Does a Dental Practice Need a Marketing Agency?
Dental practices are like any other business — they need a solid marketing strategy to compete. But do dentists need to hire a dental marketing company to be successful? The fact is, for most small to mid-size dental practices, marketing is too time-intensive to manage in-house. Further, effective marketing (especially digital marketing) requires a significant level of expertise along with sophisticated tools, technology, and processes. So, does a dental practice need a marketing company? While your practice’s staff can certainly help support marketing efforts, in most cases, dentists should hire a marketing agency to help acquire new patients.
In this blog post, we’ll explore why dentists should consider hiring an online dental marketing agency, what you might expect to pay, how your dental staff can supplement an agency’s services, and how to find the right partner for your practice.
“Why Should I Hire a Marketing Company for My Dental Practice?”
There are many reasons why dentists, orthodontists, and other specialists should consider hiring a dental marketing agency to promote their practice, including:
Effective marketing is time and resource-intensive. In most cases, dental practices simply don’t have the capacity to handle marketing on their own — and hiring an in-house marketing professional is generally cost-prohibitive (you’re typically looking at $55,000 to $90,000 per year + benefits to hire a dedicated marketing specialist, depending on your market and the person’s experience). By outsourcing your marketing to an experienced dental marketing firm, you and your team can focus on clinical dentistry, patient service, and practice administration — while also saving money in the long run.
Online marketing is a fast-moving industry with trends and tactics often changing practically overnight. Marketing agencies stay on top of these changes and can recalibrate strategies in real-time to ensure your practice is always one step ahead of the competition. Typically, in-office staff just doesn’t have that kind of time or expertise.
Among the most complicated forms of digital marketing are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. These dental marketing services require specialization, with SEO and PPC managers often having spent decades in the industry to perfect their craft. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, especially with the advance of artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot technologies, it’s critical that dental practices work with a dental marketing partner that can keep their efforts up-to-date.
Return on Investment
Over time, experienced dental marketing agencies have developed systems, strategies, and processes designed to maximize their clients’ return on investment (ROI). While there are never any guarantees, in most cases, you can rest assured that the investment you make in a digital marketing agency will more than pay off, particularly when considering important metrics like patient lifetime value (PLV).
The right marketing partner for your practice will work with you to understand your business in order to maximize your ROI. A marketing agency should take into account measures like average new patient appointment value, patient lifetime value, cost-per-lead (CPL), and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) to determine the right marketing mix.
Responsible marketing agencies provide absolute transparency and regular (and even on-demand) reporting. At DentalScapes, we provide on-demand reporting via an online portal and also offer monthly strategy calls in which we review results and outline the game plan for the month ahead. With regular reporting and touchpoints provided by a dental marketing company, you can maintain visibility into your dental practice’s marketing performance while focusing on what you do best — practicing dentistry and running your business.
How Much Does a Dental Marketing Agency Cost?
As with most professional service businesses, dental marketing companies charge a wide range of fees and operate on different business models. In general, most small to mid-size dental practices should expect to spend between $500 and $4,000 per month on marketing, with larger practices spending significantly more. Typically, successful practices spend 4-7% of gross revenue on marketing.
Retainer vs. “A La Carte” Pricing
Most dental marketing agencies either charge a monthly retainer (in which a group of marketing services are packaged together for a single, all-inclusive fee) or charge for services individually (the “a la carte” model). At DentalScapes, for example, we offer a wide array of customizable online marketing programs for dentists, generally priced between $1,000 and $4,000 per month.
Beware Agency-Owned Assets
No matter what you decide, keep control of your digital assets. Some agencies actually maintain ownership of your website and ad accounts. Proceed with caution, and don’t put your practice in a position you may regret. At DentalScapes, our clients own 100% of the content and digital assets designed, developed, and managed by our marketing team.
“How Can My Staff Support Marketing for My Practice?”
Just because it’s often too time and resource-intensive to manage digital marketing for a dental office in-house doesn’t mean that your staff can’t collaborate with an outside dental marketing agency on marketing campaigns. In fact, dental office staff can provide valuable contributions to an agency’s digital marketing efforts, particularly in the areas of social media and email marketing.
Because social media is so focused on video, your dental staff can provide invaluable video content to your dental marketing company for use in organic and paid social media marketing. Today’s consumers want authentic content that highlights the unique personality of your practice, providers, and staff, and there’s no one better positioned to capture those moments on video than your front office employees, hygienists, and assistants. With a direct pipeline of content from your office, your dental marketing agency will be in prime position to increase reach and generate leads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms.
“How Do I Find the Right Dental Marketing Company for My Practice?”
Deciding to hire a dental marketing company is only one-half of the battle. Now is the time to vet potential partners. A Google search for “best dental marketing company” yields over 90 million results, but chances are, only a small handful of marketing agencies are a good fit for your practice. Beyond simple marketing capabilities, it’s important to consider the cultural fit of any potential dental marketing agency:
- How do you personally connect with the agency’s leadership?
- Do your practice and the dental marketing agency share similar values?
- What are your expectations regarding communication? (usually the #1 subject of client complaints with regard to marketing agencies)
Consider these important factors when choosing the right marketing agency for your dental office.
Looking for an Online Marketing Agency for Your Dental Practice?
At DentalScapes, we’re building a different kind of marketing agency for dentists. If you’re interested in taking your practice’s digital marketing to the next level, we’d love to talk with you and see if we might be a good fit. Schedule a free, no-obligation strategy call today and let’s talk!