Advertising for Dentists: 5 Simple Tips for Building Your Practice

Author : Dental Product Shopper
Published Date 01/11/2010
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Whether you?ve just opened a new office or are about to celebrate your practice?s 25th anniversary, there?s always room to grow and to build your dental practice into the efficient, profitable venture you?ve envisioned from the very start.

Advertising for Dentists: 5 Simple Tips for Building Your Practice

Growth in business is the product of many things. Much of it stems from the level of service you provide. But equally important is the advertising you do to get new patients in the front door. The following 5 tips will ensure your ads start off on the right foot.

Think big? Not necessarily.

Unless you?re launching a nationwide chain of dental practices, your target market is relatively small. In most cities, new patients aren?t going to drive more than a couple of miles to visit a dentist. That means you want to avoid media that will reach consumers far outside your immediate area.

This rules out quite a lot when you think about it. Television, radio, large newspapers, magazines, and sponsorships often deliver an audience that?s much larger than what you need. I don?t recommend them for most practices.

Instead, I suggest trying a more targeted approach that would allow you to focus on consumers who are more likely to become your patients. This method also allows you to carefully tailor your message for even greater impact. Look at options like direct mail, regional magazines and newspapers?even billboards or benches?provided you can get a good price. And make certain you have a website that?s properly optimized. That?s one of the best advertisements money can buy.

Know Your Audience

Assuming your audience thinks the way that you do is a very common mistake in advertising. Your target market is made up of all sorts of people, all of whom are unique in their thinking. However, you do have a primary audience within this group? women.

In the United States, women make the majority of medical and dental appointments for their families, and you want to keep that in mind when advertising. Of course, that?s still a pretty broad group. It?s up to you to pare it down and decide on the message. Do you practice in a low-income area? Then you may want to mention your convenient payment plans and discount for cash payments. Are you in an affluent white-collar neighborhood? If so, highlighting your cosmetic services is probably a good idea. Do many of your neighbors speak a language other than English? Make certain you speak and advertise in that language as well.

Get Emotional

As dental professionals, we always want to tell patients why they need dentistry. But the most effective ads are designed to appeal to a consumer?s emotions because most people buy emotionally. However, we also want a rational reason to justify the purchase.

Your ads should provide both an emotional hook and a rational justification. For example, promoting 1-hour teeth whitening will likely appeal to your audience emotionally, but offering a promotional price can give them a rational reason to come in.

Be Clear, Memorable, Honest and Believable

I call this the litmus test for good advertising. All effective ads possess these 4 qualities. Your message needs to be clear because you will only have someone?s attention for a second or two. It needs to be memorable to stand out in their minds. If your message isn?t honest, it won?t take long for people to catch on, and your reputation will be ruined. And finally, it needs to be believable. People are skeptical of ads by nature, so don?t over-promise.

Get Professional

Help If you?re a general practitioner, you likely outsource your ortho and lab work?and for much the same reason, I suggest you outsource advertising as well. Your business is dentistry, and unless you?re looking to change careers, you?ll save yourself plenty of money and headaches if you leave the advertising to the pros. Copywriting, design, Web development?these are all full-time professions. Whether you work with a marketing partner or hire your own ad pro, you?ll get the best, most cost-effective results by outsourcing your advertising.

The practice of your dreams is built on far more than advertising, but smart advertising can certainly get you there a lot quicker. Plus, effectively advertising your business not only helps attract new patients to your practice, it gets them thinking about dentistry, which helps the industry as a whole.

Not a bad way to build a business.

Fred Joyal is the CEO and Co-Founder of 1-800-DENTIST and one of the world?s leading experts in dental consumer marketing. His recently published book, Everything is Marketing: The Ultimate Strategy for Dental Practice Growth, is available at