Key Strategies to Jump-Start Your Dental Marketing
The biggest (and best) win for your dental marketing strategy actually has less to do with marketing. Strange to say but dental marketing has more to do with compelling your patients and the public to value their oral health.
Well, isn’t that marketing?
In essence, yes!
But patient acquisition starts with the patient. Their health, their goals, and their decisions.
Dental marketing must achieve a balance between the needs of the patient and the strategies that compel them to take action based on their personal desires.
It’s a win-win! Through efficient dental marketing, patient health improves and your practice increases its production.
More dental practices means more competition…right?? That’s true to an extent.
On the positive side - more dental practices can translate to more opportunity for the dental-seeking public to access care. As it relates to provider competition - differentiating your practice from the mass of other providers requires intentional strategies.
Exploring How to Get More Patients in Your Dental Office (And Create Long-Term Loyalty) embraces that strategic challenge. You can rise above the competitive “noise” by highlighting the strategies that you utilize to attract (and keep) more patients in your dental office. And what strategies are those?
Make Communication a Priority
”Everything about your dental practice communicates something. It’s vital that what’s being seen and heard by your new and current patients leads to long-term relationships.” 
- Keep your language engaging on the phone, face-to-face, and online.
- Listen and respond to patient preferences for scheduling, treatment presentations, and financial discussions.
- Allow them to share their feedback via reviews and referrals.
Make a Manageable First Impression
By “manageable” the implication is staying in-control of how patients first interact with your dental practice.
”First impressions are typically formed through your website and/or an online search. This reality drives how to get more patients in your dental practice through digital strategies.” 
Manage the digital “first-impression” made by your website.
- Keep it updated with relevant images, staff and contact information, hours of operation, etc.
- Keep it appealing by design and ease of use (navigation).
- Keep it responsive through screen layout and mobile responsiveness.
- Keep it searchable with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and fresh, organic content (including local keywords).
And in every impression you make online or offline, keep it friendly and engaging with etiquette, kindness, and courtesy.
Make Feedback a Welcome Resource for Improvement
”It’s better for your practice that you welcome their feedback - however it’s served. People (your patients included) like to know their voice and opinion matters.” 
- Create accessible feedback “loops” through online forms, follow-up texts/emails, post appointment phone calls.
- Ask questions specific to your patient’s experience with their treatment, your team, and your practice in general.
- Allow them to help you improve your practice via shared insights.
- Process patient feedback and reviews with your team to improve your practice processes.
- Mine online reviews (positive and negative) for improvement opportunities.
Make Social Media an Intentional Strategy for Dental Patient Relationships
- Create engagement by posting content on a consistent schedule.
- Curate and share content that’s useful to your patients and the dental-seeking public.
- Keep your posts balanced between personal (in-house) content and of-interest (curated) content.
- Respect privacy, maintain HIPAA compliance, and be “tasteful” on all social media content.
Create an Identity for Your Practice
Create a look and feel that makes your business stand out from everyone else in your community - through a logo, brand colors, and decor. A memorable identity improves the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts.
Themed decor is a great way to create a stand-out identity. It especially helps to create a memorable identity in pediatric offices by:
- Solidifying a kid-friendly brand and improving the effectiveness of existing marketing.
- Creating word-of-mouth excitement among parents in the community.
- Providing amazing visuals to supercharge online reviews and social media shares from parents.
While we’re on the topic of online (digital) strategies, let’s circle back to a core part of today’s dental marketing initiatives:
Remember the “Yellow Pages?” As you dust off those distant memories keep in mind how much information access has changed since those days.
Now your dental marketing plan is almost always related to your online presence and through your practice’s website.
”When someone is looking for a dentist, they are most likely to search online and pick from the results they find there.
Moreover, a website is an additional opportunity to market your services to a wide audience and provide answers to questions and information about your practice.” 
Build an Effective Website
Your online presence is perhaps your most vital dental marketing investment. It’s important that you see it as such - an investment.
”An online presence is becoming increasingly important for reaching your patients, regardless of the monetary investment. The expense is quite small compared to the potential amount of lost business, so remember to make room in your marketing budget.” 
Be Intentional with Your Website Design
The “architecture” of your dental practice website is essential to its influence on your online presence and marketing success.
1. Detailed Site Navigation - logo/brand image, location, contact information, and links organized into a logical path for visitors to follow.
2. Relevant Imaging - convey the benefit and outcome of choosing your office with images that show a positive, stress-free environment.
3. Compelling Headline - confirms that site visitors are in the right place and that your services will provide the health solutions they seek.
4. Clear call-to-action (CTA) - directs site visitors what to do to schedule, get more information, contact you, etc.
5. Unique Benefits - the results of someone choosing your services for their oral health and the highlights of what makes your environment unique (child-centric, convenient hours, etc).
6. Convincing Social Proof - reviews and testimonials that reveal how you’ve helped others achieve their oral health solutions, etc.
7. Supportive CTAs - highlight getting acquainted with you/your team, access to useful information (blog, social channels), a visual tour of your facilities, etc.
8. Informational Footer - highlight awards and affiliation “badges,” links to social media channels, and other useful menu items.
With that “core” dental marketing piece in mind… access more comprehensive dental marketing strategies. Download the free Marketing e-Book now!
As important as having a website is, it’s equally valuable to have a strong social media presence. Today’s approximately 247 million U.S. social media users (circa 2019) are proof that social media marketing isn’t going away.
