Marketing a dental practice isn’t easy. It takes dedication, grit, and (usually) quite a bit of spare change.
But what if I told you that there was a way to market your dental clinic for less than one-tenth of the cost of traditional advertising? You’d probably give me a hug, right?
Now what if I told you there were actually five of those ways? And that, because these are so new and proprietary, you’re probably not even doing a single one right now to grow your dental practice?
I’d say… drinks are on you tonight, doctor.
I use these five marketing tactics every time I get a new dental client for my digital marketing agency, and they usually make my dentists substantially more money than traditional paid advertising.
So find a comfy chair. Settle in. Because what follows is THE definitive list of five clever ways to market your dental clinic for 2020 and beyond.
1. Post Short, Valuable YouTube Videos To Rank For Dentist Keywords In Your City
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: YouTube is the best way to get to the top of Google and related search engines, whether you’re a retail store or a dental practice. It’s the largest search engine on the planet after Google, and with over 5 billion videos watched on YouTube every day, Google heavily prefers to show videos hosted on YouTube more than any other platform.
Here’s the secret sauce:
- The top four ways consumers typically look for dental clinics on search engines are “dentist”, “dental clinic”, “dentists”, and “dental practice”. These are your anchor keywords. You’ll be using them and variations of them in your videos and descriptions, along with the name of your city or subregion.
- Create a short, two minute video on a dental topic of your choosing. Something like “How to Floss for Cleaner Teeth”. Don’t go too heavy on the branding — show the dental clinic and logo at the beginning of the video for a few seconds, and then jump straight into providing value.
- At the end of the video title, add your anchor keyword plus your city or subregion. Try to make it look natural — don’t just stuff keywords. For example, if I’m a dental clinic on Kingsway in Vancouver, my video title is now “How to Floss for Cleaner Teeth — A Kingsway Dentist Story”
- Add as many anchor keyword variations as you can in the description and the tags of the video. Keep your descriptions between 300–500 words, and write as naturally as possible. Include a link to your website. Post the video.
- Do this once per week for 6–8 weeks, each time using different variations of your anchor keywords.
If you follow these steps to the T, over the course of one to two months, Google will begin showing structured snippets of your video at the top of the search results, like this:
But there’s an added benefit.
Over time, you’ll also start showing for related keywords that include words like “how to” and “best dentist”. Since so many people search for these kinds of keywords on a daily basis, you’ll see a significant surge in website traffic.
The increase in website traffic is then read by Google as an indicator that your site is popular and provides value. Since Google’s goal is to always serve relevant and useful content, it will also rank your website higher as a result!
2. Insist On Regular Checkups For Your Patients
The best way to grow your dental practice isn’t actually getting new patients. It’s capitalizing on old ones.
Look, I know oral health is incredibly important. We all do. But whoever came up with the idea of “regular checkups” was a genius. Because when patients hear “it’s time for your regular checkup”, they don’t see it as a suggestion, or a marketing term. They see it as something they must do — same as paying their taxes or getting a haircut. To them, it’s just a fact of life.
This means that a single new patient isn’t just worth $200 or $300 to your practice. Over the course of their lives, a single new patient can be worth up to $24,000. And if you’re not doing everything in your power to get as close to that number as possible, then you’re just shooting you, your practice, and your business partners in the foot.
Here’s how you do it:
- Get yourself an automatic appointment reminder software suite like DoctorBase or SolutionReach. Bonus points if it comes with other administrative functions like billing or health records.
- Read every guide, FAQ, and walkthrough. Learn it inside and out. Become an absolute master at this software, because this will make you the majority of your money.
- Deploy whatever system you choose as soon as possible. If you need to switch systems, and it’s a massive headache to do so, I would still recommend it. I don’t want to tell you how to run your practice, but if you’re not currently employing this, you’re leaving incredible growth on the table.
3. Give Completely Free Electric Toothbrushes To Your Patients
Many dentists just read the headline and thought to themselves “What the hell? Is this guy serious?”
Yep. Absolutely serious. This tactic makes dentists tens of thousands of extra dollars per month. And it kicks in fast.
