Everything a New Dentist Needs to Know About Marketing

May 3, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

You’re finally out of dental school and on your own. That means you're on your own in terms of getting new patients, too. To ensure you attract a steady stream of patients and keep them coming back, follow these 10 steps to successful marketing.

  1. Create a marketing plan. Determine what types of patients you want to reach—for example, children, families or seniors—and develop a plan for targeting those customers. Set aside an adequate budget and devote some time each week to marketing your practice.
  2. Start with a website. Every dentist needs a website that makes a great first impression. After all, when people are considering visiting your office, they'll check you out online first. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, since for many patients, the entire dental research process takes place on a smartphone.
  3. Optimize your website for local search. If you want your website to come up on top when people search for dentists in your area, search engine optimization is vital. Use local terms such as the name of your city or neighborhood in your website content, headlines and tags. This will put your website in front of more local prospects.
  4. Team up. Referrals are an easy way to attract new patients. Try partnering with complementary businesses or medical practices, such as a cosmetic surgeon's office that can refer patients to you for teeth whitening.
  5. Get involved. Getting known in the community is key to getting referrals. Attend business and professional networking events to meet other professionals who can send business your way. Join community organizations relevant to your target patient base. For instance, if you specialize in pediatric dentistry, you could get involved in local children's charities or sponsor a Little League team.  
  6. Build your reputation. Get listed on dental or medical review sites, as well as Yelp and Google, and encourage new patients to review your practice. Monitor your reviews to make sure most of them are positive. Respond directly to anyone who posts a negative review, offering to handle the problem or complaint. Lighthouse 360 automatically collects positive reviews and posts them to the most important review sites.
  7. Focus on the family. Moms make most of the decisions about the family’s dental care, so marketing to them is a smart move for any new dentist. Create a Facebook page for your practice and add posts that target mothers of young children — ideally before the child’s first dental visit. It's easy to keep your Facebook presence updated when you use Lighthouse 360; you can add posts and reviews to Facebook right from within the portal.
  8. Create an email newsletter. Ask new patients whether they would like to receive email messages from you. A monthly newsletter with dental hygiene tips, special offers and other helpful information will keep your dental practice top of mind. Lighthouse 360 makes it easy to send patients professional-looking emails.
  9. Automate patient reminders. Keep new patients returning to your practice by automating reminder messages. For instance, Lighthouse 360 can automatically send reminders when patients have an upcoming appointment, when they need to return for the next step in treatment, when they are due for a cleaning or when a last-minute cancellation opens up an appointment for them.
  10. Monitor your results. Keep track of how many patients each marketing method brings in, and regularly review which methods are the most effective for your practice. This will help you maximize every marketing dollar.


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