People far wiser than myself; tell me with a hint of frustration that the Dental Industry has historically always been a few years behind what is happening in other professions & industries. I believe this applies when looking at the dental industry in relation to advertising & marketing to dentists, their customers.
Online Marketing is about attracting your target market to you by making sure you’re on the platforms that your prospects are using to search for their wants and needs. Online marketing has been increasingly taking a prominent role in businesses that realise the older-fashioned; more established methods such as cold calling, direct mail and print advertising were becoming less and less effective.
Traditional advertising power houses have seen their print advertising revenues decline over the past few years, with huge investment & growth taking place in their online versions. One great example of this is the Daily Mail. Even with its traditional, conservative reputation, The Daily Mail has seen huge revenue decline over the last few years in relation to their print advertising. In the meantime the Mail online website has become a huge draw for advertisers because of its 6.6 million unique visitors a day, which makes it the largest newspaper website ahead of The New York Times and The Guardian. Through a combination of comprehensive news, sports and showbiz reporting, the Daily Mail have embraced online publishing and of course the revenue possibilities.
Over the last few years, we know consumers are making the majority of their purchases online but now this also incorporates industries and professions.
So where am I going with all this? Let’s have a look at the profession we all care about; The Dental Profession. Historically, companies would put special offers or promotional material in trade magazines and expect a response and some return on investment but at GDPUK we know and can see this is changing. The printed magazines are no longer being opened and read like they once were, in my humble opinion they are often left in a heap in the corner of the dental practice. Dentists are looking online for their information, plus they love to share their knowledge with each other. One of the places this is done on an increasingly regular basis is the GDPUK Forum.
GDPUK has been established since 1997 and has evolved into the largest online community for dentists and dental professionals in the UK with approx 6000 members signed up to the site. The site is not open to the public, which means that the GDPUK Forum has become a form of social media for the dental community, where dentists discuss what materials or equipment they use, advise each other on surgical procedures, have lively discussions on the future of UK Dentistry and most importantly feel like they are in a secure environment that provides support and expertise.
Like other online publications, GDPUK has seen huge growth over the last the least few years, while 2013 has been exceptional. The below graphic shows the surge in unique visitors and number of visits in a month since Jan 2013, one we are very proud of. The image illustrates that dentists are using the site day in and day out, they have understood that joining an online community like GDPUK offers a place where they can learn, receive the latest dental news and opinion, take part in the discussions, gather information and form long lasting friendships.
GDPUK Server Statistics August 2013.
Membership of the site is free and we look to earn revenue from companies who want to embrace a terrific target audience of dentists. GDPUK offers a number of advertising opportunities on the site. These range from publishing articles in our blog section to a full marketing campaign that can be spread over a number of months. Our clients can try a number of marketing ideas and see what results and ROI online marketing brings them. This is the huge advantage online marketing brings, results are totally transparent and with weekly reporting our clients know when campaigns are successful or need tweaking. Over the years we have seen that marketing on our site has increased numbers at trade shows, improved brand awareness and has been instrumental in the promotion of new products or services which have entered the dental market. As I wrote earlier, “Online Marketing is about attracting your target market to you by making sure you’re on the platforms that your prospects are using to search for their wants and needs”. As you can see from the stats above, GDPUK is one of those platforms.
So I am posing a number of questions that I would love to be discussed.
Should you still be throwing money at traditional advertising streams? Should companies be embracing online only? Would you rather focus marketing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Are we still at the point where companies like to mix their budgets all around the industry and see benefits in all mediums? At GDPUK towers we are obviously firm & passionate believers in the online platform and can see signs the dental community is moving closer to embracing the social media and marketing world but what do you think? I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.