Marketing for dental practices is growing in influence as the need to differentiate from competitors becomes more important than ever. But the need to understand how resources are being spent, with defined objectives and easy-to-use methods of monitoring success, is vital if practices are to allocate budgets wisely.

When running any type of marketing campaign, the accurate tracking of responses is crucial. But for dentists who undertake marketing activity, the lack of coherent planning, execution and monitoring is marked. In Software of Excellence’s recent Whitepaper ‘Driving Practice Revenues Through Effective Patient Marketing’, less than a quarter of respondents set targets for their campaigns and less than half tracked the results. In fact, many dentists simply rely on ‘gut feeling’ to assess whether a campaign has been successful.

This failure to accurately measure results is put down to a number of factors, including a lack of knowledge about how to track and monitor accurately. Respondents also indicated that measurement was either too time consuming and complicated or the data to carry out such monitoring was not easily accessible. However, while the number of barriers mean that measurement of success is not always easy, only a small minority (4%) of those questioned for the Whitepaper research indicated that they had ‘no interest’ in measuring the success of their campaigns.

Creating and maintaining campaigns is a big challenge for busy dental practices and the campaign function in EXACT V12’s Marketing Manager can be set up to automatically send a series of messages on a ‘set and forget’ basis. This means that managers need only act once to set up the campaign, leaving it to communicate in a structured way unless interrupted by a patient’s response.

Each campaign can be allocated a unique telephone number which, via Software of Excellence’s Channel Track module, records calls and monitors which campaigns are being most successful. Crucially, the ability to identify those calls that did not result in an appointment, combined with the ability to listen to these calls, gives managers a unique insight into how staff and patients communicate on the phone and could be a trigger for additional team training, if necessary.

Defining the success criteria for a particular campaign is vital if accurate measurement is to be useful. Revenue is not necessarily the only or most important metric for defining success and dentists should consider that new enquiries, appointments booked and treatment uptake are all equally worthy of consideration.

Ensuring that robust procedures are in place to track the response to campaigns is crucial in terms of analysing success. To ensure complete understanding of which marketing channel is being most or least effective, responses must be measured at every stage. Phone call enquiries should be automatically tracked and recorded, email enquiries and visits to the practice website – ideally to a specific page or microsite – must also be monitored.

However, tracking responses and actions is the most basic way of determining whether a message has resonated with the intended audience. To track results in a more sophisticated way, practices should also look at whether these enquiries resulted in booked appointments and, ultimately, whether treatment was undertaken. By tracking the journey of an enquiry, dentists and managers are able to establish not only whether the campaign was successful, but also, if treatment uptake was not the final result, the specific point at which the communication broke down. This will enable more robust processes to be integrated in the future.

For more information on EXACT V12 and additional modules click here.

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