Dental Marketing: 22 Winning Dental Marketing Strategies to Get Patients
Everybody has teeth. Everybody cares about their teeth. Everybody needs a dentist.
You have already won as you are operating in a market with huge demand. But here is the big question, how to get new patients for dental practice? The short answer is ‘dental marketing’, but how do you actually market your dental practice to get more patients?
Dental practice marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. To make things easy for you, we have compiled a list of 22 winning dental marketing strategies.
1. Referrals; Are your dental patients raving fans of your practice?
Referrals are not only your best source of new patients, but it is your most important one. Obviously, to get referrals you need to go above and beyond and deliver an outstanding service.
Business in general is all about trust. When people look for a new dentist, they typically go online to shop around, but most people also ask friends and family for recommendations. If that friend is happy with your practice, it’s safe to say they would recommend you. A recommendation from a friend builds instant trust. You trust your friend, so you trust his or her recommendation.
Our number #1 dental marketing tip is to start encouraging referrals.
There are a number of ways to encourage your existing patients to spread the word:
- 1) Provide a jaw-dropping dental service
It’s a no-brainer that your dental service needs to be of the highest standard, but we mention it because it’s actually the most important one. Natural referrals occur because your patients love you for your excellent service, your friendly team and your practice vibe.
- 2) Ask for referrals
Asking every patient for a referral is a bad idea. What’s crucial is timing! Asking for a referral is appropriate when you notice that a patient is over the moon with your dental work. You can either ask in person when your patient leaves the practice or send an email. Be creative but say something along the lines of: “Thanks so much for your visit at our practice today, we are so happy that you are so satisfied with XXXX service. If you know someone who needs dental work done, we’d really appreciate if you could send them to us. Thanks love”.
- 3) Offer a referral incentive
Your dental clients are much more inclined to refer you if you offer them something in return. A referral incentive can be something small like a 10% discount on the next visit or as large as a free teeth cleaning session. Don’t be stingy and think about the possible gains from a referral. You might land a new patient that stays with you for the next ten years and he or she might bring along the kids and the whole family.
- 4) Run a referral campaign
These days it’s easy to engage with existing clients through various digital channels. Provided you have your clients mobile number and email address, you can promote your referral campaign in many ways. To give you a few examples, you can upload a list of email addresses to Facebook and specifically target the people on the list with an ad. Alternatively, you can promote your referral campaign via email or SMS. You could promote the previously discussed referral incentive.
- 5) Make referring as easy as possible
You should have a dedicated web page for referrals. This can also be your landing page for referral campaigns. This page should be easily accessible from your website or in other words you could plant several calls-to-action throughout your website and link these up the the referral page. The referral page should clearly state the reward for referring a new client and it needs to contain a web form where visitors can enter their own contact details as well as their friends’.
- 6) Encourage social media sharing
People are proud of their teeth and if you manage to enhance someone’s smile with your dental work, they may well share a confident pic on their Facebook profile without asking them. However, there is no harm in asking happy clients to share a photo of their new smile directly onto your Facebook page. In fact you could take the picture at the dental clinic and then and email it to your patient so they can share it on social.
2. Dental practice branding
When thinking of marketing ideas for your dental office, branding often is neglected. Branding in simple terms, is what people think of when they hear your dental practice name. Branding defines what you represent as a business and what you stand for.
One of the main priorities for you should be to make your dental brand consistent. Consistency helps with building trust and makes it easier for people to remember you.
What this means is those colours, fonts, layout, images, your tone and voice, should all be consistent throughout your marketing. To be more concrete you want to make sure that your brand flows seamlessly through your practice, your website, your social media, your brochures and all your other marketing material.
3. Know your dental marketing keywords
When it comes to dental practice marketing, keywords are extremely important, if not the most important. Chances are that you want to be found on Google and other search engines. In fact, being visible on search engines can make or break your dental marketing.
People search for dentists with keywords. Regardless of whether you want to optimise your Google Ads campaigns or rank organically, it all comes down to keyword optimisation. Knowing your most important keywords gives you a huge advantage as it allows you to bring targeted website traffic to your site.
