2 Nov 2017  •  Blog, Marketing and Design  •  10min read By  • Brendon Macdonald

Are you getting the most from your Facebook ads?

Facebook adverts are a key tool for dental practices to reach prospective new patients and engage their existing patients who use social media. In fact, if you want to grow your business, you cannot avoid using Facebook ads if you want to promote your services. A study from Social Bakers found that between February 2012 and March 2017, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 1.5% Like any form of advertising, to use Facebook ads for your dental practice effectively, you need to understand how it works. The world of Facebook advertising has changed and evolved since Facebook began. It is possible to reach a more targeted group of people than ever before, but it is also possible to waste money and create ineffective adverts. There are a number of really easy tools to help you to advertise on Facebook. By taking a few minutes to explore the options, you can transform your results on Facebook and see your business grow.

Why You Should Be Advertising on Facebook

Social media has fast become a key way we communicate over the last decade and Facebook is right in the middle of the social media revolution. Here are three reasons why your dental practice should be advertising on Facebook.

Your Patients Are on Facebook

Whether you personally have a Facebook presence or not, many of your patients do (and don’t assume it’s only your younger patients). Facebook has 1.59 billion members (and counting) worldwide, and its members engage with ads on Facebook, with 22 billion ad clicks recorded per year. Essentially, it has become the largest digital advertising opportunity after search engines, so you are missing a trick if you are not using it.

Facebook Ads Are Cheap

Facebook ads are cheap, in fact, they’re practically free! If you learn the most effective and efficient ways to use Facebook advertising, you will find it far less expensive than all other channels, both online and offline. In some cases this can be up to 30 times cheaper.

The Targeting Capabilities of Facebook Are Exceptional

With 1.59 billion users (and counting) worldwide you could be forgiven for thinking that advertising on Facebook is like a drop in the ocean, but the targeting capabilities of Facebook are one of its strongest features. By learning to navigate through the targeting features you can reach a specific, narrow audience relevant to your posts. However, for those of you relying on organic activity on your Facebook business page (that’s interaction with those who have liked your page), you will find your reach is no longer enough to make an impact. Facebook users ‘like’ many pages and between paid adverts, friends’ posts and shares, the likelihood of your core audience seeing your post just through organic reach are now slim. That’s where targeted Facebook advertising for dental practices comes into play.

10 common Facebook Advertising Mistakes

While many businesses are jumping at the opportunity to run advertising campaigns on Facebook, there are some common mistakes that will prevent you from seeing your desired outcome and will waste your time and money. Here is a list of ones to avoid:

  1. Not Using Facebook Ads Manager or Business Manager Tools

Facebook provides free, easy-to-use tools for you to monitor and track the effectiveness of your advertising. It’s surprising how many dental practices advertising on Facebook are unaware of this additional feature. If you want to track who is seeing your adverts and more importantly, who is engaging with your page and clicking through links, you need to use Facebook Ads Manager.

  1. Using The Wrong Ad Campaign Objective

Choose the right option for what you want your prospective patients’ next step to be – do you want them to visit your website? Or to book an appointment?

There is more than one way to advertise on Facebook. That’s what makes it such a great tool for advertising. Every type of advert has a specific goal, Facebook refers to these goals as Campaign Objectives of the advert. For example, you can send potential patients to your website (Facebook calls this Website Clicks), pay to boost a post on a specific issue (Facebook calls this Engagement) , share a video about a new treatment (Video Views), promote your practice page or open day event (Reach), and much more.

This might sound quite daunting, but Facebook ads clearly shows you the options when you are creating an advert. By selecting the correct ad objective, ensures that Facebook will optimise for your specific ad objective to get you the best return on your advertising spend.

  1. No Facebook Pixel

Adding the Facebook Pixel to your website is essential and non-negotiable. It is another great, simple-to-use tool from Facebook ads for dental practices. It is also free of charge! In a nutshell, it is an analytics tool that helps you to track what prospective patients do when they click onto your website from one of your Facebook adverts, and then gives you the ability to then create more targeted adverts by allowing you to retarget your website visitors on Facebook.

Facebook makes it really easy to add this tool to your website, so you can collect this useful data to help to target your future adverts.

  1. Throwing The Net Too Wide

You create a Facebook ad for your dental practice, in a rural area, and Facebook tells you it is possible to reach millions of users with your advert. Are those millions of users really likely to visit your dental practice? They might be in other countries, for example. By targeting the right audience, with specific parameters to your advert, you won’t waste money putting your advert in front of people who will never engage.

  1. Not Using Custom Audience Tool

Facebook gives you the ability to create a custom audience. We have already talked about targeting a narrower audience, so how is this different? The Custom Audience option on Facebook ads is a great way to engage with existing patients. Why not try a Facebook advert to your existing patients with a dentistry content offer, like an e-book about dental implants, that is targeted to those Facebook users already engaging with your posts or people that have visited your dental implants website page in the last 30 days? Advertising on Facebook doesn’t always have to target brand new customers.

  1. Not Having a Clear Value Offer

As a dentist, when you create a treatment plan for a patient you ensure that the treatment options are clearly described along with the benefits and risks, as well as time and costs involved. Facebook ads are similar! Where many dental practices go wrong with advertising on Facebook is that they don’t give their audience a clear message. They don’t always define what is on offer and how they would like people to respond. Bottom line, you need to make it really easy for your prospective patient to make an appointment or to keep reading.

  1. Not Testing Your Adverts

What exactly attracts your prospective and existing patients to engage with your adverts? That is a question you can only answer once you have tried and tested different adverts. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to Facebook ads for dentistry. There are some basics, as we have discussed, but by testing out different types of adverts, photos, GIFs, and videos you will begin to get an idea of the types of adverts that work best for your audience because of the response rate.

  1. Being Impatient About Results

So, you’ve created a Facebook ad. You spent time on the wording, on the images and you are happy and feel confident this advert should work. Three hours later you check the stats on your advert on Ads Manager and you’re disappointed. The advert isn’t engaging people! Or so it seems. Actually a lot of people make this mistake. Facebook suggests waiting 48-72 hours for an accurate view of the success of your advert, rather than making changes too soon. That’s because Facebook uses that time to optimise your advert.

  1. Not Enough Budget

While Facebook ads are cheaper than all other forms of advertising, they aren’t free! You need to ensure you are using an adequate budget for your dental practice’s needs. On average, a dental practice should budget for a minimum of £250 a month on all Facebook advertising campaigns to give your ads the best chance of success.

  1. ‘Like’ Campaigns

There is a great deal of advice and companies offering great deals to get ‘likes’ for your business page on Facebook. Facebook ads run a ‘like’ campaign that you can pay to gain additional likes. While it is important to get your prospective patients to like and follow your page, to increase the likelihood of future engagement, LIKES DO NOT EQUAL PATIENTS. It is much more effective to focus on campaigns that offer content or offers that are of benefit to your intended audience.

Now we have looked at the 11 most common mistakes when it comes to Facebook ads, here are some quick tips to making a great dentistry ad

  1. Keep it to the point – clear, concise and engaging copy.
  2. Make your offer clear – what do you want the reader to do next? And how?
  3. Avoid forbidden words – some dental terms, like implants, are forbidden. Be creative!
  4. Avoid forbidden images – before and after shots are likely to be rejected.
  5. Not too much text – Facebook ads will reject that essay you are trying to share!
  6. Target your intended audience – be clear about who you want to reach and appeal to them.
  7. Monitor your successes – use Pixel and Ads Manager to track your advert.
  8. Keep improving – keep finding new ways to engage and retain your audience on Facebook.

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