As we’re sure you know, oral health is an essential component to overall well-being. However, many Americans seem to overlook it– only 62.7% of Americans claim to have gone to the dentist in the past 12 months.
While this trend certainly isn’t good, it does mean there is an untapped patient pool that an effective dental marketer can win over.
In this article, we will cover the latest marketing strategies to attract new patients and retain your existing patients. Let’s get started!
10 Strategies To Get More Dental Patients
Understand Your Target Audience
The foundational step to any advertising campaign is to fully understand its target audience. By creating a solid picture of your ideal patient, you can gain an in-depth understanding of their pain points and market your practice as the most viable solution.
Since dentists serve a wide range of consumers, your practice’s target audience will depend on the specialties you have and the makeup of your local community.
Here are some important characteristics to consider when envisioning your target audience:
- Needs and Pain Points
Let’s say that your practice is based in a suburban area that has quite a lot of private and public schools. In that area, your target audience would likely be children ranging from toddlers to teenagers who need regular check-ups, braces, and dental education. If you can market yourself as the dentist that’s best suited to reach the needs of children and their parents, you’ll have success.
Alternatively, if the demographic group surrounding your practice is made up of middle-aged and elderly adults, their pain points would be around dentures, implants, and gentle care for sensitive teeth. Just like in the previous example, creating promotional material around these pain points and marketing yourself as a solution would win over this target audience.
Enhance Your Online Presence
86% of consumers use Google Maps when searching for local products and services. With the vast majority of consumers using this digital platform, you need to make sure your practice is highly visible on it.
The first step to optimizing your Google Maps presence is to set up a Google My Business account. Google favors up-to-date accounts, so be sure to include all relevant information such as your practice’s operating hours, number, and address.
You should also conduct search engine optimization on all your online content by including keywords and phrases that potential patients are most likely to search. These location-based key phrases could be things like “[Your city] dentist”, “[Your neighborhood] dentist”, or “[Your zip code] dental office”. These key terms can be even more specified to reflect your practice’s specialties, such as “[Your city] dental implants”.
In addition to optimization, one of the most important criteria that the Google Maps algorithm considers is the number of 4- and 5-star reviews your practice has received online. You can certainly acquire these reviews from excellent service, but it can be more effective to actively solicit your current patients for online feedback.
Online reviews from loyal patients left on Google aren’t the only ones that will factor into your search rankings. Google also considers whether your business is established on other review sites like Yelp, HealthGrades, and Angie’s List. By claiming your listing on these other review platforms and actively managing your account, you can receive an additional boost to your Google Maps rankings.
Invest In Paid Advertising
Between physical advertising channels and all the new digital mediums, dental marketers have a plethora of paid advertising options to choose from. So, let’s discuss some of the best ones.
When many marketers think of out-of-home advertising mediums to use, they generally imagine highway billboards, street furniture, or transit displays. While each of these channels casts a wide net and boosts general brand awareness, it is nearly impossible to track engagements and reach your target audience with them.
Fortunately, there is an advertising medium that solves these issue: wellness boards. Wellness boards dispense sanitizing wipes from below a prominently featured advertisement and can be placed at retail storefronts and pharmacy wait areas. By placing wellness board advertisements in stores your target audience is likely to frequent, you can guarantee meaningful impressions.
Also, these wellness boards can track engagements and reach target groups via geofencing and retargeting. Geofencing and retargeting are digital tools that trace the anonymized mobile data of nearby shoppers, allowing advertisers to easily track engagements and send preprogrammed online advertisements to key groups.
Terraboost is an innovator in this advertising medium, and independent studies have shown that 66% of shoppers engage with their sanitizing kiosks and that 50% would take a coupon or brochure to learn more about the featured brand.
It can be difficult to perform search engine optimization sufficiently enough to get the results you want, but luckily there is a paid workaround. You can use Google Ads to place your business among the top three search listings for keywords of your choosing and for location-based searches.
Google Ads are pay-per-click, meaning that you only have to pay when a search engine user clicks through your sponsored link and views your online brand. However, bidding for certain keywords, like “best dentist near me”, can reach as high as $80 per click.
Advertising on social media can also be an effective way to increase online visibility. Social media platforms are in the business of collecting user data on key points like age, interests, search history, and location. As such, marketers using social media platforms enjoy unparalleled levels of precise consumer targeting. For instance, a dental practice marketer could have their brand appear in the Facebook feed of a consumer located in their area who recently searched for dentistry services.
Local advertisement: magazines, newspapers
Only 26% of the American population read newspapers on a regular basis. Though this figure is quite low, nearly half of seniors and over a third of those between the ages of 55 to 64 read the newspaper on a daily basis.
