I'm a dental professional and I know how hard it is to get new patients in the dentistry market.
We need more than just a great reputation and excellent credentials; we also need a solid digital marketing plan.
For years I have worked in the dental industry and have watched closely to gather the most effective tips for growing a practice. While every dental professional is unique, there are certain marketing efforts that bring in more responses than others.
I have seen dental teams use email blasts to incentivize patients interested in whitening services. I’ve also seen dental professionals focus on online reviews and user-generated content to build rapport with a local community.
It all comes down to who you are as a dental practice and the brand you want to present to potential clients.
Read through these essential dental digital marketing methods to grow your practice.
What is Dental Marketing?
Dental digital marketing is a set of activities that helps you to promote your dental practice. It will help you get new patients and keep existing ones happy.
Most dentists find dental digital marketing hard to understand, so they’re unsure how to start doing it well. That’s why we created this guide—to show you exactly what dental marketing is, how it works and how to do it right in Canada.
Reasons You Need to Know How to Market Your Dental Practice
The notion of digital marketing can conjure up several different things like complex social media platforms or endless email marketing ads. Some people think of it as the shady practice of trying to sell something that someone doesn't need, while others see it as a way to promote their business and services so that more prospective patients know about them.
For dentists, digital marketing is essentially the same thing: getting your dental practices out there so that you can attract more patients into your practice. You need this because it helps:
- To ensure you can pay your dental practices team and bills.
- Alleviate the public need for more comprehensive dentistry services.
- Grow your local business reputation, so your business stays healthy.
- Ensures you have a future in the dentistry industry so you can help promote and support others trying to do the same.
More importantly, though, digital marketing helps you grow your business by increasing patient satisfaction and referrals—two factors that have been shown time and time again to be key drivers for success in any dental practice.
Here are the fantastic methods of dental marketing I’ve seen work to grow a business practice, so you’ll have years of successful business operations.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Grow Your Dental Practice
There is no guaranteed method to being the best business in the dental industry. As you are reading through these dental marketing methods, be sure to adapt them to your practice. Each one offers many benefits. These methods include:
- Build an SEO-Optimized Website
- Create a Differentiating Service or Theme
- Get Involved in the Local Community
- Be Mobile Friendly
- Solicit Positive Online Reviews
- Unify Your Dental Directory Listings
- Leverage Press Releases
- Start a PPC Campaign
- Create a Patient Referral Program
- Hire a Social Media Manager
- Run Dental Service Promotions
- Capture Leads with Ad Retargeting
- Partner with Local Businesses & Schools
- Offer Comprehensive Payment Options & Membership Savings
- Create an Engaging Blog
- Use Online Scheduling with 24/7 Access
- Don't Underestimate Paper Flyers & Billboards
- Sponsor a 5K that Benefits Children
- Buy Radio & Podcast Ads
- Provide Some Teledentistry Services
- Always Have Top-Notch Customer Service
Take your time to fully consider how best to make these digital marketing steps work for your patients and target the local area.
1 - Build an SEO-Optimized Website
An easy way to grow your practice is by optimizing your website for search engines such as Google or Bing. You can do this by first hiring an SEO service professional who will help optimize the title tags of all pages on your site so that they contain relevant keywords.
Then they will work with you on creating meta descriptions that pop out at people when they search for information about dental services near them (they'll also make sure there aren't duplicate content issues).
Make sure each page has unique content – don't put filler text just because it looks better visually! The more unique content on each page means that search engines will find more opportunities for them when people look up stuff related specifically to dentistry services near where they live.
2 - Create a Differentiating Service or Theme
You need to define your target audience for dental advertising and find out what they're looking for. You can do this by conducting market research such as surveys and focus groups, but it's also important to talk with other dentists in your area. You want to know what concerns about oral health and teeth are in place to encourage users, friends, and families to visit your office.
Ask them what their patients are asking for that they aren't currently offering. Also, keep an eye on industry trends so you know what’s new and innovative in the dental world, which could set you apart from your competitors.
