Decades ago, dental marketing was simple but inefficient. You didn’t have many options. You promoted on radio, TV, through flyers, and in the phone book. Your patients referred family and friends to you. And some practices did local networking and sponsorships to build brand recognition. When you decided to market your practice, it could be weeks or months before they went live, from planning, recording or printing, and mailing.

Today, social media has helped make dental marketing much more efficient and effective. You can have an ad live in minutes that’s laser-focused on a specific group of people. Your phone could ring with a new patient the same day you decide to start promoting your practice.

While the speed and specificity with which you can promote your practice today is helpful, it’s also not without drawbacks. You can waste a lot of money if you start marketing without thinking things through. Here are four decisions to make before launching a dental marketing campaign.

Choose your target patient.

Are you looking for high-value patients, like crown patients or dental implant patients? Are you looking for general dentistry patients? Or maybe you're looking to attract emergency care patients.

Each type of patient has different needs, concerns, and desires. And each of them chooses their dentist in different ways. Before you launch a dental marketing campaign, you need to know who you want to attract. Otherwise, you won’t know where and how to market.

Choose your message.

Once you know your target audience, the next decision to make involves your messaging. Because you already know your target patient, choosing your message will be easier.

If you’re working with a marketing partner, talk with them about your practice and target patient. Ask them what your target patient is looking for. Describe what makes your practice a good fit for that patient.

Choose your offer.

The best marketing campaigns include an offer at the end. For some practices, this includes a discounted exam, although that’s not often a great idea if you’re looking to attract high-end patients. Other practices offer free consultations, virtual meetings, or additional free services like teeth whitening as an incentive for people to come to your practice.

What’s important here is that your offer matches the buying habits of your target patient. A high-end patient likely won’t be moved by a discounted exam. They might be moved by an additional service, though.

The best offers attract the right patients and push the wrong patients away. For example, if you offer a free tablet to new patients, everyone will want that. You’ll attract people who are poor fits over the longterm. But if you offer a free virtual consultation to determine whether someone’s a candidate for Invisalign, only people who are considering Invisalign will take you up on the offer. 

Choose your budget.

You know who you’re targeting. You know your message. And you know your offer. Now it’s time to choose your budget.

When it comes to dental marketing, choosing a budget without the help of a marketing partner can be a challenge. For some practices, attracting new general care patients can be done for as little as $500 per month by strategically boosting Facebook posts to people in your community. For high-value patients, such as dental implant patients, the types of campaigns that can attract a steady stream of patients require a higher budget.

If you’re unsure, reach out to a dental marketing partner who has experience attracting the types of patients you’re looking to attract. Talk with them about your goals. Ask them what they recommend.

If you’re not working with a marketing partner, dedicate some time to test your campaign. Adjust elements of it, along with your budget until you find a sweet spot.

What’s your best tip for planning dental marketing campaigns?

Have you used social media marketing to grow your dental practice? If so, what’s your best tip for planning and launching a campaign?

Let us know by continuing the conversation in the Trapped in an Op and Dental Hub 360 Facebook groups!