As dentistry evolves in the 21st century, so do approaches to marketing dental practices. Prospective patients are always waiting to find the right dentist. The question for dental offices is how they’re going to get the attention of these potential patients and convert them into new patients.
Marketing for dental offices has changed radically in recent decades. While traditional approaches, like mailers, media advertisements, and billboards, remain viable, the internet has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for dental marketing.
Learn new and unexpected ways to approach dental marketing, ultimately boosting your patient count and profits. Then check out Weave’s Dental Software to see how it can support and streamline your dental marketing efforts.
Creating your dental marketing strategy
1. Identify your target audience
Before looking into methods for marketing your dental practice, it’s wise to think about your target audience. Does your dental office cater to families? Seniors? Young business people? It’s also worth factoring in your office’s specializations, whatever they may be.
Many offices create personas they’d like to gear their marketing toward. For example, an office might develop the persona of Michelle, a mother of three that’s looking for reasonable prices and a child-friendly environment. After creating this target audience, dentists and their marketing teams can start planning for specific ways to turn patient types into actual new patients.
Your office phone can be one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal. One healthcare practice was able to use their call analytics to better understand their patients and repair the holes in their marketing strategy to better reach new patients, (to reach the full case study, click here).
2. Run competitive marketing campaigns
Your marketing campaigns should always be competitive. Don’t shy down from countering your competitors’ campaigns by improving upon the deals and services they’re offering. We’re not saying dental practices need to be actively fighting with each other. Show gamesmanship in your dental marketing without becoming petty or malicious.
Competitive marketing campaigns can be an offer of free exams or discounted exams for new patients. The same goes for teeth cleanings and dental implants. Incentivize patients by offering a 2% bookkeeping discount if they pay in advance for their visit.
3. Know which marketing channels reach dental patients
For dental practices, knowing which marketing channels are the most effective at reaching patients is crucial for maximizing the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing efforts. By understanding which channels resonate with their target audience and drive the most conversions, practices can focus their marketing budgets and efforts on these channels and optimize their results.
In this article, we will be discussing ideas for digital/online marketing, (like website SEO, digital ads, and email marketing), patient-centered marketing, (like collecting reviews and starting a referral program), traditional marketing channels, (like direct mail, billboards, and local events), and alternative marketing channels that are becoming increasingly popular among patients.
Ultimately, by testing and analyzing the results of different marketing channels, dental practices can identify the ones that work best for them and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. This can help practices attract more patients, improve their reputation in the community, and grow their bottom line.
Dental patient-centered marketing ideas
4. Collect Google reviews
Prospective patients don’t just search for dental practices using Google and other social media. They also look at their star ratings and patient reviews. Having a high number of positive reviews is one of the best ways to improve your dental marketing, strengthen your online presence, and increase your dental sales.
Gathering patient feedback and testimonials with a clipboard and pencil is a thing of the past. It’s far more efficient to send a review request by text message after appointments, asking patients to give your practice a star rating and review. Weave lets dental offices send review requests and monitor their status on sites like Google, Facebook, and other social media. Learn more about how Weave can help you manage your reviews here.
9 out of 10 people check online reviews before choosing a business
Weave helps you easily collect and monitor reviews on Google and Facebook. These reviews can be some of the best marketing for your business.Schedule Demo
5. Set up a referral bonus system
A referral bonus system is one of the more commonplace but powerful dental marketing ideas. Your dental marketing strategy should always incorporate a referral system for motivating existing patients to participate in your new patient marketing outreach. Doing so can strengthen your local SEO and social media accounts.
A referral bonus system could offer discounts on dental services to patients. It could also involve sharing gifts and swag with patients. Be creative. Another possible reward for referrals is a dinner with the dentist and the rest of the dental team.
Traditionally, dentists have informed their patients about a referral bonus system with flyers in the office or conversations after appointments. Today’s referral bonus systems should be shared on social media and on the practice’s website. Always remember the digital marketing side of your dental marketing strategy.
6. Communicate more with your potential dental patients by texting
There’s more of an emphasis on texting with patients than ever. Texting is preferred over calling in many cases for a few reasons. Texting allows potential and existing patients to respond to scheduling, appointment reminders, and confirmations at their convenience. It also gives patients easy access to information about their upcoming appointments.
With a unified communication platform, texting can be linked to your practice’s phone system for greater efficiency. If the phone is ringing off the hook and receptionists can’t take a call, a missed call text is automatically sent to the caller. Missed call texts let potential patients know that you’re aware of their call and open up opportunities for text conversations. (Click here to read more about Weave Texting).
Further efficiency is gained when dentists and their staff have the capability to text prospective patients from their smartphones using the office number. This way, dentists that are traveling to conferences can keep in touch and staff members are able to work effectively from home if need be. Every dental marketing strategy should know the benefits of a texting outreach that’s integrated with the practice phone system.
