Jazz Up Your Marketing With Contests

Jackie Ulasewich


If you’re on the lookout for new ways to market your practice without having to invest a ton of time, then contests are the way to go. Contests can let your patients and team members get in on the fun, all while providing exposure for your practice. 

A Hypothetical Example

Say you run a contest on May 31 for National Smile Day. You promote the contest with signage in your office, emails to current patients, and posts on social media, inviting patients to participate. Participation could mean taking a smiling selfie in front of your office and checking in. Or, patients could take selfies of themselves smiling anywhere and post them on one of your social media pages.

These small actions have big payoffs on social media. When your patients enter your contest by posting their photos and tagging your practice, their friends and family see them as well. The idea of a dental practice that values fun just might intrigue these potential patients enough to follow the marketing breadcrumb trail and visit your website, check out your reviews, and, hopefully, contact your office to schedule an appointment. 

Let’s Do This!

Need some ideas to get started? There are plenty of online resources, such as nationaldaycalendar.com, that list daily, weekly, and monthly celebrations—including many that you may be unaware of—that you can use for inspiration. Here are some examples:

  • The second week of June is National Little League Week. This is a great opportunity to promote not only your practice, but also the importance of wearing mouth guards during sports. Have the parents of your pediatric patients share pics of their young athletes (who happen to be flashing their very protected smile) to your practice’s most frequently used social network site.
  • July is National Pet Month. For this contest, you can invite your patients to post a picture of their favorite furry friend—smiling, of course—to your practice’s Facebook page. Your patients will jump at the opportunity to show off their pets, and their friends and family members who are also animal lovers will want to look at all of the other photos on your page.
  • October 5 is World Smile Day. Invite your patients to take a photo with you and maybe some smile props and tag the practice to be entered into the contest.

Don’t Forget the Prizes!

These marketing attempts will go nowhere if you don’t offer the incentive of great prizes. You could offer discounts on highly desired treatments, such as whitening. You could give away a Sonicare toothbrush. Or, you could offer something completely unrelated to dentistry, such as a gift certificate to a major retailer.

Also, small, local businesses often appreciate anyone who is willing to help them grow. You could always use your contest as an opportunity to form a relationship with another business owner who is trying to stay out of the shadows of corporate America. These local business owners may be willing to donate gift certificates in return for the exposure your contest could provide. Whatever you choose, be sure that it’s actually something your patients are interested in. Otherwise, your contest will end before it even starts.

Finally, you don’t need an officially recognized holiday to run a contest. Invent your own reason! Your practice’s anniversary? Perfect! Super Bowl odds? Do it! Arrival date of your office manager’s baby? Yes! There are plenty of occasions to celebrate. It’s up to you to figure out how to make them work for your practice. 

With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. Ulasewich decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of business owners all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at jackie@mydentalagency.com.

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