- The first step to marketing your dental practice is making sure it comes up in local online search results
- You can master online marketing by optimizing your website, creating social media accounts, and setting up digital ads
- Ensure your patients have a great experience and take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing
Knowing how to treat dental patients and knowing how to reach potential patients are two very different things. Whether you’ve just opened your dental practice or have been around for a while and want to bring in new patients, you need a dental marketing strategy.
But in reality, you’re also a small business owner with employees to manage, patients to see, and paperwork to fill out. So your marketing plan needs to provide a high return on a small time investment. Consider this your roadmap.
Take a look at five dental marketing ideas in action, plus a few more strategies you can use to reach potential patients.
5 digital dental marketing ideas to reach new patients
There are two places potential patients turn to when searching for a new dentist: friends and family, and search engines. Even if someone is referred to your practice through word of mouth, they’ll likely still search online for your dental office before their first appointment. So your practice needs to have an online presence. These dental marketing ideas will help you establish that presence and build trust before patients ever set foot in your practice.
1. Claim your business on Yelp and Google
When you claim your business on Yelp and Google, you not only ensure that potential patients can find your address and phone number, you also create a space for current patients to leave online reviews. As the business owner, you can respond to patient reviews, which helps you provide better customer service and manage your practice’s reputation.
In some cases, your practice may already be listed on Yelp. (This could happen if a patient added it.) In this case, you just need to claim it as your business to start managing your profile. If your business isn’t already on the site, you can add your Yelp Business Page on your own.
Likewise, you can claim your business on Google using Google My Business to make sure your business information is correct.
2. Build a professional-looking website
Your website design will be prospective patients‘ first impression of your business. If you’re going to work with a marketing agency on just one part of your digital marketing efforts, it should be your website. Work with a professional web designer to ensure your site is clean, uncluttered, and easy to navigate.
At a minimum, your dental website needs a professional-looking landing page that lists your services, hours of operation, and contact information.
It also helps to include testimonials. As you build your website, reach out to current patients to ask if they’d be willing to write a testimonial about the dental care you’ve provided them. According to BigCommerce, 92% of customers read testimonials and 72% say they’re more likely to trust a business that has positive reviews and testimonials.
3. Optimize your website for local SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of adding keywords to your website that your target audience might search for when they’re looking for dental services. It will help your website come up in Google search if you optimize your web pages for SEO.
The most important thing you can do is include your practice’s address on every page of your site (not just the home page or contact page). The more pages on your site that include your business’s address, the more likely you are to come up in a local Google search. So, whenever someone in your town searches for “dentist near me,” you’ll have a better chance of appearing in their top 10 search results.
It also helps if you write descriptions of the services you offer using words that a patient would likely type into a search engine—think of terms like dental cleaning, teeth whitening, cavity fillings, and so on. A marketing agency can help you with this process, or you can use our guide to small business SEO to try it on your own.
4. Establish social media pages
Social media profiles allow you to manage your online presence and interact with your customers. Your Facebook page can double as a business page while you build your official website, and it’s a good place to communicate with your customers. You can use it as a forum to announce special events, discounts, or office closures.
As you plan out your social media marketing, think of each social media site as a different marketing channel where you’ll connect with a different subset of your target audience.
Your Facebook page will be a place to connect with your base of loyal followers, so it could be a good spot to remind patients to come in for their annual check-up. LinkedIn, on the other hand, will be better for finding your next office manager (the one who also has some marketing experience to help you reach potential customers) than for promoting your dental services.
5. Use digital ads
If you want to gain customers as quickly as possible, digital ads are a strong online marketing tool. Since you’re advertising your local business, look for ad services like Facebook Ads that offer micro-targeting features. These features allow you to set very specific parameters for your target audience, like parents in South Austin interested in pediatric dental care.
Ad services like Yelp Ads and Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) also help you connect with your target audience. When you sign up for Yelp Ads, your ad appears in key areas across the Yelp site and mobile app—including above search results and on competitors’ business pages—helping you reach patients who are searching for your service.
Cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-click (PPC) ad services are also cost-effective options. With CPC ads, you’ll only have to pay if someone actually clicks on your advertisement.
2 traditional dental marketing ideas to promote your local business
To bring in new patients, digital marketing is essential, including making sure your business always appears in local search—but that doesn’t mean you should ignore more traditional advertising methods. These techniques won’t allow you to reach as many customers, but they’re some of the most effective marketing strategies for local businesses. Research shows that most consumers still find traditional ads like print more trustworthy than online and social media.
1. Direct mail
Direct mail allows you to send special promotions to potential patients in your local market. Unlike digital ads that offer micro-targeting, there’s no way to know that the people who receive your mailer are looking for dental health services. Still, it can make a stronger impression on the recipients who need a new dentist. People are inundated with digital ads but they receive far fewer mailers. These tangible pieces of promotion also feel more familiar and personal.
2. Word of mouth
Word of mouth is still the strongest form of advertising for any business (and it’s free!). If you take excellent care of your current patients, they’ll spread the word to friends and family. And because prospective patients will hear about your services from a member of their personal network, they’re more likely to trust your business.
Keep your current patients engaged with email marketing—just be sure to use it for something useful, like annual appointment reminders or special promotions. Show you care with follow-up phone calls to see how patients are feeling after their appointments. Patients will expect a call before their appointment, but calling after their appointment will show you’ve gone the extra mile.
Bring in new patients with these dental practice marketing ideas
With a few simple steps, you can attract prospective patients and grow your dental practice. Bring in new patients with digital marketing techniques: build your website, optimize it for SEO, establish your social media pages, and use digital ads. Then, keep your customers happy to capitalize on the strongest form of advertising there is: word-of-mouth recommendations.
But the first step to getting the word out is making sure your business comes up in local search. Claim your business on Yelp to start getting online reviews, build your online reputation, and bring in in-person patients.