When it comes to creating a dental patient marketing plan to bring in new patients, the key is deciding which type of dental marketing campaigns will work best for your dental practice.

Facebook advertisements

Online advertising.

Direct mail campaigns.

Social media ads.

Content for dental websites.

Dental SEO

These are all effective marketing channels dentists can use to bring in new patients to the dental office.

The benefits of these marketing channels for dentists are obvious. When you effectively market your dental practice, you generate leads and conversions that help to bring in new patients to the dental office and to get your existing patients to schedule appointments and use your dental services.

In a moment I’ll share the best dental marketing strategies and campaigns.

But first, let’s look at how to determine the budget your should allocate to your dental marketing plan.

Budgeting Strategy For Dental Patient Marketing Plan

Before you even begin to create your dental patient marketing plan, you should set your budget so you save money or at least don’t go over budget.

A good rule of thumb is that approximately 10 percent of gross revenue should be reinvested into your dental marketing plan.

This budget would then be divided based on the Return of investment [ROI] for your various marketing channels.

This way your dental marketing budget is allocated to the most effective marketing channels, such that if the return on investment for your Facebook advertising strategies was 300%, and the ROI for your Adwords account was 200%, you would allocate slightly more of your budget to Facebook than to Adwords, and similarly with your other marketing channels.

To determine the ROI of your marketing channels, it is necessary to use your Google Analytics account to analyse your data for the past year.

Of course, if you are marketing a new dental practice you will not have this data and instead should allocate your marketing budget based on standard best practices for the dental industry.

Choosing the best channels for your dental patient marketing plan 

If you  are looking to create a new dental patient marketing plan, it’s best practice to consider all marketing channels.

You may be tempted to discount marketing channels that you think are not relevant to your dental practice. Perhaps you think there’s no real value in Facebook ads for dentists [you’d be wrong].  However, you should only discount marketing channels once your data proves them to be ineffective. Let the data decide (unless working on a limited budget, in which case a more selective marketing plan is needed).

There are so many different ways to advertise a dental practice. In Hamilton and Toronto (my local area), dental marketing campaigns are all over the place, from the bus to the internet to the local paper.

Your choices are many. So let’s investigate the best types of marketing for your dental patient marketing plan. The key consideration will be this: Which types of campaigns are more likely to bring in new patients to the dental office?



Overview Of The Best Marketing Channels For a Dental Patient Marketing Plan

Online marketing for dentists:

*Note: To use any these dental marketing channels successfully, you will need effective dental copywriting.

The main channels to consider for your dental patient marketing plan are:

Mainstream media marketing for dentists

  • Local TV channel ads (like CHCH in Hamilton, and CTV in Toronto)
  • Local newspaper ads
  • Online display advertising in popular websites (these can be targeted to hit people nearby)
  • Radio ads
  • Press releases

Direct marketing for dentists:

  • Brochures
  • Postcards
  • Educational guest speaking engagements
  • Coupons and other specials to bring in new clients
  • Flyers

Which is the best marketing channel for your dental patient marketing plan?

To pinpoint precisely the best type of marketing to bring new patients in the door of the dental office, it’s important to analyse your demographic. That way you can determine exactly who your customers are and what type of marketing works for them. This is something a marketing specialist would work on with you, usually in a consultation.

There are a few things to bear in mind when choosing the best type of dental patient marketing channels.

Let’s take a look

How To Choose The Best Channels For Your Dental Patient Marketing Plan

In order to save you money, there are some important rules and tips for choosing the best marketing channels for a dental practice. Let’s take a look.

1. The best marketing for dentists has a limited audience

Generally speaking: the bigger your target audience the more expensive the campaign will be. Therefore, it’s a best practice to limit your ads reach only to potential customers.

One of the core considerations for your dental patient marketing plan is to make sure it eliminates people who are unlikely t become new patients at the dental office.

For most dental practices, your demographic will lie within a radius of 5 miles or so from your business because most people visit dentists close to them or close to their place of work. So, there’s not much use wasting money advertising to people more than 5 miles away.

