A client called me the other day to tell me that radio doesn’t work. Instead of calling my other 140 clients to warn them, I asked him to elaborate.

“Well,” he explained, I’m not getting very many patients from the radio advertising.”

“That’s strange,” I replied, “You’re commercial is a proven winner, it sounds great, and you have a good schedule on the perfect station for our target market. You should be getting tons of sedation patients by now.”

“Oh, we are. In fact, we’re doing a couple of sedation patients a week, and we just had our best month ever. But they’re all coming from our website.”

“Doctor, how do you think they found your website?”

“Hmmm. . .”

Websites help attract patients in two ways. If your website is positioned correctly with the search engines, people can find you on the web just like they would in the Yellow Pages. RAMPSites websites attract sedation patients this way all the time.

The right website serves another function as well. It is the online catalog or brochure that describes your office and your services to the high-fear patient who hasn’t gotten up the guts yet to call your office. A good website gives patients a place to anonymously gather information while they’re trying to summon the courage to actually contact you.

That’s why RAMP always recommends that dentists use a website to complement their radio advertising. We estimate that more than half of the people who hear the radio commercial will investigate the website before they call. The radio commercials and the website work in synergy to bring the patient closer to treatment.

When a new patient calls the office for the first time, most front desks make it a habit to ask how they heard about the practice. If the new patient doesn’t mention hearing the radio ad, we recommend a follow-up question. Ask them, “Have you heard the doctor on the radio?” You may be surprised to find that many of them have. The patient will often say something like, “Yes. I hear him all the time. That’s how I found the website.” Without the follow-up question you never would have known that. Radio’s not cheap. It’s worth that one extra question to find out how well it’s working.

And, as a general rule, if you just had your best month ever. . .don’t eliminate a piece of your marketing. It’s working.