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 3 steps for a successful dental ad campaign on Facebook:
1- Picking the right type of ad
2- Creating an offer that converts
3- Following up with your leads (the most crucial element of ad success that it is often overlooked)
Step 1 – Picking the Right Type of Ad
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 specific offers and calls-to-action.
Enough about brand awareness – on to the three types of Facebook advertising that will bring patients to your practice!
- Type of Ad – Lead ad
Lead ads are ads that allow advertisers to collect information from prospects directly from ads inside Facebook. Instead of sending traffic to a landing or website page where people manually fill out a form and press submit, they click on the ad (like in the image below) and their information (name & email) is pre-populated.
All they have to do then is hit submit. All within the Facebook’s platform.
When to Use
If you’re brand new to Facebook ads, I recommend starting with lead ads. They’re the easiest to get up and running while you learn how the system works.
Pros (+): 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.
Cons (-): Lead ads have generated a lot leads for our clients, however a lot of those leads aren’t highly motivated to take action. Why? Because the opt-in process was so easy. This results in a lot of leads that weren’t very invested in the signup process or offer.
This type of ad is only worth running if you have a good system in place to follow-up with leads. Many users who are willing to provide their contact information through lead ads will not call your office on their own. It is critical that the leads are not lost and front desk staff dedicate time ensure these potential patients get a first appointment on the books.
2. Type of Ad – Conversion ad
Conversion ads work with a Facebook tracking pixel that can automatically determine when people have completed an opt-in form off of Facebook, meaning they can tell when someone completes a form on your website (off of Facebook). This allows Facebook to optimize your campaign to find more people likely to opt-in.
When To Use
Conversion ads are going to typically bring in the highest quality leads. Once you’ve got your footing with the lead ads and have chosen a landing page software, a software that will allow you to build pages with opt-in forms, then I would move your ad budget over to conversion ads.
Pros (+): The extra landing pages needed for these ads allow you to control the sales funnel process more than lead ads. Because conversion ads require customers to take a few extra steps compared to lead ads, you end up with better quality, more motivated leads.
Cons (-): Conversion ads require you to build out the offer-specific landing pages and connect everything, which requires a bit more technical know-how compared to lead ads. You will also need to monitor and optimize the sales funnel to ensure the best results from conversion ads.
3. Type of Ad – Traffic ad
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, like a blog post, instead of a direct offer (see example in the cons section below).
When to Use
If you have compelling content that will get people interested in whatever treatment you’re promoting, you could use this as the first step in creating a custom audience.
What you would do is run traffic ads to your content, create a custom audience in Facebook of people that visited that content, and then retarget them with a related offer.
For example, if someone visited the blog post from the ad above, I would then retarget them with an Invisalign or cosmetic dentistry offer.
Pros (+): Provides cheap clicks to your content or whatever product or service you’re promoting.
Cons (-): 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.
Step 2 – Creating a Good Offer
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 next steps (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 get users to take action. For example, “This month only” or “sign up today to 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….”
Step 3 – How 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 best converting ads and offers, 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 most 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?
Facebook ads aren’t a good fit for every practice. Offices MUST have certain things in place before starting paid ads, including a high number of positive online reviews and well trained front office staff.
To find out if your office is ready to run ads and grow your practice using Facebook ads, click the button below to take our Facebook Ads Dental Practice assessment now >