It’s the never-ending online debate: should businesses invest their marketing dollars in SEO for search, or for social media ads?
According to an article published last year on LinkedIn, both. Which means that the debate will continue to rage.
Both SEO and social media are labor-intensive to keep current. SEO has the advantage, though, when it comes to measuring ROI and being able to tweak your marketing for maximum results.
Social media works to get your ads in front of a self-selected audience, which is a plus. ROI is difficult to measure.
There are a number of good points on both sides. Most telling is the intent of the customer. There’s a strong consensus that people who use search have a much higher intent to buy than those who use social media such as Facebook.
That difference in intent results in a higher conversion rate for organic search.
If your goal is to attract and convert more dental patients, search would seem to be the answer. But there’s much more to the story.
People don’t search for a dentist until they know they’re going to need one. And while search is great for helping people find you when they need you, it does little to help prospective patients keep you in mind as the choice.
Put another way, search gets you right-now patients.
Social media, on the other hand, is great for building your brand, promoting your image, and keeping your practice at the top of people’s minds for when they might need a dentist – maybe-later patients.
Still, social media can result in conversions as your fans convince others. According to the article, 75 percent of individuals in the 18 – 26 age bracket rely on recommendations from social networks when making a buying decision.
I recommend SEO for all of our SmartBox dentists, both for its effectiveness and for the ability to measure ROI. Typically, I discourage dentists from investing heavily in social media. Achieving a less effective conversion rate and fuzzier ROI measurement isn’t a good use of your marketing dollars.
So, if the question is where to invest the majority of your marketing budget, SEO wins every time.
With that said, dentists who already have an established social media following – particularly on Facebook – should keep it. There’s mounting evidence that social media promotion of your practice can drive people into the sales funnel and lead them to become your patients.
The question, then, is what percentage of your marketing budget you should allocate to SEO and social media. That requires a detailed analysis of your current investment, your ROI for each marketing channel, your ideal patient, and your goals.
Or, you can enlist the help of the leading dental marketing firm in the country: SmartBox Web Marketing. We offer the best patient attraction system in the business, one that helps you get more patients, more profits and more freedom.
And, since we have highly trained SEO experts, website gurus, and content writers on-staff, we’ll take care of keeping everything current and attracting the patients you want.