And if you’re wondering where to invest your social media energy…
”By using social media, you are able to put a face to your business and quickly and effectively reach out to previous and potential clients.
There are three main social networking sites that are best for reaching and interacting with your client base: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each serves a specific purpose and can be utilized in different ways.” 
Dental Facebook Marketing as a “Connection” and “Sharing” Strategy
If there’s a must-have social media platform for your dental practice…it’s Facebook. Consider it a foundational social media channel to maximize for patient engagement.
- Share patient photos (with permission and HIPAA compliance).
- Showcase your staff celebrations, milestones, and birthdays.
- Promote events you’re participating in.
- Curate, create, and share content that’s useful to your patients and their oral health.
- Update practice information - office hours, new technology, team additions/transitions, closures due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. COVID-19, weather, etc).
- Target your reach with a Facebook ad strategy - promoting a specific service, etc.
Using Twitter as a “Tips” and “News” Tool
Your Twitter platform is best used when you have plenty of content to share and desire a direct connection with current and potential patients who use the platform.
- Share dental health tips, short “bits” of related news, patient review snippets, and “fun” content.
- Post content throughout the day to maintain a consistent connection with your audience.
Using Instagram as a Visual Gallery for Practice Promotion
Your Instagram platform allows for less formality than Facebook. And it has a strong appeal to younger patients, families, and those who appreciate compelling images and videos.
- Attract new patients with images of your practice environment and “culture”.
- Appeal to new team members by visually promoting your team and practice culture via photos and video content.
Social media speaks for itself as a dental marketing strategy.
”Social Media is about more than simply posting content. The content you create is also pivotal to your success.
Placing advertisements on these platforms allows you to reach new clients without spending a fortune.
The great thing about social media is that you can let your patients market your practice for you! A themed office gives patients plenty of photo opportunities that they want to share to their social media profiles.” 
Did you know 85% of consumers rely on the internet to find a local business? With digital marketing, you can stream ads 24/7 at a lower cost investment than most traditional marketing approaches. By going digital, you will have access to analytics that can show you how effective your campaign is really doing. Digital marketing also creates sustained awareness, which will lead to more patients, which ultimately means more revenue for you.
Benefits of Digital Marketing
The benefits of digital marketing vs traditional advertising stand out immediately:
- Larger audience reach.
- Targeted messaging to specific demographics.
- Easily change your messaging on the fly to improve audience response and engagement rates.
- Create and nurture relationships.
- Create your own budget.
Interested in learning more benefits and see an example for your business? For a more detailed breakdown surrounding digital marketing for dental offices, check out our top 3 Reasons Why Your Dental Practice Should Pivot to Digital Marketing
Types of Digital Marketing
There are many types of digital campaign strategies, so you’ll have to determine which one is right for your business. The most common digital strategies are:
- Pay Per Click Ads - position your business on search engines and business directories where people are actively searching for your services
- Display - create awareness when people visit local news websites, streaming services, etc. - Targeted/re-targeted social media marketing - share useful information and stay front-of-mind in social timelines and news feeds
- Email Marketing - share relevant reminders and information with patients who haven’t visited your practice in awhile or who are inactive.
In today’s modern era, people will almost reflexively search online for a related answer to their question or a solution for their problem. With paid advertising, you are stacking the odds that they will find you first. If you’re interested in dipping your toes into digital marketing, we have some great resources on our blog to share:
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, there are plenty of marketing specialists and social media experts you can hire that will help you with all your planning and execution. They will ensure you are using your budget appropriately by targeting the right markets with the right messaging at the right time.
It’s common for a current or potential patient to search online reviews about your dental practice. That’s why it’s vital to give attention to…
Data reveals that…
”91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews. 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as the recommendation of a friend.” 
Start by Claiming Your Online Profiles
It’s important to “control” your reviews. Doing so involves setting up a (review) profile or claiming the default listing baked-into most review sites.
- Establish your presence on Google, Facebook, and Yelp plus any industry-specific sites that could potentially review your practice.
- Begin with your Google Business Page listing. Google reviews are a dentist-essential as most start their search for your expertise there.
Make it Easy to Review Your Dental Practice
- Add links to your review pages on your dental practice website.
- Include links on all outbound communication - emails, e-newsletters, etc.
Incentivize Your Review Process
- Offer a low-cost gift card to a local business (e.g. coffee shop, deli, etc.).
- Create a contest around reviews added to a “prize” draw.
- Announce review “winners” on your social media platforms.
Ask (the Right People) for Reviews
Those who refer your practice/services to friends, family, and co-workers are a good source for reviews as well.
- Ask them to provide a review about their patient experience.
- Thank them with a note, referral/review gift, etc.
- Reply to all reviews…even negative ones.
And speaking of negative reviews…
Use Bad/Negative Reviews to Your Advantage
Above all be professional. Don’t allow someone’s ill-intent to draw you into their “drama.”
An occasional bad review can actually help you. Too many 5-star reviews appear too good to be true.
When you receive a bad review:
- Respond quickly
- Investigate the source and complaint
- Apologize if necessary
- Say thank-you
- Offer to continue the “conversation” offline to achieve a solution
Open the Door to Dental Marketing Strategies that Give You an Edge on the “Competition”
Your dental practice website, social media, and online reviews are an effective dental marketing triad. However you prioritize them, each strategy is an investment that will create strong returns.
Ultimately, your dental marketing strategy is about creating loyal patients.