5 marketing tactics smart dentists use

5 marketing tactics smart dentists use

Feb 28, 2022

Female dentist and girl giving thumbs up in dental office

Digital marketing for dentists

Ambitious dentists want to grow their dental practice. To grow, clinics must find a way to bring in a steady flow of new patients. Traditional methods of marketing like referrals, billboards, and other media advertisements may still be viable, but in today's digital climate, it's simply not enough. Studies show that a staggering 97% of people who needed to find a local business first searched online so if your practice isn't discoverable and present online, you're hugely missing out on opportunities for patients to find you.

Here we've compiled 4 simple marketing strategies that can help you build your online presence and get in front of the patients who are looking for you.

Paid ads

Let's face it, newer generations aren't reading the newspaper; they're not watching cable TV and they're not listening to the radio. But they are, of course, on the internet. Paid advertising, as implied, refers to digital advertisements businesses pay for. The most common billing structures are PPC and CPM. PPC ads are charged by the number clicks they receive, while CPM ads are charged for every 1000 impressions. These ads can be placed across various digital channels including search engines like Google, relevant websites, or on popular social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Benefits of paid ads for dental clinics:

  • Affordable: dentists can set objectives and budgets and track their ad spend to understand how their money is converting.

  • Measurable: paid ad providers typically have very sophisticated analytics reporting that allow dentists to see exactly how their ads are performing and make optimizations based on data.

  • Scalable: as your practice grows you can also increase your ad budgets and reach to attract even more potential patients.

  • Easy to set up: ads can be created in minutes and tools to design ad copy and creatives are inexpensive and easy to use

  • Effective targeting: targeting options mean dentists can define their audiences based on a plethora of factors and make sure their ads are being seen by the right individuals.


You've probably heard the term SEO a hundred times, you might even know that SEO is a vital part of digital marketing. However, the average dentist is not familiar with the many working parts of SEO and how optimizing your business online for search engines brings more business to your practice. A good SEO strategy will help your business appear higher up in search results, and since less than 10% of users click past the first page on Google, having your practice appear on that first page is critical.

These are the core elements of SEO:

  • Keywords refer to single words and longer phrases that match the content on your website to the search queries that people are making online. Dentists must include a variety of well-researched and relevant short-tail keywords like dentist, longtail keywords like top-rated orthodontic dentist, and local keywords like orthodontist New York City. Optimizing your website to include keywords in your headings, URLs, Meta-tags, and other on-page elements tells search engines what your site is about and displays it to users looking for that content.

  • Content refers to the information that you put online to engage, educate, and build trust with website visitors. Content should be appropriately built with valuable information and the relevant keywords relating to that info. Common types of content include blogs, social media posts, and infographics.

  • Off-Page SEO refers to optimizations that occur away from your actual website instead of on it. This includes backlink building where external websites link to your site, showing search engines that your website and its content are valuable and trustworthy. The more backlinks you have from high-quality trustworthy sites, the more authority your site has and the more likely you are to rank higher. Local listings are also an imperative part of off-page SEO (more on this later).

  • Technical SEO refers to optimizations made to the backend of your website to improve technical aspects. Websites that are fast, secure, user-friendly, crawlable, and accessible are more likely to rank well on search engines.

Local listings & review platforms

46% of all online searches have local intent. Thus, search results are more often than not tailored to a geo-specific area. With a Google Business profile you can manage how your practice shows up across Google pages like Maps and Search. Since dental clinics typically serve patients within a designated service area a Google Business Page is critical for your potential patients to find you online.

Reasons your dental practice needs a Google Business Page:

  • Allows your clinic to appear on Google Maps

  • Allows your potential patients to contact you directly from your profile

  • Allows you to post updates and important information like clinic hours and FAQ

  • Allows your practice to collect reviews and share them with potential patients

Speaking of reviews, 93% of users say that online reviews have an impact on their buying decisions. When we consider services as sensitive as health care, you can bet that your potential customers are reading about your previous patient's experiences before they make their decision to visit your clinic. Creating profiles on popular review platforms is simple and usually free. We recommend Google, Yelp, and TrustPilot, but the most trusted review platforms can be different depending on where your clinic is located, find out which platforms your target audience relies on, optimize your profiles and do not be afraid to solicit your current patients for reviews.

Referral programs

Referral programs are a fairly new but very effective way to ask your existing patients to share your practice with their friends and family. Moreso than simply asking for recommendations, loyalty programs encourage your patients to recommend your practice by offering incentives such as gifts or discounts when a new patient comes to you from a referral. Before offering incentives, check with your dental authority to ensure that what you are offering is within the set regulations. We recommend gifts such as whitening kits, smart brushes, water flossers, or Amazon gift cards since the cost of these items are typically much lower than the average price of acquisition through other mediums.

Patient acquisition services

Patient acquisition services are becoming more popular for healthcare practitioners who are simply too busy to put the effort required into their marketing strategy. Patient acquisition services will use many of the channels listed above to attract your target audience and send them your way for a per patient or subscription-based fee. These fees will vary greatly based on the business model, required services for patients, and the location of your clinic. It's not uncommon that patients sourced from acquisition services are not profitable on their first visit, but the fees usually only apply once and retaining the patient means you will have the lifetime value of the patient. Read our blog on how to improve your patient retention rates.

snapsmile has connected over 6000 high-quality patients with our awesome network of top-rated dentists in Canada and the USA. Learn how our automations and dashboard have helped our partner clinics generate over $1.2M in new patient revenue, while our recall flow has resulted in 74% patient retention rates by booking a demo with the snapsmile team.

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