By Dr. Tom “The Gems Guy” Orent
There is far more bad dental marketing out there than good. Should you hire an ad agency or copywriter who has a consistent track record for creating award-winning ads? Maybe, but, if you do, your decision should not take into consideration their “award- winning” ads. The only vote that counts when it comes to advertising is the vote of your prospective new patient “raising her hand” by scheduling a new patient visit (and showing up) in your practice. It’s beyond the scope of this article (read: impossible) to detail every dental advertising opportunity you should be wary about. Instead, we’ll cover steps you can take to reduce your chance of throwing away good money on bad advertising. MY BIGGEST CONCERN IS NOT THE MONEY FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET. Sure, it's sad to see hard-earned money go down the drain. But that's really not the worst of it. A far greater concern is the LOST OPPORTUNITY COST. On average, a new patient in your general dental practice will spend $4,800 with you. They spend nearly $5,000 before they move out of town, change Dentists, or pass away. If you perform a fair number of crowns, bridges, implants, ortho or Invisalign ... or if you do any sleep apnea and/or sedation, your LAV (Lifetime Average Value) of a new patient will be significantly higher.
money I wasted for my 12 months of glory around the edge of their activities board, but I do remember exactly how many new patients I got from the adventure. Zero. Big doughnut hole. Nada. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same scenario. Pretty much any time an ad rep shows up at your front desk with a unique opportunity for you to advertise … it’s going to be a waste of money. Which leads me to … THERE’S ONLY ONE DOCTOR IN YOUR AREA … AND I NEED TO KNOW WITHIN 24 HOURS. It’s not unusual for us to receive emails from members asking what we think about this or that advertising opportunity someone just offered them … when (RED FLAG) they must respond within 24 hours or the rep will offer it to another competing local Dentist. It’s not 100% ... but a good rule of thumb is that when an ad “opportunity” walks in your front door (or calls, or emails you) … i.e. you didn’t seek them out based upon a solid referral, it’s likely an opportunity you could (and should) pass. Especially if they tell you they must know within a day or two ‘cause they’re offering “area exclusivity,” and if you don’t take it, they’ll have to make it available to another local Dentist … your competition.
"I don’t remember how much money I wasted for my 12 months of glory around the edge of their activities board, but I do remember exactly how many new patients I got from the adventure: Zero. Big doughnut hole. Nada."
ADS AROUND THE CALENDAR/ACTIVITIES BOARD AT YOUR LOCAL HEALTH CLUB When I was only a few years into practice (a target for this kind of ad “opportunity”), an ad-sales guy came by my practice to tell me about a “wonderful new opportunity.” They were installing a brand-new calendar and activities board at a local tennis and health club, and he assured me it would be a perfect place to advertise my dental practice. The club had over 2,500 members, and the board was going to be right in the middle of the front lobby area. “Everybody would see it.” There would only be room for 10 ads around the perimeter of the board. Was I naïve enough to think that this would be “effective marketing?” Yup. Bought it hook, line, and sinker. I don’t remember how much
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