For many, going to the dentist is synonymous with procrastination, scary drilling sounds, and often just plain dread. While this may be an unpleasant prospect, if you market your small business creatively, you can help patients see a side of your practice that is professional, valuable, and maybe even enjoyable.
We’ve rounded up the best dental marketing ideas for painlessly standing out among the competition. Implementing these techniques can help you improve your brand awareness, reach more potential patients, and become a local giant in your field (but a gentle one).
Our top dentist marketing ideas:
Get to know your audience
How do you market a dental practice? Well for starters, in order to understand what both current patients and prospective patients are looking for, you will need to conduct some in-depth research. Begin by conducting a competitor analysis, where you study your competition and see in which arenas they are ahead of you. Take polls and ask your audience to take surveys so you can get to understand them better. Then, make a note of which areas your local competition is succeeding in, stay aware of what’s starting to trend, and consider beginning to implement the following ideas into the services you offer where applicable.
By understanding your target audience, you’ll be in a better position to think bigger picture and bring some of these creative marketing ideas to the table, or dental chair.
Create a Google My Business page
Focusing on local SEO is a huge step in the right direction. Creating a Google My Business page is a great way to ensure your dental office can be seen in Google listings and search engine results when someone looks for local practices. It will also have the possibility of appearing on the map alongside those search results.
This Google approved listing means that potential patients can find your website faster, feel confident that you are an established place of business, and can view all of your important information, including reviews. The image and map that appear on the side of the search results also work as strong visual assets, helping establish and improve brand recognition.
In addition to helping your local SEO efforts (so important), a Google My Business page gives you the freedom and flexibility to decide how your business appears in these searches. Business owners can set up their pages with important company information such as hours of business, address and phone number, as well as attract new patients with ad-like posts.
Keep it updated with photos (and videos!)
Add vibrant and relevant photos to your Google My Business page to boost your SEO efforts. Continuously adding photos helps your ranking and shows your clients, as well as Google, that your page is active. If you searched for a business and found that their photos were outdated, you’d probably be unsure of its relevance to you. A page with up-to-date photos shows a business that is transparent and staying up to date with its customers’ needs as well.
You should also take advantage of Google My Business’s newer feature which allows you to upload videos to your page in addition to photos. Videos have been shown, time and time again, to better capture attention and increase engagement when compared to photos, so including them on your business page is a major asset.
Don’t shy away from Facebook ads
With its huge reach and ability to target specific demographics, Facebook is an amazing tool in a marketer’s arsenal. Getting started in the Ads Manager is pretty easy, but if you’re looking for a breakdown on running ads from start to finish, check out this complete guide to learn some pretty effective practices.
Facebook ads work on a PPC (pay per click) basis, meaning you pay a small amount each time a viewer clicks on your posted creative dental ads. So just how much should a dental practice spend on digital marketing? This can differ depending on your costs, your location, and how established your practice already is, but experts suggest between 10% and 12% of your expected monthly revenue. Start out small by implementing your ads slowly. Be sure to continuously test your creative assets and adjust your target audience accordingly. Once you start understanding what works for you, you’ll start increasing your ROI in no time.
Join the ranks of compelling brands on Instagram
Instagram is another powerful social platform that should never be overlooked. While Facebook has a larger reach, Instagram’s younger demographic tends to engage more with the brands they follow. In fact, 68% of Instagram users engage with brands and businesses on a regular basis, while only 32% of Facebook users do the same. Engagement can be categorized as actions such as sharing posts or leaving comments and questions – all of which help spread the good word about a local business.
Utilizing and encouraging user-generated content as one of your social media marketing ideas is one of the best ways to relate to your audience and support even more engagement. Be sure to pay attention to any mentions you get (you’ll be notified). Take a look at what your followers are saying about you and repost the positive content of patients singing your praises.
In this example from Invisalign’s account, they took a photo posted by a happy customer and used it proudly on their company Instagram page. It’s a smart way to advertise their work, and it encourages followers to engage – the notion of a brand reposting your content is pretty cool, and hey, it shows you’ve also got the chance to be featured on their page, prompting users to both get creative with their own content and keep watching for your posts.
Fix up your website
How do you attract new patients to a dental office? Make sure you give your official website as much thought and care as you give other marketing ideas. Your website is the face of your business and there is no excuse for having a site that is outdated, hard to navigate, or just plain lackluster. If prospective patients respond well to your ads and other marketing efforts, but come to your website only to be let down by one that is unattractive, you risk losing them and ending the transaction in the middle of the marketing funnel.
Make sure your website not only reflects the quality of your marketing efforts, but can stand alone as an effective, simple to use, and informative asset that represents your business. For many visitors, your website will be their very first impression. Give it a bit of a facelift by making it more user-friendly and providing tools that make a trip to the dentist a little easier.
