Where to Put Your Marketing Dollars: Indirect vs. Direct Marketing

There are over 50 marketing tactics that a dental office could deploy and it may be difficult to know for sure which tactics are best. Marketing typically falls into four categories: brand/awareness, traditional, online/digital and internal. More simply put, marketing can be either indirect or direct.

Indirect marketing may include things like SEO, social media, or patient appreciation events. These activities are a softer sell, and often reach people who may already know of your brand. For example, let’s say you are running SEO on your website. If someone is searching online for a dentist near them, your practice may appear in the search listings and they may visit your website, along with four to five others.

Direct marketing includes things like online advertising and direct mail. These activities speak directly to consumers’ needs and wants with more of a hard sell. For example, if that same online user from the SEO example is searching for a dentist near them, they may click on an online ad first. That online ad will go to a custom landing page that explains the patient’s first visit, introduces the dentist, and describes the new patient special. The messaging on the ad and landing page will be much more direct and targeted than what is written on your website and will likely attract a more intentional customer.

This is not to say that only direct marketing tactics are the right ones. Awareness or indirect marketing is extremely beneficial, especially if you’ve recently rebranded, moved to a different location, hired an associate, or know that word-of-mouth is a big driver of new patients.

How do you know what’s right to do then? Ask the people. We say time and again that no one knows your practice story like your happiest patients. Ask your patients how they heard about you, what stood out most about you, what made them stay, etc. They will light up with enthusiasm and gratitude about how you changed their life for the better, and you can then put those messages to market using the media they (and their friends and family) pay attention to most.

Ensure you are running the marketing tactics that make most sense for your practice, your goals, your budget and your target audience. Need help? Contact a dental marketing expert today.