Passive: submissive, acquiescent, unresisting, unassertive, compliant, pliant, obedient, docile
Aggressive: assertive, pushy, forceful, vigorous, energetic, dynamic

Take a moment to absorb the synonyms for both words, passive and aggressive.
Which of these words would you like someone to use, when they describe the advertising you deploy to promote your dental practice?

If you are like most dentists, you don’t really like either list of synonyms. Not really. You don’t want to be too submissive or unassertive. Those sound weak. You want your advertising to work! There has to be some degree of assertiveness. But on the other hand, you don’t really want to be too pushy or forceful either! You are, after all, a medical professional. You have standards. You have an image to protect.

What if we told you………

The proper combination of both passive and aggressive media types is essential, if you are going to get your marketing to consistently pay off, year after year, after year, after year. How many dentists reading this, would like to have a consistently producing marketing plan? Everyone is raising their hands! We move on.

Please do not take the following words as our lack of support for passive or aggressive media types. We LOVE passive media types. We LOVE aggressive media types. The trick is to know how to use each and how to balance each, so you have a long lasting (in some cases never ending) return for your marketing investment.

A list of Passive and Aggressive media types:

Passive Aggressive
Your Website One on one interaction with patients
Your search engine optimization Any form of print media
Your Google PPC Campaign A boosted Facebook post
All forms of direct mail
Radio, TV, Billboards

Many of you are probably a bit shocked to find your internet investments in the Passive column. Don’t be.

Does your website, your search engine search result, or your Google sponsored ad, impose themselves into the view of the entire local population, or even a targeted segment of the local population? Think about it for a second. Your website, search engine position, and sponsored ads don’t “impose” themselves on anything. They just kind of sit there and wait for someone who needs them, to come calling.

Your website requires either someone to know your web url or it requires a consumer to search for dental services in a search engine and choose the link to your website, before finding the website. Your website is the ultimate passive marketing media type. It really does just sit there, until someone finds it. Kinda like a quarter on a sidewalk.

You must DRIVE consumers to your website, for your website to help all your other advertising. You can drive traffic to your website several different ways. Some passive. Some aggressive. But ultimately, your website is rather useless on its own. Where your website shines, is as a passive but supportive promotion media type. Your website becomes the centralized consumer education/action/conversion portal, but only if you drive local consumers to it. Think of your website the way you would a windowed storefront on a street lined with windowed store fronts.
Your primary advertising, drives passersby to your side of the sidewalk on Main Street. What is displayed (and how you display it) in the window is what convinces a passerby to enter your store. Or, they just walk to the next store.

Let’s move onto search engine optimization of a dental website. Search engine optimization sounds aggressive. It’s not. Search engine optimization simply puts the link to your website, your Google business listing, and maybe some other social media properties, in front of more people who “may be” searching for dental services in or near your location. Those people have to have a need first. Those people have to use Google (or a different search engine) to search for a solution to their need, before the optimization has an opportunity to drive them to your website.

Let’s move on to the most unbelievable – your Google PPC ad campaign.

Those Google ad positions you bid for, doesn’t a human have to know they have a need for dental services and search for those dental services in their Google search engine, before your ad will be seen? Well, yes. This is the epitome of passive advertising! Think Yellow Pages (remember those?). Back in the day, someone had to WANT or NEED dental services, then flip alphabetically to find the “Dentists” section of the Yellow pages. This all sounds extremely passive, doesn’t it? But that’s ok. Passive is not bad. Passive is good, as long as you manage your marketing mix and have balance.

Striking the right balance between passive and aggressive is one of the BIG keys to have a marketing plan that works predictably. This way, you can stop worrying about your practice marketing and focus on the patient in the treatment room!

Takeaways you should be able to begin using to your advantage

  1. Passive and Aggressive media types can both be good.
  2. Passive media types require the potential new patient to already recognize they have a need.
  3. Aggressive media types impose the benefits of a dental practice onto the potential new patient, hoping to interest them in something they may or may not already recognize they need or want.
  4. Rarely can a dentist use one or the other and be successful at promoting their practice over the long term (say over 5 years). Using both will be required over the long term.
  5. Stop blaming your website for lack of results. If you aren’t aggressively driving patients to it. It cannot perform on its own!
  6. Too much passive or too much aggressive, puts your marketing mix out of balance.
  7. A 60/40 budget mix (60% going to aggressive and 40% going to passive) is the sweet spot in most US markets.