For example, integrate a simple appointment scheduler where patients can schedule and cancel on their own without speaking to a receptionist. Put faces to names and add doctor and staff profiles to help prospective patients feel comfortable with your organization and those who may be treating them. You can also upload video job postings when you’re looking to expand your team. Each of these small additions to your website will help bring it up to speed and ensure it stays relevant and top of mind to clients.
Check out this video example of an HR job post for associate dentists:
Feature a blog on your website
You’re probably very happy to answer any questions a patient may have. But some topics require a bit more of a deep dive. Featuring a weekly or monthly blog on your website provides patients and curious potential clients a reliable source of valuable education. Informed patients are better prepared to make decisions about their dental health and by providing that information, you establish trust and position yourself as a professional authority on the subjects you tackle.
Additionally, having a blog is a good practice for improving SEO (search engine optimization) and increasing organic traffic. The questions, common search terms, and multiple pages you would likely feature within your blog will work to solidify your website among competitive pages and Google search results.
Use video marketing in different ways
Have you wanted to appear more accessible, relatable, and informative to your client base? Video marketing is a creative way to achieve each of these things. But what is video marketing for dentists? Really any way you can provide video content to your social media followers, website visitors, and potential patients is a way to market yourself.
Host a video Q&A series where you ask patients to submit burning questions either through your website or in direct response to a social media post. Then, you can film a video response to the common patient questions and post them as a reply. Feature these videos as a series on your social media pages and be sure to tag the followers who submitted the questions. These can include anything from commonly asked questions about different dental procedures, accompanying costs, recovery time, general oral maintenance, and more.
You know that your work can speak for itself. But for the ultimate stamp of approval, you need to hear from your customers too. Reach out to satisfied customers and get their testimonials, as well as permission to use them. Have them answer a few questions about their experience and their satisfaction post-appointment. You can send these survey testimonials as part of an email marketing campaign or have customers fill out an online form via your company website.
But getting back to the whole “video is more effective” stance, asking for video testimonials is a very unique way to showcase customer satisfaction. And since, as we mentioned before, video is better at grabbing a viewer’s attention, video testimonials are a great way to make people stop and listen rather than scrolling through some positive mentions.
Have your customers do something as simple as record themselves with their smartphones. Recommend that they sit in a quiet, well-lit room without any noise pollution and briefly but enthusiastically respond to the questions or prompt you provided them with.
You can also feature before and after shots of teeth whitening results, veneer procedures, braces for both children and adults, as well as members of your staff who get special mentions from patients.
Highlight online reviews (and respond to the bad ones)
Repost positive online reviews to your social networks and even consider featuring the best ones front and center on your company website or customer review page. Not only does this practice work on its own as one of our marketing ideas, but it also helps to further encourage engagement with your followers. You can visit trusted sites like Yelp and Trustpilot to look through reviews and ratings, or check out more healthcare focused review sites such as ZocDoc. Of course, routinely gathering reviews from your own site is good practice as well.
Taking the time to genuinely respond to any bad reviews you may receive with an apology (and perhaps a discount), works to show you pay attention and care to address people’s concerns. This builds trust and appreciation that can go a long way in supporting your brand image. Getting a reputation for having quick responses and a giving nature are things that promote positive word of mouth marketing and will pay off down the road.
Utilize email marketing
Email marketing is not an outdated marketing strategy. You likely have access to hundreds of patients’ email addresses and can conveniently send them notices about the latest procedures you offer, promote sales, and even send appointment reminders a week before patients are expected to come in. Keep customers up to date with your latest blog articles, photos and profiles of new doctors and staff who join your team, and any sales or promotions you might be having.
Check out this video example of a dentist office sending an annual appointment reminder:
Promote sales and giveaways
Applicable dental marketing ideas don’t stop at running ads and upping your social media presence. In addition to adopting the other creative ideas outlined, it’s smart to provide clients and prospective customers with something tangible that will keep them around.
Offer new patient discounts for signing up. Provide loyalty cards (think coffee shop punch cards) and offer a free cleaning when a patient has routinely had a certain amount. Holiday offers are another great opportunity for discounting procedures and appointments.
Each of these can be promoted in your Facebook ads, social media posts, email marketing, and on the homepage of your website.
Check out this video example of a dentist office promoting a sale on teeth whitening services:
You don’t have to run with these marketing ideas for dentists and try to apply all of them at once. Implement them into your marketing campaigns in manageable steps, at whatever pace feels right to you and your business. How many you decide to put to practice is up to you.
Whether you take away one or several of these marketing ideas, you are moving in a good direction towards further exposure, more brand recognition, and ultimately, more smiling patients.