Online digital marketing ideas for dentists
7. Promote your dental office digitally
Now that we’ve covered some non-digital dental marketing techniques, it’s time to discuss the crux of today’s marketing: the internet. The best contemporary marketing value is online, and there are dozens of ways to optimize your dental office’s online presence. A good place to start is your practice’s website.
Most dental offices have a website, but not all of them are actively updating and optimizing their sites. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly since most prospective patients will be viewing it with their smartphones. Create unique content, like videos and blog posts, to educate patients and explain how your practice functions. Be consistent in your branding (maybe hire a graphic artist?) and always ensure that your posts include a call to action.
Also consider adding a way for patients to schedule appointments online. This will be especially helpful when your office is closed and a prospective patient isn’t viewing your office online. To see how Weave makes it easy for patients to schedule online, click here.
8. Explore SEO
SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. We mentioned this in the Google Ads section, but SEO is basically a series of techniques designed to help your dental office gain prominence in online search results. Local SEO and dental SEO are more specific approaches that involve making your website visible to people searching for dental offices in your immediate vicinity.
As a start to optimizing your local SEO, be sure to have a Google My Business listing. Fill out the information requested as completely as possible. Then, be active online by continually working on your website, participating and posting on social media, and gathering online reviews.
9. Social media
Did you know that over 2 BILLION people use Facebook every month, which is almost one-third of the world’s population? As a dental practice owner, this presents an incredible opportunity to connect with a vast audience. By creating a business page on Facebook and consistently sharing relevant and valuable content, you can grow your following and build a thriving online community. Don’t forget to engage with your audience by responding to comments and starting conversations. With the right approach, Facebook can be a powerful tool to help you connect with current and potential patients.
10. Email marketing and newsletters
In recent decades, emailing has become one of the most common ways to share information with patients. Emailing is more effective than many other types of communication because it allows dental offices to share detailed information at almost no cost. There are specialists today that spend all their time helping offices improve their email marketing.
Small dental offices don’t always have the budget for this professional email marketing. Instead, they rely on email marketing tools to upgrade their email outreach. Weave’s Email Marketing tool lets dental practices improve their emailing by providing pre-written templates, an image library, and Call-to-Action buttons that make it possible for potential and existing patients to quickly respond to dental marketing emails.
11. Market through Google Ads
A significant part of getting your online dental marketing right is knowing which channels to use for advertising to prospective patients. As you probably know, Google is the number one search engine in the world. Finding ways to promote your dental practice with Google is a surefire method for making your office visible in local search results.
Dental practices can pay for Google Ads, which displays brief advertisements, service offerings, products listings, and videos to web users. These ads are placed in the results of search engines, non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos. These services are offered under a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model.
12. Advertise on Facebook
Along with Google Ads, consider using Facebook ads. Facebook is the social media equivalent of Google. Billions of people use it every day, and, for better or worse, use the platform to access information about their family and friends, sports, politics, recipes, and even dentistry.
Facebook and other social media can be used to post advertisements directed toward people in your community. It also works as a social platform for spreading the word about your dental office. Have your office manager or digital marketing manager join Facebook groups and forums where they can discuss local happenings or dentistry. Conversations in these online spaces catch the attention of potential customers and can be funneled to your website or contact information.
Want to see more ideas on how to market your dental practice online? Read our dental digital marketing guide here.
Traditional dental marketing ideas
13. Send direct mail- especially to elderly patients
We introduced this blog post by suggesting that dental marketing is gravitating toward more technological approaches. However, old-fashioned direct mail still has its place. Older patients, especially retired ones, might not have adopted some of the devices most of us rely on to get information.
That’s why sending direct mail remains a viable option for dental marketing. Marketing isn’t about finding a single method for advertising your dental office. Rather, it’s a collection of techniques, a hybrid of both old and new tools for promoting your business and discovering prospective patients. And not all potential patients are young up-and-comers!
14. Attend or sponsor local community events
For the most part, patients visit dentists that are close to home. Dental marketing should be directed toward these local potential patients. Make yourself known in the community by participating in community events whenever possible.
These events can be formal affairs, like participating in local government and city councils. Look up conferences, job fairs, and other business opportunities that might be coming your way. In addition, trying to find ways to be involved with fairs, carnivals, rodeos, and other community celebrations can show your interest in the goings-on of your area and spawn organic opportunities to meet those in need of a dentist.
15. Donate time to local charities
Take a look around your local area to see if there are any charitable organizations that could benefit from extra volunteers. Encourage your office employees to take some time off to contribute to a local charity. The positive buzz generated by your employees sharing their experiences with their friends and family can go a long way in building goodwill for your brand and business. Even a small gesture of kindness can make a big impact on the community and ultimately, the success of your dental practice.
