As a dentist, being a skilled doctor comes first, but how are you going to let the potential patients know about how skilled you are? By advertising yourself of course. Keep people coming in, and you’ll be able to operate your dental business well. However, if you are a one-person office with a full list of day-to-day obligations, you may not have a lot of time to spend to brainstorming some effective dental marketing strategies.
When it comes to efficiently promoting your dentistry office, there are several specific factors to consider, but quite a number of business marketing principles remain constant. Your primary focus should be on obtaining the most bang for your buck with advertisements and boosting your capacity to acquire clients with strategies that may not cost anything at all.
The good news is that with our dental marketing strategies to implement in your overall marketing plan will get you new patients without blowing your entire budget. What’s even better, executing them definitely won’t feel like pulling out teeth. Jokes aside, there are tons of clever ideas for successfully marketing your dental practice, so long as you know where to look.
Pro Dental Marketing Strategies For Your Dental Office
Now, let’s look into some of the pro dental marketing ideas to get you more new patients, boost referrals, promote your business to a wider audience, and expand or establish your market presence.
#1. Curate Online Business Profiles
One of the best and most effective marketing exercises you can conduct for your dental practice doesn’t cost a dime. Creating business profiles on popular review sites is an easy but crucial step you have to take to ensure your dental business can be found by prospective clients. For instance, Google My Business is a platform where you can upload photos, post reviews, book appointments, and even have prospective clients reach out to you with just a click of a button. How convenient is that?
Similar to the above, you should also look into creating a Yelp business profile. Here’s a thing:
Yelp profile for your business can exist whether you are the one who creates them or not, so it’s best to take ownership and curate your own profile. More people go to Yelp for reviews and suggestions than you think. So why not utilize the platform to post the most accurate and helpful information about your business. These can include necessary things such as the address, opening and closing time, services that you offer, etc. Aside from this, you can also respond to any reviews from time to time. And not just the positive ones. Pay attention to negative feedback to further improve and customize your practice.
Professional company profiles are an excellent method to boost your dental practice visibility in search results. Improving your company’s search results will, in turn, make a huge impact in terms of exposure within your niche. Business profiles on various platforms make it easy for prospective patients to learn more about what makes you the best fit. It takes very little effort to put things up, and you in just a few minutes you can update information whenever you need to.
#2. SMS Marketing Exposure Strategy
One of the most difficult issues that dental practices (and medical offices in general) face is the possibility of patients skipping their appointments. No medical establishment demands patients to pay in advance, so skipping an appointment means you lose the money the patient had to pay; as well as the money another potential patient would pay if they filled the reserved time slot.
Handling this issue will give you one of the most effective dental marketing strategies you will implement. You will reduce the loss of your practice money as well as the time that might be spent on other prospective patients. With the introduction of SMS marketing services for small businesses, you can transform a frustrating situation into a chance to advertise your dental office via messages. No-shows will no longer be a threat. You can use SMS as a reminder to not skip the appointment, which will subconsciously encourage patients to be on time or at least re-schedule ahead. You can also just implement SMS marketing to get to new, wider audiences.
Think about how many such messages you get daily, why not be one of them.
Businesses in a variety of industries are utilizing business-oriented text messaging systems to get to new or already existing customers. These texts can, among other things, advertise special deals, remind customers of impending appointments, give scheduling services with the tap of a screen and provide digital receipts. The last point has become extremely relevant in the recent years due to the global pandemic and the importance of keeping distance and moving digital where possible.
Lastly, once you establish a strong internet presence, you may even ask consumers to submit reviews on your Google or Yelp company pages, which can help you generate referrals and affiliate marketing. See how things are tied together?
#3. Pursue Digital Advertising
Any mention of small business advertising these days includes a heavy focus on digital advertising. Other forms of advertising are far from dead (more on that below), but digital remains the king. Why is that? Well, for once, everything is moving towards becoming digital. It’s more convenient and safe that way. What’s more, digital advertising tends to offer budget-friendly advertising options that yield insightful data about your prospective clients.
Depending on how you set up your digital ads and which kinds of ads you plan to run, your efforts can cost mere pennies on the dollar per engagement. You can also target your ads to show up directly against your competitors. Putting your paid search results or banner ads against keywords and audiences that are associated with other practices is a risk worth taking. Best of all, you can get a clear picture of who engages with your ads, what they do once they’ve clicked through an advertisement, what terms resonate the most with your audience, and much more.
