It’s almost time for kids to head back to school, and that means plenty of opportunities for your dental practice to connect with both new and existing patients! Back-to-school time is getting busier and busier for both kids and their parents, though, which means booking a dentist appointment might not be the first thing on their minds.

Wondering how to reach potential patients during back-to-school season? Try these back-to-school marketing ideas for your dental office.

Back-to-School Marketing Ideas

Even if you’ve already got a dental marketing strategy, it’s tough to know how to draw in new patients before school starts. The key to a good dental marketing campaign? Finding a way to stand out and grab the attention of potential patients!

As a dentist, you can’t rely solely on phone calls or letters in the run-up to school starting. You need a marketing strategy that catches parents’ attention.

Check out our list of advertising strategies to see which marketing idea works best for your local dental practice.

Offer a Free Cleaning or Other Prize

While children may be your patients, their parents are the ones who are paying for your services.

In your advertising, explain how your practice can save parents time and money. After all, those are two things they probably never have enough of, especially when it’s back-to-school time!

Some messages you could try include:

  • Cross your child’s dental care off your to-do list with a free cleaning.
  • Get ready for school pictures with 20% off our teeth whitening services.
  • When you book an appointment for same-day crowns, get teeth cleaning free.

Giving away a prize or coupon for a future service can get patients in the door. Consider a raffle for a prize that appeals to both kids and adults, like tickets to family events.

Keep your prizes cost-effective and in line with good oral hygiene practices. For instance, a message like “Come in for a free cleaning and leave with a huge free sack of candy!” will definitely excite kids but doesn’t reinforce the importance of taking care of teeth.

Host a Back-to-School Event

Back-to-school events are a fun way to bring in new and existing patients alike. Try hosting a “Say Goodbye to Summer” event at your practice, complete with activities like face painting and sack races. Renting a bounce house and hiring a local band to play at the event are great ideas, too. You’ll have kids begging their parents to let them join in on the fun.

At the event, consider handing out packs of branded merchandise, such as t-shirts and stickers. Include a coupon for dental care in each prize pack.

To tell patients about your event, you can try sending flyers or postcards in the mail. Include eye-catching images, information about your back-to-school event, and dental health tips that communicate value to prospective patients.

These mailers are a great place to advertise your promotions, too. You could use messaging such as “Come to our event and get free teeth cleaning!” or “We value every loyal patient! Get your next teeth whitening free when you give us an online review or refer a friend to our small business.” Make sure you also use custom tracking phone numbers so that you can better measure the calls that come in from the campaign.

Partner with Local Schools

Partnering with schools near you is a smart way to bring in new dental patients. Consider setting up a donation site for backpacks and school supplies at your practice, with all donations going to kids who need them at local schools. This does wonders to spread goodwill and boost your reputation in the community.

You could also offer discounted dental services for teachers and students in exchange for the school allowing you to advertise your practice on-campus. If the school has a community board or student directory, ask if you can advertise there. It might give you a good rate or even let you promote your dental business for free.

Many dental practices overlook student newspapers, but most of them have an advertising section where you can promote your practice. You’ll typically pay much less for this ad space than you would elsewhere.

For elementary schools, have your staff put together “Congratulations on your lost tooth” kits. Teachers and nurses can hand these out to kids who lose a tooth. In the kits, include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a coupon for a cleaning or checkup. If you have toothbrushes with your business name on them, even better.

Use Digital Marketing Strategies

Plenty of parents realize that their kids need a teeth cleaning or checkup, but they just haven’t gotten around to making an appointment yet. Offering coupons for a free or discounted visit is the perfect way to get existing and new patients to pick up the phone.

This one’s easy if you’ve already got a roster of patients with kids. Try sending a text message or email that says something like, “Free teeth cleaning when you book your appointment before [School Start Date]” or “Get ready for back-to-school time with 50% off your next checkup.”

Want a stress-free way to email patients? Try Weave for email promotions and newsletters!

Does your dental office have a social media marketing strategy for local SEO? If not, you need to make one today! In the U.S., the average person spends more than two and a half hours per day using social media. That gives you the perfect opportunity to reach existing and new patients.

Find out which social media platform your customers use most and post there regularly. But don’t just use each social media post to advertise your practice. Engage with users, answer their questions, and partake in discussions, too. This establishes your practice as an authority that people can trust.

Get Involved in the Community

It can be tough for dental practices to snag new clients, especially if you’ve only recently opened your office. Why not try partnering with a local business to spread the word?

When you find a promising business, offer to promote it at your practice if it will do the same for you. This can amplify your marketing results with very little effort and almost no cost on your end. If your advertising budget is on the small side, this could be the perfect strategy for you.

Look for businesses that serve kids or complement your services in some way. Kids’ clothing shops, candy stores, and restaurants are a few to consider reaching out to.

Partnering with charities can be very effective, too. You could use messaging like:

  • “When you book orthodontic services, we give free teeth cleaning to a child in need.”
  • “20% of all proceeds go to our local homeless shelter.”
  • “Donate school supplies to underprivileged students, and you’ll get 50% off your next appointment.” 

Run a Local Facebook Ad or Google Maps Ad

Facebook Ads get your special offer in front of potentially hundreds of prospective patients. If you’ve never run a Facebook Ad before, you might feel intimidated or worried you’ll have to spend hours learning how to use them.

But they don’t have to be complicated, especially if you stick with Advantage+ campaigns. This tool lets you create streamlined campaigns to help you reach the most people at the lowest cost.

These ads are a great choice if you don’t want to blow your whole budget on advertising. You set the maximum you’re willing to spend per campaign and control costs through your bidding strategy. Facebook can automatically bid for you, too, if you’re not yet comfortable doing that on your own.

With Facebook Ads, you can narrow your ad’s audience by location, gender, interests, and more. Facebook puts your ad in front of local users who are likely to have an interest in your offerings.

Facebook also suggests keywords for your ads that are relevant to your practice. If you’re a pro at keyword research, you can use your own keywords too. In your ads, include appealing images and messaging, like “Start the school year off right with a dental appointment from [Practice Name].”

Google Maps Ads are another fantastic way to get your dental office in front of potential patients. With a Google Ad, Google may show your practice in search results for “dental practices near me.” Make sure you have claimed your Google My Business profile and updated it with your practice’s location, hours, and photos. Make sure to check out our webinar, The Art and Science of Review Management, to see tactics and strategies to leverage reviews and increase your ranking. 

Book More Appointments with Our Back-to-School Marketing Ideas

By using these dental marketing strategies, you could see an increase in new patients and dental treatment appointments booked. Here’s how you and your staff can get ready:

  • Make sure your dental office is ready for the influx of customers. Leave a few appointment slots open every day just in case a new patient calls at the last minute.
  • Keep your social media pages and website up to date. If you’re hosting an event, post all the details patients will need, including the date, time, address, and activities they’ll find there. Consider adding a map to your event blog post so guests can get directions to your practice without having to hunt for them.
  • Make sure your phone number is easy to find so patients can call you with any questions (and book appointments, of course). Also make sure you use trackable numbers – which are easy to create – to measure the success of your campaigns. 
  • Teach your staff how to answer questions about any back-to-school promotions you’ll be running. This ensures that they’ll be prepared when patients show up to your practice.

For more back-to-school marketing ideas, reach out to Weave today! Our practice management software makes it easy to reach patients with email marketing, text messaging, and phone marketing tools. To learn how Weave could benefit your practice, call us at 833-572-2139 or book a demo today.

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