By Jacob Baadsgaard
All dental practices understand the importance of dental patient marketing. It brings in new patients, and it can even help to strengthen ties with existing patients. Marketing is essential if you want your practice to thrive.
It’s easy to know that you should market your dental practice. It’s much more difficult, however, to know exactly how to do that.
There’s no one right answer to this, and there’s a large number of different strategies you can use. For most practices, using a combination of several different dental marketing methods will yield the best results.
Not sure where to start? Let’s take a look at 11 of the most effective dental patient marketing strategies you can use to market your dental practice.
1. Get Involved with the Community
It goes without saying that if your practice is in Ohio, you won’t really be treating patients in Kentucky. Dental practices, by their nature, are local businesses, and they rely heavily on the local community to provide patients.
Get involved with your community. This can include anything from attending festivals or sponsoring a little league team, both of which allow you the opportunity to build relationships in person.
You can even teach a class on dental hygiene at an elementary school, or share your knowledge at the local University. This lays an excellent foundation for how the community will view you, and it gives you a chance to engage in some word-of-mouth and direct marketing.
2. Build a Community on Social Media
Social media gives your practice another excellent way to reach out to potential patients and build or strengthen relationships. This goes for existing patients, too.
Now, when someone follows you on social media, they won’t only be hearing from you once every six months—they’ll have a constant source of communication with you year-round.
Facebook 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 and information (including contact information) and you can collect reviews from existing patients. This can provide new patients with more potential touchpoints, and a better immediate first impression whenever they find you.
3. Focus on Local SEO
Search engine optimization for all essential dental terms can help your business, but local keywords will be what really brings you new clients. Who cares, after all, if a patient in New York City finds your site if you’re based on Arizona?
No one. That’s who.
Local SEO is the way to go for dental patient marketing. This means that you’ll want to rank for terms like “Chicago dentist” instead of just “dentist,” or “best Chicago orthodontist.”
Not only will this help you find your target audience who is Googling for exactly these terms, it will also give you an edge in voice search, where users ask Siri or Alexa to help them find a local dentist “near me.”
4. Create a Strong, Well-Designed Site
There’s about a 70% chance that a potential patient’s first interaction with you will be on your site, so it must make a good first impression. Your site needs to look professional, be well-organized for easy navigation, and be thorough in the information it offers visitors.
Not sure exactly what that looks like or how you can stand apart? Check out our full post on dental patient marketing websites here.
5. Use Content Marketing to Offer Value
Content marketing is the practice of using content like blog posts or ebooks to bring visitors to your site, build relationships with them, and eventually convert them into patients.
On-site content marketing in the form of a blog or FAQ gives you an opportunity to regularly add new content (and keywords) to your site, increasing your overall ranking and sending more traffic to your site.
You can read our full guide on content marketing for dental practices here.
6. Run AdWords Campaigns
Google AdWords is a strong pay-per-click platform that allows you to have your ad displayed to users who are searching for certain keywords.
If they’re looking for “Orlando dentist,” your ad for your Orlando practice could pop right up.
When using AdWords 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.
7. Postcards & Mailed Offers
A dentist office has a big advantage over plenty of other businesses; they know that their audience will be local. Because of this, if you send out post cards or mailed offers to people within a set radius of your office, you know that you’re guaranteed to hit your target audience.
Everyone needs good dental care, after all.
In addition to sending out rounds of postcards every so often to attract new patients, you have a few additional strategies you could use to target specific high-value potential patients. This includes:
- Sending brochures about upscale cosmetic procedures to high-income neighborhoods, where the homeowners are more likely to be able to afford them
- Including a flyer with a discount in the welcome packet that’s given to new homeowners after they change their address. If they’ve just moved to the area, after all, they don’t have a dentist yet
8. Appointment Reminders
Growing your practice isn’t just about attracting new patients. Maintaining relationships with your existing patients matters just as much.
Sending them appointment reminders—or reminders to schedule their appointment—is a great re-engagement method and a sure-fire way to make sure they’re getting the care they need.
Appointment reminders can come in the form of:
- Phone calls (this may be the least preferred method)
- Post cards (there’s always the risk these get lost or delayed in the mail)
Many practices use a combination of a physical reminder, like a postcard, with a digital reminder like an email or text.
Newsletters are a bit like content marketing, only the blog post is delivered right to your patients’ inboxes. It’s about reaching out to them instead of hoping they come to find you. Newsletters should contain snippets of valuable information that your audience will want to see.
After all, if they don’t, you’ll go the way of the unsubscribe button before you know it.
When sending newsletters, it’s a good idea to ask patients to opt-in and to send it infrequently enough that no one will send you to spam. Again, if you make this valuable, people will be happy to see it in their inbox.
10. Remarketing Campaigns
Remarketing is the practice of reaching out to users you already have an existing relationship with and trying to get them to take a specific action. You can use remarketing to get users to book their six month check-up, or to connect with potential patients who checked out your site but didn’t convert.
Facebook Ads is one of the best platforms for remarketing, giving you the option to retarget based on specific activity on your site or by uploading custom audiences.
You can even use remarketing to promote new products or cosmetic procedures to existing customers, like if you add Invisalign to your line-up or have a new, safer tooth whitening procedure.
11. Diversify Your Keywords
Keyword research is obviously essential if you want your site to stand a chance to rank well in the search engines. And while you should absolutely be shooting for the basics like “Washington dentist,” you should also think outside the box, too. Diversify your keywords.
Taking emergency keywords into consideration, for example, is an excellent strategy. “Emergency wisdom tooth removal,” and “emergency broken tooth” are great examples. You could even try to rank for “dentist open on weekends.”
Note that any emergency service has a higher likelihood of being searched through voice search, and adjust the keyword accordingly.
Dental Patient Marketing
There are a lot of different ways to do dental patient marketing and these eleven are all effective. Your best bet will always be to check out what your competition is doing, and to see what you can offer that’s unique and different.
Put your knowledge of your patients first, and use that information to connect with them on the platforms they’re on, target keywords you think they’d be searching for, and attend events you think they’d be.
Use a combination of different strategies that works best for your practice and the patients you want to attract, and you’ll start seeing an increase in appointments before you know it.
Need a little help creating a comprehensive marketing plan or PPC campaign for your dental patient marketing? We’ve got the experience and the enthusiasm to help you. Contact us to learn more.
What do you think? Do you use any of these dental patient marketing methods to attract new patients? Which have worked best for you? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!