#4. Consider Direct Mail Campaigns
Digital advertising is a great asset for marketing your dental practice, but it’s far from the only advertising channel worth exploring. Nevertheless, direct mail campaigns have experienced a resurgence as of late. Most consumers are inundated with digital ads, which can sometimes become exhausting to handle for an average person. To prevent this, ad mails shouldn’t fall into the “junk mail” category.
As “junk mail” has become less of a common occurrence, direct mail has, in turn, become more impactful. These kinds of campaigns have been looking into bettering the way they approach target audiences as well.
Direct mail marketing may now target particular segments of potential customers. This is important because through this, you will be provided with considerably more detail and emphasis on who you should be targeting and how can you do it for the best outcome. Unlike the approach used in the past. As a result, direct mail initiatives are more effective than many digital advertising strategies in reaching clients. According to one recent study, 70% of consumers polled thought that direct mail marketing activities precisely, were more effective than their digital counterparts. So, the next time you consider promoting your dental office, consider the “nearby mailbox”.
#5. Offer Promotional Discount Codes
Promotional codes aren’t just for online retailers anymore. The rise of online booking and billing has made it much more common for businesses of all stripes to take advantage of promotional and discount codes to help boost business. Most online merchant services providers now offer an optional field for discount codes at checkout. This makes it easy to offer perks to your customers without having to do much back-end work with your billing software.
Promo codes are a great way to let your existing patients on holiday or other special discounts you have coming up.
Anniversary discounts or 2 in 1 are some other ideas you can implement in your practice from time to time. This is even better for getting new people come to your office. Dental care is not inexpensive, with good reputation, satisfactory first experience and considerably cheaper price loyal new customer is basically guaranteed. Given that you are absolutely confident in your abilities to handle your patients well (which, we hope, you are).
Lastly, one of the key reasons to consider promotional codes as a dental marketing idea is the ability to gauge how popular and widespread the use of these codes becomes. For example, if you offer a discount code as part of a direct mail campaign, you’ve just created a data point to gauge the efficacy of your advertising. You can also offer specific codes to individual clients, subscribers to a newsletter, or for people whom you’ve rewarded for other actions (such as leaving a review or celebrating a certain number of years as a patient).
#6. Build a Robust Website
Let’s be real, especially nowadays, virtually no business can afford to put its digital presence on the back-burner. Even the simplest shops have to offer their prospective patrons a wealth of information online. It is crucial that you put your best foot forward. A great business website provides your dental practice with an immediate lift. Not just in terms of searchability as we’ll be discussing below, but also in terms of prestige and professionalism.
Like it or not, people judge a business by its website. If yours is outdated, inaccurate, or just plain ugly, you may be turning away new clients without even realizing it. That is why clever dental marketing strategies entails, first and foremost, building a professional business website.
Yes, the aesthetics are just as important as speed and how informative it is.
Good-looking business websites don’t have to come at a premium anymore, either. Website-building platforms make it easy to customize standard templates to make beautiful sites in a matter of hours. Granted, there is still much to be said about hiring a digital design firm (or a freelance designer) to really make your website more robust. Especially if you want to incorporate features like online patient portals, for example. But luckily most practices can find success with the DIY route. And there are tons of tutorials on how to build a simple website in case your current budget cannot cover the costs of a professional service.
It will take some time, but remember, this is not something you have to do on a daily basis. Do this once, at the beginning of your practice (or in the middle, better late than never) and then go back to it from time to time to update your website with new or changed information. You will be able to eventually hire a professional to make it look even better or to fix some technical mistakes.
#7. Explore Search Engine Optimization
Now that you have your website up and running, you need people to actually check it out. SEO, or search engine optimization, goes hand-in-hand with the existence of a good websites. The most impactful business websites you have seen? They are probably simple and elegant. Meaning, yours should also be easy on the eyes, informative, and visible in search. Aesthetics wise minimalism is the key.
SEO includes the standards and best practices that can help websites appear in relevant search results. The more specific and detailed a site is, the better its SEO tends to be. And the better the SEO, the more likely patients are to find your practice when looking for a new dentist.
Mastering SEO is not an easy feat. But it’s not terrifyingly hard either. Common search providers (think Google) do not offer up a blueprint for how to make a site appear at the top of search results. There are many companies that promise to help businesses get there but they often over-promise and under-deliver. Good SEO boils down to producing informative material that speaks to a broad range of relevant search topics. A good digital marketing agency can help craft the right SEO strategy to position your practice the right way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to field experts here, as an investment in good SEO can pay for itself in short order.
