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DENTAL MARKETING 101

A Dental Marketing Beginners Guide for 2022

Dental marketing in 2022 must be the cornerstone of any dental practice’s growth strategy. Done properly, dental marketing can grow your production exponentially. This beginners guide will help you reach that goal by answering the following questions.

What is dental marketing?

  • What is the difference between traditional dental marketing and online dental   marketing?
  • Why should you focus more on online dental marketing?
  • What are the dental marketing specificities?
  • How to do dental marketing in 2022
  • How much a dental practice should spend on marketing
  • Dental marketing in a post-covid Era
  • Dental marketing: in-house or outsourced?
  • Dental marketing best practices
  • Dental marketing trends for 2022

So, let's dive right in.

What is dental marketing?

There are many outstanding definitions of marketing out there. We have picked some of the best ones below for you to review.

  • For Seth Godin, today’s modern marketing genius, marketing is “the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem. Marketing helps others become who they seek to become.”
  • For Mark Schaeffer, author of the best-selling marketing book Cumulative Advantage, “at its essence, marketing today is about answering one single question: ‘how can we be heard? How can we rise above the din of infinite opinions to create sustainable meaning with an audience or group of customers?’”
  • For Joe Pulizzi, arguably the founder of what we today call Content Marketing“marketing is all about sales through consistent communication. When you are a marketer today, you’re in sales. How do you sell? You sell through communication.”

Based on those definitions, how could we define dental marketing?

At Web Marketing for Dentists, we define dental marketing this way:

In 2022, the term marketing in general means promotion of a business, but marketing in its truest, most essential form is about creating a connection between a person and a business, or between a person and a service provider. Dental marketing is applying that same effect to the dental professional setting.

You, as a dental professional, want potential patients to call your practice to book appointments. You want a lot of calls, especially calls concerning large-scale dental cases. 

To get those calls, the question that should lie at the core of your digital marketing strategy is:

HOW will you build and nurture those connections with your future patients?

A smart strategic plan of all the marketing techniques currently available comes into play to gain targeted attention. The path is using a multi-marketing channel infrastructure with Google Ads and Facebook Ads for dentists, Dental SEO and content marketing, social media postings for dental practices, website blog posts, email sequencing, and more.

Customer confidence in your dental practice is attained by presenting sharp knowledge and statistics-based content to interested readers. The content shows specific issues within the dental industry that readers can relate to along with the solutions they want to know about.

All this could seem overwhelming and, if that is the case, here is a guide to set up your own dental marketing strategy. Click the link to download this Step-by-Step Guide to Completing Your Dental Marketing Strategy.

 

Traditional dental marketing vs digital dental marketing

The Internet has dramatically changed marketing at large and marketing applied to dental practices is no exception.
Before the internet, marketing and advertising were basically the same.

  • One main goal: building brand awareness and doing your best to place your products or services in front of your target audience.
  • And very few channels to do so: radio, outdoor, TV, or printed magazine ads. That was basically it (and it was not cheap).

First came the internet. Then Google, where content became the king. Finally, social media platforms such as Facebook and others.

This is a marketing revolution that has occurred mainly online and dentists, working with dental marketing experts, have learned how to benefit from it.
Marketing, today, is mostly digital, omnichannel, and multi-screen.

Most of all, instead of renting space on other people’s media to promote their products or services, dental brands now have opportunities to create their own media (aka “website + content strategy”) and manage their entire digital marketing strategy using various marketing tactics.

Why should you focus more on digital dental marketing?

Clearly, since the internet, traditional dental marketing is not as attractive as it was before, mostly for two reasons:

  1. You can’t track or measure the ROI of your investments. On the other hand, everything you do through digital marketing is trackable and measurable so you can always test and adjust in-real-time.
  2. As Brendan Jacobson (former healthcare vertical lead on Google’s channel partnerships team) reminded us during a conference with an audience of dentists in 2018, “we don’t go online, we live online.”

