Advertising is a much different medium than it was even 20 years ago. There was print media in newspapers and magazines, ad spots on radio and television and billboards.
While these traditional options have their benefits, they also have their failings. Specifically, the inability to truly target your audience. You don’t really have much control over when people are going to see your ads, how they’re going to see them, or if they’re going to see them at all.
Traditional can be tricky
Your magazine ad might catch someone’s eye as they are flipping through the pages in a doctor’s office but that is not a sure thing by any means. First, the person has to have an interest in a publication that you’re advertising in. And there are more than 7,000 print consumer magazines out there. The more popular the magazine, the more expensive an ad.
Say you do strike proverbial gold and catch someone’s eye with your cosmetic dentist ad, but then that person doesn’t have a need for your services. Even with a coupon, or your contact information, your ad will not convert them into a patient.
Radio and TV have a broader reach, but these options are often cost prohibitive for a lot of dental practices. On top of that, there are a limited window of advertising buys. Think about it this way: when you’re driving in rush hour and listening to your favorite tunes, they stop the music to run ads, and then they start playing music again. There are only so many ads that they can fit in that window. It’s the same thing with TV. There are only a handful of commercials each break.
You are also competing with similar advertisers because there are a limited number of spots for certain types of products or services. If it’s you and your fellow dentist down the road, only one of your ads is going to run. Whoever has deeper pockets is going to win.
Billboards do have a place as well. The price range can be as low as five hundred dollars, but they can also run up to a couple thousand dollars per week or month. The challenge with this is that it’s like using an elephant gun to target a fly. You don’t have the ability to narrow down your marketing on that particular platform.
You are paying for everybody to see your ad, whether they need cosmetic dentistry services or not. Sure, you probably brought a handful of people into your office but what was your cost per customer acquisition?
The cheapest form of “old-time” advertising is “water cooler talk,” or word-of-mouth. If you have ever written a Google review, then you know how this goes. If people are really happy with their service, they’re going to shout your praises from the rooftops. “Wow, Dr. So-and-so did a great job! I’m going to tell all my friends! They fixed my issue!”
But if a person is unhappy, they’re going to telegraph their displeasure to whoever will listen. That’s a lot of people on the internet. They might write a bad review on Yelp or Tripadvisor, or they can go to Google or Facebook to tell the entire world. It’s very hard to defend yourself in that scenario but there are so many online avenues for feedback.
Digital media meets people where they are
With the advent of digital media, advertisers got another way to reach potential customers. And they can do it more cheaply and more effectively.
Take the Google ad for example. We know that prospective patients pay a lot of attention to their phones.
How do we know this? Because when they’re walking into your office, they’re probably on their phone. Maybe they just finished using a GPS app or they’re checking their calendar.
They still have their device while they’re waiting, because they’re talking with somebody at work or at home. Then they go back into your office or examination room, and they still have the device in their hand. You’re treating them, and you might have to literally tell them (or ask them gently) to put their phone down!
The phone may sometimes be a nuisance in your office, but it is also a tool to reach your patients and potential patients where they are at almost all hours of the day.
The ability to target your customer also makes the digital realm a win.
We don’t want to go to the globe, because that kind of reach costs a lot of money. The benefit of Google ads is that because of a person’s browsing habits, Google knows exactly who your customers are, what they’re doing, and where they are. Then it meets them there.
Google’s research shows that for 90% of small business owners, the primary goal of advertising online is to get people to call, visit a store or make a purchase. Since that’s your objective, it is Google’s priority as well.
And while Google’s reach may be wide – there are 5.4 billion Google searches per day –the Google AdWords program runs on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. That means you only pay only when a visitor clicks your ad. That click also means interest. If they don’t convert right away, you can retarget them again.
The cost per customer is much lower with Google. And your chances of success of hooking a new patient are much higher. That is the kind of advertising that will put a smile on anyone’s face.