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Patient Prism's Dental Industry Blog

Here you'll find hundreds of articles and video interviews with dental industry experts on the topics of DSO and practice growth, dental software, call-tracking technology, patient experience and artificial intelligence fueling the dental industries ability to treat more patients and change lives.

May 2022--You can get plenty of dental marketing ideas to grow your practice by looking through your patient's eyes.

At some point in your practice’s history, you’ve wondered how to attract new dental patients to your practice. From attending webinars to continuing education courses, you have filled your brain with excellent tactics on how to drive more patients to your practice.

When you walk out of the course, you have a million ideas to grow your patient base at your practice, but you do not know where to start. Not to fear!

Here are some proven ideas that your office can use in its dental marketing strategy.

Table Of Contents

Why Patients Look For a New Dentist

At some point, a patient will be looking for a new dentist. Some of the most common reasons a patient searches for a new dentist include:

A negative experience with a previous office

Patients often will look for a new dentist if they have had a negative experience with a previous dentist. They may have had to wait too long or felt they were treated as a number instead of a person.

These people are motivated to get the dental care they need and will keep looking until they find a dentist with whom they feel comfortable.

New to the area

Patients who have just moved to the area will likely search for a dentist. Can you get their attention before the competition?

Seeking a specialist or specific service

Some patients may seek a specialist or an expert in a specific dental procedure. For example, if their child needs braces, they may call an orthodontist without referrals.

Or they may be interested in dental implants, teeth whitening, or another service that will improve their smile.
No matter what is causing that patient to search for a new dentist, the patient actively seeks a solution to a problem or need.

The operative word here is SEARCH.

While social media marketing, ads, and other methodologies have their place, a patient looking for a new dentist will search for a solution to their problem online.

When setting yourself up for online success, there are several terms that we are going to discuss. Still, they can be broken into two categories: (1) Rankings and (2) Ratings.

Rankings - The Importance of Search Engines in Dental Marketing

Your ranking is the spot where you appear on a search engine results page (SERP). That’s a fancy way of describing all the results displayed after you click “search.”

So, when you go to Google and type in “Dentist Near Me,” what spot do you appear in?

Are you at the very top of your page? If so, congratulations, you’re number one!

Your ranking indicates how likely a dental patient will be to click through your website. In fact, if you are in the top spot, you will likely receive a click-through rate (CTR) of 25-30%. That will decline exponentially as you move to spots two, three, and four.

So, how do you get to that coveted top spot? Here are some tips on your dental practice that can rank number one in a Google search.

Search Engine Optimization for Dental Practices

Search Engine Optimization for Dental PracticesSearch engine optimization for dental practices is an effective way to get more people to find your website. SEO is simply the process of implementing keywords into your website and content to rank higher on the SERP.

The keywords are the terms people type into the search bar in Google, Yahoo, or Bing to find information about a specific topic.

Specific keywords for your dental practice will drive more traffic to your website, which in turn allows you to attract more dental patients. Here are a few dental SEO tips that can help:

Use Google’s Page Speed Analyzer

This is one of SEO’s best-kept secrets. Search engines send out web crawlers called “spiders” to scan your website. These bots look for many things, including usability, speed, and content.

If your website is out-of-date, your website’s rank will take a hit.


Creating content for your website is essential. Ensure you have relevant information about your practice, including up-to-date bios and pictures of your team and various technologies and services you offer.

The more content you create that is relevant and easy to understand, the higher the likelihood you will rank better with search engines.

Technology and Website

So many people are satisfied with their website from years ago. You may have invested several thousand dollars in a great site, but times have changed!

Just as you probably do some home renovations every few years or buy a better, more fuel-efficient car, you should take advantage of new trends in technology and invest in updating your website.

You want to project an image of being current and up-to-date to potential patients. Your website is often the first impression a patient will have of you and your team.

Not only does this create a better user experience and is attractive to new dental patients, but it also helps with your SEO.

All these tips will help as a part of your dental marketing plan to increase new dental patient traffic to your website. However, SEO is not the only thing that impacts your search engine ranking.

Pay-Per-Click Ads to Attract New Dental Patients

One of the best ways to get new dental patients when they search online is via pay-per-click (PPC) search engine ads.

Remember: new dental patients are most likely to click the top one or two results. Paid search ads are one of the best ways to appear at the top and capture those early clicks.

Here is a bit more information on how to know what your dental marketing budget should be for acquiring new patients:


Do not neglect to spend money where it matters. It is important to set the proper dental marketing budget for online marketing. Remember, the lifetime value of a dental patient is literally thousands of dollars.

Is Google My Business Important For Dental Offices?

With the rise in hyper-local search, dental practices must be vigilant to increase their visibility when a potential patient searches for a dentist nearby.

In addition to using SEO best practices on your website, it is crucial that you also make sure all of your social profiles are updated as well. Your hours, URLs, and address should be consistent across Yelp, Facebook, Google, etc.

All of this can impact your ranking. But for now, we will focus on the importance of Google My Business.

By claiming your dental office's Google My Business profile, you can control how your practice is displayed on the search results page.