Doing keyword research right is a science in itself and we’re not going to deep dive on it in here, but here are three factors to consider when you do your keyword research:
- 1) Keyword relevance
There are thousands of keywords that people search for in the dental space, but are they all relevant to your business? Certainly not. For example you might have or plan for a dedicated web page about your teeth whitening service. Essentially you should optimise this page for keywords that are absolutely relevant to this particular service.
- 2) Searcher intent
Continuing on with the teeth whitening example, you want people to find your service web page who are ready to engage. Therefore, you should look for what we call bottom of the funnel keywords. For example the long-tail keyword “how does teeth whitening work” indicates that the searcher is doing research. Thus, this keyword is more suitable for a blog post. On your service page you want to optimise for keywords like, “Dentist + Suburb”, “Teeth whitening service”, etc.. These sort of keywords indicate readiness and willingness to engage.
- 3) Keyword Search volume
Searcher intent is more important than search volume, however optimising for keywords with 0-10 searches/month wouldn’t make sense either. Ideally you’d like to optimise for keywords with a decent search volume. The aforementioned Google keyword research tool will not only give you keyword ideas but it also shows you the minimum and maximum monthly search volume for a given search term.
- 4) Location based keywords
Dental patients are usually local, meaning they live or work nearby your practice. Therefore people often search for “keyword + location”, such as “teeth whitening Joondalup” or “dentist Scarborough”, etc..
4. Dental marketing Website
A website is a must for everyone considering web marketing for dentists and there is probably no dentist without a website. Your dental website is one of the most important dental marketing tools. It’s your virtual shopfront, it’s the place where first impressions occur. It’s also the place where people judge your practice based on what they see online.
There are many factors you need to consider for your website, such as:
- Website structure & user experience
- Dental SEO & keyword optimisation
- Conversion optimisation, i.e is it easy to make a booking?
- Trust elements (real photos of your team, testimonials, success stories)
- Branding (modern look and feel)
What we often see is that dentists do their website on the cheap, meaning they get their website done by a web designer that uses the same website template over and over again. Sure enough you can have that for $200-500, but there will be no customisation at all and all of the above important factors are largely ignored. In web design, the saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more true.
If you want your website to perform, it’s worth investing in it. And if you wonder how to get new patients for your dental practice, a customised and optimised website can definitely help you with that.
5. Website & dental marketing campaign tracking
Does your dental website generate leads and do you get new clients through dental marketing campaigns? You could do some guess work, but knowing your revenue streams and return on investment from your dental marketing activities, is way too important.
There is a good chance that you have Google Analytics installed on your website, but have you customised the installation so that you can see how many bookings are going through your website?
Having your website tracking set up in the right way will reveal a lot of important metrics and it gives you more control over your marketing performance. It allows you to know what campaigns generate a return on investment (ROI) so you can decide how your marketing dollars are spent in the best way.
6. Encourage reviews from dental patients
The next best thing after a personal recommendation from a friend is online reviews. Before engaging with your dental practice, people want to know what everyone else thinks of your practice and they specifically look for reviews and ratings on Google, Facebook and in local directories.
Negative reviews and ratings have the potential to destroy your business. Yes it’s that serious.
While many so-called digital marketing experts recommend asking each and every client for a review, we have a better strategy for you.
It’s simple, only ask your raving fans for reviews.
What we do recommend is sending a short feedback questionnaire to all your clients after their dental visit. It not only allows you to determine who your super satisfied clients are, but you actually get the chance to improve your practice from negative feedback.
Basically, we suggest you ONLY send a request for a review and rating to your very happy clients. This way, you are more or less in control of your overall ratings and reviews.
What’s important is that you make it easy for clients to write a review. Don’t send an email and just ask “Could you please write a Google review for us”, but instead, provide direct web link to the review section.
Check out Whitespark’s Google review link generater tool.
7. List your dental practice in directories
A prominent dental marketing tip that we’d like to give you is to list your dental website on directories. Directory listings are the second most important factor when it comes to your Google map rankings, but also many people actually look for services in directories.
There are a few different kinds of directories you want to be listed on.
1) Relevant niche dentist directories:
2) Country and city specific directories:
3) International directories:
There are thousands of business directories on the internet and many of them will bring you no benefit whatsoever. In fact, some of these low quality directories could harm your Google rankings.
