(This article is a 6 minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU'LL LEARN FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. The smallest amount of money per year a dental marketing agency can save you
2. The three things you buy from an agency
3. Why it’s important they understand your profession
Value for money should be a major concern when you’re looking to hire a dental marketing agency. But it’s hard to figure out if you’re getting value for money if you’re not sure what the agency does.
It’s tricky figuring that out. The end product of digital marketing is still separate from the results. Just because you have a marketing plan, it doesn’t mean that patients appear at the front door the next day.
There are three things you’re buying with an agency. They are time, expertise and experience. Buying experience is the most logical of the three, so I’ll leave that till last. The other two involve challenges you may not be aware of yet.
A dental marketing agency buys you time
One necessary element common to all marketing is frequency. No matter what you choose to do, you can’t just do it once. One ad, or one blog post, will not have as much impact as several.
Even if you have the talent and desire to write your own blog, you have to commit to doing it regularly. One post a month seems easy the first time. It gets harder the second time. And most people, by the time they’ve got to the sixth or seventh post, have got other things that must be done.
It’s not just the frequency that’s a challenge. Each time you sit down at the keyboard to start typing, that’s at least a couple of hours you need spare. According to research by Orbit Media in the UK, the average amount of time spent writing a blog post is two-and-a-half hours. That’s the average. For most of us, it will take longer (I know it takes me longer than that).
So what’s your time worth? Let’s say that it’s $100 an hour. Over the course of a year, you’re forgoing $3000 of billable time to write.
Agencies can do this more efficiently because they have teams of writers and editors on their books. In our agency, we have 120 writers and editors on call. Professional writers are faster than you because they already know how to structure stories. Professional editors know common mistakes to look for. Because they work in teams, they find it a lot easier and more efficient to do this work.
And because they amortise their costs across several clients, it works out cheaper for you to use them than to do it yourself.
You're buying expertise
Any idiot can write. Right? Give an infinite number of typewriters to an infinite number of monkeys, and you have the Internet or the works of Shakespeare (or both). There’s a kernel of truth in that observation. Most people can write a letter. All of us knocked together essays at school. But there are aspects of professional writing that most people aren’t aware of. And while you can learn these, it takes time to weave them naturally into your work.
A good agency will understand some of the concepts behind trigger words and on-page elements. These will have an impact on how well your copy reads. They’ll know how to structure words for both logical and emotional impact. You don’t learn that at school or uni.
Two other skills you need from an agency are a familiarity with keyword analysis and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Keyword analysis isn’t tricky. But there are many tools you should use to get a good idea of the words people use to search for your services. Some of those tools are free (like Google Trends), and others (like SEM Rush or Ahrefs) will cost you.
Best practice for SEO is similarly easy, but there is a lot of bad advice out there. A good agency will be on top of the latest trends and knowledge about how search engine algorithms are changing and adapting. And they can make sure you can benefit from that.
You're buying experience
How many websites have you built so far? How many blog posts, press releases and native advertising articles have you written to date? And how many different audiences have you done that for?
No matter how experienced you are as a writer, you will be hard-pressed to beat the combined experience of all the editors and writers working for an agency. Even if you have managed to successfully execute a marketing strategy for a practice in the past, an agency will have a dozen more ideas you can try.
An agency knows what has worked for your peers. And in discussion with you, they can help you decide whether the same approach will work for you.
Finally, a good agency can sit between you and your potential patients. It understands what you care about, and what you think is important. That why you should choose an agency partner that can demonstrate knowledge of your profession.
But the agency also understands what patients want to know, and how to give them that knowledge. They should be able to explain a process. They should show an expected outcome from that process, and how that leads to the results you want.
They should free you up to do what you do best.