Google’s algorithm is so intelligent it knows that when a patient searches for a dentist, it should show local results instead of pulling up a Wikipedia page defining what a dentist is.

The same is true if you were to search “coffee shop” or “Italian restaurant.” It will pull up places near you. The number one way for your dental practice to appear at the top of Google searches is to activate your Google My Business profile and manage that.

With the right call tracking software, as we will discuss in a bit, you will be on your way to confirming that new patient appointment.

The Importance of Click-to-Call

In all of your ads, promotions, and marketing for your dental practice, you absolutely must have clear call-to-actions (CTAs). A call-to-action is what makes someone move from a “researcher” to a patient.

Having great SEO, local listings, and a beautiful website is important. Still, if a prospective patient does not have a clear path to set an appointment, you’ve wasted every dollar you spend on all those marketing efforts.

This is the most prominent dental marketing failure. It is crucial to have your phone number listed on every advertisement, your Google My Business listing, and in multiple places on your website.
In fact, on your dental mobile website, your phone number should have a big “Click-to-Call” button right at the top. Google will already add this feature if you include your number on your Google ads.

Including call-tracking software in your dental practice promotion strategy is also essential. You need to know where every caller comes from and whether or not they converted to an appointment.

This will help you better measure your marketing efforts' return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts.

Ratings - Why Your Dental Practice’s Online Reputation Matters

Ratings - Why Your Dental Practice’s Online Reputation MattersOnline reputation management for dental practices is a hot topic. Getting patient ratings should be a critical part of your dental marketing plan. These ratings show up on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook to help solidify that your practice creates an outstanding experience for all patients.

Personal referrals to dental offices are not as powerful as online reviews for the first time in history. In fact, an online review of your practice can solidify whether or not a patient will pick up the phone and call to schedule that appointment.

A recent study shows that 93% of your patients will decide whether or not to go to your practice based on online reviews.

Your ratings can directly influence your ranking. If you have no reviews or poor reviews, the search engine algorithms will first show other practices with better reviews.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Quality over quantity

If you have a bunch of reviews that say “Great Practice,” that’s okay, but quantity does not equal quality. Without getting too in-depth, search engines are smart enough to detect if your online reviews are sincere and the underlying sentiment of the posts.

Encourage your patients to share a bit more about their experience - what did they like most? Was it your team, the ease of scheduling, or how their smile looked after their visit?

These are the things that a potential patient who is researching your practice wants to know.

Keep it consistent

The search engine algorithms tend to show dental practices that regularly get new reviews higher than ones that don’t. That means it’s better to have a few patients review you each week rather than a bunch review you all in one day.

How to overcome a bad review on your dental practice

The best way to overcome a bad review is to have more good ones that outweigh it. There are always bah-humbugs that will publish some nasty remark.

People ask, “Can you delete negative reviews from Google?” and the answer is no.

Instead, you can post a polite reply such as, “We strive to provide excellent patient care and customer service every time. Please call our practice directly so we can address your concern.”

In this case, one bad review will not spoil your dental practice’s online reputation as long as you have happy patients regularly posting happy reviews - pushing down those few negative ones.


Ratings and rankings go hand-in-hand and should be a critical part of your dental marketing strategy. Realize that there are both paid and free dental marketing practices you can put into place to help you increase your new patient volume.

Promotion Ideas to Attract New Dental Patients

Capturing a patient looking for a new dentist is relatively easy. Someone has a clear intent to take action, and you can leverage the search aspects of your dental marketing plan to attract patients searching for a new dentist.

However, thousands of potential patients in your area may not be actively looking for a new dentist.

The question is: how can you promote your dental practice, so these patients switch to your practice? In marketing, we refer to this as an evergreen campaign.

It’s the idea of running ongoing marketing tactics to maintain your brand and potentially capture new patients that were not necessarily looking to make a switch. We will look at online and digital dental marketing techniques and traditional offline methods.

Ideas on How Dentists Can be Found Online

There are countless ways to make sure your dental practice can be found online both before and after a patient conducts a search on Google or one of the other search engines.

Let’s explore some of the top ways you can attract new dental patients through online marketing and answer several common questions dentists have about the best way to get new patients.

Can Dentists Use Online Re-targeting Ads?

Have you ever visited a website, and after you leave that site, you see an advertisement from that company? They are retargeting you.

Without getting into too much technical detail, companies can place a tracking pixel on their website or leverage other customer data they have to target consumers throughout their online journey.

We’ve all had the experience of scrolling through Instagram, and that new pair of shoes we looked at last week pops up.

We wonder, how did they know? The shoe company is using retargeting strategies.

Dental practices can utilize retargeting ads online to maximize their reach in attracting new patients to their practices. These ads can be displayed on news sites, blogs, forums, social media, and more.

The best part is these ads are relatively inexpensive. But don’t forget, it is critical to display clear call-to-actions to get that patient to pick up the phone and call your practice.

What Should Dental Practices Post on Social Media?

Social media is a great platform to post updates on your dental practice. Remember that people buy from people that they like and trust. Just as you may use social media in your personal life to stay connected with people, your dental practice can, too.

