3 Reasons Why Your Dental Practice Should Pivot to Digital Marketing

Pivot – that word has been used a lot in 2020, but we’re not talking about maneuvering a couch up your apartment complex’s stairs with Friends! We’re talking about pivoting your marketing strategy for your dental practice to include digital marketing.

So, why should you shift away from your traditional dental marketing to include more digital plays?


Gone are the days of relying on Yellow Pages ads and billboard displays. Up to 85% of consumers rely on the internet, whether through a Google Business listing or a social media page, to find a local business. Can you remember the last time you used a phone book for something other than a handy paperweight?

Radio advertising can be cost-prohibitive due to an overcrowded ad space, unless your ad really stands out. Then, when you consider the high percentage of people streaming music on their smart devices, they probably aren’t hearing mainstream radio ads anyway.

As for direct mail, you can miss an entire younger demographic who live online or only check their mailboxes once a month to recycle their “junk” mail.

Digital marketing is the new age billboard. Digital ads stream 24/7 at a lower cost investment than most traditional marketing approaches. The benefits of digital advertising stand out immediately:

  • Larger audience reach.
  • Targeted messaging to specific demographics.
  • Easily change your messaging on the fly to improve audience response and engagement rates.


There are many types of digital campaign strategies, so you’ll have to determine which one is right for your business. The most common digital strategies are:

  • Pay-per-click ads – position your business on search engines and business directories where people are actively searching for your services
  • Display ads – create awareness when people visit local news websites, streaming services, etc.
  • Targeted/re-targeted social media marketing – share useful information and stay front-of-mind in social timelines and news feeds
  • Automated marketing / Email marketing – share relevant reminders and information with patients who haven’t visited your practice in awhile or who are inactive

Let’s test a digital ad strategy out with a real-life scenario!

There is a family in the town next to yours (or in the same city) that is frustrated with the care or experience they’re receiving at their current dental office. They’ve been thinking about switching to a new provider for a while now and may have done some preliminary searching online. Thanks to things like browser cookies and search history, your ads will now start to target them! There is a good chance they’ve never heard of you before seeing your ad, but thanks to the specific targeting parameters you used, they’ll start seeing your name appear on their social feeds.

After seeing your ad(s) peppered throughout their timelines, they might pick up the phone or create an appointment online at YOUR practice instead!

Pretty cool, right?

How Much Does Digital Advertising Cost?

By now, I’m sure you’re now curious about the cost of an ad like the one in the example. The good news is that you create your own budget! That budget will help determine when and how often your ad shows up. You can get an analytic breakdown on your social or search engine ads to show how much you’re paying per person who has interacted with your ad – known as cost per click.

It will also show you how often your ad has been viewed in a feed – aka the number of impressions. Your cost-effectiveness will rely on how well you rank on specific search phrases as well as how targeted you make your ad campaign. Once your budget is used up, the ads stop rolling until you replenish your budget.

If this all sounds a little confusing, it’s okay, because digital marketing is a brave new frontier!

There are plenty of marketing specialists and social media experts you can hire that will help you with all your planning and execution. They will ensure you are using your budget appropriately by targeting the right markets with the right messaging at the right time.


Digital Marketing Produces Fast Returns

The best part about digital advertising is that you can see in real time how effective your advertising dollars are being used, or ROI. Sure, traditional channels such as radio, television, and local newspapers create awareness about your practice, but you will likely not experience an immediate revenue boost.

You’re investing a large percentage of your marketing dollars when it’s likely only a few people are searching for a dentist at the moment your ad hits the airwaves. Traditional marketing is great for establishing brand awareness, but incorporating digital marketing will create sustained awareness.

Sustained awareness will lead to more patients, which means more revenue for you.

Digital Marketing is Relevant

Offline advertising can have a short shelf-life. Imagine investing a substantial percentage of your budget in a campaign to discover that your narrative is outdated before it’s even delivered.

Change happens fast in today’s culture, and the pace of change is often unpredictable. A digital marketing strategy is customizable, so you can pivot your tactics when necessary to make sure your campaign is evergreen and relevant. This adaptability gives you a huge advantage when targeting your campaigns.

Traditional advertising also has a very broad reach, but it isn’t as targeted as digital marketing can be. Running a radio or TV ad for your dental practice will reach a number of different demographics each time, such as:

  • Non-patients who aren’t even looking for a dentist.
  • Non-patients who might be looking for a dentist.
  • Those who are already current patients of yours.
  • Those who are satisfied with their current dentist.
  • Inactive patients who haven’t scheduled in your office in a while.

Digital Marketing Creates and Nurtures Relationships

People have dentistry on their minds routinely in some form or another. They could be thinking about a toothache while brushing or be reminded that they want whiter or straighter teeth.

Whatever their dental issue is, they will almost reflexively search online for a related answer to their question or a solution for their problem.

Employing a digital marketing strategy allows you to be a front-runner to help solve their problem.

Organic, targeted online content also gives you an advantage. When people search using questions about a particular issue, your website/blog content (if it’s adequately crafted) will appear in their search feed.

The more frequently you publish content, along with the relevancy and quality of your content, the better your organic digital strategy will be. That’s the power of digital content!

Not sure where to start with a blog or original content for your website? Try some of these examples:

  • Publish content that answers the questions and solves the problems online searchers are looking for.
  • Attach value to your content using a relevant promotion or a resource (i.e. an ebook, etc) that further helps them with answers and solutions.
  • Link your content within your email communications and on your social media channels.
  • Nurture the relationships built around your content with consistent “touches” that help you stay connected (i.e. automated email, social media posts, surveys, etc).

Digital marketing has the staying power that many traditional marketing approaches do not. It’s a pivot that can and will increase your ROI.

If you are interested in more dental marketing strategies, you can check out our list of key strategies that you can use to help with your dental marketing.


Check out these related resources to generate ideas and create a dental marketing strategy for your practice:

How to Get More Patients in Your Dental Office (And Create Long-Term Loyalty)

The Best Dental Marketing Tactics and Strategy

Key Strategies to Jump-Start Your Dental Marketing

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to magical patient experience.




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