Dental Marketing Isn’t a Laughing Matter (But Maybe it Should Be)

Written by: Xaña Winans


As a dentist, you obviously take the care and well-being of your patients seriously. There’s no doubt they appreciate that. In spite of that, however, have you noticed that the dental practices that run humorous advertising are the ones that seem to rake in all the new patients? You’re not imagining it. Humor in advertising is indeed one of the most effective marketing approaches (just watch the Super Bowl for evidence of that). It may seem contradictory to take dental healthcare lightly, but humor can definitely work when it comes to marketing.

If you take it seriously.

dental marketing


What makes humor an effective marketing option for dentists?

There are three primary reasons you may want to consider adding a little bit of silliness to your messaging.


When something strikes you as funny (even if you don’t laugh out loud), you tend to remember it and replay it in your mind. Granted, a potential dental patient may not smile if they have a toothache at the time, but at least they’ll recall your name!


In a world of serious dental advertising, humor can help you stand out. That’s especially true when you have visuals that make people laugh.

Billboards are a great example of media where you need to catch someone’s eye if you want your ad to get noticed.


With the importance of social media as a part of any dental marketing strategy, maximizing your ROI depends on getting organic reach in addition to your paid Facebook and Instagram ads. Humorous content, even if it is advertising, is likely to be shared by people if it is truly funny. That translates into free additional exposure for your office.


If you want to blend humor into your marketing, make sure it’s the right fit for your established brand image. If your brand is serious or sophisticated, a campaign featuring gags could seem out of place, and even confusing to your audience.

For some dentists, humor comes naturally. They joke around with patients, make them laugh in the chair, and keep appointments lighthearted. For those offices, the brand image is most likely built around the dentist’s personality, or at least complimentary to it. If you’re one of those naturally funny people and you present yourself that way, then, by all means, try a humorous approach to advertising.

Just make sure you do it in the right way and in the right situation.


Humor needs to be used carefully. Sometimes the things that amuse us the most can get too close to the borderlines of good taste. You definitely want to lean away from being offensive in any way. Topics like religion, politics, and stereotypes can easily backfire on you and damage your reputation if there is a lot of backlash directed toward you.

Also consider who you are targeting. Nobody likes to giggle more than kids, so pediatric dentists have the perfect audience for humor. Oral surgeons, on the other hand, should really keep things on the serious side to remain respectable. Most other specialties lie on the spectrum in between, so humor is an option, but would depend on the brand image of the practice as mentioned above.

And, not to point out the obvious, but if you’re going to use humor, it has to actually be funny.

It’s a good idea to test out your material before launching any marketing campaigns that are intended to amuse people to make sure they do just that.


In addition to your external marketing, make sure your internal marketing and office environment also seem fun. I’m not implying that you should slip whoopie cushions onto the waiting room chairs, but keep the office decor bright and lively so people will know they came to the right place. It also helps if you have a team full of people who have the same kind of fun personality as you do.

The more, the merrier!


If you decide to be funny about your dental marketing, be sure to find yourself a reputable marketing agency that knows dentistry and knows how to see it from a humorous perspective. Check some of their past work to get a sense if they have the kind of creativity you’re looking for.

Otherwise you may have people laughing at you instead of with you.


Xaña Winans is the CEO and founder of Golden Proportions Marketing, a dental marketing company dedicated to the growth of dental practices throughout North America. Founded in 2001, her agency provides strategy driven, full service solutions including branding, internal marketing, advertising, and digital marketing.

Goal-driven results are at the heart of everything she creates.

Her passion for constant and never ending improvement led her to develop Smart Market Dental, the first dental marketing software designed to tie individual marketing strategies to resulting patients. The ability to measure marketing ROI in real time holds her agency to a higher standard, driving continuous improvement of their work.

Xaña is a board member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants and lectures nationally on the topic of dental marketing.