#8. Use Online Scheduling Software
Be it pizza, groceries, or a root canal, people have come to expect that almost any transaction can be completed online. For the most part, they’re right: Platforms like ZocDoc, for example, and other online scheduling platforms have taken away the telephone anxiety that stops many new and existing patients from scheduling consultations or much-needed checkups. By offering patients the ability to schedule appointments entirely online, dental practices can drum up new business as well as streamline scheduling operations. Think about how much time this saves not only you but also your patients. It’s like having a receptionist who never forgets anything.
The easier it is to make a booking, as with most things digital, the better. Especially in the recent 2-3 years, given the situation with COVID. Make it a point to feature a conspicuous option to book an appointment online on every instance of your practice’s internet presence. Does not matter whether you use one of the larger medical appointment platforms to do the majority of your digital scheduling, or a more open-ended online scheduling platform. Just make sure to link out to these services on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and social media. In addition, don’t forget any callouts to this function on your website.
#9. Master the Art of Good Reviews
Online reviews can make or break a business. This is particularly true for dental practices. Think how dental-phobic patients often spend much more time looking for practices that are gentle or stress-free. Businesses may not be able to control what reviewers say and where the reviews might appear. But they can still take proactive steps to help make positive reviews shine.
It’s become common for businesses to solicit feedback from satisfied customers. And this is a good thing you shouldn’t shy away from. Encourage your patients to leave a review on Google, Yelp, ZocDoc, or other platforms that are popular within your area. The more you stress the importance of spreading the positive words about your practice among your patients, the better your business appears when new clients are making a decision on which dental office to visit. Plus, this modern-day version of word-of-mouth advertising goes much further than any paid advertisements. Why? Because they’re seen as more organic and honest.
Everyone wants to know what actual people who have used a service or a product think about it and what their experiences are before making a purchase themselves.
You probably do this too.
However, keep in mind that negative feedback is unavoidable. While you won’t be able to remove their presence from the internet, you can reply to them thoughtfully and strive to improve your clients’ experience. If they had a paying difficulty or a scheduling problem, for example, contact out to try to remedy these difficulties. You could obtain an altered review as a result, but in any case, it tells prospective clients that you take concerns seriously and are striving to improve your business. Be mailable and genuine. That way even the most negative opinionated people will see that you care and want to improve to better cater to everybody’s needs.
#10. Set up Referral Reward Programs
Many patients may be willing to write a positive review out of the goodness of their hearts. For those who need a little extra nudge, or for instances in which you’d like your clientele to go a little bit further to help your business, a referral program can be a great strategy to employ when looking for new patients for your dental practice.
These programs typically offer customers discounted services, free visits, or gift cards in exchange for referring their friends and family to your practice for the first time. The money you invest in these perks will pay for itself in new business, all while providing more tangible results than a less personal advertising or marketing campaign could.
#11. Provide Digital Customer Service
People love to book appointments online so they don’t have to hop on the phone, maneuver around a busy practice’s schedule, and spend time reading out insurance information to an overburdened front staff. The same thing that makes online booking popular also makes digital customer service a great option to explore. Especially, when trying to solicit new patients. People love to handle common questions and issues online when they can. Again, very relevant during the pandemic.
As a medical office, your ability to answer specific questions through a digital customer service portal will likely be curtailed by HIPAA compliance issues. You can, however, use these tools to answer new customer queries, such as providing directions and addressing frequently asked questions. Even if digital customer service is complimentary to your existing communication channels rather than supplementary, your efforts to diversify the ways in which clients can contact your office won’t go unnoticed, so incorporate them into your relationship marketing efforts.
The Bottom Line
The only thing limiting the number of dental marketing strategies out there is, well, your imagination. That and the amount of time you can dedicate to brainstorming. Some of these strategies may work better than others depending on your practice, comfort level with marketing and advertising, and willingness to adopt a digital-first model for attracting new patients. The best thing to do is use these suggestions as a starting point, and modify them to best align with your dental practice’s specific needs.
No matter how you go about marketing your dental practice, however, the best thing you can do is get started right away. Don’t be afraid to experiment, put some money behind your efforts and track your results. That way, you will know what is and isn’t working. And finally, keep an open mind as you branch out.