Did you know that the average Facebook user spends 50 minutes on Facebook, Instagram or Facebook’s Messenger platform each day? Fifty minutes. Let’s put that into perspective: there are 24 hours in a day and the average person sleeps for 8.8 hours.
This means that more than one-sixteenth of the average social media user’s waking moments are spent on Facebook.
With these numbers in mind, it should come as no surprise that many dental practices are turning to Facebook to advertise to potential patients. If you’re considering Facebook advertising for your dental practice, this is a good place to start.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the different types of Facebook ads available and which options are the best for dental practices (and the worst). I’ll also review one of the most crucial elements of ad success that it is often overlooked and the number one reason why so many ad campaigns fail.
Intrigued? Read on to learn more.
Types of Facebook Advertising
Facebook offers 12 different types of ads. However, there are really only three that are relevant to dental practices, which we will cover here. The other options are either completely irrelevant (App Installs or Shopping) or not as useful for dental practices (Brand Awareness).
A note on brand awareness
I’ve talked about brand awareness before and why it’s not a good use of your advertising dollars. Essentially, large brands like Pepsi and Nordstrom can afford to spend their marketing dollars simply ensuring people are familiar with their brand. This is often done through simple messaging, like a billboard that contains only the company’s slogan.
As dentists, you have limited time and money, so you need to focus on measurable and trackable marketing efforts that bring patients in the door with direct offers and calls-to-action.
Enough about brand awareness – on to the three types of Facebook advertising that will bring patients to your practice!
1. Lead ads
Lead ads are ads that allow advertisers to collect information from prospects directly from ads inside Facebook. Instead of sending traffic to a landing page where people manually fill out a form and press submit, they click on the ad and their information (name & email) is pre-populated. All they have to do then is hit submit. All within the Facebook’s platform.
I recommend starting with lead ads if you want to do Facebook ads on your own. Click here to get step-by-step instructions on how to set them up.
Advantage (+): These ads do not require any dedicated webpages/landing pages or software; rather the signup form is available right through Facebook. This means that users do not have to leave Facebook to opt-in. Potential patients simply click one button, indicate they are interested in learning more and fill in their information. Facebook then does the rest by providing you with the information the user inputted for follow-up.
Disadvantage (-): Lead ads have generated a lot leads for our clients, however it is important to note that this type of initiative is only worth pursuing if you have a system in place to follow-up with leads. Many users who are willing to provide their contact information through a Facebook ad will not call your office on their own. It is critical that the leads are not lost and front desk staff dedicate time and implement a process to ensure these potential clients get a first appointment on the books.
2. Conversion ads
Conversion ads work with a Facebook tracking pixel that can automatically determine when people have completed an opt-in form. This allows Facebook to optimize your campaign to find more people likely to opt-in.
Advantage (+): The extra landing pages needed for these ads allow you to control the sales funnel process more than lead ads. In addition, users who click on a lead ad and complete a form often have no intention of taking further action, whereas conversion ads require customers to take a few extra steps. These steps result in better quality leads.
Disadvantage (-): Conversion ads require you to build out the offer-specific landing pages and connect everything, which requires a bit more technical know-how. You will also need to monitor and optimize the sales funnel to ensure the best results from conversion ads.
3. Traffic ads
Traffic ads are optimized to get more customers directly to your site, unlike conversion ads which are optimized for opt-ins. These are best for just sending people to content instead of a direct offer (see example in the disadvantages section below).
Advantage (+): Provides cheap clicks to your content or whatever product or service you’re promoting.
Disadvantage (-): Requires more follow-up. At Predictable Patient System, we only use traffic ads as the first part of our sales funnel, and utilize retargeting on Facebook to display relevant offers to users after they have clicked on our traffic ads. In essence, we use traffic ads as a means of identifying our target market – those who are likely to be interested in a particular treatment. For example, we might run traffic ads linking to articles about veneers or teeth whitening, and then offer the people who click on these ads a free cosmetic dentistry consultation.
The Art of the Offer: How it’s Done
Once you’ve decided which type of ad to use, the next step is determining what you will offer users who click on your ad. This is a key determinant of the effectiveness of your campaign, because the offer must be enticing or valuable in order for users to follow through with the actions requested (providing their contact information, scheduling a consultation, etc.).
How to Make a Good Offer on Facebook
- Be specific – Don’t just offer a “new patient discount.” State what the discount is, when it will expire and how patients can claim it.
- Include a call to action – Explain how people can take advantage of the offer right now.
- Include a deadline – Use urgency to spur users to take action. For example, “This month only” or “sign up today and receive…”
- Demonstrate the value to the user – WIIFM is the acronym to keep in mind here, or “what’s in it for me?” Also known as, “why should I care?” Ads should always be written in a manner that answers these questions before the user has a chance to ask them. For example, “Implants will give you the confidence to eat and laugh like you used to. This week, we’re offering $500 off implant treatments + a free consultation.”
- Location, location, location – Proximity and convenience are key. You’re likely targeting people in a defined geographic region that is close in proximity to your office. So, make it clear that you are nearby. Many people may not realize that your practice is just blocks away and that they were served your ad because you are in their neighborhood, so call this fact out in your ad. For example, “Hey South Austin, this week we’re offering….”
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Once you’ve developed an offer that is sure to capture leads, it’s time to focus on the follow-up plan. The follow-up is the most important component of any campaign, and unfortunately, the one most often overlooked. You can have the flashiest ads and best offers known to man, but if you don’t follow-up, your campaign has achieved nothing. The number one reason most Facebook campaigns fail is that advertisers don’t do anything with the leads they’ve captured. You cannot expect users to act on their own. Your Facebook advertising campaign has planted the “lead seed,” now it’s up to you to water, nurture and harvest the lead.
Follow-up is especially critical for dental practices due to the processes and cost often associated with treatment. Most people are not ready to immediately drop $3,000 or more on dental work – they require long-term follow-up in the form of phone calls and emails to understand the benefits and the process. Follow-up allows potential patients to ask questions and get comfortable with the procedure while also getting comfortable with you and your staff.
Take the time to plan follow-up strategy that includes both phone and email components using a customer relationship management (CRM) system like Infusionsoft or Ontraport. Your plan should include at least three months of emails and a few check-in phone calls to book appointments for the leads you’ve gained.
Many leads that we’ve received are clients who are not ready to visit the office until 1-3 months after initially opting in. In some cases, individuals are not looking to book an appointment for at least a year. These are cases worth more than $30,000 – patients who would have simply done nothing or visited another dentist had we not continued to follow-up until they were ready.
Want to see if Facebook Ads are right for your practice?
Note that Facebook ads aren’t a good fit for every practice. To see if they would work for you, click the button below to take the assessment now >