Why you're missing 1,400% of prospective patients if you're only advertising online

Nov. 13, 2015
Fact: Every year, we take strides toward becoming an online society.

Joy Gendusa

Fact: Every year, we take strides toward becoming an online society. The impact this has on how you bring new patients to your practice is undeniable.

When was the last time you chose to run to the mall for a gift rather than order something on Amazon? Another fact: In-store traffic is down by more than half since 2010-even during the busy holiday season.1

Here are more numbers if you need further proof:

• Google conducts 34,000+ searches every second.2

• 81% of consumers go online before making a purchase.3

• More than 50% of all local searches result in a purchase.4

• 64.4% of people will click on a Google search ad if they intend to buy.5

Another fact: Search engine marketing is a key element of your practice's success.

There are two ways to go about search engine marketing. Both of these tactics are crucial to your success:

1. Search engine optimization (SEO)-Optimizing your website's content to get on the first page of Google organically (i.e., without paying Google per click).

2. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)-Creating search engine ads that show up alongside organic search results that you pay for only when they're clicked.

It's 2015, and as far as consumers are concerned, you are your website. That perception is reality.

Most prospects aren't driving by your practice to check you out, and they probably aren't picking up the phone to call until they're ready to book an appointment.

I spend about $20,000 each week on pay-per-click ads, so I practice what I preach. Plus, my marketing team works tirelessly to keep us at the top of Google's organic search results and to optimize our website-not only for search engines but for users, too. Over the years, we've cut our homepage's bounce rate (the number of people who arrive and immediately leave) from 35% to 12%.

Your website, your search engine ranking, and your pay-per-click advertising are all important. But here's why the rules are different for a dental practice: There are only a finite number of people out there actively searching for a new dentist.

Here are some real examples of how many people are typing these search terms into Google:6

• "Clearwater dentist": 210 monthly searches

• "Topeka dentist": 90 monthly searches

• "Denver dentist": 480 monthly searches

• "Charlotte dentist": 390 monthly searches

Now let's take a look at how many dentists Google brings up in their local search results (those red bubbles on the map) for each keyword:

• "Clearwater dentist": 177 dental practices

• "Topeka dentist": 93 dental practices

• "Denver dentist": 359 dental practices

• "Charlotte dentist": 340 dental practices

That's a lot of competition for not a lot of prospective patients-especially when you look at the population for each of those cities!

Stay with me now; there's just a little more math. I hope you love stats as much as I do!

Let's look at how many people live in just one square mile of each city. To figure this out, I've taken the 2010 population census information and divided that by the number of square miles.

Residents living in just one square mile of each city:

• Clearwater: 4,206

• Topeka: 2,119

• Denver: 3,923

• Charlotte: 2,463

There's anywhere from six to 23 times more people living in one square mile than there are people searching for a dentist in the entire city. On average (taken from our sample cities), you could reach 1,400% more people by mailing a postcard to everyone within one square mile of your practice.

The key to turning the corner on this and bringing in exponentially more clients per month is to target qualified prospects living close to your practice with postcards. Yes, I do own PostcardMania, so I'm partial to postcards-but I also know that they work. I encourage you to consider this advice even if you work with another vendor, because postcards work and I want small businesses nationwide to thrive‚ especially dentists, since people with healthy teeth and gums live longer and are happier!

Here's an impressive bit of information I discovered while doing research for this article: More people search for "postcardmania" online than "direct mail marketing."

• Searches for "postcardmania": 1,900/month

• Searches for "direct mail marketing": 1,600/month

How do I make this happen? I mail postcards every single week. And not just a few-I mail 180,000 postcards every single week to attract people to our company.

If you want people to Google your name and practice and find you instead of a random dentist in the area, marketing continuously to your target market is a must. You can't just wait for them to come to you. You have to be proactive.

I interviewed Dr. Brandon Campbell of Peak Family Dentistry & Orthodontics in Westminster, Colorado, and he had this to say about how these two marketing components can work together.