Remember, a single new dental patient can be worth up to $24,000 to your practice. And there is no better marketing than word of mouth.
A single new electric toothbrush, on the other hand, can cost approximately one hundred dollars (depending on where you live).
The math works like this: if you provide free electric toothbrushes to five patients, one of them will be so ecstatic and happy with the value that you provided them that they will refer one of their family members, friends, or colleagues to you.
I’ve done the numbers. It checks out. Some of your practices will be one in eight. Others will be one in three. But on average, you’re looking at one in five.
If each toothbrush is one hundred dollars, that means you’re spending an additional six hundred dollars per new referral (five hundred dollars for the old patients, one hundred dollars for the new one).
Of course, the new referral will only be worth a few hundred dollars to you for their first appointment. So you’ll be taking a monetary hit to acquire the patient.
But six months later, when they come in for their next regular checkup, you’ll have made a positive ROI. Twelve months later, you’ll have doubled that ROI. And so on, and so on.
Remember, you’re playing the long game. Spending $600 to acquire $24,000 is a no-brainer. Provide incredible value to your patients, and they will provide value back.
4. Rank Quickly On Local Google Listings
If you’re taking advantage of YouTube like I described above, it will also help you rank your dental clinic faster for local SEO (the Google Maps section underneath Ads). In order to take advantage of this, however, you need to complete a few simple tasks.
Steps to Google My Business success:
- Claim your profile if you haven’t already. To do so, navigate to business.google.com/add. Enter the name of your dental clinic. You’ll either get a phone call, a text, or physical mail sent to your dental practice with a code. All you need to do is enter the code and Google will verify you as the owner.
- To rank quickly on Google My Business, include as many anchor keywords as you can (mentioned earlier) in both your business name, your description, your offers, your Google My Business URL, and your posts.
- Fill out every aspect of your profile. Before uploading images, rename them so that instead of “image4938.jpg”, they’re called something like “vancouver-dentist-logo.jpg”. Google reads filenames and you’ll increase the “juice” of your pictures as a result.
- Create regular posts, and upload photos of your clinic and your team on a weekly basis. You don’t need to stick to a strict schedule— instead, find yourself a post scheduling service (like OneUp) and create your posts months in advance. For my dental patients, I stick to a sequence of 30 posts over 90 days, and then I set it to auto-repeat. It takes about two hours to do once and then you’re set for the rest of the year.
- Over time, you’ll see a steady increase in inquiries, calls, and website visits. This will also help rank you for organic SEO, meaning your website will start making its way up the rankings at the bottom of the page as well!
5. Get Five Star Google Reviews ASAP
Every time a new patient comes in for a checkup, ask them for an honest review of your clinic.
Of course, being a dentist, you don’t just want an “honest” review… you want a five star review. But you can’t come right out of the gate and say it, because if Google ever finds out, they’ll ding you big time.
So instead, ask them for an honest review immediately after you’ve given them the free electric toothbrush we mentioned earlier.
It doesn’t have to be “weird” — just ask them if they enjoyed their checkup, and if they can you do a quick favor. Most of the time, they’ll be incredibly happy because of the dazzling new $100 gift in their hands. Then either get them to fill out a Google review right then and there, or tell them you’ll email/text them with a link to do so.
Perhaps one in three patients will leave a review when asked. That’s fine. You’re not going to get everyone. But you don’t need to be — if you see one or two hundred patients per year, that’s an extra fifty to one hundred reviews. Most established dentists don’t even have forty!
Google will see this and rank you higher for local SEO. And prospective patients will see this and be more likely to book an appointment with you, so it’s a win-win all around.
Congratulations! If you’ve diligently followed the five tactics I listed above, you’ll no doubt see a significant increase in business within six to twelve months. It won’t happen right away — nothing great ever does — but so long as you’re consistent and dedicated to growing your dental practice, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I use these techniques on a daily basis to help grow my dental clients’ practices, and I hope you found them as valuable as they do!
In case you didn’t know, I own a marketing company in Vancouver. We help dentists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors market their business.
If you have any questions, go ahead and ask! Don’t be shy. I’m always happy to help and connect with a fellow business owner. And if you found value in this post, clap so other people can read it too!