27 proven dental marketing strategies to get you 170+ new patients per month: Part I
It's not like days gone by, when an ad in the phone book would bring new patients to your dental practice. Dentists have to up their marketing game. But how to successfully do that? Here are tips from an expert any dentist can implement now.
For many dentists, the subject of marketing is fraught with uncertainty. There was a time when dentists didn’t really need to do a lot of marketing, and that doesn’t even seem so long ago. But the days of buying an ad in the Yellow Pages and calling it a day are over. Today’s patients don’t just open the phone book and pick a dentist. They do their research. Online.
It’s your job to make them want to choose you. How? I’ll show you here, and in Part 2 of this article.
My company, PostcardMania, has helped more than 5,015 dental professionals with their marketing. I’ve compiled a checklist of proven dental marketing tactics, many of which won’t cost you a dime, that you can start using now to bring in more new patients than ever before.
Let’s get right to it.
1. Research your competition
Blind shop your direct competitors. Check out their websites, sign up for their emails, see what their special offers are, and call their offices pretending to be a prospective patient. See what they do and how they do it, so you can do it better!
2. Establish your brand
Your brand is more than just a logo, although a professionally designed logo is certainly one aspect of it. Create a consistent color scheme, voice, and message across your office, website, and marketing materials. Your brand should convey a “feeling” about your practice. What feeling do you want your patients to associate with you?
3. Get involved
Being an active member of your community is an excellent way to create name recognition and establish a positive reputation for your practice. Sponsor an event or a Little League team, visit local schools on career day, give away branded toothbrushes or goodie bags.
4. Pinpoint your target market
Does your practice serve everyone, or do you cater to a specific demographic? If you specialize in cosmetic or pediatric dentistry, for example, it doesn’t make sense to spend money marketing to the general public. Decide what kind of patients you want to attract, and then…
5. Send them postcards
Direct mail postcards are a cost-effective, time-tested marketing tool for dentists. Check out these numbers:
• This Maryland dentist generates 170+ new patients per month with his postcards.
• This New Jersey practice attributes $37,000 in monthly revenue to their dental direct mail campaign.
• This Colorado dental startup achieves a 1,175% return on investment with their postcard marketing.
• This Florida practice has doubled in size using direct mail marketing.
Whether you do a targeted mailing or hit every household surrounding your office (called a saturation mailing) will depend on your target market (see No. 4).
6. Reach new movers before your competition does
About 12% of the US population moves every year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of those people need a new dentist. With new-to-town postcards, you can be the first to tell new residents in your area that you’re the best choice for their dental health needs.
7. Make your message immediately clear to recipients
Just like you, your prospective patients are busy. Make sure they know immediately what you do and what you’re offering. If they have to spend time figuring it out, they won’t bother. Ditch any clever-but-confusing ads in favor of ones that are straightforward and deliver your message on first glance with industry-appropriate colors (53% of our successful dental clients use blue and white on their postcards), images of smiling people, and a bold headline.
Here’s what I’m talking about. What is this an ad for? A family vacation? A restaurant? Apples?
Now look at this postcard. You know it’s dental right away. Much better!
8. Show your pearly whites
The service you provide is highly personal. People don’t want just any old stranger poking around in their mouths. Any advertising you do should include, at a minimum, a photo of you or your team, including you. This helps prospective patients become familiar with you and establish a sense of comfort.
9. Use benefits, not features in your marketing copy
Effective marketing is all about seeing things from your prospect’s perspective. Don’t just tell them the features of your office, tell them how they will benefit from visiting it, and how you can help improve their life, or at least their dental experience. “State of the art dentistry” is a feature. “Get a beautiful, healthy smile in less time” is a benefit. See the difference?
10. Give them a reason (or two or three) to call you
Everybody loves getting a good deal. Listen, I know it can be painful giving away your services at a discount, but think about it this way: What are you willing to spend to earn a new patient compared to how much you stand to gain once you do? The offers we see the most from our successful dental clients are free whitening and discounted new patient exams.
11. Include a call to action (CTA)
To you experienced marketers, this may sound silly, but you’d be shocked by how much dental marketing I see that lacks this vital element. Don’t assume your prospects know what to do. “Call for your appointment today!” or “Visit our website to see what other services we offer!” are two examples of CTAs rather than just putting your phone number and web address alone.
12. Optimize your website for search engines
Did you know that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and only 8.5% of people scroll past the first page of results? Get more visitors to your website with page titles and content that includes the keywords your prospective patients are searching for. For example, “Atlanta dentist” is a more SEO-friendly page title than “Dr. Jones DDS.”
13. Tell them a little something about yourself
Every business website needs an “About Us” page so prospects can see the people they’ll potentially be dealing with. This is especially true for dentists (see No. 8). Include your photo, a biography (not just school but family and your hobbies, please), and photos of your office and staff.
There you have the first 13 tools I recommend to make your dental practice more appealing to prospective patients. If you start to implement even just a few of the ideas on this list now you should see your new patient numbers start to rise immediately. Watch for Part 2 and numbers 14 through 27 for more of PostcardMania’s successful ideas about how dentists can increase their patient numbers.
Call our marketing experts at (855) 549-1313 today if you have questions or to get started on your campaign. Visit our website to see dental postcard samples that are working for dental clients right now.
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