Where Do Your New Patients Really Come From?

Tracking marketing results is harder than tracking a wild animal. We would have to have total and complete visibility through all channels - that’s just virtually impossible. Call tracking and recording has given us a lot of insight though. It’s incredible to listen to a call recorded from a unique phone number on a unique direct mail newsletter and the patient will tell the receptionist that their friend referred them. They got the newsletter, asked their friend about the practice, and then credited the friend. The receptionist doesn’t question it and logs the patient referral. Without effective tracking the real driver of that new patient call would not have been determined and the person making marketing decisions assumes that 60% of this month’s new patients came from referrals! How would they know?

And have you checked your web traffic lately?

At Patient News we have been extremely diligent referral source trackers. It’s our business, so we really “get” how important it is to track marketing results and give credit where needed so we continue to invest in the methods that work best for sales. But, even for us, when we added call tracking we found holes in our accuracy. And, when we monitor our web traffic, it’s clear that we get a huge boost every time we send a direct mail or email campaign.

The fact is direct mail and email are proactive outreach tools. They trigger action by your prospect. Direct mail drives more traffic to our website than we really had given it credit for. SEO is important and it’s doing its thing … but when a direct mail hits – zing! Take a look at what your direct mail to the community is doing for you online. We generally see at least a 50% lift in traffic, sometimes more. In a recent consumer study it was found that more than 60% of people, after receiving something in the mail, will search online.

Recently we heard from one of our favorite clients … they received 54 calls from their mailing, AWESOME … but they also received 630 unique visits to a special landing webpage directly from the mailer – WOW!

This tells us that we must be very careful about crediting our website with our new business and discounting the direct mail efforts we’re engaged in or we could see a scary slip in business by cutting back our marketing expenditure on outreach. Our websites are passive and need something to trigger people to go online … as dentists the last thing you want is for that “trigger” to be pain; you want your new patient caller or visitor to your website to be interested in your value proposition, selecting you for their dental needs, and coming for more than a quick one-time visit. Many patients who find you through “search” will be like the old “yellow pages” new patient … calling for a pain or emergency, cancelling when they find another practice that can see them quicker or do it cheaper…

It’s pretty easy to set up Google analytics on your website if you haven’t already. It’s a free service that generates detailed statistics about your visitors. Go to www.google.com/analytics for more information. You’ll be able to see how many people visit your site and when, so you’ll know if it’s simply web traffic or if you’re having peaks when you initiate offline marketing activities.

Ah, let’s face it … reception is a busy place. Taking the time to ask if the caller received your direct mailer – while important – takes time and if the receptionist is not involved in marketing, doesn’t understand the importance of knowing what’s really working for your practice marketing plan … their goal is to book the patient and/or get them off the phone so they can deal with their busy work. If the patient says they’re looking at your website, that’s what gets logged. Think about it, they’re posting an insurance claim, entering information in the system, filing, checking in or checking out a live body, collecting payment, conducting a reminder call on another line, helping a hygienist, answering a question for the doctor, settling down an unruly child or getting ready to go for lunch … tracking marketing is just not going to happen effectively.

Incorporate tracking tools into your marketing initiatives so you have the insights necessary for effective business and budgeting decisions.

For more information about dental marketing or advertising and effective tracking, call 888.377.2404 for a free consultation. Our team is available from 8:30am – 6:00pm EST Monday – Friday. All messages will be returned within one business day!

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