well if you have a point to the meeting. You need to know what you want the meeting to accomplish and that’s the equivalent of having a goal for your dental digital marketing plan. Sticking with that analogy: how do you know if your message got through to the team一that they understood the instructions and are implementing the directions that you gave them? Whether you’re a TMJ dentist, a sleep dentist, or a cosmetic dentist, you have to track your results. You have to measure specific actions and outcomes in order to know if your digital marketing is accomplishing its goal.

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Step 2 in a Dentist’s Digital Marketing Plan: What do You Measure?

The father of management thinking, Peter Drucker, famously said, “What gets measured, gets improved.” A successful dental digital marketing campaign looks at a number of metrics:

  1. Reach / Impressions
  2. Clicks
  3. Traffic on the website
  4. Conversions (phone calls, emails, virtual consultation requests, messages on social media or chat)
  5. Geographic sources of the four above metrics
  6. Reviews and reputation score

These metrics will help you understand what is going on with your marketing. When looking at each of these data points, you should ask yourself a number of questions.

1. Do I Understand What I’m Looking At?

It’s important to ask questions. Don’t settle for a bunch of jargon that makes no sense to you.

2. Do The Numbers Represent The Type Of Metric That Is Important To Me?

For example, if you are looking at the number of impressions your campaign achieves, you’re looking at how many people saw an ad, post, or some other kind of listing for your practice. Are these impressions being generated by the right piece of content? Does the content look right? What if you have 1,000 people see a listing of your practice and half saw a beautiful ad for your practice and the other half saw your privacy practices form. Which half would be more likely to turn into a phone call to your office? The ad is designed for a great experience, so of 1,000 impressions in this example, only 500 are helpful.

3. Do I Have A Large Enough Sample Size To Make Any Valuable Conclusions?

We usually recommend looking at data over a period of at least 3 months. You usually want to compare year over year data, in addition, to look for a trend across 3 or 4 months. You may see that certain peaks and valleys recur, pointing to seasonal trends rather than a problem with your campaign. Never make decisions based on weekly developments in numbers. They will almost always be poor decisions.

4. Is There A Trend To Be Seen And Should I Do Something About It?

When you look at the data over long stretches of time, you’ll see that the numbers will naturally rise and fall. Ideally, you will see an overall upward trend in the data. If you do, it means that you’re on the right track. If not, you may have a problem. In either case, before you do anything to modify the campaign, look for ways to cross-reference the data. You may find that the perceived trend is easily explained by looking at data that reveals an outside influence such as a shift in spending on the campaign’s ad budget or changes in economic conditions.

For example, you may see your website traffic go down over a period of three months and think, “What’s going on?” You then look at your click numbers from your Google Ads and see that those are down too. “Uh oh!” you think, “I may have a problem here.” Then you look at your spend and it’s down too and look at the calendar and see that it’s late December and realize that people are probably not searching for dental care as much during November and early December. You’d still want to talk with your account manager who oversees your ad campaign, but if people are online less, you’ll naturally see a reduction in clicks and spending from a paid search campaign.

5. If Action Is Necessary, What Do I Do Next?

Is there something that you can do more or less to affect the trend in front of you? Is spending more money on the campaign likely to fix the issue or just give you more of a result that you’re not happy with? Sometimes the campaign is doing exactly what it’s designed to do, but the design is faulty, not the management. In those cases, you probably need to go back to Step 1 and clarify the goal of the campaign with your account manager. If your account manager disagrees with the goal, you may want to get a second opinion on your dental digital marketing plan.

A Web of Tactics and Metrics Makes for a Successful Dental Digital Marketing Plan

Measuring and interpreting analytical data from a complicated digital marketing campaign is not a simple task. It’s an ongoing process of learning, making changes, and learning again. It’s complicated by design and trying to oversimplify it is a mistake. A digital marketing plan should be multifaceted in the same way that a spider’s web is usually more than a couple of threads. A fly may be caught by just a few threads, but without the other threads that form the larger web, the web would fail to catch anything. We have to learn how the components of marketing work together. That just requires time, expertise, and the right tools. We’ll talk about tools in Step 3 of this dental digital marketing guide.