Getting new patients into your dental practice can sometimes feel like pulling teeth.

You may be a long-standing dental office with good reviews, but you are potentially competing with many other dentists in the area. That’s why dental marketing is crucial if you’re looking to stand out and increase your patient base.

That doesn’t just mean getting on social media or starting a flyer campaign, although those can be effective strategies. Let’s take a look at nine ways to grow your practice…

1. Create a Website

Amazingly, some dentist offices out there are still relying on paper and phones to inform and book patients. However, a lot of patients like the convenience of browsing services quickly online and don’t necessarily want to chat with someone over the phone about it.

Having a booking form on your website is an easy way to present available appointment times, send patients reminders, and can cut down on the amount of work your receptionists have to do.

Make sure your website is easy to navigate and looks pretty through effective web design.

2. Focus on Local SEO

Since about 90 percent of people use the web to find local businesses, it’s safe to say where you rank in searches matters. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. You want to appear high on the list for an online search for dentists, or at least on the first page of results.

Local SEO means you can add more specific keywords that people will type when looking for a dentist. So instead of just “dentists,” you can rank higher in a search such as “Wisconsin dentists.”

3. Deliver Useful Content

One effective way to connect with potential new clients is to give them content they can use. That can be in the form of a blog on your new website, or an e-newsletter or guest post on another website.

Content marketing gives people valuable information about a topic. For example, for dentists, you could create a post about the importance of flossing. Then you can direct readers to book an appointment with your hygienist.

Try to gauge topics that would be of value to your patients, or look for topics that haven’t often been covered.

4. Engage in Social Media

You may not think that dentistry is a business that would benefit from a Facebook page, but that might be misguided. Using social media is a great way to quickly answer questions from potential patients, and post pictures of the bright smiles you’ve created.

The nature of social media is that it’s sharable, so your posts can travel further. It’s also an effective way to let people know about your newest dental technology for example and share your blog posts from your website.

5. Organize a Fundraiser

To get your business name out there a little more, why not get behind a local or international cause?

There are dental charities out there that help people access dentistry that can’t normally afford it. You can invite your patients to make a donation and match it, or dedicate a portion of your profits toward the organization.

6. Sponsor Local Sports Teams

Committing some cash to local youth sports teams is a nice way to give back to your community. But aside from that glowing feeling you (hopefully) get from giving, you may also get your dental office’s name mentioned in a team flyer or even permanently in an arena.

7. Run a Speaking Engagement

Why not give a couple of hours of your time to inform the community about dentistry? Organize a free talk or workshop for locals that can help you make new connections.

Here’s an idea for a talk: up to 20 percent of people avoid going to the dentist altogether because they’re afraid of dental procedures. With that in mind, you could run a session informing people about safe dental techniques, as well as any sedation that can be used to calm nerves during visits.

Whatever the talk is, let people ask questions and be sure to bring plenty of business cards (and even free floss) to hand out after.

8. Try Pay-Per-Click Ads

Aside from ranking high on search engines, you can also create ads that only show up when people search certain terms like “New York dentists.”

This pay-per-click model only charges you when someone actually clicks on the ad that directs them to your website. That’s potentially more cost effective than paying for a print ad in a local newspaper, although doing both can be good too.

9. Send Follow-Ups

You likely have a mailing list of clients that have used your services or have signed up for notifications through your website. This is a good opportunity for you to remind them that it’s been six months since their last visit, and maybe add a bit of information about why dental cleanings are so important.

Another approach is commonly referred to as remarketing and is a cost-effective way to secure new patients. It keeps track of those who visit your site but don’t take any action. Consider that only about 5 to 8 percent of people are converted during their first visit to your website, and you can see why continuously targeting them with online ads is important.

Dental Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain

While most people know that regular visits to the dentist are beneficial, many won’t do it without a bit of coaxing. Like any other business, you need to develop a solid marketing strategy if you want to grow your revenue.

Direct mail campaigns can be one way to reach new households, but there’s no denying the power of digital marketing. With this type of approach, you can also track your engagement and spend your dollars wisely.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to come up with a dental marketing plan on your own (after all, you’ve got patients to take care of). Our goal is to deliver a high return on investment from your marketing spending. To find out more how we can put more patients in your dentists’ chair, contact us today.