The Ultimate Guide to Dental Patient Marketing

This guide examines over 10 unique dental marketing channels. We have divided this guide into 2 sections; digital marketing ideas & traditional marketing ideas. all with the goal to drive more patients to your dental practice!

Dental Practice Marketing

Whether you are just starting your dental practice, just purchased a dental practice, or have been in business for years an effective dental marketing plan is crucial to your practice’s success. There are many dental marketing companies that can support your practice’s success, but many dentists don’t know where to start, what marketing channel is right for their practice, or how to measure the ROI of a successful dental patient marketing campaign. Your dental practice should incorporate both digital and traditional strategies into your dental office marketing plan.

The good news is you are reading this guide, full of dental marketing ideas, examples, and strategies to help you succeed.

Digital Marketing for Dentists

Digital marketing is crafting a strong internet presence, this can be achieved with active social media pages, informative blogs, email campaigns, multimedia content (ie video, practice photos, etc.), accurate directory listings, and most importantly your website. Online marketing for dentists is a great way to generate new patients.

Dental Website Design

  • Generating New Patients: Very Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Very Difficult
  • Typical Cost:
    • Templated Designs: $1,000 – $3,000
    • Custom Designs: $10,000+

94% of users’ mistrust of a medical website is directly related to web design elements.

Source: Forbes

Your website, the most important marketing channel, and is typically where new patients make their first impression of your dental practice. You want to be sure to showcase your specialties and skills here that set you above other local dental practices. Your website needs to work on all devices from phones to laptops, clearly convey your practice’s brand into the digital realm, and function frictionlessly to getting patients in touch with your dental office. Great dental web design and dental website marketing is not enough you also need reliable and fast dental web hosting.

We recommend working with a dental marketing company with a specialization in dental website design that has specific dental knowledge. You want an agency that understands different conversion strategies for your dental procedures (knowing what procedures help your practice be successful). There are many dental website design features you will want your agency to have experience with; creating before and after galleries, dental blogging, and creating strong calls to action to get patients into your dental office.

Test if your dental site is mobile responsive

Essential Dental Website Design Elements

  1. Mobile Responsive
  2. Clearly Branded
  3. Conversion Focused

Dental Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Generating New Patients: Very Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Very Difficult
  • Typical Cost: $500 - $5,000/month

73% of patients use search engines to research treatment options.

Source: Google

Every search engine has one goal: provide users with the most relevant result as quickly as possible. Google looks at signals to determine if your website is relevant, trustworthy, and deserving of being ranked higher in search results. SEO for dental offices is the process of optimizing your website to appear for relevant search terms and appearing higher in the search results. We recommend creating and providing as much original content on your key procedures to your dental SEO company. This will give them content to optimize to help your website rank higher. The best place to start is to write down your top 5 procedures and answer the 5 most common questions your patients ask and the top 3 benefits for each procedure.

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5 Key Strategies to Search Engine Optimization Success For Dental Offices

  1. Content Optimization
  2. Link Building
  3. Site Structure
  4. Local Directories
  5. Website Technology

Local Dental Directory Listings

  • Generating New Patients: Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Very Difficult
  • Typical Cost: $50 – $250/month

More than 150 million people access local directories each month

Source: Google

Keeping your information consistent across 100s of online directories is not a feasible use of your time or your employees’. Having accurate information ensures patients all receive the same business name, phone, and address for your practice. This instills trust, helps bring patients into your dental office, and is crucial to dental SEO marketing. We recommend working with a dental marketing company that has medical expertise because there are medical specific directories that should be optimized.

Keep your NAP information accurate

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone

Watch our webinar

Google Presents: Insights into how patients search for doctors

Dental Reputation Management (Managing Reviews)

  • Generating New Patients: Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free – $300/month

88% of patients trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Source: Google

Online reviews have become a crucial factor to convert internet users to patients and are typically patients’ first impression of your practice. You can respond to reviews and generate reviews from patients for free. Generating and responding to reviews needs to be a standardized routine in your dental practice. Many practices have realized how challenging it is to be vigilant enough to know when a new review comes in and requesting reviews is difficult without a clear process.

We recommend using a reputation management software that will alert you of new reviews and help generate reviews from happy patients.

Download instructions to embed facebook reviews on your website!

Top Review Sources for Dentists

  1. Google My Business
  2. Facebook
  3. Yelp

Dental Social Media Marketing

  • Generating New Patients: Very Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free – $3,000/month

41% of people say social media affects their choice of doctor, hospital, or medical facility.

Source: Spark Report

Social Media has become a staple to every practice and is now embedded in the online user’s journey to becoming a patient. Social media can help instill trust and helps patients connect on a more personal level with their dentist. Dental social media can be time-consuming for practice’s to do well and it is worth considering having an agency supplement your posts to help your profile stay consistent and engaging.

We recommend creating social media profiles and creating a process to post personalized content/images and then working with a dental marketing agency that can help supplement your posts. This will ensure your social profiles are consistently posted to helping you stay top of mind and adding your own posts will help connect with your patients on a personal level.