The best way to determine whether a directory, or any website for that matter, is of good quality, is to check on the MOZ metrics. You can sign up for a free account with Moz, a leading SEO tools company. Once you have your account with Moz, you can install their free Google Chrome extension which allows you to instantly determine the quality of any website.
What you want to look out for is Domain Authority (DA) and Spam Score.
Our advice is to only list your website on directories with a DA of 30+ and if the spam score is higher than 9%, it’s best to avoid the directory.
8. Optimise your Google My Business profile
A Google My Business listing allows you to connect with local customers. It’s connected to your Google map listing as well as the feature box on the Google search results page that displays when someone types your business name in the search field. This box and the map listing display reviews, your contact details and more.
Having a Google My Business account has great advantages:
- Appear on the Google Map
- Display your website and contact details in the feature box.
- Upload images so that people can get a glimpse into your practice
- Feature articles and special offers
- Analyse your My Business listing performance, i.e the backend interface provides analytics tools to show you how many people found you on Google, how many people viewed your images, how many people called you, and more..
9. Use Google Local Ads (Map ads)
The Google Map feature takes up a lot of real estate for local searches, such as “dentist Subiaco” and the like. Not surprisingly, businesses that are featured on the top reap a lot of clicks and potential new clients.
As discussed previously there are a number of activities you can pursue to rank well on the map organically, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
If you don’t rank well on the map organically, you can actually pay Google to take up the top spot.
These ads are called Google Local Ads and they work like other paid advertising on Google. Essentially, determine what keywords you want to appear for on the map, you set a bid on the cost per click you are willing to pay and Google charges you a certain amount each time someone clicks on your listing
10. Use Google Call-Only Ads
In January 2019, mobile internet usage in Australia has accounted for 40.2%. What is more, 40% of all mobile searches have local intent. A majority of people looking for a local dentist do so on a mobile phone.
What you most likely see in your own practice is that most bookings are made on the phone, rather than through a web form submission.
Because of these trends and facts, Google call-only ads are a great option for local businesses such as dentists. This type of ad was designed to encourage people to contact your business straight out of Google, rather than sending people to your website or a landing page. These ads only appear on mobile devices and when a prospect clicks your ad, a call is initiated immediately.
Alternatively, you could launch normal Google search ads and add a call extension, giving the user the choice to make a call immediately or to click through to your website.
11. Video Marketing (Dental Videos)
The internet is constantly evolving and the strong trend on video marketing continues into 2019/20. If you haven’t done dental video marketing yet, here are some important facts from WordStream that might convince you to invest in video marketing:
- A staggering 87% of marketers have started using video content.
- Each day, 500 million hours are spent watching YouTube videos each day.
- 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.
- On Twitter, 82% users watch video content
- YouTube accounts for almost one-third of total internet users (More than one billion users)
- More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.
Video marketing example:
12. Video testimonials & success stories
We’ve talked about the importance of adding trust elements to your website earlier in this blog. Video testimonials are probably the best trust element anyone can think of for a website.
Featuring real people’s experience with your dental clinic is very convincing. Written testimonials are good as well but they can easily be faked. Video testimonials are much harder to fake and therefore they are more credible.
13. Get Found For Organic Searches
Step #3 explained how to do keyword research. SEO is all about keywords. You optimise web pages and blog posts for specific search queries.
There are local searches and general searches.
Example of local search: “Dentist Perth”
Example of general search: “Cosmetic Dentistry”
While local searches are much more valuable to your dentist clinic because of the strong searcher intent, general searches can be very powerful too and shouldn’t be neglected.
Google openly stated that they use more than 200 factors in their algorithm to determine the ranking of a web page for a specific keyword.
Here are the top four most important factors for dentist SEO:
- 1) Relevance
Is your web page content satisfying the searcher’s query? Do you solve the searcher’s problem? No matter what, relevance will ALWAYS stay the number one factor for search engine optimisation.
- 2) Backlinks
Links from external sites to your website are seen as a vote by Google. Back in the days, any backlinks counted equally in terms of ranking power, however, due to many black hat SEO tactics where people built links from link farms and shady link networks, Google has evolved and made it much harder. Nowadays, the relevance and quality of a website that links to yours, is most important. Ideally, you want to earn/build backlinks from dental industry websites and blogs. The blogs you’re trying to get a link from should also have a decent domain authority and a low spam score. There are many more metrics you could check, such as Majestic’s Trust and Citation Flow. We recommend aiming for websites with a domain authority of no less than 40 and a spam score lower than 10%.
