Dental Practice Marketing: Is Yellow Page Advertising Dead?

yellow pages advertising for dentistsSome dentists feel they don’t get quality patients from the Yellow Pages anymore, concluding that, running a display ad isn’t worth the cost.

With that being said, a majority of dentists are still advertising in the Yellow Pages as part of the overall dental marketing plan.

One Georgia dentist said, “I don’t really get qualified patients from the phone book, just people looking for cheapest deal or same day emergencies.”

The Wealthy Dentist decided to ask dentists if they are still getting patients from the phone book. Even in the age of the Internet, dentists still aren’t quite ready to give up advertising in the Yellow Pages, even if they aren’t getting many new patients.

Here is how the dentists responded to getting patients from the phone book –

  • 19% — Yes, absolutely.
  • 15% — Here and there.
  • 30% — Very few.
  • 36% — None.

dentists who are getting patients from phone book

Yellow Page advertising makes sense if you are a rural dentist, or if your dental patients are over 60. But the suburban dentists who responded to this survey were the majority of Yellow Page advertisers.

Yellow Page Advertising by location

Here’s what dentists had to say about Yellow Page advertising –

Money is a factor

“Horrible amount of money wasted. My $600 per month bill went to $128 when I went to a simple listing and Internet listing.” (Indiana dentist)

“The Yellow Pages are pricing themselves out of the game!” (South Carolina Dentist)

“What a waste of money!” (Virginia dentist)

“I have spent considerable money there in the past to no avail. I think we generally had a net loss.” (Florida dentist)

Patient quality is an issue

“Honestly, without being judgmental, the people who come from the phone book tend to be less interested in quality dentistry, and less likely to remain faithful to our practice.” (Illinois dentist)

“We get only off hour emergencies looking for prescription drugs.” (New York dentist)

“It attracts mostly druggies and bad debts.” (Minnesota dentist)

Still used by older patients

“We get just a certain older demographic.” (Nevada dentist)

“My patient population is older and still depend on phone books.” (Texas dentist)

“We get new patients only if they’re old and scared of the Internet!” (New York dentist)

“Yes. Older patients — over 65.” (Virginia dentist)

Yellow Pages work

“Patients still look us up in the Yellow Pages. I think it depends on the demographics and age of the patient.” (Suburban dentist)

“They are a very motivated patient if they are looking up dentists in the Yellow Pages.” (Texas dentist)

“We track all our calls, and the ads are very effective with a low cost/call and a high ROI.” (Urban dentist)

“I believe people still keep their main local directory near the phone for quick, familiar use and access. Being visible with a well designed ad demonstrates a successful, viable business.” (Georgia dentist)

“This is unique to our region of the Waikato in NZ where 76% of people still use the Yellow Pages to look for Dentists. This probably reflects the rural aspect and farming community.” (Urban dentist)

It’s dead

“The paper-based phone book model is dead. I even asked our Yellow Pages rep when the last time he opened a phone book (unrelated to his job), and he didn’t have an answer for me. Focus your marketing online unless you are trying to attract potential patients over 80 years old.” (Indiana dentist)

“It is possibly as useful as a buggy whip.” (Suburban dentist)

“The phone book is DOA. Most everyone use the Internet to look up phone numbers and see display ads.” (California implantologist)

Is it misguided for dentists to think that Yellow Pages advertising is dead? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Phone Book Dental Marketing (Survey Video)

Dental Production

Just a few years ago, dental advertising in the yellow pages was a critically important part of any solid dental marketing plan.

But smart phone searches, dental websites and online directories have become a bigger and bigger part of how consumers find a dentist.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they’re still getting dental patients from phone book ads, and if smart phones are having an impact on new cases.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss results dentists are getting with phone book dental marketing vs. smart phones:

In many cities across the United States, people are using dental websites and online directories more than the yellow pages to find a dentist when they need one.

For dentists in those markets, advertising in the phone book is becoming a less important avenue for dental practice marketing.

Only 16% of the doctors in our survey said they absolutely still get new patients from phone book advertising.

“We still get patients from the phone book, but the numbers have certainly gone down over the past few years. Now we just have a few lines in the book rather than a display ad. Doing so doesn’t seem to have affected our total new patient numbers, and we are saving a lot of money!” Ohio Prosthodontist

Another 46% of dentists in our survey responded that they get “very few” or “here and there”. And 38% said they get no patients from the phone book.

“The phone book is dead. All searches are via computer and most are via Google.” California Dental Implantologist

There’s no doubt that the internet has changed the face of dental marketing. But one ‘truth’ still holds: wherever potential new patients are looking — that’s where you want your marketing message to be!

How many new dental patients are you getting every month from the phone book compared with smart phone searches? How are you tracking your results?

Dentists Report They Are Still Getting Patients From the Phone Book

Dentists Report They Are Still Getting Patients From the Phone Book62% of the dentists in the most recent The Wealthy Dentist survey report that they are still getting some dental patients from the phone book, with 22% still using a display ad.

While there are those who argue that the Yellow Pages aren’t needed anymore, older dental patients do still use the printed Yellow Pages when they need a local business.

This aging demographic is projected to double by 2030 (to 71.5 million) and represent 20% of the total U.S. population.

A recent Pew report revealed that these seniors aged 65 and older are less likely than other age groups to own digital devices.

When dentists were asked if they are still getting dental patients from the phone book, here’s how they responded–

  • 38% None.
  • 23% Very few.
  • 23% Here and there.
  • 16% Yes, absolutely.

Dentists getting patients from the phone book graph

Since it has been reported that there are more than 105 million smartphones in the U.S., with 75% of those smartphone users conducting local searches on their devices, we further asked dentists if they are getting any dental patients via smart phone searches instead.

Here’s how the dentists answered —

  • 40% Don’t know.
  • 18% Here and there.
  • 16% Yes, absolutely.
  • 15% Very few.
  • 11% None.

The Wealthy Dentist also asked dentists for their thoughts on dental patients using the phone book and here’s what they told us —

“Depends on patient base … with more technology, more patients are posting on their personal Facebook page on a good experience.” (General dentist)

“I personally use the phone book, but not as much as I used to. For our business, though, we still get patients from the phone book, but the numbers have certainly gone down over the past few years. As a result, we keep shrinking our phone book advertising and now just have it as a few lines in the book rather than a display ad. Doing so doesn’t seem to have affected our total new patient numbers and we are saving a lot of money!” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“It’s a “dinosaur” marketing technique and never was a big source of new patients for me, and is diminishing steadily with time.” (Illinois dentist)

“It tends to be used by the older and more emergency-oriented.” (Alabama dentist)

“It is important to know the psychographics of your client before spending money. This business serves lower income people with no dental insurance.” (Missouri dentist)

“It’s not worth spending much on, especially in a competitive market.” (Texas dentist)

“The phone book is dead. All searches are via computer and mostly are via Google.” (California implantologist)

“Word-of-mouth still works best.” (General dentist)

“Not nearly the tool it used to be. AT&T is pretty desperate for advertisers. They dropped my full-page ad by $1000 a month. Even at the highly discounted rate, hard to justify spending that amount with the Yellow Book these days.” (California dentist)

What are your thoughts on dental patients using the phone book?

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