My 5 Best Dental Marketing Tips for Practitioners After 15 Years of Digital Marketing

Best Dental Marketing Tips of 2024 & Beyond

15 Year Web & SEO Expert...

15 Year Web & SEO Expert...

💡 Note to the reader:
Dental marketing all starts with determining (& being realistic about) what type of practice you run, or want to run. If you haven’t yet discovered and written down your brand messaging, business goals, value proposition, and what type of practice you want to be (e.g. general volume practice, cosmetic boutique, implant specialty, etc.), then I would recommend you stop reading this now. Come back and read my best dental marketing tips & advice once you know exactly what type of practice you want to be, and have gotten specific about your practice and long term goals.

General dental marketing advice and thoughts

For all intents and purposes of this article, I’m going to be talking about universal marketing tactics that can be applied to any type of practice. Most of these aren’t tips concerning the latest in digital marketing trends (although they can be applied there too), but rather what I feel doctors / practices should be focusing on, rather than what they should outsource to professional dental marketing experts.

Below is my list of advice on what I consider to be the most important items dental practitioners can be doing to help their marketing efforts.

5 Star Reputation Management System

1. Take care of your reputation

Positive online reviews are the cornerstone of a dental office's marketing efforts, acting as a powerful tool in shaping public perception and trust. In today's digital age, potential patients often turn to online reviews as a first step in choosing a healthcare provider, viewing them as personal recommendations. Positive feedback boosts your practice's credibility, helps improve your visibility in search engine rankings, and can significantly influence the decision-making process of prospective patients.

Conversely, protecting against negative reviews is equally critical. Negative feedback can deter potential patients, damage your reputation, and impact your practice's ability to attract new business. Actively managing your online reputation, encouraging satisfied patients to share their experiences, and addressing any negative reviews promptly and professionally can mitigate these risks, ensuring your dental office maintains a positive image in the digital landscape.

Pro Tips: 

  1. 🚀 Managing your reputation starts with employing the right people. Most negative reviews I read about dental practices start with negative experiences (oftentimes “rude”) interactions with a receptionist, office manager or even dentist. Some patients just can’t seem to be pleased no matter how hard you try, but you still have to try! Your ability to generate new patients starts with reputation.
  2. 🚀 Use a fully automated dental reviews service such as the one we provide at Elevate DDS. Most patients don’t think to leave positive feedback after good experiences, but will definitely leave some negative comments after a bad experience. The goal is to acquire as many positive reviews as possible so that you can outweigh the negative reviews when they happen (and they will happen).
Dental Website Example

2. Invest heavily in your website

Investing in great dental websites is critical to marketing success because it serves as the digital front door to your practice. A well-designed, user-friendly website not only makes a strong first impression but also establishes your credibility and professionalism. It's the hub for your digital marketing efforts, where potential patients can learn about your services, read testimonials, and easily book appointments. A high-quality website improves your online visibility, helping you rank higher in search engine results, which is essential for attracting new patients. 

In today's digital age, where consumers rely heavily on online research before making decisions, a compelling website is indispensable for standing out in a competitive market and effectively converting visitors into patients. Don’t cheap out on photography and videography when designing or creating your website. The more unique and compelling your website, the better it will help sell your practice!

Pro Tip:

🚀 Invest in great photography, videography & personalization: Humans are naturally drawn to authenticity and personal connection; a unique, highly personalized website resonates more deeply, making a business stand out and fostering a sense of trust and reliability. This personalized approach demonstrates a company's commitment to quality and attention to detail, suggesting a superior customer experience compared to generic, templated sites.

Community Involvement

3. Be active in your community

Community involvement plays a pivotal role in enhancing a dental office's local SEO efforts, primarily by fostering connections within the community and increasing visibility in community-related searches. Engaging in outreach activities such as sponsoring local sports teams, participating in health fairs, or hosting free dental care days positions a dental practice as an integral part of the community while amplifying its presence in local search results. For example, a dental office that sponsors a local sports team can gain mentions and backlinks from local school or community websites, which are valuable for local SEO as they signal the practice's relevance to the area.

Additionally, organizing or participating in community events and sharing these activities on the office's website and social media channels, with appropriate local hashtags and geotags, further strengthens its local SEO. These efforts not only improve the office's standing in local search rankings but also build a positive reputation within the community, attracting more local patients.

Pro Tips:

  1. 🚀 Sponsorships and links coming from educational websites (specifically .edu sites) are the gold standard for local SEO link building efforts. Any links generating from .edu websites will pay huge dividends in rankings.
  2. 🚀 Local news channels & publications offer both sponsorship opportunities and local “spotlight” opportunities within their publications. Get active with these entities and definitely make sure to ask for links to your website from their online published articles!
  3. 🚀 Invest time in your own social media. The more personalized your social channels, the better! We'll focus a future blog post on managing your social media content.
AI Plus Automation

4. Use automation to your benefit

Dental offices can leverage automation in several key areas to enhance operational efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, and increase their online presence. Here's how automation can be used to improve appointment reminders, review solicitation and responses, bill pay, and social media postings:

(1) Appointment Reminders

Automation: Utilizing software such as Dentrix, Solutionreach, or Lighthouse 360, dental offices can automate appointment reminders via SMS, email, or even voice calls. These systems can be configured to send multiple reminders leading up to the appointment date and time, reducing no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

Benefits:
👍 Decreases missed appointments through timely reminders.
👍 Saves staff time by automating routine communication.
👍 Allows customization of messages to maintain a personal touch.

