Lackluster Patient Growth? Check Your Dental Message

Dentistry Today


Patients are finding you on the web but are still getting lost. You watch the number of views rise and rise on your website, but that’s not translating into new patients, and your phones just aren’t ringing. Welcome to the frustrating world of digital marketing.

How is it possible for you to rank high on Google but still not convert visitors into patients? You should be overwhelmed with new patient requests. Those people have no idea what they’re missing! But before you go down that path, I have to tell you that it’s not them. It’s you. More specifically, it’s your message.

Your initial dental marketing was good enough to get people interested to click, but those people are fleeing your site before you can deliver your message.

Attraction is just the first step of the process. There are several other steps to consider when building your digital marketing to give you more and better patients. If you’re attracting visitors but not engaging them, nurturing them, and ultimately converting them into patients, it’s a lot like being the dog who caught the car.

Understand the Patient’s Process

Finding the right patient is about presenting the right message, to the right person, at the right time. There are 4 pillars of patient acquisition and retention: attraction, conversion, follow-up, and tracking. This article will focus on what needs to happen once a prospect is on your website.

Relatively few people are ready to make a buying decision on the spot, and that includes choosing a dentist. Once potential patients find you, they need to get to know you, like you, and then trust you enough to handle their dental care. 

This is where your website can thrive, combining a great design with a focused message. Smart dentists use their design and content to push a narrative that will engage prospects until they are ready to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment.

Understand the Patient

Businesses and dentists do not survive by putting themselves first. Everyone agrees with this idea, but dentists violate this rule time and time again.

It’s not as if dentists don’t understand that their success depends on patients. Even so, they waste valuable space on their website talking about themselves and spend too little space addressing the patient’s dental concerns. These dentists have managed to spend a ton of money on something that is cluttered and unfocused. 

The entire structure of your website should focus on the patient experience. What is important to your patients? What are they looking for? Try to make the dental solution the focal point of your content, and mention yourself only when it comes to your unique selling proposition—what you can offer that no one else can. 

Dentistry is complicated, but patients’ needs and wants aren’t. They want to look great. They want to feel great. They don’t want to be in pain. And, they want the work to last. Every single page on your website should focus on these points to move the relationship forward.

Stay on Message 

In the old days of dentistry, a dentist’s entire annual marketing campaign might include a few Yellow Pages ads or a few direct mailers. Then the dentist would sit back and wait for those campaigns to bring in new patients.

Before the age of the internet, that wasn’t a terrible strategy. After all, everyone was on the same playing field. That’s not the case anymore. Your prospective patients have more options than ever before, and they aren’t afraid to look elsewhere.

According to Google, people visit more than 10 online sources before deciding on a place to spend their hard-earned money. You can’t afford to have your message get lost. Staying on message means creating an elite user experience for all of your visitors, regardless of whether they are ready to buy. 

This is where it gets a little tricky. Your website needs to appeal to those who are ready to buy, those who are price hunting, and those who are simply looking for more information. Leave your door open to each of these prospects while maintaining a clear narrative that you understand their concerns and can give them the care they need. 

Design plays a huge role in this. Be sure to populate each web page with content that focuses on patient solutions and calls-to-action. A basic call-to-action includes your phone number or online contact form. You should also plant what I call “alternative engagement” plugs that allow you to keep your name in front of the prospect.

If a prospect isn’t ready to buy right there, don’t give up. Alternative engagement campaigns let you stay in front of potential patients until they are ready to pick up the phone and become a patient. Do this with special opt-in features in which site visitors exchange their contact information for something of value such as a special rate, e-book, or blog. Use that contact information to stay in touch with those prospects.

By consistently engaging your online visitors, you’ll begin to convert more prospects into patients. It’s often a delicate balance, and, of course, conversion is just one fraction of the process.

Attracting new patients, engaging them, converting them, following up with them, and tracking your results is a tall order for any practicing dentist. Compiling all of these things can take a huge chunk of your time. Dentists need to be aware of the latest digital marketing tools and how to craft the ultimate user experience online, but there are experts at your disposal.

I’m a big believer that dentists are at their best when they’re treating patients. If you need help, just ask.  

Mr. Receveur, a nationally recognized dental marketing expert and speaker, is the author of several best-selling books on internet marketing, including the recently released blockbuster The Four Horsemen of Dentistry: Survival Strategies for the Private Dental Practice Under Siege. His company, SmartBox, helps more than 550 dentists on 3 continents get more patients, more profits, and more freedom. Reach him at

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