That remains true as ever today for dental search. Of those people searching for dental services information:

  • 73% used a search engine
  • 42% went on a website
  • 39% sought a word-of-mouth recommendation
  • 71% made contact, visited, or purchased after their search
  • 85% made a purchase or were likely to do so

Conclusion: the dental patient journey begins with Google Search: seven in 10 patients use Google Search to find local dental services.

Which means that we are constantly searching for health information.

and for dentists in particular…

What does that mean for your dental practice?

It means that if traditional dental marketing such as local billboards, flyers, newspaper ads or radio ads could still be effective, online dental marketing should be the cornerstone of your dental marketing strategy in any case.

Indeed, if you want measurable results, any effective dental marketing strategy needs to happen offline first, prior to online digital marketing.

The problem is, with almost as many websites as there are human beings in the world today, understanding how to market your dental practice online has become an intricate exercise. This is particularly true when considering the specificities of the dental industry today.

Dental marketing’s specificities

In essence, digital marketing means having a successful connection through conversation and emotionally tying in with your target audience. You achieve this by conversing, interacting, and engaging them in a language that addresses their needs, their problems, and what's driving them to ask you for help. Examples of patient issues are loose, broken, or lost teeth, gingivitis and bad breath, pain when eating, and more. These issues also socially affect patients when they interact with others in public and in the workforce.

In the dental industry, the decision-making process of your future patients is a very nuanced and very important skill. The ability to market dental practices requires you to understand both the business of dentistry and the motivation of patients.

Particularities of the decision-making process in the dental industry

Why is the decision-marketing process (also called in marketing “the conversion funnel”) in the dental industry so nuanced?

Because there are very different demographic profiles for each different procedure type that a dentist can offer. For example:

  • Dentists offering orthodontics usually trends towards a younger audience in general.
  • Focusing on implants will usually trend towards an older audience (not always, but most of the time) requiring a higher socioeconomic status and/or insurance plan to be able to afford the cost of the procedure.

Thus, each procedure that a dentist could offer, can be an entire separate business. And so is the marketing strategy that goes with each practice type. You have specialized practices that are implant-only practices. You have practices that are ortho-only practices. If you can build a multi-service practice, then you have many more patients which helps your bottom line, financially.

Therefore, when you want to engage in dental marketing, you must understand the different nuances in the marketplaces that you address and understand how to connect with them.

  • What are the key issues driving the patient’s decision that they will make?
  • What are the questions they need answered?
  • What approaches will help build a relationship and engage in successfully creating a communication exchange that results in a solid relationship?

Consequently, without specific knowledge about the industry of dentistry, how dental offices run, what procedures can be performed on patients, and what questions patients have, it will be very difficult to engage in that conversation with dental patients successfully.

The rapid growth of “dentist near me” searches

The online dental market has grown dramatically since the early days of the Internet. Here are a few of those changes which relate to online searches, mainly through Google and other top browsers.

 

  • We have many more dentists that are marketing their practice online. Yet the cost to get a click to your website on a Google ad has not gone up. Why? Because the number of searches has climbed dramatically.

In 2018, “dentist near me” searches increased by 396% over the previous two years. And that has continued in the same trajectory up until now.

  • The “near me” keyword added to anything in dentistry indicates readiness and a willingness to buy right now. The reality is that the dental marketplace continues to grow, but competition between dentists (and dental websites) continues to grow as well.

More dentists are moving online.

So more than ever, dentists must know how to:

  • Have a nuanced conversation with the dental patient,
  • Engage that patient and guide him through a decision-making process, and
  • Become the only person they'll trust to help them decide about best dental procedures,

All those elements have become a very critical exercise.

Dental lead conversion rate

Recently, Dental Economics shared a very scary statistic indicating that of the more than 4,000 practices that are loaded onto the Dental Intel intelligence platform, the average number of patients lost by each practice each year is around 25%!

Yes… 25%.

