“It was another great month! Look at all these leads we generated!”

You’ve probably heard this type of statement from your marketing company time and time again. It’s like a broken record it seems. Every month, it’s essentially the same story. Everything looks great. We’re driving terrific results. You’re in good hands.

But, is this what’s really happening?

Marketing companies are quite good in making it look like they are always driving strong results. They’ll usually point to the number of impressions, clicks, and calls to the office in doing so. And manipulate this data, or tell the story, in some way to leave the impression that everything is going wonderfully. And those numbers may even all look well and good. But, at the end of the day, are you really paying them for impressions, clicks and calls?

No, you’re paying them to bring you new patients (and high-quality ones at that). Does any of their reporting show you exactly how many new patients they brought into the practice (and specifically which ones)? And does it show you the quality of those new patients (e.g. initial production, retention rate).

In the vast majority of cases, it doesn’t. And that’s a huge problem!

How can you know if your marketing company is really producing results, if you don’t know the number and quality of new patients they are actually bringing into your office?

The answer is….you can’t.

To really know if your marketing company is providing a positive return on investment, you need to know this information. It’s unlikely they will provide it to you. There are legitimate (and illegitimate) reasons for this. But, let’s assume you can’t get it from them. You can still obtain it on your own. And let me explain how (because they almost assuredly will not).

Step #1 is to get a report from your marketing company that shows the details of the leads they have generated (e.g. name, phone #, and date of contact). They absolutely have this data available.

Step #2 is to then compare that list to your patient management system (PMS) to see which of those leads were scheduled for an initial appointment. You now know how many new patients they generated for you.

Step #3 is to then determine the quality of new patient. Within the PMS, you can see how many showed up for their initial appointment, how much revenue they produced in that appointment, whether they accepted additional treatment ($ and % values), and if they scheduled (and kept) a secondary appointment. You now know the quality of the new patients they generated for you.

This exercise is actually quite easy to do. Anyone on your team should be more than capable of putting this analysis together for you.

With this information in hand, you now have a much more accurate and detailed view of the results your marketing company is producing. Further, you can now easily calculate the real return on investment you’re getting from them. And determine if it’s worth keeping them around or not!

And that is a very important view to have in hand, because it’s certainly not one they are ever going to show you on their own!

To put this in perspective, let me give some real-world examples to illustrate the point:

An office in New Jersey, where I recently completed an analysis of their digital advertising campaigns, showed that nearly 80% of their Google Ad ‘leads’ were irrelevant. Only 20% of the leads they received were even within consideration of even being eligible to be a new patient. That doesn’t mean they became new patients of course. Just that only 20% were even relevant leads to begin with.

An office in California was spending $2,500 per month on a digital ad campaign and being told by their agency that it was working great. We dug into the details and found that for $2,500 they were getting on average only 3-5 true leads. And, at best, only 1 new patient per month.

Another office, located in Ontario, was spending $8,000 per month across five separate ad campaigns, and being shown via reporting that they were getting 150 ‘leads’ per month for that spend. However, of those 150 ‘leads’, I found that only 13 of them scheduled appointments, and only 10 actually showed up for their appointment. Now 150 leads is certainly not the same thing as only 10 new patients.

And here’s the kicker….that office in Ontario….those 10 new patients….they only generated a total of $4,000 in total production (less than half of the campaign costs alone)! The office was spending $2 to produce $1 (which doesn’t even account for the overhead to service those patients). And they were being told by their marketing company that the campaigns were a huge success. Ouch!

These are only three examples. I could go on and on. And I’m sure many of you out there can painfully identify and share similar stories. Simply put, the reporting you receive from your marketing agency does not tell the entire story. So, it’s up to you to keep them honest!

About Kent Sears

About Kent Sears

Kent provides over 15 years experience in consulting and marketing strategy. His work has spanned the globe, in both public and private sector, with leading companies such as Microsoft and T-Mobile. He brings his corporate experience to help private practice dentists realize their full business potential through effective marketing strategies to stay competitive in the rapidly changing world of marketing and healthcare.