So, if your target audience is composed of middle-aged and elderly individuals seeking dental care, local newspapers and magazines can be highly effective in reaching them at a high frequency.
Optimize Your Website
We discussed optimizing your dental team for Google Maps, but there’s a lot more to ensuring your business is placed in the top search listings. Thorough search engine optimization involves conducting keyword research and then tactically placing those keywords throughout the titles, meta tags, and content seen on your dental practice’s website.
Writing blogs and articles on topics related to dentistry or your practice’s specialty can also be immensely beneficial in driving organic online traffic. Google’s algorithm ranks businesses with perceived Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. So, by publishing informational articles and blogs, Google will recognize and reward you for being an established expert and public educator
When considering topics to write on, think about the questions your target audience and new patients are most likely to search on the internet before booking an appointment. Some topics to write on could include “What to Do if My Tooth Hurts?” or “How to Determine if You Need Dental Implants”.
Utilize Social Media
Running paid ads on social media is certainly effective, but so is managing active social media accounts across platforms like Instagram and Facebook. After all, your paid social media advertisements should direct prospective patients to your dental practice and associated accounts to learn more.
Social media marketing can also benefit your practice with patient retention as it provides another touchpoint to communicate with your patients. Your posts should include informational content as well as behind-the-scenes looks at your dental practice, allowing you to put a friendly face on your brand and keep new patients interested.
Offer Special Promotions or Discounts
Targeted advertisements that address the pain points of prospective patients are extremely effective, but often those pain points are associated with the costs of dental services. In other words, everyone loves a good deal no matter what the business is.
Consider creating various discounts and promotions that apply to different groups within your target audience. For example, towards the end of the summer, you could advertise a back-to-school promotion that appears in the social media feeds of parents in the area you service.
Alternatively, you could offer discounted services on dentures and tooth replacements at your local nursing homes and care centers. And of course, we can’t forget the most common discount format: the new patient special.
Encourage Reviews From Patients
Consumer reviews are a critical asset to any marketer, and they should be used to their fullest extent. We discussed how online reviews can increase your visibility on search platforms, but they can help in a variety of other ways.
Consider featuring some of the best patient reviews on your company website. In doing so, new dental patients who find your website will immediately see these referrals and view your practice as reputable.
Although social media posts aren’t an ideal format for traditional reviews, they are a fantastic medium for patient testimonials. By posting a variety of testimonials from patients that represent different portions of your target audience, you are most likely to resonate with potential patients.
Engage with Email Marketing
Acquiring new patients from email marketing is difficult, but this marketing channel can be useful for patient retention. The first step to a successful email marketing campaign is to segment your recipients based on factors like treatment needs, appointment history, and demographics.
With a segmented email list, you can send out personalized messages like appointment reminders or aftercare tips that are likely to be opened and engaged with. One way to keep in touch with your patient base is through newsletters that offer dental tips, exclusive offers, and highlight community involvement.
Consider creating different monthly newsletters that apply to key portions of your patient base. For example, a newsletter targeted at parents could be titled “How to Encourage Children to Floss” and a newsletter targeted at seniors could be titled “The Importance of Proper Denture Care”.
Create a Patient Referral Program
With all of the advertising mediums available to modern marketers, many mistakenly overlook the power of word-of-mouth marketing!
Patient referral programs are a fantastic way to bring new patients to your practice. These programs work by incentivizing your existing patients with things like discounts on future services or even simple gift card giveaways.
What’s unique about word-of-mouth marketing is that it attracts patients that are more likely to place long-term trust in your practice since it was referred to them by a friend or family member.
Get Involved In The Community
Community involvement is a proven way for dental practices to increase brand recognition and attract new dental patients.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best community outreach methods you can use to get more patients to your dental clinic. These dental marketing ideas don’t cost much aside from time, labor, and care.
- School presentations: These presentations should cover topics like the importance of oral hygiene or proper brushing and flossing techniques. Try to find creative ways to win over students, parents, and teachers during these presentations
- Free dental screening: Free dental screenings organized either once or twice each year are a fantastic way to advertise your practice as an active community member and gain new patients.
- Health fairs: Operating a booth at a health fair will help you disseminate important oral health information as well as brochures and pamphlets on what your practice offers.
- School supply drives: Hosting school supply drives at your practice that allow patients to donate items to local schools will foster goodwill and show commitment to your community and education.
Creating an effective dental marketing strategy can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. We at Terraboost have worked with countless healthcare brands and can provide you with key industry insights as well as a free personalized quote.
Our 120,000+ wellness boards are installed at the storefronts of supermarkets like Harris Teeter and the pharmacy wait areas of stores like Walgreens.
If you’re looking to feature your dentistry brand on a network that delivers up to 8.8 billion monthly engagements, get in touch with us today!