Dental Online Marketing Vs. Physical Advertising Methods

Dental marketing practices have changed greatly over the past few decades as the internet has slowly grown into the resource it is today. Currently, some controversy surrounds the topic of direct mail campaigns and other "physical" advertising methods that have remained constant despite the shift to a digital focus. Some experts claim that these traditional methods are obsolete because an extraordinary number of people find the majority of their information online, but in fact, direct mailings still have a large part to play in the world of content delivery.

This theory was confirmed by recent industry surveys that evaluated the dental marketing sector to determine the most effective ways in which both large and small businesses were reaching out to clients. The results were surprising - despite the purported "narrow-minded" spotlight on the internet, many executives lauded the viability of direct mailings and claimed they would be expanding their budgets in 2013 to include revamped content efforts.

"This year's survey results point to some very interesting dental marketing trends that specialists and general dentists can use to make informed decisions about their marketing budgets," said dental marketing expert Steven Klinghoffer in a release. "While social media and various Internet marketing categories are projected to climb significantly, referral-generating newsletters and patient newsletters will further increase in 2013. The take-away here is that to achieve and maintain visibility with their patients and colleagues, and grow their practices, many dentists understand that both social media and content marketing must be part of their marketing mix."

The studies will continue as 2013 rolls on, but the 2012 numbers revealed intriguing trends. According to the research, more than 50 percent of corporations reported a higher ROI in 2012 when compared to figures from 2011, and many people attributed this boost to proper dental marketing strategies. Although 35 percent of respondents reported no change in their earnings, this was still a positive sign - no news is good news, as the old saying goes.

Social media avenues were also scrutinized, and one of the most important numbers regarded Facebook - a reported 65 percent of dental practitioners now use the social media giant for networking and advertising. In 2013, this number is expected to grow, and not just on Facebook - the amount of dentists who use Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn could also rise in the near future.

Direct mail predicted to increase

According to the survey, five marketing sections saw increased use over the course of the 2012 fiscal year - web sites, practice brochures, patient newsletters, newsletters to referring practitioners and lunch-and-learns.

The key categories here are the practice brochures and the newsletters to patients and referring practitioners. These three options do not use the internet - instead, they arrive in clients' mailboxes. The fact that these strategies actually increased in 2012 disproves any claim that physical mailings are on their way out, and these same practices are expected to continue increasing in 2013.

Direct mail best practices

Without the right content delivery policies, even traditionally successful strategies like direct mail may not work. Therefore, it is in your best interest to tailor your written content toward a specific target audience. You can even use the three categories.

Practice brochures should contain general information about your offerings and services, and you should ensure that these are mainly dry and to the point. For patient mailings, use bright language and focus more on industry analysis and creative pieces that will foster a strong connection to your brand. Finally, for referring practitioners, take a hard line with recent news and gear content toward expert readers - the audience will be your colleagues and similar professionals.