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We would like to thank all those who participated in our e-marketing survey at the British Dental Association and Association of Dental Implantology conferences this year. The aim of the survey was to guage how dentists are using the internet to promote their clinic and recruit new patients. The survey asked dentists the following questions:
1. Which online mediums do you use to market your clinic?
2. How much does your clinic spend annually on marketing?
3. How many enquiries do you get per month as a result of your marketing activities?
4. Who coordinates your marketing efforts?
We surveyed 60 private clinics in the UK. If you would like to find out how they answered these questions read on. We have excluded any clinics which do not cater for private patients. 45 dentists were surveyed at the BDA conference and 15 at the ADI conference. We have not conducted any part of the survey on-line which removes a large potantial bias. We have excluded dental corporates from the survey.
1. Which online mediums are clinics using?
80.8% of clinics have a website whilst 15% do not use any on-line mediums at all. Approximately 31% of clinics are using some form of social media to engage patients. Of the 3 forms of social media on the survey facebook was the most popular (27%) and the same amount of dentists were using twitter and Google + (15%). Facebook is a more effective way to interact with patients so it is not surprising that more clinics use this. It would however be advisable that more dentists start to use Google + as Google have tied this in quite closely with its local search results adn setting up a page here could have a disproportionate effect on patient enquiries.
2. How much do clinics spend annually on marketing?
On average clinics spend between £3,000 – £6,000 annually on marketing, with 78% spending less than £6,000. As the majority of cosmetic dental clinics are doing very little marketing, there is a big opportunity for those that are above the average to dominate local search results.
Approximatley 50% of marketing spend relates to spending on online media. Those spending more than £15,000 were spending on radio campaigns and print campaigns also.
3. What is the return on marketing spend?
Our results show a direct correlation between marketing spend and monthly enquiries. The return for any spend below £3,000 is minimal. Any efforts below this level fail to be noticed by prospective patients as they get drowned out by those spending more. Clinics do not need a massive annual marketing budget to stand out. A spend of £3,000 – £6,000 returns approximately 5 – 7 enquiries per month. It appears this would be an optimal annual spend to promote a clinic and develop your brand locally. After this the enquiries per £ decline slightly. We have limited data for those spending over £15,000 per year and are unable to analyse this to the level we would like.
The following table shows the average number of monthly enquiries received for each annual spend bracket.
4. How many clinics employ 3rd party marketing agencies?
92% of marketing efforts are looked after by the clinic principal or clinic manger. 6% of clinics employ 3rd party marketing organisations to help market them and 2% have inhouse marketing people co-ordinating their marketing efforts. 52% of clinic principles have a hands-on involvement in marketing their clinic. 40% trust the clinic manager with this responsibility.
5. ADI v BDA conference
It was surprising the amount of clinics at the BDA conference who did not even have websites to promote their clinics. Most who had not yet gone online had enough patients already and were not looking to add to their patient list.
Dentists attending the ADI conference were engaging alot more with the internet to attract new patients. Many of the dentists we surveyed there were spending above £15,000 per annum on marketing. It helps that they are focusing on fitting dental implants which is a higher margin operation than less expensive cosmetic treatments. Alot of the dentists surveyed at the ADI conference were familiar with the term optimisation and had their sites optimised for local and national search and the clinics.
The ADI clinics that had invested in on-line marketing were seeing the benefits of the effort with many of them over 15 enquiries a month coming in.
We hope you have found this post informative. Please bear in mind that alot of the data gathered is based on estimates by the participants and should be used as a guide only. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspects of the survey in more detail.