By Luc Wade, Marketing Director at Hive Business
I talk to a lot of confused dental practice owners about where to begin with marketing. It can be overwhelming. What are you supposed to do first out of the long list of “essential” activities, especially digital ones like paid search and paid social?
Some investments will get you instant results and some are slow burners, but how do you coordinate them? Many practice owners don’t, they simply ignore and neglect the long term investments. Let’s break this down and look at what we’re talking about:
1. Brand building activities
2. Sales activation activities
I’d describe content like this blog as brand building. Hive publishes it every week and allocates considerable resources to it. We’ve been doing it with discipline for years and we’ve noticed that it delivers brand recognition and prestige. This didn’t happen overnight, but it definitely is happening.
How does that translate into sales? I couldn’t give you a number. But we know that it suits our communications strategy very well to be thought leaders in this niche space (dental business consultancy/ accounting/ wealth strategy/ marketing) and despite the significant time cost, every team member knows our content is a critical component of the Hive brand. It helps us stay unique, develop our ideas and articulate our culture, which has the happy cascade effect of improving morale and team cohesion.
Brand building would look different in your dental practice because you are customer facing rather than B2B, but you can nevertheless see what I mean about it being a slow burner. Sales activation activities like paid media are different. Paid media is all about the numbers, it’s less emotive, tightly targeted and you can watch your investment delivering results in real time using call tracking and Google analytics.
People prefer this because it feels less risky and they have something tangible to point at — the numbers. But here’s the thing: your paid media and all your other sales activation activities will be less effective if you haven’t built your brand. If you ignore brand building you will get a poorer return.
It’s thought by major players in the marketing industry that around 60% brand and 40% activation is the best combination. At Hive we budget for a couple of days a month on SEO and PPC — nothing like the £3m budget I had in my last consumer marketing job — but it’s effective thanks to our brand strength. Dentists are set up to reap good returns on SEO and PPC because they don’t need to compete nationally, and they can also boost these strong returns with brand building.
Yet many dentists rarely consider doing so. My advice, therefore, is to start. Your mass market appeal through mediums like radio and press will enable you to create an emotional response and, like with the Hive blog, when your potential customer needs your services they will remember you. If you have no idea where to start with your brand building, call me for a chat on 01872 300232 or email us at [email protected].