For that reason, local TV is a bad idea for most dentists (because you cannot isolate people within a 5-mile radius to advertise to). Although it can be a good choice for specialists who have a wider reach. And some channels (like the TV listings channel) show different ads to different regions.

Online marketing campaigns, on the other hand, allow you to target your dental ad by location. Because of this, online marketing such as Adwords or Facebook ads, are often a better choice for your dental patient marketing plan.

With online marketing you can also create SEO blog posts for dental websites that attract people searching on Google from nearby locations.

Another good marketing channel for dentists is direct marketing. Dentists can use direct marketing campaigns to target a specific area. That way you’re not wasting money advertising to people who would never convert.

The situation is a little different for specialist businesses. For instance, if you’re nearby you’ve probably seen the TV advertising for dentist Sean Dunn, who specializes in dentures. Because Sean Dunn is a specialist, he attracts customers from a much wider radius, so TV ads are a good idea in this instance.

Take-away: When planning dental patient marketing, campaigns should pin-point your audience.

2. The best dental patient marketing campaigns arerepeatable

Do you know what most people think when they view a dentists’ advertisement? They think “I really don’t want to deal with my dental problems right now. I’ll deal with it later.” And when later comes, they’ve forgotten all about your dental ad.

Because of this, the best marketing for dentists is repeatable.

I’m using the word repeatable loosely here because there are lots of way to achieve this.

  • For instance, if you create an awesome postcard and mail it out, you will only send it once to each customer, but they will see it many times because they kept it (especially if it includes an offer).
  • Or you could use dental online marketing, in which case you have the option of using retargeting ads. These are ads that you show to customers who visit your dental website but don’t convert. You show such a prospect a retargeting ad to get them back on your dental website and further down the sales funnel.
  • Then again you could just stick up a big billboard viewable from the nearby main road. In this case, your prospects will see the ad repeatedly as they drive to work.

These ads are good options  for the dental patient marketing plan because they are repeatable. Therefore, when your customer finally does say, “It’s time to go to the dentist,” you’re the first name on their mind.

For this reason, when creating your dental marketing plan, make sure it’s repeatable.

This is also one of the benefits of SEO for dentists.

SEO (search engine optimization) can be used to create high quality blog posts for dentists, and if these dental blog posts are high enough quality they will sit at the top of Google gaining traffic for months or even years.  This requires having a good dental website, with good design and high-quality content.


3. The best dental new patient marketing campaigns are affordable

Some advertising campaigns give you far more freedom with your budget than others do.

For instance, if you use Google advertising platform Adwords for dental ads, you can pause your dental office’s advertisements at any time. This is a massive benefit because if your ads end up not working you can cancel them. It can be a lot harder to cancel that big billboard you just sunk your dental marketing budget into.

If your business is well established, you probably have a good idea of your dental office’s marketing budget. Your risk is far less than, say, the dentist who is just trying to establish themselves. So, where that big billboard really is not an issue for the established pro, it’s better to use online advertising or direct marketing for dentists who are less established dentists.


4. The right dental patient marketing campaigns exist exists where your customers already are

Ultimately, the best marketing channel for new dental patients is the one that your audience is on. And this can vary widely by demographic.

Are your dental patients elderly? Probably better to go with an ad in the local paper then.

Is your demographic bringing in $100k+ annually? Then they probably won’t see your dental office’s advertisement on the bus.

Know where your audience is and put ads right there in front of their noses.

marketing for dentists

5. The best new dental patient marketing campaigns are  actionable

That big billboard that you put up along the main road could potentially work wonders. But only if your business name and address is memorable.


Because your audience is seeing the ad while driving, so if they need to write the address down it’s just not going to work.

Whatever type of dental marketing campaign you run with, make sure it’s actionable.

This is easier for some types of campaigns.  Dental Adwords ads, for instance, cann be setup so that when new dental patients click the ad they automatically call your dental office on the phone. Now that’s an actionable ad.


6. Today, it’s a good idea to use SEO for dentists

There are many benefits of SEO for dentists.

SEO is essentially the art of getting content to rank on Google, thereby generating leads.

