Inbound marketing is nothing new. It's officially been around since 2006 which is an eternity in internet time. You might not be familiar with the term inbound marketing and we get it. Inbound marketing is a way to "attract" patients to your practice. The opposite of inbound is traditional advertising in which advertisers try and "pull" a patient into the practice. Think of inbound like honey (flies are attracted to it) and traditional advertising as interrupting (like when they play ads every 7 minutes during your favorite show).
We believe inbound marketing for dentists is a no-brainer. Here’s why.
Inbound marketing changes the way patients buy, and the way dental practices sell their dental services
Are you struggling to get buy-in from your practice to invest more in content? Just pull the “R” word into the conversation. Indeed, revenue is one of the primary reasons dental practices should invest more on inbound because it can actually help a ton. Here’s the simple argument for that.
The Internet is all about content. Viewing, reading and listening to content is literally the primary thing we do online. It's how patients find a new dentist. Let’s be honest, as the purchase journey continues to migrate online, the writing's on the wall for traditional sales and marketing.
Let’s back this up with more concrete information. Check out the following three statistics:
Here’s what those statistics are really telling us.
No one likes to be sold to. In the good ‘ol days, consumers didn’t have a choice, but now they are firmly in control. That translates into significant changes and challenges for any dental practice. Why? Because by the time a office representative gets on the phone to make their pitch about the practice, customers have already made up their mind on what they want.
Google recently reported that B2B customers have completed nearly 60% of the sales process before engaging a sales rep, regardless of price point.
The percentage is actually higher for B2C.
This clearly indicates that marketing now has a direct impact on revenue attribution. Which means marketing and patient acquisition need to start working closely together to cover the purchase funnel effectively.
Inbound marketing addresses the top 3 marketing and patient acquisition priorities for dentists
A close look at Hubspot’s 2017 State of Inbound report will reveal some very interesting trends and statistics. Not all of them are specific to inbound, of course. However, we did notice that over the last 2-3 years, top priorities for both marketing and sales have remained relatively unchanged. We feel that inbound marketing will play a big role in addressing those. Let’s take a closer look.
When asked about top marketing priorities over the next 12 months, here’s how respondents to Hubspot surveys have answered:
When asked about top sales priorities over the next 12 months, here’s how respondents to Hubspot surveys have answered:
Let’s rewind and remember that 60%+ of the customer journey has migrated online, and the cost of inbound leads is typically 61% lower than outbound. Plus, inbound is no longer about engaging the top and middle of the funnel. It addresses every stage of the funnel and post-purchase too.
Are you connecting the dots?
Inbound can help address all of the top priorities we mentioned above.
Speaking from the dental marketer’s perspective, Inbound certainly drives web traffic. If planned properly, it will engage customers and leads throughout each of the 4 stages of the buying cycle, and since it’s cheaper to generate leads, revenue is increased by subtraction of lead acquisition costs.
From a patient acquisition perspective, personalizing content throughout the funnel will absolutely increase conversion rates. Ditto for creating efficiencies, especially when you use automated platforms like HubSpot. Plus, social media engagement is a key cornerstone of the Inbound marketing methodology.
Why you can’t afford not to invest in inbound marketing
Budget is always a key challenge when trying to get buy-in for inbound marketing. Time is the other big hurdle. On a financial statement, marketing will show up as an expense. In business, we like to keep those expenses down. When things get tough, marketing budgets are one of the first to get a healthy trim.
On the other hand, content marketing is a marathon. That’s a big part of Inbound. The benefits of search engine optimization (SEO) or organic distribution via social channels takes time. However, if we understand the key points we’ve talked about in this article, we should have very little trouble coming to this conclusion:
Content is quickly becoming one of your most valuable business assets!
While the consumer now controls the customer journey, owned, earned, and paid content provide dental marketers with an unparalleled amount of customer behavior insight. Think about it. Platforms like Hubspot, Infusionsoft, and Marketo, to name a few, make it easy to capitalize on data like never before. You can:
- track known and unknown visitors
- monitor website activity
- track and improve SEO
- nurture and score lead activity
- automate social engagement
- pinpoint profitable conversion triggers
- assign revenue attribution
- deliver truly personalized content
We can certainly add more to that list, but you get the point. If you don’t invest in a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy, you would be hard-pressed to capitalize on these benefits and advantages.
Yes, you’ll need to spend time on it. You’ll need to spend budget too, but make no mistake. Inbound marketing for dentists shouldn’t be treated as another marketing expense. It should be considered an investment that will keep providing great benefit for many years to come if done right.