Dentist Website ROI

April 6, 2007

By now, most people will acknowledge that the Internet is a great way to reach potential customers — for both large and small businesses. People are going online to search for everything from sports scores to potential dating partners, and yes, for healthcare providers like dentists.

The dentists we’ve talked to have varied in their sophistication from those who have no website whatsoever, to those who have a great website, and promote it heavily through Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on the major search engines. The majority of those have some sort of web presence, but have not taken the next step of promoting their websites. And very few dentists could actually tell you what their return on their spending was on website and web promotion.

One of the main issues is that unlike an e-commerce business, where transactions take place directly on the site, most folks looking for a dentist will need to complete their transaction (i.e. setting up an appointment) offline. Thus, unless the office is very diligent about asking all new patients how they found the office, it is really hard to figure out how clicks from a PPC translate into real patients coming in the door.

Further compounding things, is that while most search engines do allow you to do a fair amount of targeting (based on searches consumers type in, time of day, or geographic location of the user doing the search, etc.), the level of targeting does not allow an office to target to the level that is really needed to guarantee that they are paying only for real potential patients. For example, a user who finds a dentist’s website from a search on dentists in the Chicago area, may actually be located 20-30 miles away from the practice, and therefore be extremely unlikely to become a patient no matter how nice the website is. Based on our experience the search traffic is incredibly fragmented by geography (as well as other factors like specialties desired, payment/insurance type, etc.), meaning that most dentists who advertise online are paying a lot of money for consumers who will never become patients.

With the early success of our “find a dentist” service, we’ve found that converting “clicks” to our website into phone calls that leverages the phone and receptionist that the dentist already has allows the offices we work with to have a pretty clear ROI on their investment with us. They know when a call comes in that is generated by BRINGO, and their success rate in converting our calls into patients has been quite good.

As we build out the site, we hope to continually offer better and better targeting options and education for the consumer to help them make informed choices, which will ultimately allow us to provide both the patient and dentist with better and better matches. Watch this space for more as the next few months will be fun.

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