So, the importance of being able to consistently attract new patients is as much a function of your dental marketing as a function of your image. Even to be able to successfully attract referrals that are, now, going online and searching you out. Those referrals are also a function of dental marketing.

Only successful dental marketing will bring you those relationships and these types of patients.

And the only way to attain dental marketing success is to understand the specifics of both the dental industry, the business, and the nuances of the dental patient by understanding what is driving them.

If not for the over $60 million that our agency has spent in marketing for dentists over the last 15 years and the more than 2,000 dentists that we've worked with, it would be very hard for us to imagine that we could successfully generate those marketing conversations ourselves. Understanding those nuances are critical to success.

And those conversations are changing on a day-by-day basis.

It is important to keep these things in mind, as you enter into a new phase of the ever-developing internet, increasing broadband speeds, and the increased number of searches coming online.

As all those things continue to happen, it's going to be more and more critical to be able to understand all those nuances behind efficient dental marketing and what it takes to have a successful conversation so that you can drive more new patients.

How to do dental marketing online

Online dental marketing has several core components, also called marketing tactics, that you, as a dental professional, must be familiar with.

Here are the most important ones.

Dental websites, dental web design and dental logo

You cannot do digital dental marketing without a website. But your dental website should not be just an “online brochure” either. A good dental website must generate leads and to do that, your website must do two things:

  • Attract visitors first, and
  • Second, trigger the action you want them to take on your website.

This is where digital marketing tactics come into play.

You have two main ways to attract visitors on your website:

  • Pay Google to send them to your website. That’s dental paid advertising either through Google Ads or Facebook Ads (mainly).
  • Create content that will be ranked organically by Google to be found by your future patients when they search for a dentist or a special dental procedure (that’s content marketing and SEO).

Content marketing and SEO for dental brands

Based on the Content Marketing Institute’s definition, content marketing is a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience - and ultimately, to drive profitable patient action”.

How does that apply to your dental marketing strategy?

Consider content marketing as owned media: instead of spending money to rent space in the traditional media space to try to reach your audience, you now can own your own media, your website, and build your audience of readers - and patients.

For content marketing to work, you need content. Content is the most valuable digital currency that can bring you all the best dental leads you want for your practice for many reasons:

  • First, that is the best way for you to show and share your expertise with your audience of potential patients,
  • Second, because SEO in 2022 relies mostly on great content creation, and
  • Third, original content marketing is one of the best ways to reduce your monthly budget for Google and Facebook ad campaigns.

Building a content strategy and creating content for your dental website is not easy and will not happen overnight. It takes time to build significant results.

Many dental marketing agencies over the years began offering SEO/content creation services but most of the time, achieved poor results, due to very average quality content. There was no real content strategy upfront nor distribution strategy afterwards.

Those agencies are still doing SEO/content with the same techniques from a few years ago but due to the increase of the dental market size, those techniques are not working anymore (if they ever did).

In 2022, if you want your dental content marketing strategy to be effective, you need to include many other tactics besides basic keywords research and average content creation. Among those tactics are the following options:

  • Assigning a mission statement and vision to your dental brand,
  • Having a clearly defined target audience,
  • Having set-up SMART goals and related KPIs,
  • Auditing your content and updating it periodically,
  • Adapting your dental website to new platform changes and design,
  • Auditing your reviews to find topics for content creation,
  • Setting up a content creation plan and deciding what you will focus on for your audience and which content format you’ll use to convey it,
  • Design and implement a content distribution plan and strategy to place your content in front of your target audience on a regular basis, and
  • Setting up a clear methodology to both measure and optimize results.

While it does seem overwhelming, consider the competitive landscape in the dental industry and the overall content overload on the web. Your plan is not just an option among others for your dental practice. If you want to differentiate yourself, then dental content marketing is now officially one of the most efficient ways to do it, saving time and money once established.

Paid dental advertising

Paid dental advertising online for any dental practice is mostly through Google Ads and Facebook Ads, with each one having their own specific process. For both, the objectives are the same: displaying your ads to your potential dental patients.