- 3) Click-through-rate (CTR)
So you have done all your optimisation. You’ve built links, you have optimised your content to be relevant and you finally reached page one on Google. Well guess what, you will only stay on page one if people actually click on your search result. Depending on the click-through-rate, you can move up or down with your rankings. So what you need to do is optimise your meta title and meta description. Both need to include your main target keyword but it also needs to entice people to click on it. To change your meta data, it can be either done in the code or if you have a WordPress website, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin which provides a neat interface in your page editor.
14. Lead generation campaigns for dentists
Inexperienced marketers often drive website traffic to an existing web page on your website or even worse, directly to the homepage.
Lead generation campaigns have one purpose only, to generate leads – as many as possible. When you send traffic from an ad to your existing website, people often get lost with content overload and are distracted by the many links. Additionally, there is no path to a clearly defined goal or it’s diffused by the information overload.
Example of an “irresistable offer” Facebook ad:
To achieve great results for your lead generation campaign you need three things:
- 1) An irresistible offer
Is it a 10%, 20%, 30% or 40% discount on teeth whitening that does the trick? Well, it comes down to testing what works and what doesn’t, however generally said, the better the offer the more successful you will be. Even if you don’t generate a huge amount of earnings from this one special deal, what’s important is that you have new patients. People don’t change their dentist frequently unless they are unsatisfied with the service. When you do your cash-flow-calculations, you should take into consideration the potential life-time-value of a client.
- 2) A dedicated landing page
Your dedicated landing page is all about your irresistible offer. It only contains elements that drive the lead generation goal. Ideally you state your offer/discount on the top. You also want to have a web form visible above the fold (what you see when you open a web page) with a decent call-to-action, such as “Get offer Now”. What’s more, you need to explain the offer or the service you deliver and outline the benefits and features. And last but not least, you want to add relevant trust elements, such as testimonials, success stories. You could also display before/after images to compare someone’s teeth before they came in to use your services and after the dental work.
- 3) Powerful and convincing ad copy
Firstly, your Facebook ad or Google ad needs to convince users to click on the ad. If your offer is decent enough, you should have no problems with that, provided your target audience is right. Secondly, you don’t want everyone and anyone to click on your ad, because remember, every click costs you money. You only want people to click who are genuinely interested in your offer. That’s where your ad copy can do some heavy lifting by writing your ad in a way so that it excludes people you’re not willing to target.
15. Remarketing Ads for dentists
If you want to know a strategy on how to get more dental patients, remarketing or retargeting can definitely help you with that.
Remarketing means that you can target your ads specifically at people who have already visited your website within a set timeframe, for example within the last 30 days.
Remember, many website visitors don’t engage straight away. It’s proven that it takes around 7-10 touch points before a prospect becomes a customer. The more they see your name, the more familiar they get with your business and the more they trust. For this reason, remarketing is the perfect option to create multiple touch points.
Remarketing can be used with Facebook Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads and many other new platforms. In order to use remarketing ads, you need to install the advertising platform’s tracking script on your website. It’s a few lines of code that can easily be added by your webmaster or web developer.
To give you an example, Facebook’s tracking script is called “Facebook Pixel”. Once you have the pixel installed on your website, you need to set up an audience in the Facebook advertising platform. In the audience settings you can set various conditions, for example to build an audience off all visitors from your website or you can be more specific and build an audience off people that visit a specific page, such as your teeth whitening service page. From the time you set up your audience, it takes Facebook a little while to build a large enough audience, but depending on your website traffic, an audience can potentially be built within a few days.
Once your audience is ready, you can set up a normal Facebook ad and choose your newly built target audience in the audience settings.
16. Email Marketing
Any dental marketing strategy without email marketing is not complete.
For email marketing, segmentation is very important. You will need to carefully consider what content your audience would be interested in.
