In this 10-minute read:
- Free ways to advertise your dental practice online
- Free ways to advertise your dental practice in your community
Advertising is important for any small business. It’s how you get your name out there in your community, and ideally, a small business like a local dental practice should put an average of 7-8% of their gross revenue into marketing in order to do well. But when you’re just starting out, this can be a big chunk of your budget, so there have to be some other options, right?
We have some good news. There are plenty of free local advertising ideas that dental practices can utilize. Consider giving some of these a try.
1. Claim your online listings
In order to show up on Google, Bing, or any other search engine when someone is searching for a “dentist near me” online, you need to claim and update your online listings. This is how patients get in contact with you, find directions to your practice, leave you reviews, and learn more about you before picking up the phone.
Without these very important first steps, any online advertising you do will only direct your potential patients to your competitors who are showing up better online. Let’s make sure patients can find you.
Click below for some easy-to-follow tutorials to get you started.
- How to claim your Google My Business listing
- How to claim your Yelp business listing
- How to claim your TripAdvisor listing
2. Get more reviews online
Once you have your main online listings claimed and up to date, the next step is to encourage your patients to leave reviews for your dental practice. Unhappy patients are much more likely to leave your practice a bad review online than happy patients are to leave a good review, so it’s important to stay on top of this.
Learn why it’s okay to have reviews on your listings.
So, in order to get some good reviews, you need to make the ask. Here are a few ways you can invite your patients to give you reviews:
- Provide excellent service, and then ask them for a review. Look for opportunities when they are thanking you or glowing about their pain-free mouth to ask them.
- Place signs in your lobby that say “Review us on Google” with a QR code or short URL to your reviews. Just make sure not to offer any incentives like raffles or gift cards on these signs (or at all). Review platforms do not like paid reviews, and neither do the people searching for your services.
- Try reputation management software. While this option isn’t free, it can be relatively inexpensive and give you invaluable results.
3. Respond to your online reviews
Okay, the next step once you start getting reviews is to respond to them. You should respond to every review your online listings get, whether good or bad. It’s important for potential patients to see that you are responsive and dedicated to solving any issues that might come up with your practice.
Responding to your reviews also sends good signals to Google and other review sites and can positively impact your local search rankings.
For positive reviews, respond with a brief “thank you” and personal touch. For negative reviews, acknowledge the concern and respond with a polite and professional answer.
Read our guide on how to respond to negative reviews.
4. Post your dental clinic on other free listing sites
There are a lot of free listings sites out there, especially for medical-related fields. Take advantage of these opportunities and add your dental practice to as many of these free sites as possible.
The more references to your practice out on the web, the better potential you have to rank in the top searches on Google. Just be sure that every one of these sites has the same business name, address, and phone number (or NAP).
Check out 25 free listings sites every dental practice should be on to get started.
5. Set up a free website
Every business should have a website. With the nature of how patients do research before committing to any particular service provider—especially in the world of healthcare—you want to provide as much information about your practice as possible. And a website will help you accomplish that.
If you don’t already have a website, there are a few free options that we like. (Disclaimer: with hosting and domain fees, these aren’t all completely free but can come pretty close.)
6. Boost your SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a common digital marketing strategy that is necessary for showing up organically on Google–without the use of ads. The techniques involved with SEO help your dental practice show up for relevant search results when someone is looking for a dentist online.
Click here for some free tips for better local search rankings.
7. Keep a blog on your website
A blog is one way that you can boost your SEO and provide some additional value to your patients and others who happen on your website. A blog on your dental practice’s website can be a powerful tool for answering common questions patients might have and sharing helpful tips that everyone should know about dental care.
Here are a few additional ideas for your dental blog:
- Share community events your practice participated in (holiday parades, city trunk-or-treats, 5ks, etc.)
- Write helpful articles like “DIY oral health fads to avoid” or “ways to ease your child’s fear of the dentist”
- Create video tutorials like “how to brush and floss properly” or “what to expect at your first appointment”
8. Guest post on other dental blogs and websites
A good way to improve your online presence and help spread awareness of your brand is to write guest articles on other dental blogs, especially in your local community. Write helpful tips or special insights that you’ve learned in your CE courses.
