Are you spending too much money marketing your dental practice? Or perhaps you’re operating on a tight marketing budget and need to ensure you’re spending in the right areas for your practice? Regardless of your dental practice’s specific circumstances, it’s important to keep a handle on where and how you are spending your marketing dollars. In this piece we’ll highlight different ways your dental practice can save on marketing costs.
Money-Saving Marketing Advice for Dental Practices
Avoid Overpaying Expensive Marketing Agencies
Many dentists, like other small business owners, are busy running their business and office staff are equally occupied supporting day-to-day operations. It’s not uncommon that marketing, while recognized as integral to growing the practice, remains a struggle given the lack of internal resources – time, money, expertise, etc. Situations like these often leave dental practices outsourcing to a marketing agency.
While outsourcing may cost less than hiring internally to meet your practice’s marketing needs, it doesn’t mean you still aren’t overpaying your outside agency.
How do you know if you’re overpaying your marketing agency?
If you’re on a monthly retainer be certain your invoice includes a detailed breakdown with the number of hours of worked, by whom, at what rate and the actual work completed. It’s not uncommon for agencies that more junior-level employees do the work and billing at the rate of a more seasoned (and expensive) team member. Plus, doing so will force the agency to account for ‘what’ it is they are billing you for.
Be sure they provide reports and/or visibility into a dashboard or platform that you have access to in order to see tangible results. What are tangible results? New patient phone calls, form submissions on your website, downloads of your online materials, etc, not ‘vanity metrics’ such as impressions and click through rates marketing agencies are all-too-eager to throw out to help justify the cost of an expensive campaign or retainer. If these ‘vanity metrics’ is something your agency is providing, push back and ask for when and how these can impact your business in the tangible ways mentioned above. Can they tie or track their efforts to more patients or more visits for your dental practice?
Negotiate, or renegotiate, the terms of your contract to a month-on-month agreement with a 30-day written cancellation. Having an easy out will provide you with flexibility and incentive for the agency to deliver consistently every month in order to keep your business.
Try to Do-It-Yourself
Speaking of outsourcing, consider trying to keep some of the easier, low-hanging marketing fruit in-house. Can your office staff find maybe an hour or two within the week to focus on a few marketing tasks? Doing so can cut down on marketing activities your dental practice is outsourcing to your agency.
Here are three pieces of advice to help get this done, 1) start with tasks many of your staff are already competent and comfortable doing on their own, like sending emails and posting to social media; 2) assign a task to one specific individual as to help cut down on any confusion and allow for a greater comfort level over time; and 3) add it to a calendar or to-do list alongside other office responsibilities to help make it part of a weekly routine.
Partner with Others to Share Expenses (and Rewards)
Consider working with another local business servicing the same audience to help increase awareness amongst a new audience. Partnership examples for dental practices include: orthodontists, doctor’s offices like primary care physicians or pediatricians, fitness centers or gyms and medispas.
The type of co-marketing initiative you both come together on could vary. An easy and free form of cross promotion could include setting up respective referral programs. If you’re going to spend money, co-hosting a local event or webinar together will allow you to split the costs for set-up and promotion of the event while driving an overall larger number of prospects through your collective efforts.
Another, often overlooked, partnership opportunity is bartering. Is there another local business offering services you need or could benefit from such as swag for an upcoming community event, or repainting the walls in your office? Try setting up an old-fashioned barter system where you can take advantage of their services at a reduced rate in exchange for providing an equal value of your services to them.