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We recently took a look at a variety of ways you can advertise your practice. The next step is being able to measure the return on your investment (ROI).

Measuring the unmeasurable

Needless to say, online channels are highly trackable and provide real time data. The true challenge is being able to track performance from traditional offline channels; to know whether a new patient heard about you from a friend, newspaper ad, letterbox drop or other promotion.

Here’s a few tips and tricks that will help you measure your campaign effectiveness.

Phone number tracking

If you’re listing your phone number on any printed material, it can be worth investing in a “vanity number”.

A vanity number is a custom phone number you set up for marketing purposes, which redirects to your exisiting phone number.

The benefit is you can track every incoming call, allowing you to immediately glean whether specific campaign activity is getting the phone ringing. If you’re running multiple campaigns at once you can easily add several vanity numbers and have them all directing calls to your main line.

Two popular options for setting this up are Twilio and CallRail – but be mindful to turn off their call recording options, otherwise you have to let any callers know that their call may be recorded.

Vanity numbers can be an effective campaign tracking technique, however, bear in mind it’s not an exact measure. Some people may see your flyer in their local newspaper, but then Google your phone number in their moment of need. This is a universal issue when trying to attribute marketing campaign activity to spend – and why it’s good to ask new patients where they first heard about you.

For phone numbers shown on your website or Google AdWords, the team at Loves Data has some great advice on how to track calls from these sources.

Website tracking and redirects

If you’re including a website link on any promotional material being sent out, Google Analytics makes it easy to track how many clicks it generates through to your website via their URL builder.

Start with their simple campaign URL tool. Here you input:

  • the website URL you want them to land on (eg.
  • the campaign source (eg newsletter)
  • campaign medium (eg. email) and
  • campaign name (i.e. Christmas_17_promo).

The tool will then append a unique string of UTM code onto the end of the original URL. In our example our campaign URL becomes:

https:// ?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=christmas_2017_promo.

You are then able to track the amount of online traffic coming in from the link under Acquisition / Campaigns in your Google Analytics dashboard. This is also known as UTM tracking – we’ll show you specifically how to do this in an upcoming analytics blog.

Naturally, a detailed URL containing UTM code string isn’t very print friendly, and a patient is never going to remember it all let alone enter it into their browser. This is where redirects come in.

Like vanity phone numbers, redirects allow you to visibly show one thing while in the background directing the user somewhere else.

If your website is built in WordPress, you can use a redirect plugin. Here you simply enter the detailed URL, and how you want the URL to look on your marketing material (for example

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Special offers

An easy way to test the effectiveness of any campaign is to include a special offer. Perhaps a gap-free first appointment, or something tangible like a travel medical kit or a dental hygiene pack. When a patient comes in to claim the offer you can record a code against their name. By tracking how many offers are redeemed, you can gain some measure of how effective the promotion was.

Just ask!

Above all, don’t be afraid to add a question to your new patient form asking where the patient heard about your practice.

It’s easy, free – plus you might gain some insight into a channel you weren’t aware of.

Measure pre vs post campaign acquisition

At a high level you can track the impact of any campaigns by measuring the number of patients generated in the months preceding the campaign, and comparing this to the volume gained during the campaign period.

Whilst indicative, this isn’t a completely reliable method due to seasonality effects (eg winter cold and flu season is always likely to be higher GP patient volumes) and other outside factors. This is why you should also look at your year on year data, which will give you a baseline of your typical patient acquisition rate and indicate any spikes likely caused by campaign activity.

The above are all proven techniques to help you gain an indicative ROI on your marketing efforts. Stay tuned for upcoming Marketing Masterclass blogs as we explore how to tie all the data together with analytics.

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