Inside Dental Technology
Your Marketing ROI
How to use marketing strategies to grow your business.
By Bill Neal, CDT
Wise business owners and those involved in directing a company’s marketing efforts realize that the return on investment, or ROI, is a vital measurement tool used to calculate the dollars spent in marketing their products and services.
Today’s marketing strategies have changed dramatically from the days of traditional print advertising and direct-mail campaigns. More planning is involved now due to various channels of marketing being used to promote a company’s brand.
In our ever-changing industry, it is becoming more important to promote your brand to keep a profitable business. There are three simple rules to grow a company—keep your existing customers, sell them more products/services, and add new customers.
In a changing environment, your customers are continually being bombarded by your competition. If you give them a reason to seek out another laboratory, the door is wide open for options. Make sure your quality is consistent, case delivery is on time, and you produce exactly what is prescribed. Your pricing should be competitive and your service must be valuable. Existing customers need to be continually informed about the various products and services that you offer, especially if you are a full-service laboratory.
Acquiring new customers can be a challenge. Once you reach a certain size, word-of-mouth advertising becomes more difficult as not enough new customers come through the door. A well thought-out, multi-channel marketing strategy is the most effective way to start marketing.
Basic Rules of Marketing
Just like so many endeavors in life, there are some fundamental rules—the “Marketing Facts of Life”—that are necessary to make a marketing campaign effective. These are:
- Marketing works
- It does not work overnight
- Present a consistent identity
- Present a consistent message
- Marketing must be done regularly
- Follow-up is vital to success
- It takes commitment to work
Whatever type of marketing strategy is used, not adhering to these simple rules will ensure that the ROI will
either be low or non-existent. There are a number of marketing channels available to marketers and although this is not a complete list it gives an idea of what is out there.
- Direct mail includes postcards, brochures, newsletters, sell sheets, etc.
- Print advertising or ads are generally those found in trade publications
- Display advertising usually refers to banners, billboards, bus signs, trade show displays, and even auto wraps
- Websites, landing pages, and online advertising
- Electronic display advertising—mobile or fixed (similar to print versions)
- Banner ads attached to a manufacturer’s or publication’s website
- Mobile advertising
- PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns offered by such online giants as Google and others
Social Media Marketing
- Facebook is a form of marketing to friends and developing a community of sharing and trust
- Twitter is a rapid way to communicate thoughts about a particular subject or experience
Content marketing is relatively new and best used best in social media marketing, but is quickly changing the way we market across the entire marketing spectrum. In short, content marketing is the creation of relevant and important current information that your customers will be interested in reading.
We can see from this short list that there are numerous ways to brand your company. When it comes to dental laboratories that use these marketing channels and want to know their ROI, the challenge might become greater than those outside of dentistry. Not many dental laboratories have a dedicated marketing department or the systems in place to calculate their ROI accurately. Some of the marketing channels will provide this type of information. PPC campaigns from sources such as Google provide great analytics, but many dental laboratories do not attempt to extrapolate this information into a meaningful report to help guide future efforts. Company websites also provide a tremendous amount of valuable data, such as the pages visited, referring websites, the number of hits to a particular page, and time spent on a page. All of this information can be tied to specific landing pages for a particular product campaign that has a URL landing page attached to your website. E-newsletters can also provide these statistics and generate a great venue for your content marketing.
The reality of your ROI may not be for any one specific portion. The information you will want to gather is what is important to your company: Number of hits, leads, click-throughs, etc.; length of your sales cycle; the lifetime value of that lead; and the number of referrals by the new lead.
Marketing takes time, dedication, and patience. You should use multiple channels and track the activity of any new clients. Many people give up when they are just becoming visible to their intended audience.
Marketing works and the best practice is to give it a year. From there, you can use the specific channels that worked compared to the channels that were not such a success.
About the Author
Bill Neal, CDT, is the founder of AMG Creative, Inc., in Fort Collins, Colorado.