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Inbound marketing is how you earn prospects’ attention, make your practice easy to find, and draw patients to your website. That is in contrast to, say, having a room full of people cold calling people in your community.

So why inbound marketing?

Because research shows that inbound leads cost 61 percent less than outbound leads. That means increased return on investment.

SEO is one type of inbound lead.

Historically, SEO leads have a 14.6 percent close rate across all business, whereas outbound leads like direct mail or print advertising have a 1.7 percent close rate.

Close rate is really what matters.

So let’s look at your “marketing pyramid.”

At the broad base is all of your outbound marketing. TV, radio and print ads, billboards, etc. This is where you are putting your name out there for everyone to see and hoping that some small percentage of all those people schedule an appointment.

At the next tier is your web marketing. That’s where a company like SmartBox comes in. This is where you are maximizing search engine optimization, making sure your website has interesting content and writing blogs. Blogs and great content are key to Google search engine result rankings. This is also where you capture email addresses, physical street addresses and phone numbers.

You do this through ebooks and gated content. Ebooks are great for building a mailing list. Offer a free report and build your tribe.

From there you go to the next tier, where you are tailoring messages to specific types of people based on which ebooks and gated content they chose. This can be done through email marketing (SmartBox is an Infusionsoft house). It can also be done through targeted direct mail or text messaging. Follow up is key, especially as case size increases.

At the top of the pyramid are things like podcasts and webinars. These are very targeted to a specific segment of your potential patients.

The funny thing is: the top guys in inbound marketing give away all of their best info. When you pay for it, it’s because it’s done for you or you’re buying the shortcut guide.

A Look at the Future of Inbound Marketing

So where are we headed with inbound marketing?

The first thing is that dental marketing will move more online. Traditional marketing includes ads on TV spots and in the newspaper and telephone directory. You know what those three things have in common?

They’re all being replaced by the Internet.

People DVR their shows and skip the ads – and that’s if they watch TV at all instead of Netflix or Hulu! Newspapers are losing readership like it’s a disease. And the Yellow Pages are as unnecessary as a horse and buggy.

That’s because whatever you can get from those three media can be found ON DEMAND, exactly what you’re looking for, online. So if your patients are looking online, where do you need to be?


Second, this move online will cause a bump in inbound marketing. If prospects are looking online for targeted information, there is no need to take a shotgun approach to finding them.

Third, geo-fencing and geo-targeted marketing.

Geo-fencing is a feature in a software program that uses GPS or radio frequency identification to define geographical boundaries. When a device enters or leaves the geo-fenced boundaries, they get a text message or email.

So when someone in your database gets within a few blocks of your practice, they might get a text message that says, “Stop in and see Dr. Smith to say hello. We want to see that beautiful smile.”

Geo-targeting is when you deliver content to a website visitor based on his or her location. So someone sitting within a few blocks of your practice might see content that emphasizes your great location, whereas someone on the other side of town might emphasize your convenient hours.

Or someone from a part of town with an older demographic might get content that emphasizes dentures or implants and someone in a younger part of town might see more content on cosmetic dentistry.

Finally, remarketing and retargeting will become even bigger. With remarketing, someone buys a product or service from you online, and they receive an email or get directed to a landing page that shows them other similar products or what other people who have bought that product have bought.

With retargeting, someone who visits your website and then leaves will see targeted ads from your practice on other websites. This continues a trend that is already big, and that is making sure you keep your name in front of potential patients.

It’s a phenomenal time for dentists to make more money, have more free time, and attract more patients without making more effort. Technology finally allows docs to work less and make more.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.