Social media is all the rage today…. and for many good reasons. Overall, I think social media can be an important and effective piece of the marketing puzzle. You should definitely be dipping your feet in the social media pool. And, there are a number of ways to do that. Two of them include a Facebook “fan page” and Facebook ads. But, I’m afraid that fickle dentists are apt to latch on to the “latest and greatest” thing while dropping or ignoring other foundational marketing venues.
So, what am I saying here? I’m saying that social media ALONE will not likely be the panacea for a dental practice that many purveyors of “social media services” are intimating. Or, perhaps it’s the dentists inferring such a notion. That all said, I believe you need to get involved with it. The bonus is that it’s CHEAP. The downside is that it can take some of your time (unless you farm it out). But, if you farm it out… is it REALLY “social” media for you? Is using a surrogate as effective? While I have my opinions based on some assumptions, I don’t honestly know, yet.
But, the real topic of this blog post is not really the networking aspect of social media. Today I’m talking about advertising on Facebook. If you’ve been on Facebook, surely you’ve noticed the ads that appear in the right column. You might have even noticed that the ads are often targeted at your own interests. It’s like they KNOW! 😉 The ads are very similar to Google’s pay-per-click Adwords. They are very limited in size and involve clicking through… to somewhere else. More later about “somewhere else.”
If you’re familiar with Google’s Adwords, then you may already know that they are designed to show up for when searchers use certain keywords. And, those Adwords are set up to appear to those searchers in a certain geographic area. So, your variables are the keywords and geography.
Facebook Ads have a twist when it comes to targeting. There aren’t any keywords to pick. But, you can specify geographic targets. AND, beyond geography, you can target very specific demographics. That means that you can specify gender and age. You can get even more specific than that. You can specify social status, such as married, single, or engaged. You can even target Florida Gator fans, if you want! I can’t say why you’d do that, in particular. I’m just emphasizing how detailed your targeting can get.
So, for example, you could run a whitening ad targeted at women aged 19 – 35 who are engaged. Or, you treat kids, you can run an ad targeted at moms. You could target an ad for full mouth rehabs at the appropriate age group. You could target two different sleep apnea ads – one for the wives who are fed up with their husband’s snoring. The other targeted at the husbands. Different headlines and copy for each target. The possibilities are many. Facebook users typically enter a lot of demographic information into their profiles, and that is a MARKETING GOLDMINE. With that information you can really tailor your ad copy and target the ad very precisely.
Ads are typically “pay-per-click.” You can set a daily budget, so you don’t spend more than you planned for. And, Facebook has a nice system for monitoring your traffic and ad effectiveness. I won’t get into detailed instructions on how to set up and monitor your ads here. Facebook has a great resource: https://www.facebook.com/adsmarketing/.
To be frank, I was a skeptic about Facebook ads at first. But, since I’m the “internet marketing guy,” I had to dabble in it, if only as a lark. I really did not expect any sizable returns on my investment. Actually, I didn’t expect ANY. Well, I was WRONG! 🙂 I’ve only been doing it a short time (several months), and my overall ROI is 4.75 : 1. Nearly five to one. Now, that’s not necessarily headline-worthy news. But, that’s not half-bad! And, that was with nearly no effort. I haven’t put much energy into it. But, I think I have good reason to put more effort into it now.
Earlier I mentioned that where the clicks takes you can vary. You have a couple of choices. One is to have the ad click through to your practice’s Facebook Fan Page. The other is to link it to your website. Personally, I prefer linking to my website. Here’s an important piece of advice: If your ad is about a particular niche service, DO NOT link it to your website’s home page. If your ad is about implants, for example, have it link to the page within your website about implants. That link might look something like: www.YourWebsite.com/dental_implants.htm. That’s called “deep linking.” If you link to your home page, the visitor will have to drill down or find the information he or she is seeking, which is about dental implants. Don’t make your prospect WORK to get the information. Take the prospect RIGHT to the good stuff! Make it EASY for them. This underscores my assertion that a GOOD website is the cornerstone of all online (and even off-line) marketing. The Facebook ad will hopefully drive interested traffic to your website. But, your website better be ready to “close the deal.”
I’m currently running two ads. Both are targeted at women aged 25 – 64 within a 10-mile radius of my practice. One is general / cosmetic. The other, which you can see on the right, is specifically about Six Month Smiles (short term cosmetic orthodontics). The Six Month Smiles ad has produced far better for me at this point. If I isolate that ad’s ROI, it works out to 6 : 1. Again… not bad. And, with some work, I think I can do better. I think the headline is critical in these ads. Look at the two ads here, and I think you’ll see why one has done better than the other. One is really not a headline. It’s just the name of my practice. The other headline offers a SOLUTION. It answers a question or concern.
In conclusion, I submit that Facebook ads are a worthy weapon in a Dental Warrior’s marketing arsenal. Check out Facebook’s ad tutorial page before you get started. But, it is VERY easy! That’s all for now. Go get’em!