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How traditional ads are beating digital

Oh boy, time flies! It’s November, every day seems busier than the last, and now the holidays are fast approaching. Which means plans and projects could begin to stall or be waylaid – but they don’t have to! Knowing the upcoming season could be distracting with of-the-moment events and time off, it’s not too late to be proactive and set aside some time now for a planning session to ensure your practice or group continues to move along positively and doesn’t get caught in a quagmire of holiday madness.

Patient NEWS® President, Karen Galley, pointed me to the current issue of HBR (Harvard Business Review) titled “Marketing in the Age of Connection.” In it, there is an article that’s important and relevant for dental offices that want production growth: Why Marketers Are Returning to Traditional Advertising.

The article reveals that “consumers becoming increasingly numb to digital advertising” and “report frustration and negative brand association,” but the gem in there is “traditional ads experiencing increased engagement”.

Businesses are doing what we know works best for growth because we see it with our dental clients. They are moving back to traditional marketing, like print advertising, at a higher-than-ever pace. The move is being led by B2C companies, and somewhat amusingly, the companies at the helm of the shift earn 100% of their revenue online! Because traditional marketing is very effective, it breaks through digital clutter and delivers a strong ROI.

Further, the article quoted results from a MarketingSherpa survey, which found that the top 5 most trusted ad formats are all traditional, with print advertising ranking the highest at 82%. If you’ve stared at that “skip add in 3 seconds” to click it fast, and if you pick up your mail and scan through it almost daily, then you get it. You are more likely to spend time with something tangible.

When you’re running a dental practice – where growth, security, and patient trust are paramount – these are impactful statistics. And then bundle in the fact that direct mail is the only format to offer 100% reach –it’s also welcomed and preferred by consumers of all ages – we’re building good odds for a dental office.

That said, I must say that any direct mail isn’t always the best. Hit-and-miss campaigns, inconsistency, and poor call handling can and do negatively impact results. But when done correctly, it’s extremely effective. And there are more statistics that support this – relative to the dental industry.

Considering that our clients more often than not do include a direct mail strategy in their overall marketing mix, I just checked in on industry production results as of October end.

  1. Patient NEWS client production is 14% higher than 2019 vs. industry-average that’s been hovering 10-15% below
  2. Our clients continued on their upswing through October … meaning if they remain consistent with the efforts that have brought them to now, trends indicate continued strong growth and recovery.
  3. The tactics they use are consistent, targeted, and customized. With clear visibility to results powered by the marketing software Practice ZEBRA® and our incredible team of account success managers.

Yes! Congratulations are due to our clients who remain over 25% ahead of industry-average production.

Six out of 10 months year-to-date had higher production in 2022 than any of the past four years.

So, traditional marketing is working, more and more B2C companies are moving to it (including your competitors), and Patient NEWS clients are pacing well ahead of industry average production.

Hmmm. Food for thought? What if your production is not where you want it? Do you feel like you’re just holding steady and not making the headway you want? I promise we can really help. Why not schedule a free 2023 planning session with your Account Manager? We’ll include complimentary benchmark reports, market share, an online audit, and a run-through of Predictive Analytics. Use the free consultation link above, or call your Account Manager directly, at 888-377-2404.

Here are a couple of items you could consider for your planning agenda:

  1. Determine YTD 2022 production levels compared to pre-COVID 2019.
  2. Benchmark key performance indicators and how they will impact production in the coming months.
  3. Identify realistic and desired production goals for 2023.
  4. Establish the strategies needed to reach those goals; what tactics will be put into play.

What is it that we’re doing to drive these results for our clients? It’s what we value. We:

  • Continue to provide excellence in product quality and innovation.
  • Continue to provide superior customer service, with honesty, integrity and professionalism.

That means we are constantly – I mean constantly – staying on top of metrics and trends, and we’re researching the best dental marketing strategies for our clients.

We continue to invest in the development of Practice ZEBRA, the dental marketing software platform, with regular new releases. If you haven’t seen Predictive Analytics, this is one you can’t miss. I recently ran the module for a couple of practices that were producing around $1.6 million per year (our client average), and a minuscule adjustment of adding just three more new patients per week would add another $250,000 to topline production. Another client reduced their lost patients just by a few points to industry average and improved retention by 3%. This added over $100,000 in production. We can also play with case acceptance, scheduling, call handling, attrition, and lapsing patients. It’s amazing what you can impact when you see where you can focus to make improvements to production. These are often tiny things that can have a big impact. That’s the thing – things you might think are nothing can amount to something. Three points here or there and you have hundreds of thousands in production within your reach.

