5 Marketing Practices Most Dentists Get Wrong

Joy Gendusa


As a dentist and a business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You care for your patients, make sure your equipment is up to date, manage your staff, and more. And to keep it all running, you have to market your practice to maintain a steady stream of revenue.

Unfortunately, they don’t teach marketing in dental school! Many dentists have wasted precious time and money on marketing trial and error. But busy dentists like you can minimize marketing waste and efficiently grow your practice by avoiding the 5 most frequent mistakes that dentists make.

Not Marketing Consistently

You miss out on as much as 80% of new patients by not marketing consistently. Everybody needs a dentist, but not everybody needs one right now. One marketing push via direct mail, local TV, radio, or the newspaper might bring in a couple of new patients—the ones who happen to need a new dentist at the exact moment they see your marketing piece! But that’s it.

If you want a steady stream of new patients (and revenue!), you need to market consistently. Do you jump at every advertisement you see? Probably not. Most of us need to hear a message multiple times before deciding to act on it. In fact, 80% of sales only take place after the fifth contact. Market your practice regularly through multiple channels such as direct mail, social media, and pay per click so your name stays on your potential patients’ minds. Then, when they are ready to make an appointment, they call you.

Not Focusing on the Patient

You lose prospective patients by talking about yourself instead of them. This is a tough one, even for the most seasoned marketers. Most dentists use their marketing piece to talk about their education, their experience, and their high-tech equipment. All that is great, but it doesn’t resonate with your prospects.

Don’t tell potential patients the features of your practice. Tell them how they can benefit from them. For example, if you offer digital x-rays, they will get accurate screenings with less radiation. Of if you’re open 7 days a week, they can make appointments anytime they want.

Not Building Trust

You need to build prospective patients’ trust with your marketing. More than most other industries, dentists need to use their marketing to establish trust with their prospects. People don’t want any old stranger poking around in their mouths. They want to know who you are.

Make sure all of your marketing materials include your photo or a photo of your whole staff whenever possible and a short (one or two sentences at most) biography. Don’t talk about your degrees or schooling. The letters after your name do that. Tell prospective patients where you’re from, what your hobbies are, and if you have a family. It creates a sense of familiarity that will make choosing your practice that much easier.

Not Asking for Reviews

You potentially lose up to 88% of patients by not asking for reviews. According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 72% said positive reviews make them trust a business more.

Again, trust is hugely important in choosing a dentist. Your prospective patients aren’t going to trust their dental health to just anyone. One of my dental startup clients made it a point to personally ask every patient for an online review. Within 6 months, he had 57 five-star reviews and was on track to hit $1 million in revenue in his first year.

Not Tracking Properly

You waste marketing dollars by not tracking properly. Do you ask your new patients how they heard about you? I hope so! What do they say? I’ll bet a good many of them say they found you “online.” Without a doubt, some of them do. It happens at my company all the time. People call in and say, “I found you on Google.”

But after 18 years in business, we have a huge database of prospects, and I can’t tell you how many times we’ll find these callers in our database and see that we’ve been sending them postcards for years. A little research shows that an average of 2,400 people Google “PostcardMania” directly every month, which means they heard about us someplace else first. So, yes, maybe those patients did find you on Google. But they likely saw you somewhere else first, and when they did a search for “dentist near me,” they recognized your name.

Your Next Step

That’s how marketing works. If you truly want to know which marketing efforts are generating the best results—which you do, unless you like wasting money—you need to dig a little deeper. Avoid these five mistakes, and you’ll see the effects in your new patient numbers.

If you want to see what other dentists are doing right now to bring in new patients, you can request free dental marketing samples here. We also have more than 30 dental marketing case studies for you to peruse and steal great ideas from for your next campaign.

Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a marketing firm in Clearwater, Fla, that specializes in lead generation. She can be reached at Joy.Gendusa@PostcardMania.com or by calling 855-549-1313.

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