Your dental website is your primary marketing tool online and is often the first impression of your practice that you provide to potential patients. There are two main categories of traffic for your website: paid and organic. Ideally, your marketing mix will provide avenues for both of these types of traffic. But when it comes to where to focus your marketing budget, which is more important?

When it comes to paid vs. organic traffic, it isn’t so much a matter of which is more important. Instead, several other considerations are imperative to think about as well, including the size of your marketing budget, how much time you have to wait for results, and what your marketing goals are. Understanding the difference between the two types of marketing and which to use in a specific circumstance is a good first step to managing your budget wisely.

Paid Traffic: When You Have More Money Than Time

Paid traffic involves visitors who became aware of and interested in visiting your practice’s website as a result of seeing advertisements. Digital paid advertising often comes in the form of pay-per-click (PPC), such as ads you post and pay for on social media. Paid advertising typically costs a lot more than attracting website visitors organically. However, the return on investment (ROI) is often far lower than organic methods, as it fails to provide the opportunity to develop a relationship with your audience. 

PPC advertising certainly has benefits, particularly in situations where you have a first-of-its-kind service or you’re promoting a time-sensitive offer. PPC advertising is also useful for driving traffic to your site when you want quick results for your marketing spend. PPC advertising features a low learning curve and the flexibility to control your costs.

Advertising metrics are automated, easy to understand, and available any time you need to know how successful your campaign is in driving viewers to your website.  Unfortunately, when you spend less on a PPC ad campaign, the campaign’s reach will be smaller. Furthermore, there is a shorter life cycle for PPC campaigns, particularly if there are other practices competing for the attention of viewers. 

Organic Traffic: Building a Relationship on a Small Budget

Many new practices don’t have the budget to spend a lot on paid advertising. Organic traffic methods, such as using SEO to increase your local search rankings and using Google Business Pages (GBP) as a front door for welcoming patients to your practice, generally involve a greater time commitment. However, they also offer a greater long-term ROI. These methods are not reliant on how much money you are willing to spend but on ensuring that your website provides great content to optimize your search rankings.

Organic traffic-building efforts take more time to both learn and to see results. Eventually, however, providing great content and optimizing your GBP will lead to better search rankings. Better search rankings will ultimately produce more traffic to your site, more leads, and more revenue. You will build greater trust and credibility with prospective patients. Also, over the long term, organic traffic-building methods will produce three times the ROI of paid traffic.

The downside to organic traffic, of course, is the time involved. It can take a while to see the results of your efforts. Additionally, the ability to drive organic traffic can be greatly challenged by ever-changing search engine or social media algorithms.

How Do You Split Your Marketing Budget to Include Both Paid and Organic Traffic?

Most practices use a combination of techniques to attract both paid and organic traffic. Even those who invest in PPC traffic must pay attention to local SEO, as local Google searches are the most common driver of new leads. Those who are almost completely focused on building an avenue for organic traffic can still benefit from PPC schemes that can be used to promote special offers or even to highlight quality website content garnered through SEO efforts. While building your long-term organic traffic-boosting methods, PPC advertising can provide a quick and effective burst of new leads.

After one to three years, practices typically find that the larger portion of their website traffic comes from organic methods. This amount is generally reversed for new practices that have the budget to allow for consistent PPC advertising.

Seeking Help With Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The bulk of any digital marketing strategy relies on the ability to draw potential patients to your website where they can access more information and choose to make an appointment. Many practices have a small staff that is pressed for time and doesn’t necessarily have someone in-house who is trained to understand how to build organic traffic or when paid traffic is the best option. 

Having a marketing team develop a digital marketing strategy and carry that strategy out frees dental staff to focus on other matters, such as delivering great services to their patients. Digital marketing companies are often able to develop plans that satisfy both your marketing goals as well as your budget.

Market My Market Can Help You Determine the Best Ways to Drive Traffic

Every practice has its own unique set of needs when determining how to drive traffic to its website. Perhaps you’re just starting out and have a small advertising budget, or perhaps you’re in an area where there are a lot of competing practices and you need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. The experienced team at Market My Market can develop a comprehensive marketing plan that addresses both your short- and long-term marketing needs to help you get the most value from your efforts and money.

Marketing plans are always subject to the unknowns. Technology changes and algorithms shift, and your practice deserves a marketing partner who embraces those changes as opportunities. To learn more about how Market My Market can help you grow your practice, call us at (866) 270-2250 or use our online contact form to schedule a Zoom call with our team.