Dental Marketing 101: How to 3X Patient Acquisition

Dentist Marketing Explained

The Canadian Dental Association has healthy news for dentists. While the number of dentists in Canada has doubled to around 25,000, Canadians are more likely than (65%) ever to see a dentist regularly. And dental care is available to more people, too. Over 26 million Canadians have access to dental services through health insurance.

You may think you have a ready patient base for your practice, but that’s simply not the case. Dentists –both solo, small practices and dental networks – are facing challenges they’ve never experienced before.

Here’s How Patients Research and Find Dentists

Patients have public platforms where they can share their experiences at the drop of the hat. A great cleaning session: you’ll get a mention in someone’s social feed. A patient unhappy with their wait? You’ll get dinged with a 2-star review on Google.

81% of people research services online before visiting, so that unfavourable Google Review will cost you. What’s more, 87.8% of people will research a dentist even if they’ve been referred by someone they know, meaning word-of-mouth isn’t as powerful as before.

Instead, patients looking for a new dentist rely on these factors above all else:

  1. That the practice is close to their home or workplace (usually searched on Google Maps)
  2. The practice has a high star rating (usually checking Google Reviews)

Given new patients discover your practice online, your marketing in dentistry needs to keep pace.

dental marketing

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4 Marketing Dental Marketing Channels (with Pros and Cons)

Marketing for dental practices has typically come in four forms: TV and radio ads, newspaper ads, digital marketing, and social media marketing.

  1. TV and Radio Ads

TV and radio ads are excellent for building brand awareness. They can reach a broad audience and create a memorable presence in your local community.

However, these ads can be prohibitively expensive (as much as $20,000 for a local TV station), especially for small practices. Plus, their reach is dwindling as more people turn to streaming services and digital platforms for their media consumption.

  1. Newspaper Ads

Newspaper ads can help your practice be seen by the local community and appeal to an older demographic that reads print media regularly. 

However, the cost of newspaper ads can be high, and they have very little relevance in a digital-first world. With declining readership, the return on investment for newspaper ads is often not worth the expense.

Moreover, classifieds in the mail end up in the recycling bin even before someone has the chance to leaf through them.

  1. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can deliver exponential results, allowing you to reach a highly targeted audience, track your success with analytics, and adjust your campaigns for optimal performance. 

With intelligently-planned keywords, you can reach just the right audience, and start building effective sales funnels for your practice. For instance, see how an optometry practice quadrupled its website traffic in less than a month.

The main drawback is that it can take 2-3 months to start seeing significant results. Patience and consistent effort are required to build a strong online presence.

  1. Social Media

Social media can get your practice noticed quickly and is an excellent tool for engaging with potential patients, showcasing your services, and building a community around your practice. 

However, reputation management on social media is extremely difficult

As you’re aware, negative comments or reviews can spread quickly and harm your practice’s reputation. Additionally, the audience you attract may not always be relevant or convert into patients, requiring careful targeting and strategy.

Digital Marketing: Delivering Exponential Returns on Dentist Marketing 

Digital marketing for dentists offers scalable, flexible marketing opportunities. If you are a small practice, you can focus on high-return activities such as SEO and advertising. If yours is a large or a network of practices, you can include social media marketing and reputation management.

Whatever your needs, these are some essential strategies for digital marketing in dentistry.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO involves optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results. By targeting relevant keywords, like “best dentist in [your city],” you can attract potential patients actively searching for dental services. 

SEO for dental practices improves your website’s visibility, driving organic traffic and increasing the likelihood of patient acquisition.

Local SEO

Local SEO is crucial for dental practices, as it targets patients in your geographical area. 

This includes optimizing your Google My Business profile, collecting positive reviews, and ensuring your practice appears in local search results and Google Maps. 

Local SEO helps you become the top choice for patients looking for a dentist nearby.

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating valuable, informative content that addresses the needs and concerns of your potential patients. 

This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and patient testimonials. The primary goal of content marketing is targeting volume-rich keywords that align with your sales funnels. 

Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow organic traffic to your website. It will also form the backbone of your advertising, outreach, and broader SEO efforts.

Sample Plan for Digital Marketing for Dentists

SEOOptimize website with relevant keywords to rank higher in search engine results.Free Consultation
Local SEOFocus on local search optimization, including Google My Business profile and local reviews.Free Assessment
Content MarketingCreate valuable, informative content (blogs, videos, infographics) targeting patient needs and concerns.Dental Marketing Guide
Social Media MarketingUse platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter) to engage with current and potential patients.Free Consultation
Email MarketingSend newsletters and promotional emails to keep patients informed and engaged.Special Offers
Online Reputation ManagementMonitor and manage online reviews and feedback on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.Free Consultation
Remarketing AdsTarget users who visited the website but didn’t convert, with tailored ads to encourage return visits.Schedule Appointment

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing uses platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter), Reddit and TikTok to engage with current and potential patients. 

Regularly posting updates, sharing educational content, and responding to comments can enhance your online presence and foster a sense of community. 

An active presence will allow you to connect with patients directly and promote your services widely. Social advertising involves using paid ads on social media platforms to reach a targeted audience. 

Facebook and Instagram ads, for instance, allow you to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring your ads are seen by those most likely to need dental services. 

Retargeting Ads

Remarketing ads target users who have previously visited your website but did not convert into patients. 

By displaying tailored ads on other websites or social media platforms they visit, you keep your practice top of mind and encourage them to return and book an appointment. 

Remarketing is a powerful way to recapture potential patients.

Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending newsletters and promotional emails to your patient list. This keeps your patients informed about your services, special offers, and dental health tips. 

Personalized and segmented email campaigns can nurture relationships with your patients, leading to higher retention rates and repeat visits.

Integrate email marketing with your patient/practice management software to incorporate scheduling reminders, and other patient outreach.

Online Reputation Management

advertising for dentists

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Online reputation management focuses on monitoring and improving how your practice is perceived online. 

This involves actively managing reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook, responding to feedback, and encouraging satisfied patients to leave positive reviews. 

Make no mistake, bad reviews online or a poorly curated presence will directly impact your revenue. 94% of people will avoid a business if it has negative reviews.

Creating a Dental Advertising and Marketing Strategy for Your Practice

Cost-effective, impactful marketing for dentists requires striking a balance. Digital marketing for dentists offers the greatest return, but it must be planned keeping in mind your budget, patient acquisition goals, and marketing priorities.

Moreover, you need to work with a team that understands North America’s dental marketing guidelines.

Your first step should, therefore, be speaking to an expert digital marketing strategist. We’ll spend time understanding your needs, market, and budget before recommending a customized marketing plan for you.

Click here to schedule your free assessment and consultation.

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