Here are some tips on what dental offices should post on their social media accounts:

Keep it personal

People like to be able to relate to you. Did you have a fun holiday party, or are you celebrating a birthday? Post pictures showing that your office is human and you like to have fun.

It gives a sense of community.

Provide Dental Insights

If it is National Dental Assistants week, post something about what a day in the life of an assistant looks like or post fun pictures of your dental assistants. Educate people, but again, keep it personal.

Show happy patients

First, make sure your HIPAA docs are in order and you have the proper photo releases. But after doing that, share your patient stories and testimonials, as appropriate, on your social media channels.

A fun picture of a patient who just finished Invisalign, had a bridge seated, or just had their teeth whitened - these are all great examples!

Expose what non-patients are missing

By highlighting the fun in your office and special perks, you can invoke FOMO (fear of missing out).

This is a great social media tactic that can especially capture the attention of Millennials. They may switch if your practice has cooler amenities and nicer perks than their current dental practice.

Call-to-actions in your office

This is an easy one: make sure your phone number or a tracking phone number is clearly displayed on each of your social media channels.

Also, if you have a custom hashtag or want people to tag your profiles during their visit, ensure your social media information is clearly displayed in the operatories and check-out area.

Ask patients to post pictures on their own social media sites

While it’s great when a patient signs the consent form and gives you permission to share their photo on your practice’s social media sites, it’s even more impactful when they share their picture on their own social media sites.

That’s the best type of word-of-mouth advertising and the quickest way to let their friends, family, and colleagues know how great your team is at customer service and patient care.

Dental practice’s social media posts should be about connecting with their patient population, not trying to sell them. This keeps your practice front of mind and is an excellent marketing source for existing patients.

Does Social Media Advertising Work for Dental Practices?

Posting on your social media channels is free, and your growth is organic. However, you can also do paid social media ads. Paid ads allow you to market to prospective patients.

Unless you provide elective procedures like exclusive teeth whitening, TMJ specialization, or implants, paying for social media advertising is not always as effective as searching might be.

Suppose you’re looking to build your dental practice to focus on some of these things. In that case, social media advertising (paid) can be effective.

For example, adding these in a carousel ad on Facebook or Instagram could be very effective if you offer multiple services. It shows your practice is the one-stop dental office for various needs.

In such cases, paid social ads could encourage patients to switch to your office. If you’re looking for the new family that moved in down the road that is searching for a new dentist, search engine marketing may be a better route.

All-in-all, it is crucial to understand what your goal is for your dental marketing campaigns and target tactics that help you reach your maximum ROI.

Do Traditional Advertising Methods Work for Dentists?

Online advertising, as well as free and organic online promotion, is quickly becoming the primary way in which dentists are advertising. However, there are still some traditional offline mediums that dentists use.

So does traditional advertising work for dental practices? The answer is a clear and resounding… it depends.

Like maintaining social media accounts, most traditional mediums such as radio, print ads, television, and team sponsorships help a dental office market to its new and existing customers and re-instill brand loyalty.

If you look at the marketing funnel, the Awareness section is at the top of the funnel (meaning where new patients first find out about you). Moving down the marketing funnel, you have Consideration. This is where a prospective patient makes the decision to come to your practice.

Most offline marketing techniques generate awareness, which is very important. This could include items like banners on the soccer field or sponsoring an ad in the local high school playbill.

Many people already have a dentist, and seeing an advertisement is not something that is going to prompt them to schedule a new-patient exam and cleaning. Your ad has to appear at the right place and at the right time.

That said, advertisements in print or radio may still make sense in high-end cosmetic procedures or elective specialty cases. Regardless of your medium, you must have a clear call to action.

You need to get patients to call your practice and ensure your team answering the phones knows how to convert that caller into a lifetime patient.

Most Important Marketing Investment for Attracting New Dental Patients

Most Important Marketing Investment for Attracting New Dental PatientsIf you take everything we’ve discussed and implement it, you are headed down the path to growing your dental practice with new patients.

However, once your phone starts ringing, you must ensure your team turns those callers into booked appointments. It’s crucial to ensure everyone in the practice views your phone as a profit center.

As soon as that new prospective patient finds you online or clicks on one of your ads, you want them to call your practice. Congratulations!

They’ve done what you wanted them to; your marketing strategies were effective. Now your team needs to convince the caller they’ve made the right choice by calling you and that you’re ready to help them.

The only way to know if you succeed with your marketing efforts is to implement in-depth call tracking practices to measure the return on investment (ROI).

What is Calling Tracking? Does it Help My Dental Marketing?

Call tracking uses custom numbers that instantly forward to your dental practice or call center. There’s no delay for the caller and no change in how your team member answers the phone.

Sophisticated call tracking services record phone calls and analyze them, so the dental practice owner knows what the caller wanted and if the call ended in a booked appointment.

Patient Prism takes that one step further: it identifies potential new patients who did not book an appointment and emails an alert to the dental practice within minutes with specific coaching tips so a team member can call back that potential patient, address their concerns, and win them back.

It’s a second chance to identify and recapture missed opportunities and provide quick training to your team, so they know how to handle a similar situation the next time it comes up.
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