Modern consumers are faced with more choices than ever before. That rings true for the products we choose at the supermarket, the gym we sign up for, and the dental practice we put our trust in.
All of these choices mean that businesses have to work more than ever before to attract their audience, differentiate their brand, and retain customers.
Inbound and outbound marketing are often thought of as two distinct approaches to marketing. But the truth is, when it comes to marketing your business, they are highly interconnected.
In this article, we take a look at these two marketing approaches to consider which type is best for dental practices.
Inbound vs Outbound: What’s the difference?
Before we analyse which one is best for dental practices, we need to understand the difference between inbound and outbound marketing tactics.
Although they might fly over your head as marketing jargon, there are some key differences that distinguish inbound and outbound and how marketers use them.
Inbound marketing is all about attracting patients to your business. Before you dive into this topic, it might be a good idea to take a look at our inbound marketing glossary, to familiarize yourself with some key terms.
It’s focused on drawing in a target audience using tactics involving content marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, etc.
The purpose of inbound is to provide value to customers, rather than bombarding them with advertisements. Hubspot coined the term inbound marketing, and posited a new kind of marketing funnel with three phases: attract, engage, and delight. With inbound, customers are consuming your message by choice.
Outbound marketing, also referred to as push marketing or interrupting marketing, involves most of the main channels that you associate with the word “marketing”. Think television ads, newspaper or magazine ads, billboards, radio, etc.
It’s what you typically see while you’re consuming another kind of content (like watching a TV show or reading a newspaper) and it gives the viewer no choice but to look at it.
Outbound tactics focus on broadcasting the brand’s message to as many people as possible, rather than to a refined target audience.
The main type of outbound marketing is advertising, which provides very little value to viewers and, oftentimes, serves to put them off a brand or to contribute to feelings of frustration.
- Inbound pulls customers in, whereas outbound pushes content in front of viewers
- Inbound focuses on solving consumer’s needs, outbound is a type of one-way communication used for the purpose of selling products
- Outbound marketing is disruptive, whereas inbound is interactive and transforms viewers into leads as they consume.
What do the statistics say?
Inbound is quickly overtaking outbound as the preferred method of marketing for businesses.
The inbound methodology has adapted to the dynamic needs of modern consumers, the ways they use technology, and what they feel differentiates one business from another.
This is true for people seeking all types of products and services, as well as patients seeking a new dental practice.
All of this isn’t to say that outbound marketing certainly is dead. Far from it! Advertising still plays a big role in increasing brand awareness, attracting customers, and boosting ROI, but the fundamental difference is that it isn’t the sole approach anymore.
We’ve collected some statistics that reflect the current state of the marketing landscape, which will help you to understand how people feel towards each style.
- Inbound marketing is the preferred marketing approach for 74% of marketers worldwide.
- Properly executed inbound marketing tactics are 10x more effective than outbound tactics for lead conversion.
- 32% of outbound marketers agree that outbound marketing tactics are overrated.
- Content marketing ranks as the most effective inbound marketing tactic.
- Inbound leads cost, on average, 61% less than outbound leads.
Phew! If those statistics don’t have you sold on using inbound marketing to promote your dental practice, we’re all out of ideas. Just kidding, we’re never out of ideas when it comes to the benefits of inbound!
The benefits of using inbound marketing to promote your dental practice
Here are some of the major benefits of using inbound marketing tactics to promote your dental business.
- Lower costs
That’s right, inbound marketing campaigns are much cheaper to run than outbound ones. You don’t even have to spend a cent to get started with inbound. Posting to your blog or social media accounts is completely free if you’re willing to do it yourself at the beginning.
As your online presence and customer base grow, you might need to invest more time and resources, SEO services, or premium subscriptions into your content strategy to boost your organic search presence.
Compared to the cost of getting an ad on TV or in print media, it’s much more affordable.
- Provide value
Most people skip over outbound marketing. Nobody likes being interrupted by blaring advertisements on TV or in print media (unless they’re really good ones). Inbound offers value to your audience, whether that’s in the form of interactive infographics, blog posts, podcasts, or business updates on social media or via email.
Creating these kinds of content will help foster positive, mutual relationships with your dental practice patients.
- Improve brand awareness
We’ve already mentioned how great inbound marketing is for boosting your brand awareness (more than once) but we thought it deserved it’s own special place on this list of benefits. Inbound is all about attracting customers to your business organically, through creating and sharing great content and messages.
It’s your chance to answer any questions your audience has and showcase your dentistry expertise.
For instance, they might be looking for information regarding a specific problem like gum disease. They take to Google as most health-conscious people do nowadays and discover your website has published a wonderfully engaging and in-depth article about it. This simple action builds their trust in your brand and makes them much more likely to become qualified leads.
How inbound is taking the world of dental marketing by storm
The dental industry is booming. In areas of the world like the UAE, Dubai in particular, the dental industry is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Dental practice owners are opening their eyes to the benefits of using inbound marketing strategies to promote their practice, rather than sticking with outdated methods that practices traditionally used.
A quick look at the top-ranking and best-reviewed practices in Dubai reveals a number of dental practices with highly interactive websites, regularly updated blogs, and well-executed local marketing strategies. Though the dental industry is only recently waking up to the benefits of implementing inbound strategies, there are plenty of examples that back up its effectiveness with cold, hard data. Let’s take a look at an example.
How one inbound marketing agency boosted this dental practice’s general appointments by 36%
When inbound marketing agency Denamico was approached by Boger Dental, a clinic in Minnesota, they knew they could help transform their business growth potential. The team at Denamico helped Boger Dental to develop a results-driven inbound marketing strategy. So, how did they do it?
- Collected information about revenue and marketing goals, developed buyer personas and analyzed website functionality.
- Identified the most effective methods for attracting those key buyer personas, in the case of this particular clinic, it included patients seeking cosmetic procedures, dental sedation, and TMJ procedures.
- Implemented strategies to improve their website, develop content, optimize conversions, automate marketing procedures, optimize search engine presence, and more.
What was the result?
General appointment requests increased by 36%.
So inbound marketing works after all—but we know you never doubted it!
The answer? A combination of both!
The truth is, the best way to market your dental business is with a combination of inbound and outbound marketing. There’s no denying that outbound marketing plays a crucial role in increasing your brand reach and getting your name out there, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of marketing anymore.
Focus on developing an inbound marketing strategy for your dental practice. When you work on attracting, engaging, and delighting your clients with valuable content, you’re making pivotal steps to secure loyal customers with positive relationships with your dental practice.
The first step for developing an inbound marketing strategy for your dental practice?
Figure out exactly what your audience wants! Download our free buyer persona template today.