Segment: Existing Dental Patients
For existing dental patients we recommend you have a regular monthly or fortnightly newsletter containing interesting articles. What works well for dental practices are useful tips and tricks. Email marketing allows you to implement all your creative dental marketing ideas. Here some examples topics:
- Foods That Can Whiten Your Teeth
- What’s the best time to floss?
- 5 Myth about teeth whitening
- Dry mouth while you sleep? Here is how to stop it.
The purpose of your newsletter is to keep existing patients engaged and to stay front of mind with them. It’s also an opportunity to exhibit thought leadership.
You can also send special offers to your existing dental patients, but don’t go overboard and bombard them with offer after offer each week. Instead, consider to have a mixture of valuable content and some offers.
Prospects can be further segmented by service interest. For example, you build an email list of people who have enquired about teeth whitening or people who have downloaded an eBook about teeth whitening. There are many ways how you can segment your prospects. Again, what counts is that you send them relevant content and offers that they’re actually interested in.
Since prospects are not patients yet, you can be a little bit more aggressive with your offers and special deals. But even then, be cautious and don’t bombard your prospects with too many offer emails.
17. Live chat for dental website
Chances are that people who read your website content are left with many questions. If your content doesn’t answer their question, the likelihood of them moving on to another dentist website is very big.
For this reason, live chat is very useful as it allows the website visitor to ask a question and get an immediate response. During the live chat the chat administrator has the chance to really sell your services.
18. Partner with dental booking appointment platform
Booking an appointment through your website should be very very easy for the user. Though, developing a good custom booking management system for your website can be very costly.
There are many booking platforms that have booking tools which can be integrated in your website. These platforms make it very easy to administrate bookings as they provide an administration interface that allows you to enter available booking slots. Website visitors can then see what times are available for a booking. So they would choose their desired date and time slot from the booking tool and once the booking is made, the admin system is automatically updated.
Many of these booking platforms include useful tools, such as automated appointment SMS and email reminders.
19. Community involvement & sponsorships
If you are looking for conventional marketing ideas for dental offices, community involvement and sponsorships can be your go-to strategy to build a profile and trust.
Dentists heavily rely on patients from the community in their area. Being involved in local clubs and sponsoring those, gives you a chance to advertise your practice to your local community and it allows you to get to know people. Remember, trust is everything when it comes to business. Talking to someone face-to-face is ten times better than to just put an ad in front of a stranger.
20. Direct Mail (Neighbourhood newsletter)
In today’s digital age, many businesses have abandoned a hard copy newsletter and replaced it with an electronic newsletter. This is a great move for businesses that target younger demographics. However, as a dentist you also like to reach older people who maybe don’t have an email account.
Since older demographics can be a great source of income to you, we recommend you have a hard copy newsletter as well as an electronic newsletter.
In fact, direct mail could be just that extra channel to create another touch point with potential patients in your community.
21. Build social following
You might think, who wants to follow a dentist on social media. Not so fast, we say. It really comes down to what content you produce.
Social media is one of the best channels to distribute your content for free. It’s a channel where you can get additional eyeballs on the blog posts you’ve put so much effort into.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to build a following on social media if you are just getting started. However, to get to a decent size of followers you could encourage existing patients to like your Facebook and Instagram page and to share your content with friends. Paid campaigns more often than not have that great side effect of building your social media following.
Read our blog on how to get easily get more Facebook page followers.
22. Welcome pack & feedback
Once a new patient comes in for a service you have the one and only chance to impress them.
Besides providing a top notch quality service, friendly and approachable dentists and staff members, you can go the extra mile by giving new patients a welcome gift. It doesn’t have to be big and you can be creative, but a small gift will add that extra value that makes them remember you for their next dentist visit.
What we also highly recommend is checking back with a patient one or two days after the dentist appointment to see if they had any problems or pain after the dental procedure. It’s a nice gesture and shows that your practice cares about their patients.
Dental marketing can be overwhelming and let’s be honest, most dentists don’t have time to pursue all of these strategies.
Our digital agency is very experienced with dental marketing and we’d love to help you apply some or all of the above strategies.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to discuss how we can help you implement these dental marketing strategies.
Founder & Digital Strategist @ Museproject
Marc is an experienced and qualified digital marketing professional with a passion for Digital Strategy, SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Marketing Automation.