Why Dental Marketing Requires Long-term Thinking

Dental Marketing Requires Long-term Thinking Sometimes it’s frustrating to hear that dental marketing results will take time. When dentists spend thousands of dollars on something, it’s only natural to want a return as soon as possible.

But marketing is really more of a marathon than a sprint.

The best results come over time.

It’s not unheard of for an advertising campaign to produce an immediate return, but that’s usually the exception to the rule. We hope for short-term response, but we plan for long-term results. Keep this in mind when you choose among your dental marketing options.

Once you pick your method, give the media enough time to produce. In most cases, the approach of “I’ll do this for a couple months and see how it goes” is a mistake and a waste of money.

Why are dental marketing results better over the long run?

One of the main reasons is because patients are likely to need multiple exposures to a message before they respond. Radio advertising provides a good example. Radio is a frequency medium, which means it works best when your ad makes repeated impressions on the same listener.

It can be expensive to make multiple impressions on a listener, especially in the larger markets, so it’s important to buy a station that you can afford. If you can’t afford to commit for at least six months, then you need to pick a less expensive station or put off radio until such a commitment is realistic.

One good media buyer I know tells his clients, “In the first month, you’re going to lose a (heck) of a lot of money. In the second month you’ll lose a little less. By the fourth or fifth month, you’ll start breaking even. And after six months, you’ll start making a lot of money.”

Now that first part might sound a little bleak, but if you’re planning long term, your investment won’t be evaluated by early results. At the end of the year the aggregated profit over the months should more than make up for a slow start.

I’ve seen dentists get multiple new patients the first day they ran a radio ad. That’s great for morale, but it’s not necessary for a successful campaign. Some of the best campaigns I’ve seen have started slow and built up over time.

Make sure you choose dental marketing methods that reflect this reality, and that your decisions are made for the long-term.

Ed Ridgway has executed dental marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.

Not All Dentists Comfortable With Broadcast Media (video)

dentists fear broadcast mediaBroadcast media can be an interesting and profitable avenue, but not all dentists are comfortable with radio or TV advertising.

“Even when radio seems to be failing for some, we have continued our success!” boasted one dentist.

“It cheapens the profession,” vented one California dentist. “When was the last time you heard a cardiologist or neurosurgeon advertise?”


097-Broadcast_Media.mp4

Read more: Dental Marketing via TV and Radio Ads

Dental Marketing: What Kind of Dental Practice Should Advertise on the Radio?

Dental Marketing: What Kind of Dental Practice Should Advertise on the Radio?Dental marketing is all about efficiency. It’s always best to keep doing the things that work and provide the most bang for the buck.

I’m one of the biggest proponents of radio advertising in the dental marketing industry because I’ve worked with so many practices who have seen great success from it. My company, Ridgway Consulting, is best known for our dental practice radio campaigns.

That being said, it’s not right for every practice.

Radio is a broadcast medium, like TV. This is significant because the radio signal often reaches a larger geographic area than what you might normally consider your practice’s base. Depending on the population in your area, you may mostly see patients that are within five, ten or twenty miles of your practice.

By contrast, some radio stations have the signal strength to reach listeners that are hours away.

The challenge with enormous “reach” of a broadcast like that is cost. When you advertise, you get what you pay for; in radio terms, that means radio stations charge you based upon the amount of listeners. So the problem is this: how can you be efficient when you are spending a portion of your marketing dollars to reach people who won’t travel as far as your office for dentistry?

The answer is simple – you need to have something that distinguishes you from the competition.

Radio only makes sense if you can offer something the other local practices are not offering. You need to give people a reason to pass by all the offices that are closer to their work and home, and make you their dentist of choice. That unique service, whether it be Invisalign, implants, sedation dentistry, or whatever, also needs to be a relatively profitable service.

It’s difficult to make an acceptable ROI when you advertise a low-dollar service like cleanings or whitening. Instead, use radio to advertise something like sedation. One big case, from someone who’s been away from dentistry for years, can pay for months of radio time.

Ed Ridgway has executed marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.

Dental Marketing: The 3 Elements to Successful Radio Advertising

Dental Marketing: The 3 Elements to Successful Radio Advertising

Radio can’t sell everything.

But for dental marketing, we know it can sell high-end dentistry.

Any dental advertiser who says, “radio doesn’t work,” used it wrong.

The 3 elements to successful dental marketing with radio advertising –

1. The right audience.

The first element to successful radio advertising is picking the right audience. This is done by selecting the proper radio station and the appropriate time of day to reach your target demographic.

2. The right frequency.

Next you need to find the right frequency. Radio is a frequency medium. Your results get better as time goes on, and you make repeated impressions on the same listener. Media buyers have different opinions as to how many commercials, or spots, is enough. The key is to spend just enough, without wasting money.

Underfunding a campaign is even more inefficient than over-funding it. If you can’t afford enough frequency on the most popular station in town, pick one you can afford or use another medium besides radio.

3. The right message.

The most important element to a successful radio campaign is the message. This includes the words, the voice, the music and the length of the commercial. Remember that we’re not trying to win awards for the most clever commercial – the only thing that matters is that the audience we are targeting picks up the phone and makes the call.

The simplest-sounding commercial often out-produces the slick polished spot with the smooth voice and the professional jingle. Don’t take your eye off the ball here. It’s not important that your staff, friends, and family all like your new commercial.

The only thing that matters for successful radio advertising is whether the commercial generates income.

Ed Ridgway has executed dental marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.

Dental Marketing: When Buying Radio, Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

When Buying Radio, Cheaper Isn’t Always BetterIn dental marketing, you get what you pay for.

Radio advertising offers a good example.

Radio stations base their rates on the size of their listenership. Typically 80% of their audience can be reached during the “prime time” of 6am to 7pm on weekdays.

Correspondingly, this is the most expensive time to advertise.

The “off hours” of weekday evenings, overnights and weekends have smaller audiences and are sold less expensively. They are cheaper because fewer people are listening.

Radio stations still need to sell this time. To do so, they often establish “packages” that contain little or no “prime” and a good deal of the nights and weekends. On paper, and especially to the untrained eye, these deals look good.

If the station sells time for up to $200 per minute, a package with an average rate of $50 looks like a steal. The efficient dentist, however, needs to make sure that he is not comparing apples to oranges. $50 is less than $200, obviously, but does it offer the same bang for the buck?

Experienced media buyers determine the value of commercial time by analyzing statistics like cost-per thousand (CPM) and cost per point (CPP). These figures illustrate the price per listener, which is the key number. Even more important is the price-per-target listener.

Your plan to reach middle-aged women cannot be efficiently executed if the listeners are largely teenage boys. When you examine a potential schedule, you need to look for the times when your money will work the hardest. It’s quite likely that the $200 spot in prime time will reach more than four times the target audience than the $50 off-hour commercial.

Let me be clear on a one thing. Non-prime commercials can be an effective part of your dental marketing radio campaign. I use them all the time to build frequency in campaigns that use mostly prime time. Some campaigns can be efficiently built on broad rotators, which run through all days and day-parts.

You just need to be clear on what the time is worth to get the most for your money.

And remember that cheaper is not always better.

Ed Ridgway has executed marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.

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