Dr. Campbell: "I'll have patients come in and say, 'I looked online and you have really great reviews.' And then I'll look over by their purse, and they have a postcard there. So whereas I had been thinking they were a Google search lead, it was that postcard that initially got them to go onto our website and check us out."

There are literally thousands of prospective patients surrounding your practice. You have to make sure they know you exist! In fact, proactive postcard marketing coupled with a strong online presence is a key to maximizing your new patient counts.

Dr. Campbell: "I sent out 22,000 postcards four times to the same list [earlier this year]. So that's a potential 22,000 people and clicks out there helping me build my website's SEO. The more clicks that the postcards generate for my website, the more patients logging on and Googling my name, Googling my practice, clicking on my name and link-all of that really helps. Postcards are really effective at raising awareness and sending business to us-more than patients even understand. So you have to train your staff to recognize this so they can track correctly."

Consistent mailings will keep your practice top-of-mind, and when it comes time to find a dentist, your target market will be contacting you.

Now let's cut to the chase with some fast-fire postcard marketing best practices, gathered from our client database of more than 4,300 dentists.

• Mail to the same list more than once in a single year; 88.6% of our successful dental campaigns mail a minimum of three times!

• Include more than one offer on a postcard (two to three offers is best).

• The best offers are free whitening and a discounted new patient exam (costing no more than $99).

• Include a photo of you and your staff on the back of your card.

• Most importantly: Think and plan ahead. Our most successful dental clients order 60,000 to 72,000 postcards at a time and mail out between 10,000 and 12,000 a month. This brings their cost per piece way down, as low as $0.36 per piece-including postage!

And, lest I forget, here are some key tips for pay-per-click marketing success:

• The higher your bid, the better your ad's placement in search results. Another key factor is how people interact with the page where your ad leads them. If they stay on the page, click through to another page, and/or fill out a form to redeem something, the better your quality score on Google will be. If they bail and click back immediately, the worse your quality score will be. The higher your score, the better your placement and the lower your cost per click.

• Offer-centric landing pages work best with pay-per-click ads, not just a general page of your website.

• You can include a click-to-call option for mobile search results, which is great for generating appointment calls.

• You can set your ad's display hours so that it shows only when people are in the office, ready to answer the phone.

There are so many more ways to maximize each of these two marketing techniques-much more than I have time for in just one article!

Did you know: as a Dental Economics reader, you are entitled to 5,000 free dental postcards, printed by PostcardMania, as well as free samples of postcards that are working right now for other dental practices. Redeem online or call (844) 269-1836 today—free marketing advice for your practice is also included!

Happy marketing!


1. Banjo S, Fitzgerald S. Stores Confront New World of Reduced Shopper Traffic. Wall Street Journal website. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304419104579325100372435802. Published 16 January 2014. Accessed 28 October 2015.

2. McGee M. By the numbers: Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Google Buzz. Search Engine Land website. http://searchengineland.com/by-the-numbers-twitter-vs-facebook-vs-google-buzz-36709. Published 23 February 2010. Accessed 28 October 2015.

3. Morrison K. 81% of Shoppers Conduct Online Research Before Buying [Infographic]. SocialTimes website. http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/81-shoppers-conduct-online-research-making-purchase-infographic/208527. Published 28 November 2014. Accessed 28 October 2015.

4. Lee J. Google: Local Searches Lead 50% of Mobile Users to Visit Stores [Study]. Search Engine Watch website. http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2343577/. Published 7 May 2014. Accessed 28 October 2015. google-local-searches-lead-50-of-mobile-users-to-visit-stores-study.

5. The War on 'Free' Clicks: Think Nobody Clicks on Google Ads? Think Again! WordStream website. http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/07/17/google-advertising. Published 17 July 2012. Accessed 28 October 2015.

6. Statistics taken from Google AdWords, October 2015.

Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania. Using just postcards, a phone, and a computer, Joy built PostcardMania from a one-person startup into an industry leader serving more than 68,000 clients, plus more than 4,500 dentists! Need help promoting your practice? Call one of PostcardMania's dental marketing consultants at (844) 269-1836, e-mail Joy at [email protected], or visit postcardmania.com/dentaldesigns.

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