Google Ads is based on search queries using the pay-per-click advertising model (PPC) while Facebook utilizes the CPM model (cost per thousand advertising impressions) . These ads are shown across the internet to viewers looking for that information and located within a certain radius of the dental practice. Facebook Ads are displayed to specific targeted Facebook audiences, based on their search behaviors and location.

Whether it is Google Ads or Facebook Ads, dental ads are clearly one of the things to consider for your dental practice growth. Yes, you will pay for it. But if your advertising budget is properly managed, you will get immediate results and a return on investment (ROI). In a local search on a mobile phone, for example, anyone in your area who is typing “dentist near me” will find you.

Local social media for dental practices

Dentists belong to those professionals who get most of their customers by word-of-mouth recommendations in their area. Facebook and Instagram are at the center of these referral networks. A presence on these platforms is required and beneficial for distributing your content, client testimonials and educational material as you create them.

In addition, new hyperlocal apps like the Nextdoor neighborhood app, which you download to your smart phone after applying for an account online, is a perfect example of how neighbors will continue to recommend doctors and dentists to their neighbors, based on great experiences.

You can also advertise on all these platforms, too.

Just like you can pay for traffic via Google Ads, you can also pay for Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and, now in beta testing, Nextdoor Ads too. More apps will rise, fall and combine in the near future.

Local-based social media platforms, used and applied properly, will work very well for a dental practice’s growth.

How much should a dental practice spend on marketing?

This question is one of the most frequently asked by dental professionals, but it is often asked of the wrong person. Two different kinds of people, looking for performance metrics and quantitative metrics inside of a practice, ask this question. They are either a dental consultant or the accountant of the dental practice. In either case, business decisions are made from the wrong perspective.

Let’s take a typical scenario: one practice has a huge word-of-mouth market promotion and gets a hundred new patients a month. The practice has only four chairs and is booked out three or four months. Another dental practice has two associates, four hygienists and 12 chairs, and at least four to eight openings daily.

Should those two practices spend the same amount of money on marketing? No.

They're very different practices. One has the potential to be generating anywhere between $5 and$10 million in production where the other one probably won't ever generate much more than $1-$2 million in production as a three- or four-chair practice.

The right questions to ask are: What is your dental marketing strategy? Where do you want to grow your practice? What part(s) of your practice do you want to focus on and grow further? These are specific questions that feed into how much you should spend on marketing.

Dental marketing: a variable expense

One thing that most dental practice owners fail to realize is that marketing is a variable expense. What does that mean?
When you analyze your income, you look at money coming in compared to expenses. Some of the larger expenses borne by a dental practice are the location lease, payroll, equipment leases and other large expenses. Those expenses are fixed expenses. What that means is they don’t change whether or not you market your practice, they are incurred regardless, they are necessary for you to operate. So what is a variable expense? It's those additional expenses added to the practice as a result of an additional activity. If you market your practice online, you may have to pay for the advertising costs, as well as additional lab fees borne from treating patients.

The reason it is critical to make this distinction, is that when discussing financial decisions with an accountant, practice owners often use an erroneous approach to determining profitability. For example, let's assume a practice has expenses, all expenses fixed and variable expenses (lab fees are the most relevant example of variable fees, because you only incur them if you do work on patients) in the amount of 60% of their income. Meaning if the practice produced $1 million dollars, $600K goes to expenses and the rest is left as profit. That 60% number however can mislead a practice owner as to what is actually adding money to the bottom line or not. It creates cash flow confusion and can mislead someone to think that something that is actually making you money is losing you money.

