How I get 60 to 85 New Patients per month on a ~$400 per month Facebook Marketing Budget
“No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.” – GaryVee
This post series will be divided into multiple parts.
Let us begin:
Average dental practices get 10 to 30 new patients per month, per doctor. In my solo doctor practice, I consistently get 6o to 85 New Patients per month. Via tracking, I know that in a typical month 85% to 90% of my new patients say they heard about me on Facebook. Are there other extraneous variables that can be nitpicked such as location, signage, etc. Of course. But let’s not lose the forest for the trees. We are here to learn about Facebook digital marketing.
I’ve helped a lot of dentists boost their Social Media Marketing efforts and get lots of new patients. It’s fun seeing their reactions when they suddenly start getting so many new patients and realize how cheap it is. When they realize they don’t need to spend $10,000 – $40,000 mailing out flyers that get thrown in the trash or run expensive TV commericals and billboards.
Other than a cheap ad in the local newspaper, Facebook comprises my entire marketing budget. I allocate about ~$400 per month towards marketing on Facebook. In the beginning of my start-up it was even less. Closer to $250 to $300 per month, and at that time I was still bringing in 45 to 60 new patients per month.
Lots of dentists have dabbled in Facebook marketing and told me they haven’t had NO success. On the other hand, lots of dentists have dabbled in Facebook marketing and told me they have had GREAT success. So, what’s the difference?
I can tell you the ones doing poorly with Facebook marketing have something in common.
They are advertizing dentistry.
The ones doing great in Facebook marketing also have something in common.
They are NOT advertizing dentistry.
Understand: People are on Facebook for typically 2 reasons
- To see what their friends and family are doing
- To see stuff that’s going on in the community in which they live
Understand: People do not typically care about the dentist. They do not typically like the dentist. That’s you. They don’t care about your dental meme you posted or your goofy dental joke. And they aren’t scrolling through their Facebook feed to find your “$99 Exam and Cleaning special”.
Why are they there? 1) To see what their friends and family are doing and 2) To see stuff that’s going on in the community in which they live.
My most sucessful ads have very little to directly do with dentistry. I never advertize how great my composites and crown margins are, or post a deal that my new patient exams are ‘only $99!’ Price ads in general are not very effective in dentistry, as patients have a general low sensitivity to dental prices. They don’t know how much things are supposed to cost in the first place. They don’t have the proper information to know if your deal is a good deal or not. And they don’t really care. So it goes in one ear and out the other.
When I make an ad, my goal is for the ad to LOOK AS LITTLE LIKE AN AD AS POSSIBLE. If my ad looks like an advertizement for my practice then that means that I need to redesign it.
I want my ads to look like something that would be:
- A natural extension of the Facebook Newsfeed for my patient base
- Media that is a natural extension of the brand, or theme, of my practice
The branding of your practice is going to drive the ‘theme’ of your facebook ad campain. Without this, your ads will essentially be random un-unified crap. Random “pay and pray” marketing that isn’t cohesive at all. On Facebook, you are telling a ‘social story‘ about your dental practice. And every good story needs a theme.
So what is the theme of your practice? You should have an answer to this question. To make it easier, answer the following question: When a patient thinkgs of my office, I want to be known as the dental office that………..
…..has the best technology
…..is the kindess and friendliest practice
…..is the cheapest
…..has the best and most competant dentists
…..you’re the dancing dentist, the photographer dentist, or the philosopher dentist. What makes you special?
However you decide to answer that question, and you do need to answer it — it needs to be AUTHENTIC to you and your practice. This is going to take some seriously thinking for a lot of dentists out there. But if you don’t have a quality answer to that question, you will not have a strong Facebook marketing campaign.
On Facebook, you are telling a ‘social story’ about your dental practice. And every good story needs a theme.
In my practice the theme of our Facebook marketing campaign is kindness. We have slogans like “Make Someone Smile” or “Your Smile Comes First!” We want to be known as the dental office that when you walk through the door – you know we’re going to be treated like a friend and with supreme kindness and non-judgement.
What Does a High Quality Dental Facebook Ad Look Like?
