Dental Marketing Ideas For Dentists And The Best 5 Ways To Market Your Practice In 2021

Whether you just recently graduated from dental school or are looking to expand your practice and build a multi-location brand, focus on these five critical elements of marketing, and you’ll be winning new patients in no time.

1. Project Warmth Everywhere

Just as a surgeon must project expertise and confidence, a dentist must project warmth as well. Patients don’t need their surgeon who they will know for a brief period to be warm and comforting. They need the surgeon to merely be good at the specific procedure. A dentist, however, must be both warm and comforting to build confidence. People see dentists twice a year and must feel safe and protected, and the projection or depiction of warmth will do that.

It is important you project warmth, but do not come across as too nice. Project too much warmth and you’ll be the nice guy who can’t say “no”, project too much strength, and you’ll be the person people avoid.

How does this relate to dentists?

As a dentist, you naturally project strength in two noticeable ways. First, you have the medical degree on the wall for your patients to see. Secondly, you are clearly the authority figure in your practice. As you know, most people are already anxious when coming into the dentist, so it’s not surprising that the dentists who do the best are able to project that warmth that calms and comforts without sacrificing the perception of your authority and expertise.

How do you project warmth?

You must project warmth all the time, in every way. This means you’re projecting warmth in person and online.

In person, you’re going to project warmth by truly listening to your patient’s concerns and by putting forth effort to acknowledge them. You’ll want to make sure every patient feels that they are cared for and heard. After all, your current patients are your best source of referral marketing through social media and word-of-mouth.

To project warmth online, you’ll post personal pictures of yourself and your staff to show that you have a life outside of being a dentist. This humanizes you and allows your patients to feel more connected to you as a person. Of course, it’s important you use real photos and real videos and not stock images.

Through you and your staff projecting warmth as often as possible, you will make your patients feel welcomed and comfortable. In turn your patient experience will also improve leading to more referrals, better reviews, and even increasing your case acceptance rate.

Dentistry Market Size is Over 138 billion dollars in United States

2. Reverse Engineer Your Competitors

My second idea to help you bring in more patients is to reverse engineer exactly what your competitors are doing that is successful and just what isn’t working in your industry.

One of the easiest ways to reverse engineer is to look at what hasn’t been working and to avoid doing that. Now, what isn’t working in dental marketing right now is aimlessly posting stock photos with cheesy captions. Leave the dad jokes and puns to those who are not building up a dental clientele. Many dental practices have been doing this on Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter, but these posts don’t encourage any engagement with the audience. Almost more importantly, it doesn’t make you stand out or set you apart. Instead, post meaningful content that’s both relatable and personal. You want to engage with your audience and provide something that benefits them in some way.

The other side of using the reverse search method is to directly spy on similar dental offices in major cities, where competition is cut-throat. It’s hard for a practice to survive, let alone thrive, in cities like New York City or Los Angeles or Houston. Competition is fierce, and the aged competitors have larger marketing budgets.

I suggest you put those larger marketing budgets to work for you through some competitive analysis.

Look up the most popular dentists in the largest cities and go through their social media accounts.

  • What are they posting on Instagram that is getting the most likes and comments?
  • What Facebook posts and videos are the most popular on their Facebook page?
  • Are they using Twitter successfully?

Remember to check if they’re on TikTok. Don’t assume that a popular dentist isn’t on TikTok. It may be one of the youngest social platforms, but it has a large following and is comparably easier to get noticed and find a new audience for your service.

3. Show Up and Be Engaged

The third marketing idea is to show up and to be present on social media. I know it sounds simple, but it’s harder to maintain consistency than you may assume.

I encourage you to think of social media as you would any other life skill. When you were in dental school, you had to study consistently, and it required a lot of time and effort to succeed and improve. Social media marketing is no different.

One of my biggest tips for social media is to make it a habit. If you use Friday or Saturday to primarily focus on administrative work, I encourage you to set aside 20 minutes to brainstorm posts. Feel free to get your staff involved as well. Think of it as a team building exercise.

Spend time posting on social media, but don’t overwhelm yourself right away. Focus on Facebook and Instagram and commit to post consistently.

Include personal posts, giveaways, valuable tips, engaging and even humorous videos taken by your staff to humanize you. Make sure whatever you post is patient focused. Share things that your patients will find interesting and something they will engage with through shares, likes and comments.

4. Leverage Your Existing Patient Base

The fourth marketing idea for a dentist is to stay on top of your existing patient base. What that means is to practice good aftercare and marketing to your current patients.

Follow up via text 24 hours after a patient’s appointment and ask that he or she texts the office back should they be feeling uncomfortable or have any questions. It’s important to be short, concise, and friendly in the marketing-based follow-up texts.

Include flyers around your office advertising any current giveaways you’re running or upcoming community events you may be involved in or sponsoring. Let your current patients know the good you’re doing in the community; this builds warmth and humanizes you, and people like supporting that.

When the patient is scheduling their next appointment after a successful visit, have your office staff ask them for a review. Reviews from current patients are invaluable, and people will do them when requested.

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5. Community Engagement

The final marketing idea is also the most rewarding, and that is to be active in your community.

Where does your perfect patient spend their time? For most practices, the perfect patient demographic is a mother, ages 30 to 55. Of course, this could change depending on your location and specialty.

For example, many pediatric dentists get a lot of new patients from Mommy and Me style Facebook Groups.

Here are a few quick suggestions to help you track, target, and engage your demographic in your community:

  • Highly relevant Facebook Groups (join several)
  • Sporting events
  • The NextDoor community app, available for iOS and Android
  • Targeted expos and conventions (wedding expos are great for teeth whitening packages)

If you have children, join the PTA and attend as many school sponsored events as you can. Where your dental practice branded shirt or jacket.

When you join Facebook Groups or get involved in your local community, you must bring value to your interactions. Answer related questions, share professional insights, and do not sell your services or yourself. Community engagement is entirely about building your brand organically. If you switch to sales mode, you’ll ruin that organic feel that builds confidence and trust and will win new patients.

Get Started & Watch Your Practice Grow

Building a dental practice, whether you’re first starting out or can boast twenty years of experience, can be daunting. Take advantage of current trends on social media, ask your office staff to stay updated on what major competitors in huge markets are doing and emulate them, and always ask your current patients for referrals by way of online reviews.

You have an expertise that many do not, and you have a knowledge base that is both helpful and insightful. Get active in your community through Facebook Groups and share that knowledge. By doing so you prove your authority over the subject and by helping others for free with valuable information you showcase your warmth and that will lead to new patients.

Picture of J. Fleischmann
J. Fleischmann
James is a content strategist, sites manager and copywriter for ServerWise. He's written 51 e-books for clients resulting in over 600,000 new leads as a ghostwriter. James lives in Texas with three dogs and has a Longhorn as a neighbor.