Let’s take a marketing example. If you spent $3,000 on marketing, that produces $10,000 in revenue for the practice. Then how profitable was that marketing exercise. Often practices will think that since their overhead and overall cost is 60%, then that same number should be applied here. In that way, $6,000 should be applied to cost, and $3000 spent on marketing so they only made $1,000 in profit. Most people would think that spending $3,000 to make $1,000 is a poor investment. However this is an erroneous analysis. If the only additional cost borne above the $3000 spent on marketing, as a result of the marketing, were lab fees, in the amount of $500, then the true profit from the marketing investment is actually $10,000 - $3,000 - $500 = $6500. So the investment represented a doubling of your investment dollars, instead of a 30% profit as in the previous analysis. In order to properly estimate the value of marketing and what it adds to the bottom line, the proper accounting needs to be employed. The 60% overhead allocation includes rent, payroll, electricity etc….those expenses would remain the same whether marketing is being done or not.

Once any dental marketing you're doing is generating a positive return on investment (ROI), that means that every dollar you put in, gives you back another four in your pocket without you having to add infrastructure costs. Afterwards, any subsequent marketing you do is going to be putting more money in your pocket.

How far do you want to develop your dental practice?

Fundamentally, there are two ways to look at this topic but only one real accurate question you should ask yourself (and answer). The question you need to ask yourself, is what is my long term goal? You must clarify how much capacity you currently have in your practice to reach that goal, or perhaps, what you need to add to the practice to accomplish that goal.

As a dental practice owner, you may just want to make more money. In which case, there's no limit to how much you should spend on marketing. The only limit is the skill set and number of current staff and other infrastructure you have in place. How many chairs do you have? How many openings are there in your schedule? Do you need to hire more staff? As we explained previously, marketing can be extremely profitable if there is no need to add additional staff or chairs or even specialists in order to fuel that growth. The amount you should spend should be governed by how much more you can produce with the existing setup if you have an infrastructure, as long as you know each dollar spent is adding to your bottom line.

There are more questions you must ask intermittently. What are your long-term goals for your practice? Do you want to bring in an associate? Do you want to grow the practice to full potential? Do you plan to sell your practice at a future date? Do you want to take on more practices and build a dental practice group? Even if you are constrained in your present setup, the right marketing plan can help transition you into creating your dream practice.

Each dental practice owner has different goals, and their practices are at different stages. Some are just start-up practices, so they need to build from scratch. Others have very mature dental practices and now find their new patient numbers are not outnumbering the loss of current patients. The stage your practice is in will dictate not only how many new patients you need, but what kind of new patients you need. A startup is often more focused on family dentistry as they try to promote internal referrals and ensure hygiene is built along with the practice. A mature practice may be more focused on limiting dependence on insurance as a referral source, and looking for larger cases to increase an already busy dentist’s production per hour, and overall professional satisfaction. Those scenarios would dictate significantly different investments and strategies.

Even though an accountant might tell you, ‘You shouldn't spend much more than four to 8% of your production on marketing,’ that statement ignores the fundamental question about what the goal of your dental practice is. What level does the practice want to develop to?

At Web Marketing for Dentists, we have clients that frankly spend much more than 8% of their production but are aggressively growing their practices.

So, before you ask the question, how much should you be spending on marketing, here are a list of questions you should answer first:

  • What goal do you have for your practice?
  • How do you accomplish that goal?
  • Is there a way to ensure that the investments made towards accomplishing that goal are going to always be adding to the bottom line?

Answering those questions will help you improve your financial position and performance and will help you achieve your overall long-term goals.

So instead of asking how much you should spend on dental marketing to grow your practice, ask yourself: What is it that you want from working in your practice?

How should you do your dental marketing: in-house or outsourced

One of the questions most asked of us is how should a dental practice execute its marketing strategy? Should it be outsourced, or should it be brought in-house?

There are very many different practices out there, and those practices might have different considerations to review first.

The simple answer is - you need both. You need in-house and you need outsourced.

Why? Marketing needs to be integrated into the very fabric of the organization. Good marketing communicates the vision, the goals, the brand that is being developed, the motivation, and the drive behind the business. Marketing must be consistent and incorporated into every part of the business.

Some dental practices are relatively small. Obviously, their need for new patients is small and they're not looking for very much in their marketing, meaning they have their own organic growth and new patient growth. They have good retention. Their goals could be to get 10 to 20 more new patients per month. In this case, tactical marketing can help accomplish that goal.

