The Dental Business Futurist – Is it just money down the drain?

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Not knowing your return on investment for your marketing campaigns is throwing money down the drain, Chris Barrow says.

Yet again, I find myself flummoxed when listening to a principal tell me that he is spending £500 per calendar month on SEO. And a further £1,000 per calendar month on digital advertising. Despite this, he has no idea of the return on investment and cannot get any sense out of the agency he is using.

Just to be clear – that’s £18,000 a year that looks very much (to me) as if it is vanishing down a drain. It is justified by incomprehensible excuses and explanations. 

‘You need to give it more time’ – I can hear it now.

In this example – the practice has more than 2,000 active adult patients and no internal marketing systems! 

A marketing champion

I suggested that the £18,000 could be redirected to employing a marketing champion, who could:

  • Hand out business cards to every patient
  • Request and follow through on Google reviews
  • Spot and take action on sharing any human-interest stories from patients
  • Conduct a robust end of treatment review to include photography and videography
  • Post to Facebook and Instagram every day and increase their currently negligible follower numbers.

Or, to put it another way – engage with the existing patients. Seek recommendations to the 300,000 people that they know (Dunbar’s number).

Once more, I find myself paraphrasing Dan Sullivan’s (strategic coach) comment, first heard in 1993. He said, ‘All the money you need for the rest of your career is in the pockets of the patients that you know and the people that they can introduce you to.’


This article first appeared in Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.