I have a confession to make – just recently I’ve taken my foot of the gas! I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from online dental marketing and as a result, the rankings for my business ‘Dental Writers’ have taken a bit of a hit.
As an example, yesterday – when I did a quick search for ‘dental bloggers for hire’ I found that I’d been upstaged by Upwork. Similarly, when I put in a search for ‘dental writers‘ I’m sandwiched between Upwork and another writing agency. Whereas before, I was sitting pretty by ranking above them.
Clearly for me this isn’t good news and another reason why I’m getting back on the marketing treadmill.
So I guess you probably want to know why I stopped in the first place?
In reality, life got in the way. My partner and I had recently moved house and between October and now, we’ve also been heavily involved with some big client-facing dental projects, so any kind of online dental marketing kinda took a back seat.
Unfortunately the 80:20 rule went right out the window and in reality, we spent way more time working ‘in‘ the business rather than working ‘on‘ it.
Okay so I admit that it sounds like an excuse and maybe it is – but because we were kept busy and work was flowing in, it didn’t seem like so much of a problem at the time.
But this got me thinking…
Rather than look on it as a negative and beat myself up about it, what about if I used it as an experiment to show just how it has (or hasn’t) affected my business?
They say that the best way to learn is from analysing your mistakes, so this is what this particular post is about..besides – I love a bit of self reflection, don’t you?
The aim is to hopefully show the impact (or not) of my actions and to take a look at the causes and effects.
So, if you’re into facts and figures then this could make for interesting reading. If not, well…I’ll try to skip through the numbers parts as quickly as possible 🙂
Anyway – here goes…..
Whereas in the 4 months previous (June 2017 – September 2017) we had 12 new subscribers.
While that doesn’t seem like that much of a drop in terms of numbers, when you stick a percentage on it, that’s a decrease of 58.5% 🙁
Of course, there could well be other variables that influence this figure, such as seasonal aspects, popularity of a particular blog etc, but it still doesn’t make for great reading.
Verdict – Failing to blog in the short term has had a direct impact on the number of subscribers to our blogs and e-Books.
Direct client enquiries
In the four months from June 2017 through to Sept 2017 we had 9 direct client leads. These are clients who have contacted us directly without us ever having marketed directly to them. As such they have found us either through social media or via a Google search.
However, in the months from October 2017 through to January 2018, when no online dental marketing was undertaken, we actually had 11 direct client enquiries (just under 3 a month). That’s an increase of 22.2%.
- It could be that more clients were looking for specific specialised services we offer. Hence the reason they approached us.
- It could be the fact that the ‘non-marketing period‘ (October through to January) fell during the start of a new year. Traditionally we always see a slight spike in potential clients seeking to ramp up their dental blogging, or improve their existing dental content as we move into a new year.
- It could also be that any previously written blogs can take around 6 months to kick into action in terms of SEO. So blogs that had been written in say May or June of last year, were now starting to work their magic.
So what about the actual conversion rate?
Interestingly enough, this dropped….
In the months from June 2017 to September 2017, 6 out of the 9 clients decided to proceed with our services and a 7th came back to us at a later date after mulling it over for a few months.
Bearing in mind that the vast majority of enquiries we get are from people directly seeking our services, we would expect a relatively high conversion rate – this conversion rate came out to just under 78%.
Conversely, during the ‘non marketing’ months from October 2017 through to January 2018 out of the 11 client leads, we have so far ended up working with 5 of those.
Granted that several of these clients put a lot of work our way and as a result keep us very busy, that’s still a decrease of 32.5%!
The remaining clients either hadn’t taken any action on further conversation, or failed to respond after initial contact.
Verdict – While 4 months of not carrying out online dental marketing did show an increase in the number of direct client enquiries – the number of conversions into paying clients dropped. This supports the theory that this period was over the start of a new year when people may have been simply ‘weighing up their options’.
As such, I believe that if I ceased to continue blogging/tweeting etc for another 4 – 6 months, I would see a dramatic decline in customer enquiries.
To be honest, I very rarely obtain work/clients via social media channels as I don’t use it as a place to ‘hard sell’ my business. That said, it’s a great place to engage with other industry professionals and spread the word about what it is we do.
So here are the facts…
In the four months from June 2017-September 2017 (the last period online dental marketing was carried out) we tweeted 179 times and from that gained 133 followers an average of 0.74 followers per tweet.
During that same period, 20 Facebook posts were produced and from this we gained134 likes.
In the equivalent ‘non marketing‘ period from October 2017 – January 2018, no posts or tweets were created resulting in only 8 new Twitter followers. However and unsurprisingly, 13 people then unfollowed me 🙁 So in effect, I lost 5 followers overall).
While that isn’t a major problem in itself, perhaps the bigger picture is that I suffered a decrease in profile views of 82.4% from1199 views down to just 211. That’s another 988 people who may have potentially clicked through to our website.
The good news however is that I did gain a further 57 Facebook likes 🙂
Verdict – Inactivity on Twitter meant that we saw a 103.76% deficit in the number of people following. Facebook fared slightly better with a 76.38% reduction in post likes, over the same period. Either way and overall, social media inactivity has contributed to a decrease in website traffic by around 34%
This pattern or trend does explain why many online business owners (including yours truly) have businesses that tend to peak and trough. When businesses are busy with client facing work, it’s easy to forget about the marketing side of things because..well… life’s good right?
The problem comes however when projects come to an end and businesses go into nosedive because there are no more clients lined up.
What tends to happen next is a frantic round of panic marketing to try and land a client. Once that client is on board, the foot is off the accelerator again and things drift along. Hence the peaks and troughs.
What my research has shown is that during the 4 months of non-marketing our business didn’t just drop off the face of the earth. After all, we still had clients.
However, what it has shown is that less and less people are engaging with us socially, less people are visiting our website, and I beieive that eventually, less people would be making enquiries. That’s the crux of it right there!
So in a way, I’m glad that I looked into the mechanics of what happens when online dental marketing ceases. It’s kind of given me the wake up call that I needed to get right back on the marketing bandwagon.
It’s also backed up my theory that online dental marketing such as dental blogging and social media isn’t just ‘stuff‘ that should be done as and when we get time.
Instead it has to be an intergral part of an overall business strategy and one that in today’s competitive environment, can make or break a business. So most definitely for me…I’m glad I carried out this research, but…lesson learnt !
Thanks and I look forward to composing more blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts in the very near future.