Bonus tip: When you do a guest post, ask the website editor to provide a link back to your website in your bio or within the article. Links from other websites back to yours help improve your organic search rankings.
9. Get on social media
More and more patients are reaching out to dental practices on social media platforms like Facebook. Social media channels are definitely not as common as Google for finding a dentist, but it’s still another opportunity for you.
Facebook is also considered a powerful listing site that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) should be present on. Include your logo, practice photos, provider photos, and other relevant information so patients can reach out.
More ways to build your social presence:
- Encourage patients to leave recommendations on Facebook
- Encourage patients to “like” your page
- Share your blog posts
- Regularly share content
- Engage with your followers by responding and reacting to their comments
10. Get involved in dental forums
Get involved on sites like Reddit, Quora, and Dentistry Forums. A lot of people like to find answers to their questions in regards to dental health online before seeking out their dentist and paying for services.
Create an account for your practice and answer questions that people have about their oral health. You can even post articles and link relevant content back to information that you’ve provided on your own website.
11. Send out email newsletters
As a dental practice, you likely have some CRM or patient management software that allows you to send emails. As part of retention effort and to remind your patients that you provide value to them, send out a monthly email newsletter.
You can include things like helpful resources, a link to your new blog post, and upcoming events that you will be involved in.
Read these 10 best practices for email marketing.
12. Talk to your local chamber of commerce
Local chambers of commerce are all about helping small businesses in their community succeed. Your practice is a part of that.
Reach out to your local chamber of commerce to get listed on their website and receive promotional materials and marketing advice to learn more about how to succeed in your town.
13. Partner with other local businesses
Create a partnership with other local businesses and help each other succeed. Maybe you and a nearby orthodontist feed each other referrals and work together on promotional materials. Or you could host a workshop or event with a local nutritionist.
Whatever you decide to do, this is a great way to get your name out into the community and network with your business neighbors.
14. Get involved in the community
Beyond partnering with other businesses, you can get involved in the fun events of your community to get to know the residents better—your patients and neighboring community members.
Get involved in holiday events like parades and trunk-or-treats. Hand out toothbrushes, sugar-free gum, flossers, and stickers.
This adds a “human” aspect to the dentist visits that bring up so much anxiety among the majority of the population. It builds trust and shows that your staff is fun to be around.
15. Host an online video Q&A
Take advantage of the powerful capabilities of Facebook live and other live video platforms. Host a question and answer session for your followers and patients. They can comment their questions or drop them off at your office in the weeks leading up to the Q&A.
This helps patients to get to know you better and to see that you really are an experienced dentist that they can trust.
16. Offer free or discounted services
Everyone loves to save a little money. Offer free cleanings or discounted services. Sure, this isn’t totally free for you, but when you consider the lifetime value of a patient, it makes up for that, right?
Do some research first and see what your competitors are offering. Create an offer that is unique to your practice. The word will get out as people tell their friends about your sweet deals.
17. Start a referral program
This is another great way to get your patients to tell their friends and family about your dental practice. Start a referral program where you offer a discount or $50 credit for each new patient that is referred.
18. Make a promotional video
With the power of visuals, take advantage of free resources like Biteable and make a promotional video for your dental practice. This will help show off your practice, and you can share that on all of your social media channels as well as in your email newsletters and on your website.
19. Start a YouTube channel
Create a YouTube channel for your dental practice where you offer additional advice and tips. This is a great place to answer common questions that you receive from your patients every day. Start making a list of the questions that you get and ask a different staff member to do a video each week.
20. Create video testimonials from patients
Use free video resources to create video testimonials of your patients (those who consent to it, of course). Add these videos to your website, online listings, and social media platforms to show potential patients the positive outcomes that your practice has provided.
Testimonials and reviews are powerful influencers that help to sway patients to your practice as they are ready to find a new service provider.
There you go… 20 ways to advertise your dental practice for free!
Give some, or all, of these free advertising tips a try. See what works for your practice and how your business grows as you start implementing some of them.
If you want some help with managing things like your reviews and online listings, you might consider a reputation management solution for a small cost so that you can put more focus on your patients in the office.