Critical aspects for your dental marketing – addressing frequency versus reach

9.frequency vs reachA critical principle when looking at your external dental marketing is the concept of frequency versus reach.
Reach and frequency are terms generally used when planning advertising campaigns. However, the principle applies to any promotional activity you undertake: direct mail, online advertising, even networking.

At the heart of the concept is a question: Is it more effective to touch a hundred potential patients once, or twenty-five potential patients four times?


The number of people you touch with your dental marketing message who work or live close enough to your practice to respond and make an appointment. For most dental practitioners in suburban/metro settings, this area is rarely larger than a five-to-eight kilometre radius around your practice.


The number of times you “touch” each person with the marketing message of your dental practice.

In a world of unlimited resources, you would obviously maximise both reach and frequency. However, as most practices have a limited budget, you will often make decisions to sacrifice reach for frequency or vice versa.

In his book Permission Marketing, Seth Godin uses an analogy of seeds and water to demonstrate the importance of assuring adequate frequency in your promotional campaigns.

‘If you were given a hundred seeds with enough water to water each seed once, would you plant all hundred seeds and water each one once, or would you be more successful if you planted twenty- five seeds and used all of the water on those twenty-five seeds?’

One of the biggest wastes of marketing dollars is promotional activity that is implemented without adequate frequency.

When faced with the decision, always opt for less reach and more frequency.

When faced with decisions of reach vs. frequency, remember this