3 - Get Involved in the Local Community
Community involvement is a great way to meet new people and get your name out there. If you're shy, don't worry—there are plenty of ways to get involved without being too pushy or aggressive.
Here are some ideas:
- Join a local sports team.
- Volunteer at an event like Canada Day or Pride Parade.
- Sponsor an event.
- Help with food banks.
- Join a community planning committee.
- Set up a holiday-themed party.
After these events, be sure to capture videos and photos to share on Instagram or through direct market opportunities on the internet that boost your presence.
4 - Be Mobile Friendly
It would help if you were mobile-friendly. The days of sitting in front of your computer and typing away are over. If you want to grow your practice, your website must be mobile-friendly and easy to use on a phone or tablet.
Try creating a mobile app for your practice to make things even easier. That way, users can see your services and make appointments from their phones.
5 - Solicit Positive Online Reviews
Be proactive in asking patients for reviews. In the age of digital marketing for dentists, reviews are everything. Whether you’re running a small dental practice or a large one, positive online reviews will help increase your visibility, attract new clients, and improve your overall brand image.
Respond promptly to negative online reviews. If you receive an unfavorable review online (which is inevitable), respond to it quickly and politely by thanking the patient for their feedback and offering them solutions on how you can help them move forward.
6 - Unify Your Dental Directory Listings
Unifying all your dental directory listings is key to maximizing their effectiveness. This means ensuring every single mention of your practice has the correct contact information, website, phone number, social media, and physical address.
7 - Leverage Press Releases
Press releases are one of the most effective dental advertising ways to get your name out there and build your reputation as a thought leader in the dental field. These digital marketing for dentists announcements are posted on relevant websites and social media (like local news outlets), and they're usually available to view by anyone interested, whether they've heard of you before.
8 - Start a PPC Campaign
PPC, or paid search digital marketing for dentists, is the act of advertising on Google, Bing, or social media to get more website visitors. It's an effective way to get your name out there and attract new patients, as well as an excellent way to increase brand awareness using local SEO in your marketing strategy.
Getting started with PPC can be a little overwhelming, especially if you're not familiar with digital marketing for dentists or local SEO marketing strategy. Save yourself time by hiring a digital marketing team who understands your target audience. These are usually reasonably priced and can run your social media platforms and search engine campaigns efficiently. For as little as $5/day, you could see your practice grow exponentially.
9 - Create a Patient Referral Program
Referral programs are a great way to get new patients. If you have an existing referral program, make sure that you are promoting it via all channels. You can use your website, social media, and email marketing to let people know about your referral program and how they can benefit from being part of it.
The goal is to incentivize your patients to reach out to friends, family members, coworkers, or anyone else in the local community who may be interested in your dental services.
10 - Hire a Social Media Manager
You are busy and already have enough on your plate. Let’s be honest; with the right person in place, this can be one of the most beneficial investments you make for your practice. You will find that it is well worth the cost if you do it properly and find someone who understands your business and its needs.
If you hire an intern or entry-level employee to fill this role, keep at least one eye open for potential problems, as they may not understand what is expected of them or fail to deliver results because of inexperience or lack of follow-through ability.
11 - Run Dental Service Promotions
Dentists can promote their dental services by offering special discounts on certain services. For example, if you're looking to attract new patients and run a dental discount code promotion, offer free whitening, or free tooth cleaning.
This can be easily combined with your referral program or with visual advertising at local events.
12 - Capture Leads with Ad Retargeting
Ad retargeting is a great way to capture leads. It allows you to target people who have visited your website, and it can be used to promote products or services, as well as your website or blog.
You can readjust your ads and digital marketing towards specific events, dates, and target market segments, or your dental services have changed.
13 - Partner with Local Businesses & Schools
Partnering with local businesses and schools can be a great way to reach new patient populations. Maybe you want to offer free toothbrush kits to kids on the first day of school or offer discounts to anyone shopping at a candy store.
