How to get started on an annual Dental Marketing Plan

Step 1- Design your marketing to get attention from the different demographics in your area you want to see.

This seems like common sense, but in all actuality, you need some accurate numbers. There are great services out there that have measured the type of demographics available. Nielsen generally has the most up to date and comprehensive data specific to your zip code.

This needs to be done at least once a year.

Step 2: Create Buyer Personas based on the demographic information you have.

If you’re a family dentist looking for mothers you need to know what areas around you index the highest for people with children in the home and develop a strategy to get their attention.

If you’re trying to sell Invisalign you need to see what areas have a higher concentration of HH Income level over $75,000 and get their attention.

Also, make sure to include new movers in your strategy. These are people that will let their dental care slide until they need it. Capture them early when they just got to the neighborhood.

Step 3: Take that information and make sure your website is designed to capture these people.

Your website can be something for everyone. You must supply content to attract their attention to the parts of your websites those individual patient personas are likely to look at.

This is why making individual landing pages for each demographic and each piece of content are so important. People expect to see content related to your ads. Make sure you don’t direct them to the homepage. This will make them have to look for the content you promised and in these days of on-demand information, they will look elsewhere.

Example: When people come to your site because they saw a blog on a dental savings plan, they probably did a search on not having dental insurance. Your content needs to be informative and not include promotions or sales tactics. They just want information right now. Give it to them and they will begin to trust you. Once that happens they are much more likely to choose you.

Step 4: The 12 week year. Plan Winter in the Summer and Summer in the Winter

Your plan needs to be developed in quarters and each quarter you need to know the speed at which you will be going. Here’s where dentists waste a lot of money on advertising and marketing. There are marketing items like SEO and content marketing that need to be yearlong projects but your targeted and branding promotions need to be strategic.

If you know you’re shutting down between Christmas and New Years I wouldn’t be spending a great deal on radio or direct mail at the beginning of December.

If you were headed out of town with the family for the first few weeks in June, I wouldn’t spend a ton on PPC or display ads in May.

Be strategic in when you deliver messaging.

You also need to have your first quarter plan developed, done and most importantly committed to by the end of September. December for 2nd quarter and so on. That means you probably were able to negotiate the best deals on media and have time to educate your staff on your efforts for the next quarter. You will also be able to evaluate what worked in the previous quarter. This will keep you from making kneejerk decisions month to month. This inconsistency is the biggest problem I see with marketing efforts in dental offices.

Step 5: Purchase the media and evaluate via analytics

You can purchase media on your own but I’m always going to suggest going through a buyer or broker. They have buying power, better media relations, and in most cases a better knowledge of what’s available to bring you the most success with traditional media, online and mobile.

If you do it yourself that’s fine but be sure to incorporate or if you hire a marketing company make sure they incorporate two things:

  1. A call tracking system that measures calls on traditional and online sources.
  2. Google Analytics with custom fields to evaluate online and even direct mail.

If you can’t tell where you are having success it will make it even harder to optimize successes in future quarters.

Step 6: Be consistent and do your best.

Marketing isn’t easy and a lot of business owners beat themselves up over it. How much money do you think Coke and McDonalds spend on advertising just to miss on the wrong targeting or creative. The key is to be consistent. Educate your target population on who you are and what you offer. When they’re finally ready to come to the dentist you will be the first person they think of.

The Bottom Line:

Just get out there and market like you mean it!



Ben Shaver
Lead Strategist & Consultant

Ben Shaver is a dental marketing consultant for Dental Inbound. He works with practices of all sizes.

His main focus is to develop strategies that provide congruency between traditional media sources and new media platforms.

You can email him at