Let’s walk through some of my most successful Facebook Ads. You can use them as guides to go along with the message that is authentic to your practice. On Facebook, there is no such thing as a template. You have to do the work and actually be in touch with your patient base. If you just copy my ads, they probably won’t work. You need to use them as inspiration and then make something authentic to you. You can’t fake this and in my opinion you can’t outsource this to a 3rd party company. Outsourcing this to a 3rd party company literally is the opposite of authentic. Authenticity is what makes Facebook ads so easy – you don’t have to pretend, push, or sell — just be authentic to your practice!
You need content of YOU, YOUR staff, YOUR patients, and YOUR community. This is what is going to resonnate as ‘ads’ on Facebook.
See, the thing about quality ads on Facebook – is that they don’t look like ads. They don’t have pictures of teeth and flashing signs of discounts and deals. In fact, if you try to make a Facebook ad that zooms in on a beautiful set of teeth – Facebook is going to block/ban your ad as spam. Why? Because people don’t want to see that.
These are some of my most successful Facebook ads. #1 most successful ad being the one with me standing with the tall guy and me volunteering at the school ‘Dental Care Day’.
These simple ads have brought me hundreds of patients. Something they have in common. They don’t look like ads! They look like any other post you might find on Facebook. They are me, smiling with some people. I happen to be a dentist. I happen to be accepting new patients. And I happen to be within 5 miles of the person seeing the ad. Remember to get consent from patients to use their pictures for social media.
Something else I did to keep up with my ‘Theme’ of kindess and friendliness was a social media marketing campaign I called the ‘Your Smile Comes First’ campaign. When I was a new start-up, I didn’t have a lot of recognition in the community. So what did I do? I hosted a campaign in which I interviewed local reputable business owners and figures in the community which did things that made people smile! I hosted this ‘interview show’ which was filmed right in my dental office and posted on Facebook. The people in town may not have cared about me and my practice, but they cared about these local businesses that they’ve been frequenting for years. It was a great boost for my practice early on. I interviewed 5 local figures. Here is one of such interviews with a local well-respected and very kind flowershop owner.
When you make a ‘good ad’ on Facebook, Facebook will show it to more people. When you make a really good ad, Facebook will give you a notification that your “Relevancy Score” is high. The message will appear below your post and will look like this:
If you aren’t getting lots of these messages – your ads are not good. You will figure out this game pretty quickly with trial and error. Just look at the relevance score of ‘9’ above: Me and a family. A real family in the community with lots of smiling faces. That was one of the first good Facebook ads I made. That ad reached over 4,000 people within 5 miles of my practice for a cost of about $30. How much would it cost to send out 4,000 mailers?
What Does a Bad Facebook Ad Look Like?
Let me know give you some examples of some BAD Facebook ads. Facebook ads that didn’t drive any eyeballs to my practice at all. These ads are made were failures and the type of ads that people scroll straight past on their news feed.
This ad was terrible. No one really clicked it. I don’t believe it drove any patients to my practice. Picture of a fake toothbrush on a fake calendar, that links to an article that I did not write. Nobody cares.
This ad sucked too. It looks just like an ad. Nobody called. No one messaged us, zero people, for the free whitening. People did not care.
Here is another failed ad of mine. This is a VERY common type of post that I see dental pages make all the time. A cute picture of something cute smiling. And a nice little quote about smiling or about dental care or about the dentist. These ads flop big time. Definitely are not going to bring on a high Relevance Score with Facebook.
Understand: If you spend $100 on Facebook promoting a crappy ad and the same $100 on Facebook promoting a great ad, it is not apples to apples. If you spend $100 on a crappy ad, Facebook might show it to 50 people. If you spend $100 on a great designed ad, Facebook might show it to 5,000 people. It depends how ‘relevant’ the ad is to the audience. That little hedgehog picture might be cute – but it is not relevant to anyone’s life.
So….how do I allocate marketing dollars SPECIFICALLY? That will come in the next post….email or facebook message me directly if this article sparked any questions, and I will attempt to address them in my next post.
–DeAngelo S. Webster, DDS
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