(2) Review Solicitation and Responses

Automation: Review software such as Birdeye offer a comprehensive platform that automates the process of soliciting reviews from patients post-visit. They can send automated prompts to patients to leave feedback on popular review sites. Furthermore, review software allows dental practices to monitor and respond to these reviews from within the platform, making reputation management more manageable and effective.

(Note: Elevate DDS is a Birdeye dental reputation management software reseller)

Benefits:
👍 Enhances online reputation by increasing the number of positive reviews.
👍 Is an SEO ranking factor and improves online visibility.
👍 Saves time by centralizing review management and response efforts.

(3) Patient Billing & Bill Pay

Automation: Implementing an online billing portal, such as those offered by Kareo, SimplePractice, or through custom integrations with practice management software, enables patients to view and pay their bills online at their convenience. These systems can also send automated reminders for outstanding payments, offer payment plans, and securely store payment information for future use.

Benefits:
👍 Streamlines the billing process, making it faster and more efficient.
👍 Reduces administrative burden related to managing payments.
👍 Improves patient satisfaction by offering a convenient, 24/7 payment option.

(4) Social Media Posting

Automation: Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social allow dental offices to schedule and automate social media postings across various platforms. By planning content in advance, practices can maintain a consistent online presence, share valuable dental care tips, promote services, and engage with their community without daily manual updates.

Benefits:
👍 Enhances social media engagement and online visibility.
👍 Saves time by scheduling posts in advance and analyzing performance in one platform.
👍 Helps build a loyal online community and attract new patients through regular, informative content.

By implementing automation in these four areas, dental offices can not only save time and reduce manual tasks but also significantly improve patient engagement and satisfaction, streamline operations, and boost their online reputation and presence.

Metrics that Actually Matter

5. Focus on the metrics that matter

Ultimately, the only KPI that truly matters is how many new patients actually showed up to their appointment. This is the one “key performance indicator” that actually leads to bottom line practice growth. Everything else is kind of a vanity indicator that doesn’t really mean much. However, there are some metrics that directly correlate with new patient acquisition numbers and these are the metrics that count.

As a dental practitioner, you should be focused on:

  1. New patient value- Understanding the immediate value and lifetime value of earning a new patient is critical. If you understand these numbers, you’ll have a better understanding of where you should be spending your marketing dollars in the future.
  2. Cost per lead - Add all of your marketing dollars up and divide that by how many new patients you receive each month from your ad dollars. This will play a role in your ROI.
  3. ROI - Do the math on how much each patient is worth and how much you’ve spent to obtain that patient. If the marketing dollars you’ve spent to acquire each new patient is well worth it, and scaling up your marketing spend also leads to a great ROI, then marketing costs are irrelevant. This for some reason is the hardest concept to get anyone to grasp, let alone healthcare practitioners. If your return on investment or ad spend is 2x, 3x, 5x, or even 10x, then why in the world would anyone focus on cost??
  4. SEO & higher volume keywords - Too often I hear from doctors that want to rank for keywords that receive few (or zero) searches each month. Instead, only focus on keywords and topics that patients actually search for. A good SEO company can identify high search volume keyword targets that will actually lead to clicks / new patients. Focus all efforts on these valuable keywords and ignore inconsequential ideas.

Perfecting Your Dental Marketing Strategy

After spending more than 15 years in the digital marketing realm, it's evident that the success of dental marketing hinges not only on the strategies implemented but also on a deep understanding of your practice's core identity. Acknowledging and defining your practice's brand, goals, and value proposition is the first step towards creating marketing efforts that attract the right patients. From meticulously managing your online reputation to investing in a website that genuinely reflects your practice's ethos, every action contributes to forging stronger connections with your community and potential patients.

Active community engagement not only bolsters your practice's reputation but also improves your local SEO, setting you apart as the preferred dental provider in your area. Leveraging automation and focusing on key metrics, especially new patient acquisition, turns random attempts into precise, outcome-focused strategies. In essence, dental marketing is a journey of authenticity, diligence, and smart planning, ensuring that your marketing investments effectively contribute to the growth and vitality of your practice.

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Cody Prentice
Cody Prentice

15 Year Web & SEO Expert - Cody is a performance driven marketing and advertising expert in the digital marketing and advertising industry. He has helped drive profits and sales through strategic digital campaigns across multiple platforms including SEO, PPC, display, email, print, radio and television.

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