Dental Advertising Ideas to Get More Patients

09.25.2019 Cox Media

You’re a dental professional —not an advertising professional, right? So when it comes to brainstorming ways to promote your dental practice, you might be a little unsure about where to start (understandably!). Coming up with a dental advertising plan doesn’t have to be as painful as a root canal…if you work with the right advertising partner to help attract new customers to your practice.

According to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute (HPI), a little more than one-third of Americans visit the dentist every year. That means the majority of the U.S. population is up for grabs. The trick is figuring out how to reach those individuals and let them know about your dental practice.

For starters, plan your advertising around certain popular seasons: According to Dental Economics, the back-to-school season is a popular time of year for visits to the dentist, while spring also tends to be a good time of year to sign up new patients. It’s also worth determining how much you should spend to advertise your practice. The best way to approach this is as a percentage of your practice revenues, although it can depend on whether you’re a new or established practice: Dental Economics suggests that while an established practice can get by on spending roughly 15 percent of revenues for advertising purposes, a new practice might need to spend 20 to 30 percent.

Once the budget is set, the task comes down to finding the right channels to reach prospective patients. Here are some popular advertising channels to consider.

Cable TV Advertising

This option is very effective for dental advertising because of the wide array of networks available. Your local cable company’s advertising division can provide your practice with plenty of demographic data to help you target the right audiences with your TV ads. A family practice, for example, might focus on ads that play during kids’ television programming, including shows on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, or Freeform. Family-friendly programming such as game shows and certain reality TV programs may also be a good option.

If you’re a cosmetic dentist, consider highlighting veneers and other products on channels like E! or Bravo, targeting consumers interested in cosmetic work that will improve their smile. Keep in mind that despite common perceptions, Cable TV is much more affordable than you might expect, and its value can be enhanced by targeting specific zones within your city. This saves you the unnecessary cost of advertising your business to people outside of your target area. Discuss your advertising goals with an ad rep to make sure you choose a product that will help you reach those goals.

(Worried about “cord cutters?” – Check out this short video.)


This option is arguably the most cost-effective form of advertising for your dental clinic. When people conduct searches like “best dentist in my city” or “dentist reviews,” search engine optimization (SEO) can ensure your clinic appears near the top of those search results. If you currently have a poor or nonexistent SEO presence, there are a number of steps you can take to increase your online visibility. Start by creating a website with basic information, including an “About” page and a FAQ page that answers common questions prospective patients might be asking. This can include questions like, “How much does the average cleaning cost?” or “What insurance plans do you accept?”

Blogging and encouraging online reviews are other excellent ways to raise your online visibility and improve your SEO ranking. You can also try to get your business featured in Google’s local pack results. These are local business listings that display for certain relevant searches. A search for “dentists in my area,” for example, will turn up business listings for prominent dental practices in the area. To appear in these rankings, you should claim your Google Business listing, update the information, and make sure your business website emphasizes your local presence.

Video Advertising

Video production creates so many options for advertising your dental clinic, including videos on your website, social media uploads, digital video ads—which are the ads you see before viewing a video on YouTube and online streaming channels—and even TV commercials. You can even set up video to appear in a Google search when someone searches for your dental office online.

As video becomes more popular as a type of advertising, the costs for local businesses have gone down in recent years. Your local cable company might offer services that package production and TV commercials into a single service, making video both affordable and easy. A single TV commercial can also be re-used in a number of different ways, making it one of the more versatile dental advertising ideas you will find.

Digital Advertising

Digital ads are one of the most targeted ways to advertise your dental practice. Using a wide range of demographic, behavioral, and other contextual data to refine audiences and target your most likely prospective patients, digital advertising for your business comes in several different forms:

  • Video advertising: Using the video you’ve already created, you can create short ads that play before someone watches a TV show online, or watches highlights of a recent sporting event in a TV app.
  • Geo-targeting: This digital ad strategy uses mobile devices to deliver mobile ads to consumers based on their location. As a dental practice, you could use geotargeting to only advertise to audiences within two miles or your office. Or you could target ads to people visiting a competitor’s clinic, in hopes of attracting unsatisfied patients away from that practice.
  • Search engine marketing (SEM): Instead of appearing in search results for free, you can cut ahead to the front of the line by paying to appear as a sponsored search result at the top of a page. While this option can be expensive due to increased competition from other dentists, it can be a great way to increase exposure and capture potential leads for new clients. If you’re a new practice seeking to build your reputation, SEM can be a quick way to increase your exposure.
  • Search retargeting: This is a cheaper alternative to paid search advertising, since it only targets individuals who have performed online searches relevant to your business. A cosmetic dentist, for example, could deliver ads to people who have already searched for items like veneers, dentures, dental surgery, and other services. These ads will then follow that user across different websites, increasing your business’s exposure and increasing the chances that they’ll schedule an appointment with your office.

Starting a dental practice and growing your client base depends on good business advertising to spread the word about your services within your community. Use these dental advertising ideas to find new patients and increase your business revenues steadily over time. If you’re not sure where to start, seek out an advertising partner like Cox Media who can work with you to put together a winning advertising strategy for your dental practice.

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