Tracking ROI for Websites, Blogs, and Print Marketing

Return on investment, or ROI, is the bottom line of any marketing tool. What do you get out of the time, money, and talent you invest? Are you just taking a gamble with every new marketing venture?

In the past, tracking ROI was difficult, and this holds true in print marketing today. Internet marketing, however, offers assistance with the hurdle of measuring ROI.

Print Marketing

Whether your ad runs in the phone book, a coupon mailer, or a direct mail piece, you do not know who actually sees it, or how many impressions it has made. “Impressions” refers to the times an ad is viewed. Furthermore, in addition to impressions, we don’t know if those who saw the ad were potential patients. And on an even deeper level, we don’t know how many patients actually resulted from the ad.

  • A yellow pages ad goes to everyone with a home or business phone number, and  it is organized so that it should be easily found by someone who needs a dentist. 
  • A newspaper ad is similar in that it is organized into a category (services, healthcare, etc.), but the potential viewers are purchasers or subscribers to the paper. You can find out the demographics of subscribers by requesting data from the paper in which you place your ad.
  • A coupon mailer or direct mail piece goes to a target demographic, usually determined by area (zip code) or house price. You cannot ever know how many people retained your mailer/coupon and how many tossed it in file 13 with the junk mail.
  • A magazine ad is also targeted toward a unique audience: those interested in the subject matter the periodical covers. However, as with all forms of print ads, you won’t know how many people actually read your advertisement, nor will you know how many of those readers were potential patients.

Internet Marketing

Just about every type of Internet advertising can be tracked. For instance, QR codes, mobile websites, pay-per-click ads, websites, blogs, RSS feeds, and subscriptions are usually associated with data collection. You should have access to data that reveals how many viewers or subscribers have seen your information. Furthermore, you may be able to see what search terms (keywords) sent a person to your ad (website, blog, etc.), where those viewers accessed the site from, and where the link to your site resides (another website, PPC ad, Facebook, etc.) or whether it was from a search engine. With Google Analytics installed on your website, you’ll have an unbiased data set that futher explains which of your website pages or blog posts are most popular, which days of the week bring the most traffic, and other specific information.

While data is great, Internet marketing also lets you see how many people who visited your page, ad, site, or blog were interested enough to stick around and learn more. You can review how much time visitors spend on a webpage. A bounce rate (indicated by percentage) shows how many visitors actually landed on your site, then immediately left. A good bounce rate is under 70% — but the lower the better. If your bounce rate is over 70%, you have a problem.

You Have to Ask Specific Questions

Data is great! If you know your target audience (patients you want to attract), print and/or Internet marketing can be extremely effective for bringing new patients to a dental office. However, tracking ROI on either of these investments requires that you ask your new patients questions.

There is a fine line to walk when surveying new patients. They’re new, so you don’t want to hound them and make them uncomfortable or waste their precious time. Their initial experience with your dental office should be about them, not you and your marketing plan. However, if you ask the right questions in the right way, and you review the cumulative responses over time, you’ll learn a lot about the return on your marketing investments.

“How did you hear about us?” is always a good one, but you may need more specifics. For instance, an answer of “your website” or “the Internet” may actually mean that the patient found a local listing on Yelp, found your true website, found your blog or microsite, or saw your listing with an organization like ADA or AACD. Instead of asking this question, consider putting a visual questionnaire with your new patient registration forms.


Example Form

We appreciate your business and wonder how you found us. By maximizing our marketing efforts, we can keep overhead tight. This means that we can keep your dental costs reasonable and consistent. If you don’t mind, please tell us what brought you to our office.


□   Personal referral (friend, relative, coworker, etc.)
Name of referring person so that we can thank him/her: ___________________________

□   Professional referral (doctor, chiropractor, dentist, etc.)
Name of referring professional so that we can thank him/her: _______________________


□   Newspaper

□   Phone book

Radio Ad

Television Ad


□   Website (include thumbnail image)

□   Blog (include thumbnail image)

□   Google Places (include thumbnail image)

□   Facebook (include logo)

□   Twitter (include logo)

□   LinkedIn (include logo)

□   Yelp! (include logo)

□   Other: ___________________________________

Other: ____________________________________


Customize this questionnaire to reflect your marketing, and be sure that your front office team always hands these out with new patient packets. The completed forms should be gathered weekly and delivered to you, and you can share the results with your dental consultant or marketing firm.

If you’d like to talk with MDPM about your dental marketing plan, call 972-781-8861 or email us. Websites, blogs, and copywriting are our forte, but we offer dental marketing consultation, as well.