But…

The reality though is that if you approach the business of dentistry as a business, like any other business that you want to grow to its full potential, then you must look at a more holistic marketing plan, a more holistic approach to marketing.

The in-house application

For this type of dental practice, the value of having someone in-house, is that there will be one person that can guide a process with two different parts.

They must know how to pick the right resources, the right tools for the practice. Certain activities might work very well in one market and might work very differently in another market. For example, direct mail might work wonderfully for one kind of practice whereas not at all for another one. The same for SEO tactics. Also, content marketing, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and so on.

An in-house person can help provide that vision, but only if they have sufficient marketing knowledge and experience. Most in-house resources don't have the needed experience to look at the different options available in the marketing world. They, likely, will not have a disciplined process for how to determine which tactics will or won't work, and how to implement them correctly.

The reality is that the things most practices need to do to effectuate a very complete and holistic marketing plan are too many for one person to handle. Turning to outside professional specialists is the best way to go. Have a team member act as the bridge between the office and the marketing specialist team.

The other issue that we often find as a marketing agency is we've had to operate as if we were an in-house resource. Often, we guide the dentist (owner) in how the plan is developed and how it works in action. That includes utilizing in-house staff to partner with, gathering and responding quickly to leads. We found over time, in marketing for over 2000 dental offices, the average office was wasting about 70% of their leads before turning to us for help.

There must be a very disciplined and systemic approach to following up with leads, to managing leads, to tracking the results from the marketing exercises, to being able to track dollar for dollar. When $1 is expended on a certain effort, know what the correlating return in response is.

Even though you can be involved in three or four different marketing avenues that are all productive, one might be 10 times more productive than the others. Put more resources towards that channel to achieve your goals. An in-house team staff member, who tracks incoming leads, helps build the practice’s portfolio which shows what is working and what part needs more work. We, as the partner marketing agency, can provide further insights to what the portfolio shows in its recorded history.

So, let us talk about a practice that is relatively hungry for growth, looking to grow the optimal size practice without any stops in potential. And if they need to get a bigger space, if they need to add chairs, if they need to add associates, that's what they want. They want pure growth. If you want to take that approach, then you really do need to find the right combination of tactics.

There are many different tools that need to be deployed to be able to have an effective marketing strategy. The value of the outsourced resources and the value of some of these marketing partners are that some will have a little bit more of a holistic approach. And we'll be able to bring experience from working with multiple different practices. Some of the deficiencies of an in-house person is that they haven't necessarily had breadth of experience with working with so many practices.

An in-house and outsourced team working together

You want an outsourced agency that can provide you with a strong strategic vision and different ideas. That will allow you to incorporate what worked effectively in most markets. But you need to have the person in-house ensure that the team is making the most out of the opportunities coming in, that the lead follow-up is most efficient, and that the conversion of opportunities is happening in the best way possible.

At the same time, this allows you to be very systematic in measuring the results from these opportunities. An in-house person is required for an on-the-spot presence. The outsourced team implements the strategies and tactics, helps redesign or upgrades the website, runs Facebook Ads, SEO applications, video scripting and video creation, develop PR, send out direct mail packages, and more.

Everything is tracked throughout the marketing process. We can also track phone calls and determine viability status. It really takes an army, which is why we have this original name for our holding company, 100 Marketers.

We wanted people to imagine that when they were hiring us, they were hiring the equivalent of having a hundred marketers for the cost of one employee. That's the ideal deployment of an agency in a partnership. Someone that can guide you through a short, medium, and long-term approach to how you should deploy your marketing.

As you manage your business cash flows, you are reinvesting in your business success from short-term avenues and tactics, like Google Ads which, within 30 days, can provide you with a 5-, 7-, or 10-to-one ROI, boosting your business quickly. You might pay $40 to $50 towards building your platform through ads as a long-term growth strategy.