Get creative, and you may uncover incredibly beneficial partnerships.
14 - Offer Comprehensive Payment Options & Membership Savings
One of the best ways to keep your patients returning is by offering them options in how they pay. Whether you're a private practice or have a chain of dental clinics, offering multiple payment methods will help build customer loyalty and retention.
Remember to build up loyal customers through membership programs. Offering discounts for those who sign up for membership programs means that you can retain more patients over time - which will ultimately mean more repeat business from those same people.
15 - Create an Engaging Blog
Blogging is an excellent way to gain credibility with potential patients and generate more leads for your practice through SEO (search engine optimization). In addition, it will help build trust by providing valuable content that educates patients before they visit you in person.
16 - Use Online Scheduling with 24/7 Access
Online scheduling is one of the most essential tools for any dental practice. A system with online appointment scheduling and patient management is a crucial part of your business, serving as an integral component of your marketing and patient retention strategy.
A well-designed online appointment book can help you increase revenue, boost your brand awareness, reduce no-shows, increase efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction—all while increasing your bottom line.
17 - Don't Underestimate Paper Flyers & Billboards
It's true! Paper flyers can be a great way to get your practice in front of potential patients. You may have heard that they're considered a bit outdated these days, but they're still used by many dentists—especially those looking for new patients who don't know where to start. A flyer at your local diner could drastically increase your ROI.
18 - Sponsor a 5K that Benefits Children
Look for a local 5K that's accepting sponsors. You can search online or ask around at your gym or community centers if you have any ideas of where to start.
Once you've found a 5K that fits your goal, talk to their marketing team about how they promote the event. They'll also be able to tell you how many participants usually sign up for each event so you can plan accordingly.
19 - Buy Radio & Podcast Ads
Radio and podcast ads are great for dental marketing because they’re less expensive than other types of advertising. You can run these ads on stations or shows that appeal to the demographics you want, like talk radio or comedy shows.
20 - Provide Some Teledentistry Services
Teledentistry allows patients to see their dentist remotely via video chat. It's a great way to provide remote care and save your patients money on travel and time off work. Here are the benefits of teledentistry:
- Patients can access dental services without leaving their homes or jobs.
- Dentists can be more productive since they don't have to schedule patients into appointments.
- Practices get more revenue from the additional patient visits per month since there is no need for travel costs or lost productivity.
21 - Always Have Top-Notch Customer Service
Customer service is one of the most critical aspects of your business. It's a reflection of how you brand your practice, and it can be improved with some simple and easy steps.
Patients will come to your dentistry services more if you treat them with respect, kindness, and empathy.
Key Considerations for Successfully Growing Your Dental Practice
You need to know your audience well. Understanding who you are serving informs how you are targeting digital marketing to them and what services you should provide. You will want fun imagery if you are serving primary younger kids compared to a more professional appearance for just adults.
You also need to look at your local competition. Find the aspect of your business that differentiates you from the others offering similar services. This could be lower prices, more technology learning services, or better customer service. Then you promote this difference through dental advertising.
Stick to your strengths and weaknesses. Every dental practice has something that makes them unique. Once you find that aspect, lean into it!
Taking it to the Next Level: How to Market Your Practice in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is the virtual world you live in when you’re logged into Facebook or YouTube. You can get on a plane and fly around if you don’t mind running into photorealistic avatars of other people who want to sell their products and services to you.
It may seem early to make this adoption, but right now is when you want to set up your virtual practice that accepts real-life appointments. Even one to two patients a month who find you through the Metaverse will be enough when this technology becomes commonplace.
Alternatives to Dental Marketing
If all of this sounds too overwhelming for you, don’t worry. No matter how much or little you plan on putting into your marketing, the key is offering premium service. Word of mouth will get out if your practice is simply a more inviting experience for your patients.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you grow your dental practice and build a loyal patient base.
In the end, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your practice. There are hundreds of other options available out there as well, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different tactics until one stick.
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About The Author:
Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.
Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.
Read more of her blogs here.