Watch our webinar

Winning The Social Media Game, 99% of Doctors Do It Wrong

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

  • Generating New Patients: Very Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Very Difficult
  • Typical Cost: Recommended Minimum Budget: $750/month. Market Dependent

Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords.

Source: Google Economic Impact Report

Often referred to as PPC (pay-per-click) because you only pay when a user clicks on your ad and lands on your site. Advertising on search engines is an instantly impactful way to generate new patients as you are paying for traffic to your website. It is crucial you have robust content and a beautiful site to generate the best ROI from your PPC budget. There are different types of SEM and each requires different strategies to optimize your ads to generate leads, we highly recommend using an agency to manage this strategy. The two most common search engine advertisements for a dental practice are text ads and display ads.

Prior to an SEM campaign you should implement a Dental SEO strategy and have an optimized website to ensure your budget is efficient and your ad quality scores are high.

Recommended Dental PPC Budget

General Dentistry $750 – $1,000/month $1,000 – $1,500/month $1,500 – $3,000/month $3,000+/month
Cosmetic Dentistry $750 – $1,000/month $1,000 – $1,500/month $1,500 – $3,000/month $3,000+/month
Both $750 – $1,000/month $1,000 – $1,500/month $1,500 – $3,000/month $3,000+/month

Ad's Quality Score Factors

  1. Maximum bid amount
  2. The click-through rate (CTR) of your ad
  3. The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  4. Landing page quality and relevance
  5. The relevance of your ad text
  6. Your historical AdWords account performance and site engagement

Dental Email Marketing

  • Generating New Patients: Somewhat Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free – $1,000/month

In 2016, the average ROI for email campaigns was 4,300%

Source: Copy Blogger

Email marketing for dental practices can be difficult to generate new patients because you will need the potential patient’s email, however, if coupled with a referral program can greatly increase your new patients! If you pursue email marketing in-house there are two important factors to consider when choosing an email marketing service for your dental practice: Ease of Use & Price. Many providers dictate price based on the frequency of emails and email list size, so you will want to consider how many emails you will be sending.

Our typical recommendation is 1 email a month which includes: any specials, referral information, and helpful blog posts. You also want to be collecting email addresses in person in your office and have a connected form from your website to your email marketing provider.

Email Marketing Services Review

MailChimp Yes. Up to 2,000 contacts. $30+/month Very Easy
Contstant Contact Yes. For 60 Days. $20+/month Easy
SendInBlue Yes. 9,000 emails/month. $25+/month Very Easy

Top Email Marketing Benefits

  1. Stay Top of Mind
  2. Upsell More Expensive Procedures
  3. Increase Referrals

Dental Blogging

  • Generating New Patients: Very Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free – $500/month

94% of people who share blog posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.

Source: Shorr Solutions

Blogging can drive traffic new patients to your site, create content to share on social media or through your email marketing, and helps with your website’s SEO. A consistent blog that is actively updated helps you create content for existing patients and new patients. There is also the added benefit that even if you redesign your website you will always have your blog’s content! Many dentists opt to have an agency supplement their blogging content or hire a freelance writer. The most important aspects to any blog is that posts are consistently added, each blog post is focused on a single topic, and the blog needs to have tremendous value to the reader. Being a dentist you have a wealth of knowledge and sharing that knowledge helps; your authority as a dentist, drives more traffic to your site, and helps users understand dental procedures and their benefit.

We recommend every dentist have an active blog, because it can be time-consuming to keep updated explore using a dental marketing company to supplement your content. This will ensure your dental blog always has fresh content and gives you the flexibility to add your own blogs at your own pace!

Creating an Engaging Blog

  1. Post Consistently
  2. Choose Topics that will Resonate with Your Patients
  3. Always Have A Call-To-Action

Watch our webinar

Enticing the Millennial Patient

Traditional Dental Marketing

Traditional marketing is focused on getting in front of patients offline. These channels typically are pay to play and are outbound focused (patient didn’t seek out your marketing message) verse digital marketing channels that are focused on inbound leads (dental patients that are seeking a solution to their problem and come across your marketing message). At MyAdvice we realize there are benefits to traditional marketing so we have included tips, but inbound and digital marketing holds great potential for generating new patients. Web marketing for dentists is worth exploring for your dental practice.

Offline Dental Advertisements (TV, Radio, Billboards, Newspaper, & Mailers)

  • Generating New Patients: Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Very Difficult
  • Typical Cost:
    • Local TV: $200 – $1,500 per 30 second ad
    • Local Radio: $500 – $8,000 per week
    • Billboards: $500 – $20,000 per month
    • Regional Newspaper Ads: $700 to $15,000 for ¼ page ad
    • Mailers: $250 – $2,000 per 1,000 mailers

Comparing the weekly average (minutes/user) for Q4 2015 versus Q4 2016, traditional TV is down 9%, PC is up 57%, tablet is up 68%, and smartphone is up 100%.

Source: Forbes

Traditional marketing can be a great way to reach new patients and can instantly impact your dental practice. However, you need to make sure you have a clear goal for each of these ads and have a set process to track the ROI on each channel. You can track the effectiveness of each source with a specific landing page on your website or having a specific number leads can call. These channels are typically large investments and take months to measure the ROI and the value they generated for your dental practice. The prices listed above do not account for the creative production of the ads.