But content development adds on to the strategy with non-paid organic search traffic coming to your website. It might take a year to realize the strategy value, but it is worth getting started as soon as possible. Doing this is better than doing nothing at all.

That is a kind of a balancing act that really requires you to have outsource resources, tacticians, strategic partners that have a little bit more of that holistic vision. Our strategy is more digitally focused, but other agencies will apply similar principles to things like TV, billboard, and radio ads.

The in-house contact, consequently, becomes critically important to make sure that the relationship between resources is deployed effectively. This teamwork between in-house and the outsource group ensures opportunities do not go to waste.

Practices that are nearing the $1.5 to $2 million production mark, are going to be in a much more comfortable position to achieve goals. Those practices that want to get there, but are not yet there, must find the outsource partners that, with the right tactics and the right approaches, can help bridge that gap from the $750,000 a year practice. Once they get to the 1.5 million goal line, they can deploy a much larger marketing strategy.

A practice can grow to become a $7 million a year practice, but the reality is the sky's the limit. It is all a question of how you deploy those tactics and what phase of the business and what phase of the growth and how you do it in a responsible enough manner to ensure that the way you're managing those cash flows helps grow the business.

Dental marketing trends for 2022

From 2015 to 2021, we've seen a huge evolution of the dental market and a lot more people doing organic searches online. The increase in the Google search for “dentist near me” in the last two years rose almost 400 percent. Almost every industry took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, lowering revenue, but the dental industry is back on the rise, close to pre-pandemic levels, and rising higher.

Costs per click are now about $4 each, significantly down from $6.24, pre-pandemic, but still moving upwards. At the same time leads are more expensive and ROI has been affected negatively.. The dental practice competition is much higher along with better designed websites and smarter marketing strategies all around.

Dental websites also reach higher viewing levels when they have more reviews, especially with higher customer ratings, four stars and above. Overall, 89 percent of consumers read reviews before calling to make appointments or buying a service or product.

What is clear in the marketplace, is if you do not work to replace those 25 percent of patients that move away, or leave for some other reason, then within four years, your practice may close.

If patients are researching your dental practice online, and there are other dental practices in the same area with the same ratings as yours, you want to make sure they choose you. The key is to differentiate your practice from others.

Differentiating your dental practice from others

You and your dental practice need to stand out from others. After all, you, as a person, have different experiences and different skills. You can speak about your experience of discovering a great solution to stabilizing dentures, a problem which many users have. Sometimes, such an issue leads to embarrassing moments during dinner at a restaurant. Explain generally how you solved the problem.
Show pictures of yourself such as a professional profile picture of course. Then add pictures of you talking in the office, smiling with happy patients. Another picture can be of you with your office staff who are also smiling. The point of all this is to humanize yourself. Now, more than ever, the dentist can be unrelatable especially with all the masks and goggles that you wear when in the office. It turns out that the more human side of you (your face and your smile) are now visible more on the Web than in person as a result of COVID. You should also show pictures of one or two very clean offices (no shots of sharp instruments please!) so viewers know that you have a modern, organized and hygienic environment when they come to see you. Again this need your patients have for spotless cleanliness has only been emphasized by the pandemic.

Create videos of you speaking about common dental issues patients have when they come to see you. If willing, have a patient or two, speak on video about their experience with you solving nagging problems, such as sore gums, or broken teeth. Then they can show their beautiful new teeth, including their wonderful smiles.

Find out what questions people have about teeth, including what issues they have. Conduct online polls to know what is on their mind. Create a website page consisting of questions and answers which people like reading, especially if they find their issue listed.

You can build your brand through the voice of others, including patients you have helped. Many of them are very willing to be in front of a camera answering questions and talking about their experiences. If you do not want to be in the video, consider doing a voice-over in certain sections, using a lively script, while patients are in the video.

We did a video featuring one woman who was having a Snap On smile procedure. The change on her face was immediate when the procedure was over. The whole procedure was quick, painless, and efficient. She started out with spaces between her teeth and, then, within moments she had a beautiful smile again.

