What you’re actually getting for your marketing investment.
Dentists of all people understand that there’s a lot more that goes into the daily operation of a business than meets the eye. The front of the house, so to speak, is what the patients see, but it’s the behind-the-scenes that is really the lifeblood of the practice. It’s hiring the right people for the job, getting all the required training and certifications, handling insurance claims and other paperwork, organizing schedules, dealing with budgets and planning, buying and maintaining equipment, keeping up with safety standards, laboratory bills, marketing the practice… The list goes on. It takes a team of people, each with specific skills, to run a dental practice. The same is true of a marketing agency. What our clients see is the final product, polished and ready for public consumption. What they don’t see is all the work that goes into that product and the many people involved behind the scenes to keep a marketing strategy going full steam ahead. So today, I’m pulling back the curtain a little to provide a glimpse of what goes into a professional marketing strategy for a professional dental practice.
It is no secret that professional marketing requires an investment of time and resources. It’s not something that happens overnight, and it certainly is not something that any one person can manage on their own, unless they are willing to work 24/7, and even then, they would probably need more time. Marketing is more than just the website you see online and the social media content that gets posted on your social pages. There are multiple people behind every aspect of a marketing strategy. Much like how dentists rely on their hygienists, their assistants, and their support staff to be able to treat their patients each day, marketing professionals rely on others to plan, implement, and maintain comprehensive marketing strategies.
A comprehensive marketing strategy is like a living thing that grows and changes with time. The different parts of a marketing strategy feed off of each other and should ideally work together as a whole that continually evolves to fit the growing needs of the practice. As you might imagine, it takes a team of people to make all of that happen effectively and cohesively. Finding just one person who possesses all the necessary skills (and is willing to work nonstop) would be virtually impossible.
Each step of the way involves consulting not only with the dental practice, but also with various others who specialize in the different aspects of digital and traditional marketing. And of course, none of these professional team members are volunteers… They do expect to get paid for their hard work, which is part of what you are investing in when you hire a professional dental marketing agency.
A marketing strategy has different phases. Planning and implementing are just two of them, but they are the phases that most everyone is familiar with. Generally speaking, planning means assessing the current resources and strategies in place, evaluating how to enhance and supplement them to the greatest effect, plus setting concrete objectives in terms of revenue generation, new patients, and other criteria. This requires working with an account manager, a project manager, a web developer, a designer, a copywriter, a proofreader/editor, a social media manager, an ad specialist, and usually others. Implementing a custom, comprehensive marketing strategy involves just as many people to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch and continues to work as planned.
What many dentists may not know about is all the additional work that goes into maintaining a marketing strategy once the planning and implementation are underway. Without getting into too much detail, maintenance involves keeping tabs on the strategy to ensure that all the parts are working as expected. That means tracking results, adjusting where needed, and checking in with the client on a regular basis to make sure all of their needs are being met. Maintenance also involves assessing progress towards the targets established in the planning phase and working on new targets as needed. Again, this type of work requires drawing on professionals, people who understand how to analyze marketing data, interpret analytics, translate that information into something the client can easily understand, and who think ahead to prevent the strategy from fizzling out. It’s not for the faint of heart!
Once a marketing strategy has been established and is in progress, the work for our team really never stops, because there is always something to be done. What may seem to be a simple request from a dental practice, typically involves quite a bit of behind-the-scenes action. Here are two fairly typical examples of what we do at My Dental Agency:
Example 1: When a dentist sends us a video that they want to use in their marketing, everyone on the team gets involved. First, there is someone who watches the video and develops a strategy around it. Next, someone is assigned to edit the video to make it look and sound great. Someone else is then assigned to write a description for the video and additional marketing copy that will be associated with it — an email and a blog post that both link to it, for example. After that, we have a team member create a thumbnail image, and the social media team takes it and adds the video to the practice’s social media accounts, usually also with engaging copy that will make people want to watch it. Someone else adds the video to the website, and someone posts it on YouTube, with the custom description that was created, edited, and proofed. All of this happens under the direction of the project manager and their team, who are responsible for making sure everything gets done on time and correctly and stays in touch with the practice, keeping the proper people updated and making sure they are happy with everything.
Example 2: A dentist says, “I want to do more implants!”. Those simple words set off a chain reaction at My Dental Agency. Again, someone has to create a strategy around driving in dental implant cases to the practice. And while implants are implants no matter where you are in the country, a marketing campaign highlighting dental implants will be influenced by many factors, including the local market for the practice. Our strategy will take into account what is unique about the practice as well as the type of messaging they want. As soon as the final strategy is approved by the client, we put our web designer to work on a landing page explaining the features and benefits of dental implants. Our ad strategist begins creating ads and placing them on the proper platforms. Additionally, all of these new digital resources need to be optimized for the best results, and that requires ongoing attention from our team. The social media manager will create posts based on the new ads to promote dental implants organically. The project management team is once again directing all of this activity to make sure that deadlines are met and that we receive everything we need from the practice. And this is just the start. There will be an email campaign around implants, a blog post, imagery, etc, all of which need to be created, edited, proofread, and approved before it can be implemented.
Both of the examples above give a somewhat simplified depiction of just how much work goes into marketing for dental practices. For what, to the practice, may seem like a routine request, there is a frenzy of activity on our part. I can’t lie, marketing is hard work! But we love it, and if we’re doing our jobs right, the practice is completely unaware of everything we do to meet their needs. All they see are the final results, polished and ready to go, which is how it should be.
I will conclude by saying that, without a team of educated, experienced people to work with, as a marketing agency, we would fail, as would any dentist who might try to do it all on their own without a hygienist, an assistant, or an office manager. It’s just impossible to manage every aspect of a marketing strategy without ongoing support. Yes, this does contribute to the cost of hiring a professional marketing agency, but it will be money well spent, because the end result cannot be beat. An effectively planned, implemented, and maintained marketing strategy will pay dividends that far outweigh the initial investment and will continue to do so for many years.