Traditional marketing is on the decline and becoming less effective, you need to consider your digital marketing options.

Important Pricing Factors

  1. Circulation / Reach
  2. Demographics
  3. Impressions

Dental Business Development

  • Generating New Patients: Somewhat Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.

Source: H.E. Luccock

A dental partnership may sound strange as you are a small business, but you may leaving money on the table. If you are a general dentist and recommend your patients to a few other orthodontists for braces this is a great opportunity to form a partnership for exclusive referrals and vice versa. But a partnership doesn’t need to be limited to fellow dentists, you should consider forming partnerships with local schools (dental education presentation with branded toothbrushes), local newspapers (write a monthly article for free), or reach out to other local businesses for social media contest giveaways (free party at a bounce house)! Get your whole team together to come up with creative dental marketing ideas.

We recommend first defining your ideal patient and then brainstorming with your staff and dental marketing firm for creative ways to partner with complementary businesses to grow your practice. Having the whole office work on this project helps your whole staff become invested in the success of your practice.

Watch our webinar

1+1=3 Business Collaboration is Better Than Competition

4 Keys to a great partnership

  1. Mutually Beneficial
  2. Creates Value For your Patients
  3. Both Parties Committed To Each Other’s Success
  4. Clear Partnership Expectations

Dental Referral Program

  • Generating New Patients: Very Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free

92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.

Source: Nielsen

Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to generate new patients. To encourage that word-of-mouth marketing you need to create a referral program that clearly states the benefit to the patient (do they receive discounted services or cold hard cash), there should be a benefit for the new patient as well, and your staff needs to have a clear process for the referrals. You will want to train your staff on how to request referrals, how to handle referral leads, and how billing will work for referred individuals. Many practices also consider incentivizing their staff to generate referrals and follow up promptly with new leads.

It may be a large undertaking for your dental office initially but once your process is clearly laid out referrals may become one of your best marketing sources for generating new patients!

Watch our webinar

How Loyalty Clubs Can Increase Your Practice's Profits

4 Keys to a Great Referral Program

  1. Easy to Understand
  2. Well Trained Staff
  3. Rewards for the Referee & Referrer
  4. Automate an email to the Referee from a form on your site

Dental Offline Events (Open House)

  • Generating New Patients: Somewhat Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: $500 – $1,000/event

The most frequently mentioned factors when choosing a dentist were the providers competence (22%), the recommendation from someone known (21%), and the overall quality of the service provided (20%). Among the other factors mentioned were patience and respect. An open house is a great way to convey these values.

/ Source: NCBI

Planning an open house or event is a great way to create buzz for your practice’s grand opening, new location, an office remodel, or to give back to your loyal patients! You want to again consider your ideal customer, if you’re a pediatric dentist maybe renting a bounce house will be appreciated by your clients and potentially bring in new patients. You want to ensure there are activities, catered food, prizes, promotional branded material, and clear staff instructions for office tours.

We recommend trying to hold an open house at least once a year, this will help you learn from each year and patients can begin to expect the event each year!

Watch our webinar

7 Tips For Creating An Awesome Event On Any Budget

3 Tips for any event

  1. Determine Event Goals
  2. Determine Event Budget
  3. Promote on Social Media

Dental Community-Building Events

  • Generating New Patients: Somewhat Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: $20-$1,000/month

It’s estimated that potential patients need to see a brand 7 times before the marketing message registers

Source: Business Insider

Community building is typically used for brand awareness and can be difficult to track its effectiveness on generating new patients but will help your practice become more recognizable. Many patients choose their dental practice based on proximity so you want to make sure you are well known throughout your community. You most likely pursued dentistry to help people and continuing this passion into other areas of your community helps your brand, your staff comradery, and shows that you value more than just your patients but your community. These are just a few dental marketing tips, but every community has their own unique opportunities.

Watch our webinar

1+1=3 Business Collaboration is Better Than Competition

4 great community events to sponsor

  1. Local Races- Bonus if you and your staff participate
  2. Local Food Drives- Reach out to patients to participate with your dental office
  3. Local Sports- From Highschool to Minor League sports are affordable options
  4. Service Projects- Reach out to local schools or churches and see if there are volunteer opportunities

Dental Speaking Engagements

  • Generating New Patients: Somewhat Effective
  • Do It Yourself: Possible
  • Typical Cost: Free

The most mentioned factor when choosing a dentist was the doctors competence (22%).

Source: NCBI

To convey your authority and expertise as a dentist is by showing your patients you continue your education and stay up with the latest dental trends by attending trade shows and other learning events. If you can speak at these trade shows be sure to take lots of photos to share on social media, in your newsletter, and on your website. This helps patients build trust as they see you stay current with the latest technology or are teaching fellow dentists as an expert in your field. This may not directly generate new patients but will help when potential patients are deciding between you and your competition.

Watch our webinar

How To Build A Thriving Practice And Have Your Best Year Ever!

Dental Speaking Engagement Options

  1. Local Schools
  2. Trade Shows
  3. Chamber of Commerce

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