Many people with teeth problems like hers, do not even know about such a procedure. Seeing the procedure in process and the immediate results, brings in patients with the same problem. Always provide useful information that patients can learn about, such as the latest in teeth alignments, invisible braces, new solutions for gum disease, and more.

In the case of the woman who received a Snap On procedure, shown by video, people were impressed by it. That's what people want to see. They want to see something impressive, hear about something new. Like other areas in healthcare, dentistry is evolving quickly, so there is always something new coming to the marketplace. Spread the news through blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, and social media posts.

Too much of a good thing?

Dental Marketing Campaigns should be monitored daily, particularly if it is successful. On rare occasions, a campaign can be too successful and bring in more new patients than the dental practice can handle, if not caught in time. One campaign we ran cost $1,500 for 530 leads in one month. Each lead cost just under $3.

What was key in the campaign’s success was providing valuable information that viewers loved and responded to. But the campaign was “too successful” and had to be scaled down quickly before reaching the overload point.

When you are monitoring your campaign and receiving a lot of leads, track each contact, particularly those who make appointments. You can tell by the appointment calendar that you are reaching your full capacity to handle patients effectively. Scale down the campaign until you are ready to ramp it up again. The key is daily monitoring, so you do not spend too much.

Tips for conducting a successful dental marketing campaign

Set your marketing campaign to capture contact information, including email addresses. Send out an initial email to invite the new contact to subscribe to email letters. Use the double opt-in process to ensure they really want to be on your list. This is also part of establishing compliance with your commercial email provider where you send out bulk emails. Here are examples of what you could put in your emails:

  • Content using stories about dental case solutions,
  • Latest dental tools on the market,
  • Letting everyone know it is National Smile Month,
  • Links to new videos about new important procedures,
  • Latest trends in dentistry,
  • Local events the dental practice will be involved in,
  • Holiday and birthday discounts, and more.

Above all, keep your content professional but also conversational. Content should be interesting and grab readers from the first headline, even the subject line of your email.

Lead booking for dentists

One crucial issue dental practices have is to ensure all leads are captured, recorded, and contacted as quickly as possible. If dental offices become too busy, it is easy to lose valuable leads here and there, like water falling out of a sieve.

Here are some statistics showing what this loss can cost you based on thousands of calls we have listened to:

  • 45 percent of incoming new patient calls are missed altogether,
  • Of the 55 percent of calls answered, only 45 percent book an appointment on the first call
  • So25 percent of all new patient calls that come in are booked. With 25 percent booked, 75 percent of new patient leads are lost
  • That is not a good outcome when cost per lead is increasing over time.

Here is some interesting marketing information about dental leads.

Nearly 80% of sales are made on the fifth to the 12th contact. Good salespeople do not go past three contacts, yet most sales are made on the fifth of the 12th contact, which means people need to be contacting these leads more often. But can you blame your poor office manager who must complete multiple tasks, mostly due yesterday?

The Lead Booking Service takes this job off the shoulders of the office manager and other office staff by doing all the work for them. As an outsource tool, it is a lifesaver for the dental practice because all calls are recorded, and each lead is contacted quickly. This provides a great customer service experience that enhances your dental practice’s image and brand. Here are the benefits of this service:

  • Your practice gets more appointments and revenue,
  • Each lead is contacted 10 times, using several methods such as a direct phone call, a text (SMS), and emails. Plus,each contact uses your unique selling proposition (USP), which defines your practice and differentiates you from the competition.
  • Your office staff has more time to complete their other tasks more effectively

One of our clients using this service, gained 28 new patients in 2 months worth $445,000 in treatment plans. While we may never close 100 percent of leads, we are achieving great success with this service.

Our dental practice clients, who use this service, are thrilled (and relieved) to have this pressure taken off their busy shoulders.
If you are ready to try out this service and/or want information about how we can help with your dental marketing strategy and campaign, call us at once at the number below. Or connect with us by email below.

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