Dental SEO offers a way to get your practice in front of people who are searching for related terms. For instance, one good way to use SEO for dentists would be to create a blog post on root canals. That way when people search for “Root Canals” in Google, they see your article (that’s the theory, anyway. Actually getting that blog post to the top of Google would require a dental SEO expert like myself to create backlinks and other elements needed to rank on Google).

7. How about guest posting for dentists?

Closely related to SEO is guest posts.

For dentists, guest posts offer a way to publish articles on high-quality related sites in order to benefit from their already-established audience.

For instance, writing a guest post for a blog about dentistry will put your practice’s name in front of thousands of people who are interested in your niche.

That’s a good way to generate leads, and a good way to boost the SEO of the dentist’s website. End result? It brings in new patients to the dental office.

My advice on the best dental patient marketing plan

For most dental practices, the following are the most effective choices for a new dental patient marketing plan:

  • Direct marketing
  • Online marketing (both social media and Adwords / Bing)
  • Look for options to show display advertising in related and local businesses (this could include buses on routes that go by your business, billboards on the nearest main road, and local related shops)
  • Also consider local TV and radio if your dental practice reaches a fairly wide audience geographically
  • Local-SEO blog post content for dental websites is always a good idea.


Creating A Dental Patient Marketing Plan Around Those Campaigns

Now we have looked at the best dental marketing channels, it’s time to put them together into our new dental patient marketing plan.

Creating a marketing plan for dentists requires a good deal of work—after all, this is sizeable chunk of your budget, so it is vital we spend it effectively.

How To Create Your Dental Marketing Plan—Tips & Ideas

In this guide I’ll be showing how to create an online marketing plan for dentists, using the marketing channels we’ve looked at above.

This will help you to understand how to focus your marketing goals. This will bring together everything you’ve read regarding content marketing strategy, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and everything else.

By the end of this guide you will know how to create an online marketing plan for dentists. By the end, you will feel more comfortable with your marketing objectives.

When creating a marketing plan, dentists should focus on goals, strategy and tactics

Goals: A goal is the main objective you are trying to accomplish and can be set as an overall business goal or as a business goal for the specific marketing campaign. An example of a dentists’ marketing goal bring in 20 new patients to the dental office per month using Facebook advertising.

Strategy: A strategy Is the overarching game-plan for the marketing campaign. One example of a good marketing strategy for dentists might be to use Facebook ads to generate leads that then convert via your website.

Tactics: Tactics are the individual actions you will take in order to achieve your marketing goal. For a dentist, marketing tactics might include allocating a budget of $30 a day to your dental office’s Adwords campaigns.

The best dental patient marketing plan is the one that combines the three elements of goals, strategies and tactics.  In this way, instead of simply saying, “Put $20 a month into Facebook ads” we say, “In order to bring in 20 new customers per month we will spend $20 on Facebook ads to generate leads for the website, and have these leads schedule an appointment using integrated web forms.”

In this way, you still have your goals, strategies and tactics separate so they can be changed independently, but you also understand how each tactic and strategy contributes to the overall goal of the dental patient marketing plan. So if your Facebook tactic is not meeting its target, you can edit that tactic while keeping your overall dental marketing plan the same.

This is the best dental marketing plan strategy because it will help you to bring in more new patients to the dental office over time, while allowing you to continually improve your dental marketing plan.

Creating buyer personas for your dental marketing plan

In all forms of marketing it is essential that you know who you are marketing to. For your new dental patient marketing plan, the more precisely you target your potential customers, the more effective your dental marketing plan will be.

There are many different online tools for analysing your target audience [here’s a guide to the best tools].  These tools will help you to discover what your ideal buyer persona is so you can target them in your dental marketing plan.

With your dental office’s buyer personas in hand  you will understand your audience so that you can write copy for ads that is perfectly targeted to them. This will significantly improve the ROI of your dental marketing campaigns, essentially meaning you’ll get more bang for your buck.

There are lots of excellent guides on creating a buyer persona. My favorite is this one on DMI

One way to create a buyer persona is with Facebook Audience Insights.

