Get New Dental Patients With Our 8 Tips for Marketing a Dental Practice

Two dental professionals looking at paperwork.

About 36% of people in the U.S. have a fear of the dentist, while 60% of people simply don’t enjoy the experience. Maybe you’ve felt a similar unpleasant feeling when it comes to marketing!

In this blog, we will explore dental marketing and offer a new perspective on building a brand and advertising effectively. We’ll discuss how you can use it to find your ideal patients, craft positive patient experiences, and build a reputable brand. 

What is Dental Marketing, and Why Is It Important?

Dental marketing is your opportunity to influence your patient’s experience of dentistry. You can change negative narratives and frame your practice as a more welcoming experience. During your marketing process, you can gather patient feedback to share publicly. This will show the high quality and compassion of your care. Everyone wins when you have a solid dental marketing strategy.

In short, marketing a dental practice connects your practice with the people who need it so they can book appointments with you. Dental practices, clinics, and DSOs all use marketing to attract and retain new patients. Methods that range from word-of-mouth advertising to radio campaigns and billboards have been around for ages. In today’s increasingly digital world, there are free, organic, paid, and strategic ways to employ marketing efforts without a massive marketing budget. 

8 Modern Tips for Marketing a Dental Practice

#1 Conduct Competitor Research

Every good dental marketing strategy starts with comprehending the landscape of your local dental industry. Researching your competitors will help you understand who they are serving, what marketing channels they are using, and what sets your practice apart from theirs. As you piece together this landscape, you’ll also be able to identify gaps in the local dental industry and market. Reflect on how your practice fills these gaps already or could rise to the occasion.

Your competitor research should inform and strengthen your marketing strategy. Just remember that research isn’t for replication but rather for inspiration. 

#2 Identify Your Target Market

Your target market is the population your dental practice best serves and would like more patients from. Your existing practice may have patients who are of varying ages, educational backgrounds, and economic demographics. For marketing purposes, you want to hone in on what your patients have in common and decide who you want to focus on in your practice. This is your target market. 

What are the needs of your target market? How do they like to interact with their dental care provider? What kind of care do they want? And how best can you reach them? 

Identifying and describing your target market will help you build a brand that resonates with the right people while optimizing your marketing to bring that brand into their worlds. For example, if your target market primarily uses Facebook as their social media platform, Facebook ads would be an impactful investment. 

#3 Build a Brand

Building a brand is more than choosing a logo and brand colors. Your brand encompasses the entire experience your patients have of your business — from the first time they see an ad, brochure, or Google listing for your business down to the way your staff delivers a quality service. Your brand needs to stand out and be easy for your target market to find in the noise of the dental industry. It should also help you maintain a professionalism and elegance that exudes the quality of care you provide. 

Don’t rush this process. Once you’ve identified your target market, explore your brand values, vision, mission, voice, key selling points, and visuals. You will want to integrate these core brand components into everything you do to market your business.

#4 Optimize Your Website

Websites are often one of the first places a patient encounters your practice. When they do, they need to land on an appealing, functional site that they can use to learn about your office and book an appointment. 

A few things a website that is welcoming and useful will do: 

  • State clearly who you serve and how you serve them
  • Set you apart from your competition
  • Compel visitors to learn more about you 
  • Have clear calls to action like “Book Your First Appointment Here” on buttons that lead to your booking page or intake form

#5 Bring In More Website Traffic Through Dental SEO 

A well-designed website is vital, but design alone won’t get the right people to your website. People need to be able to find you easily. 

Only 0.62% of people visit the second page of Google after a search. SEO, or search engine optimization, is your ticket to appearing in Google search results. 

Websites that rank well on Google:

  • Have website content that speaks to their target market. This includes specific keywords, images with SEO-optimized captions, and the right website pages.
  • Publish a blog on their website to increase relevance (check out the Prodent blog for inspiration).
  • Are linked to by external sources. This shows Google that you’re a legitimate site with quality content. As a bonus, this can bring people to your site directly!

#6 Get Active on Social Media

Social media is a free way to reach your target audience. You don’t have to be an expert to get great results. Anyone can quickly learn how to use various social media platforms for marketing. Above all, making a consistent effort is key. 

A study of dental professionals revealed that 69.3% of dentists feel that social media has improved their knowledge and communication with patients. Being online can lead to an even better understanding of your target market and bring you organic opportunities for engaging with people from your target market. 

What should a dental practice post on social media? 

Here are our favorite posts to get you started:

  • Promotional announcements
  • Links to helpful dental resources (could be your own blog posts)
  • Before and after transformations 
  • Patient testimonials (video and written)
  • Explainer videos to show treatments
  • Get-to-know-you posts about your staff (video and written)
  • Hours and holiday closures (this is an easy way to appear in people’s feeds and provide low-pressure reminders about your office)

Is my target market too old for social media? 

If your target market is primarily seniors and older individuals who do not use social media, you may think that social media is a good use of your time. But, even these generations are active online. They may even have younger family members helping them seek dental care options who are much more active on social media. 

In this case, even if you don’t invest heavily in regular social media content or advertising, consider creating high-value static pages and posts that show your practice and act as mini website pages. Not existing on social media can hurt your brand if someone comes looking for you there.

#7 Gather Patient Reviews

When someone in your area is looking for a new or specialty dentist, chances are they’ll type something to the effect of “dental near me” in the Google search bar. When they do, your local listing (on a Google map) will show up — assuming you’ve done your job setting up your SEO correctly. 

When you appear in local Google search results, you appear alongside your competitors. The reviews on your Google listing make a lasting impression, for better or worse. To build your practice’s reputation and attract new patients, you’ll want to make a concerted effort to get quality reviews on your listing. 

Encourage your patients to review your office by:

  • Posting a QR code near your checkout area so patients can easily open Google and review your office while they’re still there.
  • Putting a business card with a QR code asking patients to review you on Google in your post-visit gift bags.

You can then include these patient reviews in many dental marketing strategies, from your website to social media and paid ads. The social proof they provide can bring more value to your practice than almost any other dollar spent from your marketing budget, so don’t be afraid to get creative with motivating your patients to leave reviews.

#8 Employ Targeted Ads (on Google, Facebook, and beyond)

While website SEO, social media, and patient reviews are fantastic organic ways to market your business, paying for advertising online can be a powerful way to reduce the time and energy it takes to reach your target market. 

Of course, saving your time and energy comes at a cost. Paid advertising requires a higher marketing budget than other methods, making it intimidating. The benefit of targeting advertising, though, is that you can measure the effectiveness of your efforts and strategically improve them.

Paid ads on Google are an excellent place to start since, as mentioned earlier, most patients use a search engine to find medical services. Your business must show up on the first page of Google search results, especially when patients are searching “dentists near me” or “dentists in [your city].” With SEO and organic marketing methods, you must consistently work to make this happen. With paid targeted ads, you have to put the right strategy in place and pay.

Using and maintaining Google Ads can be challenging. To explain how they work, we’re oversimplifying the process:

  1. Pick keywords that describe your practice
  2. Pay to show up on the search results page for those keywords
  3. A customer searches for your keywords, and your ad shows up at the top of the page as a “Sponsored” link
  4. The customer clicks on your link, and you pay for the click
  5. Your results are tracked, and over time, you observe your results so you can adjust your strategy

Marketing a dental practice is integral to establishing the kind of brand presence that keeps a practice thriving. A well-marketed dental practice will build a reputation for being reliable, trustworthy, and high-quality. This reputation goes on to impact the day-to-day operations in your practice as well as the type of talent your business can attract. Contact us today to get your dentist or dental specialist search started

Two dental professionals looking at paperwork.

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