Dental Marketing Automation – Does It Make Sense?
The downsides of automated, outsourced marketing systems
Dentistry is a busy profession and even more-so now that pandemic restrictions are lifting and patients head back to get the check-ups they’ve missed or to complete treatments started a while back. Understandably, dental business and their managers are looking for ways to streamline processes whilst still remaining effective and this includes how practices run their various marketing channels.
The drive to automation
You don’t have to look far to find dental marketing agencies offering “all done for you” marketing packages incorporating everything from organic SEO to paid social media advertising. To many, this may sound very attractive; simply sign the contract, pay your £2k per month (and often more) and let the third-party company get moving on your behalf. But is this really the best way to go in the quest to be a dominant force in your local market, or do you need a more sophisticated and personalised approach?
Let’s take a look at what can work well via third-party services and also the areas where strong participation from the practice team is needed for best effect.
I’ll begin by saying that full “done for you” marketing packages aren’t the optimal way forward, both from effectiveness and a cost perspective; but why is this? Here are the main areas where those type of packages fall down:
- Lack of personalisation – most dental marketing agencies are pulling the same content from their libraries and using it on multiple different websites. This becomes very generic and is particularly obvious on social media where visual presentation I key to engagement. The same old images and strap lines appear again and again and it just doesn’t cut it with users.
- The effects above are exacerbated by marketing agencies automating as many processes as possible, so for example using automatic posting tools to distribute content via their client’s social media accounts – extremely repetitive and of limited value.
- Copied or minimally adjusted blog content – we see lots of dental practice blogs where it is obvious that the blogging is being done by an agency rather than a local team member. These types of blogs are characterised by minimal content, regurgitated themes and sometimes even copied from elsewhere. High-quality blogging is an excellent tool to provide useful information for patients and also for SEO, but not the type of minimalist material noted above.
- Generic newsletters – agencies also re-use newsletter content with only minimal tweaks; all rather bland and very probably consigned straight to the recipient’s email trash bin.
When you understand how much of this work done by agencies is already pre-configured, not unique and being used with lots of different clients, you may start to question the value you are receiving from it. The acid test is to ensure that you are provided with transparent reporting which clearly shows the return on your investment i.e. actual enquiries which resulted from the work.
Also factor in that much better results can usually be gained where some of this work is done locally, in particular, managing social media accounts and creation of newsletters.
How does automated, generic marketing feel for users?
We’ve probably all received correspondence where the signature is an electronic version on a thinly veiled promotion which has tried to appear personalised? No doubt you delete or dispose of that type of thing as indeed most of us do. Content like that usually fails to create any type of emotion and leaves people cold.
Contrast this with content which is unique, interesting and, where possible, personalised and there is a stark difference in performance. This type of content is so much better at creating the engagement and enquiries that dental practices need.
Strive to create contrast with your marketing
The dentists who really stand out from the crowd are those who understand the worth of scroll-stopping content and are willing to invest to create and publish it. More often than not, this can be achieved via the practice team rather than expensive outsourcing, particularly on those channels such as Facebook and Instagram which everyone is familiar with. It pays to lean into your marketing and seize the opportunity to share your brand and visions, rather than it simply being another chore to complete.
Remember – create contrast to stand out!
Where will you need expert help?
There are some highly technical aspects of dental marketing where it is unreasonable to think that the local team can address them successfully. Here you will most likely need expert assistance. Let’s take a quick look:
Search engine optimisation (SEO) – this is an area where a great deal of experience and expertise is needed to get great results in Google. Often it is a case of testing to see what works and then adjusting to make progress whilst ensuring that all work lies within Google’s web publishing guidelines. SEO isn’t something which can simply be bolted-on to someone’s job role unfortunately.
Paid advertising – this incorporates Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram advertising. These are specialist areas and require experience and skill to get good results. I don’t recommend a DIY approach here because it’s simply too easy to waste a lot of money by getting it wrong.
Hopefully I’ve clarified why you need a balanced approach to your dental marketing and why simply trying to outsource and/or automate it isn’t going to work well. Some elements such as SEO and paid ads will need expert assistance whilst other areas such as generating social media content and compiling practice newsletters are best done by the practice team.
If you’d like some help to generate a blended marketing plan for your own business, please get in touch the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548 to get your project underway.Google+