The challenge with radio is that it can be difficult to track success. Unlike online marketing, which provides immediate data on clicks and conversions, the impact of radio advertising is often less measurable. Nevertheless, depending on the location and demographics of your patients, radio advertising may be an effective way to reach a local audience. Airtime costs are typically affordable, and you can tailor your message to a specific geographic area. It’s important to closely monitor the results of your radio campaign and track any increase in business at your dental practice.
Similar to radio, billboards are a highly localized form of advertising. The traffic volume in your area can greatly impact the number of impressions you receive, and help establish your brand and business in the minds of potential dental patients. Though tracking the effectiveness of billboard advertising may be challenging, it can be a cost-effective way to increase brand recognition and visibility.
Alternative dental marketing ideas
18. Host fun events
If you’re unable to find community events to be involved with, consider hosting your own events at your office or elsewhere. A more common event would be an educational one, where you and your staff provide information about good oral hygiene and the types of dental issues people in your area typically experience. You could also teach young people about career opportunities in the dental field.
Educational events aren’t the only possibility, however. Your dental office is a place where holidays can be celebrated. Allow people to watch Fourth of July fireworks from your parking lot, make a haunted house for trick-or-treaters, or hold a Christmas party that involves people beyond your staff and existing patients.
19. Offer a unique dental service
Most dental offices have a unique dental service or dental care they offer. Try to highlight that specific dental service or care in your social media and digital marketing efforts. Although we normally think of dental procedures when talking about service or care, other components of the customer experience can set your dental office apart from the competition.
For instance, patient profiles are able to be connected with phone calls, so receptionists have all the information they need at their fingertips when they’re scheduling appointments, collecting payments, or answering questions. More and more dental practices are switching to digital forms in place of paperwork, making it possible for patients to fill out information before arriving at your office. Payments are being digitized too; with a simple text message, patients are brought to a web page for submitting online payments.
Consider unique dental services and improvements to the patient experience some of your best dental marketing ideas. Having unique services and tools gets spread organically by word-of-mouth, but try to feature it in your social media posts and online marketing.
20. Send dental appointment reminders
Once potential patients express interest in your dental office and set up a visit, it’s important to keep them on the hook. Reminder calls work in some cases, but it’s more convenient for most patients to receive an appointment reminder by text. Texting is becoming one of the most effective ways to communicate with dental patients.
An appointment reminder includes information about the time and date of an appointment with your practice, as well as the location. Include instructions about your waiting room and any safety protocols. Share digital forms in your appointment reminders to ensure the front office has everything they need prior to the appointment.
With the help of new software, appointment reminders can be automated. Practices set a specific time and date for reminders to go out to new and existing customers, then let the system work its magic. Today’s programs are even intelligent enough to interpret customer responses and notify your office of confirmations and cancellations.
21. Create cross-referral partnerships
Creative dental marketing establishes relationships with other organizations. This type of collaboration creates a professional network for implementing your dental marketing ideas. If you haven’t already, get into contact with practitioners in other areas of expertise that are related to dentistry.
Form partnerships with your local orthodontic practice or oral surgeon. Not everyone will want to participate in a cross-referral program, but those who understand marketing and respect the way your practice handles its business will. These relationships can last as long as your career if set up properly.
Another marketing strategy stemming from referral partnerships is making connections with local businesses outside of healthcare. Sponsor local teams and organizations, then post about these sponsorships on your website and social media accounts to boost your local SEO. Frequent local restaurants and shops that provide new patient referrals for your practice.
22. Provide multiple payment options for a diverse audience
Today’s dental patients are attracted to practices that offer them choices in care and customer service. Increasingly, consumers and businesses are moving away from traditional payment options like cash, checks, and credit cards. The future seems to be headed toward digital payments, including mobile wallets and text payments.
Making digital payments part of your marketing strategy doesn’t mean turning down patients that prefer cash, checks, or cards. A complete payment platform lets patients pay however they choose. If they want to stick with conventional methods that’s fine.
On the other hand, many of today’s patients are moving toward digital payments. Text payments allow dental patients to receive a text from your office after appointments with a link to a payment site. Mobile wallets are offered by Samsung, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, and have the benefit of being contactless.
We hope this list of dental marketing ideas has sparked some inspiration for how to modernize your dental marketing strategy. It’s prudent not to attempt all of these ideas at once. Rather, try a few of them at a time and see how each works in your practice’s particular context.
However, many of these strategies can be implemented with one solution: Weave. By bringing all your patient communication onto one platform, your dental practice is set up to maximize its marketing efficiency. We invite you to find out exactly how Weave simplifies marketing for dentists and their staff by watching a free demo today.
This article is part of our series about improving your dental practice. Check out the other articles in this series now:
- 18 Dental Marketing Messages To Get New Patients In The Door
- How To Use Dental Email Marketing To Grow Your Practice
- Local SEO For Dentists Made Easy
- Facebook Ads For Dentists (Getting Started)
- The Ultimate Guide To Digital Marketing For Dentists
- How To Attract New Patients To Your Dental Practice -8 Proven Tips