If you’re like most dentists, chances are you’re keeping up on all the marketing trends. Your goal is to spend as little marketing dollars as possible while getting the most patients. With competition at a peak and over-saturation of markets causing more and more dental offices to struggle, you need a strategy that will work both in the here and now, and in the long run.
Over the past few years, a new term has been coined to describe the type of marketing you want. Inbound marketing is one of the best ways to make your dental marketing both effective and affordable.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting patients who are looking for your services through the creation of useful content. It’s essentially a two-way conversation with prospective clients. This type of marketing relies on the creation of buyer personas to reach people who are actively searching for your services. For example, if you offer dental implants, there’s likely several commonalities that people searching for that service would have in common.
They might want to know what the process is like, how long it takes, what they could expect from results, and whether they’re even a candidate. Additionally, someone interested in getting dental implants likely has the income to afford them or the credit to finance. This individual is very different from someone seeking a simple dental cleaning.
Attracting this dental implant persona through content that answers their questions helps you attract people who are more serious “buyers.”
Blogging, social media, web content, and eBooks are all a part of inbound marketing for dental practices. The creation of various content types and dissemination through channels helps ensure the right content reaches the right persona.
The Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing has many benefits and is one of the best dental marketing strategies out today. It’s incredibly affordable, with the cost per acquisition at a fraction of what you’d pay for traditional marketing. The average cost of an inbound lead is $134 compared to $332 for a traditional outbound lead. Additionally, inbound marketing is a long-term solution to getting leads.
Inbound marketing also provides you with clear metrics of how people are engaging with your content, the actions they’re taking, and the demographics of who is interacting with your content.
For example, let’s say you decide that part of your inbound medical marketing strategy would be to include an eBook download on how to prepare for dental implant surgery. Now, considering the fact that you’ve been collecting leads on people who are interested in dental implant surgery, you might compose and email that offers them this eBook. These people have expressed an interest in the surgery, and now you’re offering them another opportunity to stay connected with your office and possibly take a next step toward scheduling an appointment.
Your analytics will show you who is opening the email, who is clicking through, and who actually downloaded the eBook. Once you know who took what action you can begin to devise a plan that reaches each prospect where they’re at.
Is inbound marketing a lot of work?
Yes and no. Inbound marketing does require the creation of a lot of content that’s targeted at your personas, however, because you’re an expert in the content you’re creating, the process isn’t as hard as it sounds.
The value of inbound marketing is that in the end, you get more business leads at a lower cost. For example, you’ve likely been told that blogging is one of the best dental marketing ideas out today. And that’s the truth. Just setting up a blog can see an increase of 67% more leads over time. If you choose to even dip your toes in inbound marketing, blogging is where you should start.
Sharing the blog post you write on social media will help increase your exposure to potential leads, establish you as an authority, and could lead to your content being picked up by other online media outlets. Additionally, each share you get from a Facebook fan is a vote of confidence. It means they trust what you’ve written enough to recommend it to friends. In the end, that vote of confidence can lead to people who might not have considered your services to now think they might want or even need them.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is the traditional marketing you think of. It’s billboards, TV commercials, newspaper advertisements, magazine ads, and anything else that talks to potential customers instead of with.
The problem with outbound marketing is that it is incredibly expensive. Super Bowl TV spots cost millions of dollars. Ads in magazines cost thousands. And at the end of the day, you can’t really measure how many people took an action after seeing your TV spot or magazine ad. In fact, aside from measuring the approximate number of households that saw a TV spot, you really have no metrics to gauge the success of an outbound marketing campaign.
For example, you could see a spike in traffic after a billboard goes up, but that could be a result of more patients spreading the news of you through word of mouth or the billboard doing its job. There’s no saying.
Which option is better?
We don’t believe that outbound marketing is a bad thing. It has it’s place, particularly for businesses with very high marketing budgets.
Inbound marketing is for those who have a smaller budget, but the brains to get it done. You can capitalize on your knowledge and use it to get new patients and serve those seeking answers to questions. Additionally, you’ll gain valuable insight through analytics and understand what’s working and what isn’t If something isn’t working you can always reallocate the time and money spent on it toward a more effective method.
Commonly we see more and more businesses combining their inbound and outbound marketing strategies. You might see a call-to-action on a TV commercial to like a company’s Facebook page or a unique URL that a user can type in and get an incentive.