If you have a Facebook page, you can use it to analyse who is in your audience, including their age, income, and interests. This is highly valuable information that will help you to create a dental marketing plan that targets potential customers who are most likely to convert.

To start with, choose one marketing channel for your new dental patient marketing plan

New dental patient marketing plans can be very broad and cover many different marketing channels.

However, in the beginning it is best to focus on one marketing channel that you feel most comfortable with—or at the most, two or three.

Once you have created a successful dental marketing strategy for one channel, you can then expand your dental marketing plan as you see fit. This will help you to organise both your efforts and your budget.

Above, I’ve shared the best marketing channels for dentists. Choose one to focus your dental marketing plan on.


For a successful dental marketing plan, study your competitors

The more data you have, the more effectively you can create your dental marketing plan. That’s why competitive analysis is so important for creating a marketing plan for dentistry.

By analysing your competition you can determine what channels they’ve been using, what marketing tactics have been successful for them, and how you can use their data for your benefits.

There are some very easy ways to do this and some more advanced ways too.
  1. The easiest way is to simply hop on Facebook, scroll through your competitor’s Facebook posts, and find the posts with the most engagements.
  2. Use SEMRush to analyse the keywords that competitors are using on their websites.
  3. Use Buzzsumo to find the most shared blog posts on any given topic.
  4. Also take the time to analyse a competitor’s website. What web forms are they using? How is their site designed? Where are there Call-To-Action buttons on the site? This is all valuable information when creating a dental marketing plan.
facebook audience insights

Facebook audience insights is an easy way to analyse both your own and your competitor’s audience

When you analyse your competition, pay attention to the following elements:
  • What marketing channel are they using?
  • What style of ads are they using?
  • Who are they targeting to (buyer persona)?
  • What tone of voice are they using?
  • Does any of their online content get more traffic / engagements? If so, what is the content about, in what style is it written, and, if possible, where was it promoted?
  • Are there any stand-out elements of their copywriting, their designs, or their marketing campaign? If so what, and what can you learn from those things?




Putting Your New Dental Patient Marketing Plan Together

You now have the individual pieces you need in order to create a dental marketing plan.

If you’ve been following this guide you will have:

  • Learned about the different available marketing channels for dentists
  • Have a good idea of the budget for your dental marketing pan
  • Chosen one marketing channel to focus on in your dental marketing plan
  • Created your buyer personas
  • Analysed your competition

It’s now time to put all of this together into one dental marketing plan.

Here’s how:

  1. Determine what your marketing budget should be (usually 10% of gross income)
  2. Read through the marketing channels list above and choose one channel to focus on
  3. Choose one goal for this marketing plan (e.g to increase sign-ups for your dental practice by 20% by the end of next month)
  4. Determine one strategy for this goal (e.g. To create Facebook ads with a $200 a month budget)
  5. Determine the tactics for this goal (e.g. analyse competitors Facebook ads; create buyer persona; design ads; segment audience for targeting; launch ads and report back after one month)
  6. Put the above three steps into one paragraph: “To increase sign-ups by 20% this month I will budget $200 a month to my dental office’s Facebook ads. I will then use Facebook Insights and competitive analysis to create buyer personas and design my dental Facebook ads. I will then launch the ads for a trial period of one week and analyse the data at the end of the week. If successful, I will continue running the ads. If unsuccessful I will re-evaluate.”
  7. Implement the plan and remember to analyse the data after a trial period in order to save money / maximise ROI.



And that’s how to create a dental marketing plan to bring in new patients to the dental office

In this guide we’ve covered everything you need to know to create a dental marketing plan.

Of course, there are advanced strategies that professional marketers like myself use. But with the info on this page, you can create a solid online marketing plan for a dental practice.

As a dental marketing expert in Hamilton Ontario, I would love to discuss your plan with you and help you save money while maximising your return on investment.

Contact me today.





Paul Harrison is a marketing copywriter in the Toronto / Hamilton area, ready to deliver all your copywriting and marketing needs. Visit the front page for details.