Predictive Analytics takes past performance to predict future outcomes, making strategic planning so much easier. That’s just a bonus for your planning session. I recommend you try it when planning your 2023 strategies.

What else are we doing for our clients to drive this record production?

When it comes to direct mail (and we have amazing websites for dentists, with white hat SEO, targeted PPC, etc.), we do recommend the newsletter format. It’s proven to drive better response than postcards in 99% of markets, it elevates practice reputation, provides value-added educational content to recipients (who want good information to make good decisions for their families), and it gives us the real estate to enhance the benefits of our clients’ practices. And now these large-format newsletters feature personalized variable data, which really grabs consumer attention and stands out in the mailbox.


In addition, we’re rolling out dynamic QR codes (US*), enabling attribution to get super granular to the household where someone scans your code to look you up online for more information. The level of tracking and attribution our print campaigns provide is above and beyond a click and impression. We track and match calls, scans, and addresses so that our clients know down to the penny what patients spend in production, providing clear understanding of the campaign ROI (on average around 6:1 in the first year). *Simply because advertising mail is addressed in the US, versus unaddressed admail in Canada. Otherwise we’d be doing this for Canadian mail, too!

We continue to add enhancements to our WebLift website programs, with killer SEO strategies that are moving the needle for hundreds of dental offices, all featuring unique content that educates patients and highlights why our clients are the dentist of choice in their communities.

The exhaustive and continuing development of Practice ZEBRA, our dental marketing software, tracks results, finds opportunities, and helps dental teams better acquire and retain quality patients. It is a game-changer in the eyes of industry leaders. I can’t even count the number of new releases we issued this year; including predictive analytics, goal setting, fantastic, automated patient communications (as a marketing agency, I think ours are the best because the content is the best). Plus, weekly KPI push reports, benchmark reports, and enterprise views/reporting make it just the best little dental software going – specially designed for marketing management.

That’s what we’re doing to help our clients add more quality new patients and production to their practices.

Whether you have a high-volume or high-value practice model, adding more quality new patients is the key to consistently growing practice production. We have found that targeted, effectively designed direct mail is the best way to attract more new patients.

The latest ADA findings continue to report that low patient demand is what is holding the average dental practice back – stating that average schedules are down again to the low 80 percentile against pre-Covid. Again, our clients are up by 14%, so that’s a big gap that can be closed with the right strategies in place.

If lack of patient demand is an issue at your office, let me assure you that you can create demand with direct mail. 100% guaranteed. Research shows traditional media, like print, outperforms digital in terms of reach, interest, and engagement.

If you’ve been busy in the business and haven’t considered your 2023 plans, it’s time for a strat session. Our experts are at the ready to schedule a comprehensive tutorial reviewing your market share and opportunities, and the marketing strategies that might be ideal to help you achieve your goals.

No time for it? I hear you. At Patient NEWS, we implemented the formula from the book Traction, which guides you to set up annual and quarterly goals “rocks” – those 3-7 things that must happen to move the business forward in achieving goals. We then meet weekly to keep everyone on track, identify any issues that are bottlenecking progress, and assign tasks to resolve issues. Half the time I feel so busy I don’t want to stop for the meeting, but honestly, it’s been very effective for us because it has helped us avoid just staying busy with “busy work” and those problems or issues that inevitably take you off course and divert your attention. Coming back to our rocks consistently keeps us accountable to the projects and plans that are going to MOVE THE COMPANY FORWARD, instead of being stuck and spinning our wheels.

So, what about your business? What are your goals? Our clients are focused on production growth, improved valuation, and successful results. And they’re getting it. If I was going to describe the most successful … I’d say they have:

  • A positive mindset
  • Commitment to their vision – time, energy, and investment
  • Determination and strength
  • An open attitude to learning
  • Ability to adopt change
  • A great team to support these processes.

And they make time to plan for success and then commit to letting the experts take care of it for them. Book your free 2023 planning session and check out what opportunities you have at your fingertips.

In a very digital world, print is your number one marketing channel to become known to patients in your community. Our clients are harnessing the power of direct mail, specifically neighborhood newsletters, for their dental offices, and they’re reaping the rewards – with production that’s 25% above the norm. We’d love to help your practice, too! Call today!