11 Ways to Improve Practice Marketing Now


  1. Ask. Survey the 10 best patients, asking what the practice does best in their eyes and what media they pay attention to most. This will allow the practice to put to market a message that resonates with patients and their peers. It will also allow the practice to reach potential patients across the media that matters most to them.
  1. Plan. Based upon data from the surveys, establish a marketing plan. Hone in on 5 tactics for the practice to deliver over the next 12 months. Avoid the temptation to implement only the marketing tactics that the dentist or team likes. Invest in the marketing that patients said they prefer.
  1. Prioritize. Think in terms of lowest-hanging fruit. It can be very cost-effective to train staff to properly and regularly ask current patients for referrals, and those referrals typically make great patients. Next, it can be in the practice’s best interest to implement at least one direct marketing effort like direct mail or online advertising. Finally, awareness marketing efforts like social media and sponsorship of charitable events can keep the practice top-of-mind in the community.
  1. Review. Have a look at your current website. Visitors will make snap judgments about the dentist and the practice in the first 30 seconds on the site. Make sure the home page shows that the dentist is Affable, Able and Available. Affability can be shown on the home page with warm, inviting photos of the doctor. Ability can be demonstrated with patient testimonials, board certifications, and awards. Finally, make the practice Available by providing multiple ways to get in touch: phone, email, social media, etc. And yes, all of this needs to be right on the home page.
  1. Empathize. Vastly improve your website by using full-face photos. Laypeople do not interact with the mouth like you do, and are not accustomed to seeing teeth-only photos or radiographs, which can be frightening to them. When it comes to before-and-after shots, always use full-face photos to tell the practice’s story. The transformation in the smile shows as much in the eyes as it does in the teeth.
  1. Join. Social media is nothing more than a practice open house. Even better, it’s happening 24/7. Join the party. General dentists typically see the best results with Facebook while specialists enjoy networking with potential referrers on LinkedIn. Apply the same social rules online as you would offline.
  1. Go Viral. Increase your social media “virality” on Facebook with photos of the staff, photos of babies and puppies, funny and relevant cartoons or jokes, simple voting contests, and celebrations of birthdays and holidays. Boost “virality” on LinkedIn with regular lead mining: connecting with potential referring doctors, then messaging them to ask for a meeting to explore how best to help each other.
  1. Behave. Adhere to HIPAA guidelines by posting on social media about general conditions, never actual cases. Train your staff on social media posting decorum and perimeters. Have patients sign a simple waiver allowing the practice to use their image, likeness and testimonial on marketing materials.
  1. Blog. Make the dentist a thought-leader in the community by downloading his or her thoughts into writing and sharing it online. This article is a good example of a blog post: roughly 500 words, helpful insights for the reader, never promotional.
  1. Be Prompt. Meet any negative online reviews head on and with the same professionalism you would use with an unhappy patient in your waiting room.
  1. Have fun. Marketing is like a science experiment. Set a hypothesis, test theories and create reactions.