10 Ideas on How to Market Your Dental Practice

By February 2, 2019Dentist, For Client

I don’t like going to the dentist. I’d rather eat my vegetables and wash the dishes for a year than go see a dentist. In fact, I don’t know anyone else that enjoys going to the dentist. But did you know that dental anxiety and phobia are normal? Around 9% to 15% of Americans avoid the dentist because of it. That’s an estimated 30 to 40 million people.

Can you blame them though? We’ve all heard horror stories—anything from a costly service they didn’t receive to the pulling out the wrong teeth to the chilling sound of drilling. There’s something we could all agree on: finding a dentist is easy but finding a good dentist is hard.

But how do you prove to people that you’re the glistening god tooth fairy? How do you combat these horror stories and bring in new patients and invite return clients?  We can do so with these 10 clever marketing ideas.

1. Dental Marketing Idea #1 – Patient Referral Bonus

93% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family and 70% of new patients come through word of mouth. Creating a referral bonus program is not only engaging but it’s a rewarding customer experience for your patients. If your patient recommends your practice to a family member or a friend and they pay a visit at your practice, you can reward your patient with a discount or a product or service such as free dental cleanings or free braces consultation. This is a win-win situation for both you and the patients. You are engaging with both new and current patients and you’re giving them an incentive to help you invite a bigger audience to your practice.

To make this idea even more effective, ask your employees to spread awareness.

2. It’s 2019, Get Social!

77% of people living in the US is on social media. Social media gives your practice another excellent way to market to potential patients (especially millennials) and build or strengthen relationships. This goes for existing patients, too. You can use Instagram and Facebook to post results like before and after teeth whitening or before and after braces photos or videos.

In fact, Facebook is the number one social media platform to surpass 1.86 billion accounts with 66% of them is right here, right now in North America. Kick starting your Facebook fan page is an excellent platform that dental practices can use to build online communities of their patients.

In addition to staying in touch and generating conversation, you can also provide updates such as opening or closing on certain holidays, contact information, even posting relateable humor and motivating quotes. Your dental practice can also collect reviews and respond from existing patients on Facebook and on Yelp. This way, new patients can gather most up to date information they need.

3. Optimized SEO & Diversifying Keywords

Search engine optimization for all essential dental terms can help your business, but if you’re attracting local patients, local keywords will be what really bring you new clients.  Meaning, you’d want your dental practice to pop up when new patients Google “Seattle dentist” instead of just “dentist,” or “Seattle orthodontist.”

So keyword research is essential if you want your website to stand a chance to rank well in the search engines. And while you should absolutely be shooting for the like “Washington dentist,” you should also think outside the box, too. Diversify your keywords on your website or blog. Including words such as “root canal” or “emergency dentist” would bring more traffic to your dental practice.

Not only will this help you find your target audience who is Googling for exactly these terms, it will also give you a boost in voice search, where users ask Google, Alexa, and Siri to help them find a local dentist “near me.” It’s also beneficial to keep in mind, by 2020, approximately 50% of all searches are going to be made via voice recognition technology.

Tip: Keep the words in plain HTML. Using crucial information such as hours of operation in images can harm your visibility.

4. Having a Well-Designed Site

It’s modern day and businesses without a website are seen as less credible. Investing in website design can generate more traffic and profit for your dental practice. It’s a 70% chance that a potential customer’s first interaction with your business will be your website, so in this case, first impressions are everything. In fact, a survey from Business 2 Community shows that 94% of users mentioned that bad web design is the #1 reason that they mistrust a business.

Find a professional web designer to help you include the essentials:

  • simple navigation
  • attractive design
  • helpful and organized content
  • quick load times
  • mobile web optimization

5. Be an Expert

This reverts back to horror stories. Patients want to know they’re in good hands especially if they’re visiting a dentist. By writing articles for magazines or local newspapers and then featuring them on your website, social media, and in your office, you give patients a sense that you’re an expert in your field, which builds confidence in your abilities. This content should also be placed online and be SEO friendly. You could also do this by starting a blog.

6. Set Up Ad Campaigns

Whether it’s through Facebook, Google Maps, Google Ads, or Instagram – investing in paid advertisement could walk a potential patient right through your door.  If they’re looking for “Seattle dentist,” your ad for your practice could pop right up through their Instagram feed or Google search. According to Google, most healthcare-related searches are performed on a smartphone. 

When using ad campaigns, you’ll definitely want to be targeting location-based keywords in order to increase the relevance of your ad placements. Use your descriptions and headlines to highlight unique offers, or other features of your practice that set you apart.

You can start with Facebook Ads if you’re unsure if it would work. With Facebook ads, you can reach 20 to 30 thousand people in your area on a weekly basis and it’s affordable.

7. Handwritten Postcards & Letters

In this age of social media and messaging, it’s easy to check in regularly through E-mail or text.  But to receive a handwritten birthday card or a thank you letter, has an entirely different and long-lasting effect. About 70% of people say a handwritten letter is more meaningful than a virtual response.

Writing a letter, procuring a stamp, and then mailing the card means that you cherish the relationship and you took the time to invest in it. Anything handwritten is soul-restoring, especially in the form of well wishes.

8. Appointment Reminders

Growing your practice isn’t just about attracting new patients, it’s also about maintaining relationships with existing patients.

Sending them appointment reminders—or reminders to schedule their next appointment—is a wonderful and worry-free method to make sure they’re receiving the care they need.

Appointment reminders can come in the form of:

  • Emails
  • Texts
  • Google calendar alerts
  • Phone calls
  • Postcards 

9. Newsletters

Newsletters are blog posts delivered right to your patients’ inboxes. Again, maintaining relationship with your current patients is just as important. Newsletters should contain snippets of valuable information such as bonuses, discounts, new services, and even hygiene tips that your audience will want to see.

But remember not to spam their inboxes or they’ll hit the unsubscribe button before you know it. However, if you make your information valuable, people will be happy to see it in their inbox.

10. Getting involved with your community

Another idea to market your dental practice locally is to participate in several activities as partnering up with a local school, setting up a booth at a festival. Community involvement will not only grow your target outreach but will also gain the trust and confidence of your local community. Ideas like sponsoring small local sports team, shopping locally, arranging fundraisers as well as volunteer work are other ways to build a good reputation in your community. Good branded merchandise design could make your practice stand out from other competitors.

Marketing can get expensive but remember that marketing your dental practice is not always about how much cash you’re investing into marketing, it’s also about the effort you put into it and the relevance it has for your patients.

Geoffrey Purkis

About Geoffrey Purkis

Geoffrey is the Founder and CEO of Seattle Web Search. He’s a web developer and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert located in Seattle, Washington with extensive experience in the field. Geoffrey specializes in helping his clients find the right combination of web, search, social, and video content to get the best results from their online marketing efforts.