by Cydney Hatch April 18, 2018

A New Tradition: Digital Marketing For Dentists

Oh traditional dental marketing…whether it’s yellowbook entries, mass mailers, billboards and radio/tv advertisements—traditional dental marketing is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

If you find your practice spending a lot of your marketing budget on the above tactics, you might be throwing money away for the sake of tradition and missing out on some real opportunities.

It’s time to say goodbye to traditional marketing and say hello to the future: digital marketing for dentists!

Today, at least 85 percent of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses  but why does this matter to you if you get successful results from traditional marketing?

Well…instead of hearing your ads on the radio, people are listening to ads on Spotify and Pandora.

Instead of seeing your ad on television, people are seeing ads on Youtube and Instagram.

Instead of seeing your paper ads in physical mailboxes, people are responding to digital emails sent directly to their mobile inboxes.

What does this mean? People aren’t seeing your advertisements because they’re looking for dentists online.

So,  you might be missing out on a lot of opportunities to reach your target audience by holding onto tradition. Digital marketing for dentists is the way your dental practice will succeed moving forward.

In this article, we will learn digital marketing “musts” for dentists!

Digital Marketing for Dentists

Getting down to it, the goal of any marketing is new patients and new revenue.

With traditional marketing strategies, you increase general awareness for your practice but you might not have direct revenue associated with the people you truly want to reach. You might be reaching the masses but you might be wasting money on people who are not actively looking for a dentistry office.

On top of this truth, the success or failure of traditional marketing is a bit difficult to gauge. Digital marketing allows you to track your results and make the most of every dollar you spend.

Why not spend your money on marketing plans you know will work? Don’t waste money on marketing you cannot track, you want to know where your money is being spent and how it’s doing!

A perk of advertising digitally, specifically with Google, for example, is Google Analytic demographics can help you measure meaningful variables like audience demographics, impressions, click through rates, cost per conversion and many other trends over a set of time.

This information can be helpful as you start to formulate your dental marketing plans to see what works and what does not. Traditional marketing has its perks in the early stages of your marketing efforts, but if you want strategies strongly tied to reach and revenue success, digital marketing might be for you!

Paid Digital Advertising

Digital marketing for dentists can be split into three PPC categories: search, social and display.

PPC stands for “pay-per-click”. PPC ads allow you to use advertising platforms to get your content in front of potential patients. Of course, you have to pay for this, but if you do it right, it can be a great way to grow your practice patient audience.

PPC ads are an incredible opportunity to get your practice name out there, particular to patients who might not have found your office before. When building a PPC campaign, you are in control of the messaging and you can track every result of your advertising campaigns. It’s a no brainer approach to online advertising because why not put your money where the results are?

So, if you are wanting to specifically advertise services such as dental implants, teeth whitening or tooth repairs, creating a consistent and well-crafted message is the key to running a successful campaign. To learn more about PPC ads and how to setup a success campaign see my article here.

Paid Search

Search ads, also known as paid search and search engine marketing (SEM), are online ads that appear in search engine results on platforms like Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

So, whenever a person uses a major search engine to look up a certain service, phrase or product search advertisements are the ones that will be appear in the top areas of your Google or Bing search.

For example, if I wanted to look up “help with tooth pain” in Google this would be my result:

This is what the same search would get me on Bing:

As you can see with the blue arrows, paid search advertising is solely focused on intent-based results! You are marketing with the intent to have potential patients purchase or share resources, services or products with them.

So, in the example above, my needs for tooth pain relief could be easily found and easily accessible with products or practices who have paid to advertise digitally. This is a great way to advertise because you’re giving the potential customer services they want! This leads to high conversion rates and value.

So, how do you pay for search advertising?

Paid search advertising uses a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, which means that every time your ad is clicked you pay the search engine for that traffic.

Paid Social

Social advertising or paid social ads are advertisements that appear on social media platforms. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are paid to promote a dental practice through boosted posts, offers and promotions.

Social ads help you target potential patients by personal, professional, demographic and behavioral parameters which allow you to reach the people who are most relevant. An example of this would be a sponsored Facebook post that is used to increase the post’s presence or a Instagram advertisement.

With paid social advertisements, you are able to use effective targeting, call to action buttons, useful tracking and analytics to see fast results in relevant platforms everyone uses daily!

Display Advertising

Display ads are the ad boxes that are on the tops or sides of a website. They can be traditional banner ads or even videos. These types of ads appear on sections reserved for paid advertising and are aimed at generating call to action.

For example, many news websites are full of video ads and clickable banner ads that are even that are much more aggressive, making you watch five seconds of a video before you can get into the content you came for.

Display advertisements are effective as they have a wide spread across millions of websites reached by Google’s Display Networks. These search engines share your ads to websites and apps based on keywords targeting preferences.

Paid Search, Social and Display: The Perfect Combination

Good digital marketing for dentists balances search, social and display ads to maximize your digital efforts. Together, these three PPC channels will bring strong and unique elements to your strategy for a more holistic approach.

Digital Landing Pages

Landing pages are a lot lik  traditional newspaper ad spaces that have specific asks and visuals to draw attention to that specific ask.

Landing pages are web pages that a person is taken to after clicking an ad. Landing pages are separate from your practice website and are designed to only receive ad campaign traffic.

Now, these might be confused with a website homepage ,but do not make the mistake of linking a digital marketing campaign to your website homepage! Your digital landing pages should be specific!

With so much riding on a first impression, make sure you are crafting relevant, direct and clear landing pages to get your desired results from potential patients.

The above example is a great because it is a separate landing page outside of a website that asks for a potential clients information and asks them to schedule an appointment, in other words, a specific call to action.

Your landing pages are designed for one purpose only: results! These results can be making an appointment, getting contact info from potential patients or downloading a piece of content for future leads.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored digital content is a great way to boost practice exposure online. Sponsored content can take many forms:

Native Advertising

Native advertising is paid digital content that is shared on a publication site that aligns with a business’s established style and provides the kind of information that the site’s audience wants. So if you were to advertise your “dental whitening promos” it could appear on Cosmopolitan’s website or another beauty focused publication.

For example, your teeth whitening ad could appear on a beauty publication:

Do Cosmo, Forbes and other sites contain native advertising? Absolutely! You can easily advertise on big websites with dental content relevant to their readers!

Video Ads

Visuals, particularly videos, are the key to marketing success in today’s world. In fact, 25% of Instagram’s advertisements are now in video format with a click through rate of 1.84% (and that number is on the rise). Look around most website advertisements, many have video content!

Generally, video ads have become one of the best ways to grow a practice because people are consistently hungry for content. Videos give them engaging content that you can use to directly market to your potential patients in a concise way.

This video showing dentist, in his office, talking about how long it takes to become a dentist got 55,000+ views!

Like this video above, you too can create content people want to view! A video can be a “How To” video from one of your practice’s dentists, an introduction to your practice services, or testimonial videos from your current patients!

Think outside the box when it comes to your video sponsored ads.

Marketing Analytics

Unfortunately, many dentists forget to put their marketing analytics to work for them. Remember, tracking is one of the biggest perks of digital marketing!

You should track how ads are performing and where their traffic is coming from. This is why analytics is an important part of digital marketing for dentists.

Using marketing analytics, you can examine your audience demographics, impressions, click through rates, cost per conversion and many other trends over a set of time.

Using these insights, analytics and responses allows you to work smarter, not harder. This information helps you tweak future ads and marketing efforts to be better. If something isn’t working, you can change it. If something is working, you can figure out how to continue advancing and promoting that idea—with more money and resources.

So, in comparison to sending out mailers traditionally to peoples’ front doors hoping they see your paper ad or call you, you can track your results with digital advertising.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is when a dental practice will send some type of targeted email to a purchased lead list or a customer list. These emails can be newsletters, promotions or simply an effective way to share medical results with your patients.

Email marketing is the cheapest form of communication for digital marketing for dentists. All you usually have to pay for is some sort of email marketing service like MailChimp, Hubspot or Autopilot HQ.

A great example of how to use email marketing is Denwin Dental. Their practice created an email campaign that reminds patients about their upcoming annual checkups. It also has a clear call to action button patients can use to set up an appointment!

Even after your patient comes in for a cleaning, keep using email marketing—you never know when a patient will refer business your way. Whether it’s a potential patient or a former one, email keeps your practice top-of-mind.


Ever browse through a website, click out the tab and later see ads featuring some of the items you were browsing? If so, you have been remarketed to!

Remarketing has become one of the most digital marketing for dentists tools because it helps people move towards scheduling an appointment with your practice.

Remarketing allows you to track users who have visited your website—without a purchase or action—and shares your ads on other websites. Think of this as the ultimate digital stalking, businesses will stay on your mind and follow you!


Digital marketing for dentists can lead to improved business growth at a surprisingly affordable cost. So, instead of spending money on marketing tactics of the past, why not get a leg up on the things of the future which can show the hard results you desire?

Dive in, setup a digital marketing plan, get creative, build meaningful relationships, and enjoy the digital marketing of today! The opportunities and level for success are endless!

By the way, if you’d like help picking the right digital marketing approach for your dental practice, let me know here or in the comments. I’d love to help!

What is your biggest concern when starting to market for your practice? What have you tried already to alleviate those concerns? Leave your thoughts in the comments as we would love to help!

  • Marketing

  • PPC

Cydney Hatch

Cydney Hatch

Cydney is a polka dot wearing business owner, photographer, cupcake enthusiast and writer, who through her work, shares her personal passions about visual marketing, branding and business strategy.

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