One of the biggest pushbacks I get when I consult dental practices about their marketing is HOW they want to market their practice to bring in new patients. Getting a patient’s attention is hard. Getting them to act when you have their attention can be even harder.

I thought I would explain here what I explain to our clients. This will help guide you through what’s important to THE PATIENT as it relates to dental marketing.

Peripheral Marketing

This type of marketing is less direct and seems less like an ad. This is when you promote, sponsor, or have an endorsement that puts the ad on the periphery of life and let it speak for itself. When promoting just your logo, the doctor, or pictures of your office you’re doing more peripheral marketing.

Generally speaking, your call to actions are less direct: “friendly staff,” “convenient hours,” “located by the mall.”

Your goal with peripheral marketing is to be consistent with your messaging and keep your message in front of people until they are ready to choose a dentist.

This is the type of marketing most dentists prefer, but in all actuality, you have to be well branded for this type of marketing to be effective. You should also expect your patient acquisition cost to be 30-40% higher since people have to see this type of advertising several more times before they will take action.

If you are well known in your area this could be a very effective way to advertise. In other words in the game of gaining attention, this won’t help you get it but it will help you keep it.

Target Marketing

This approach to your dental marketing will include more targeted ads. Targeted ads tend to try harder at getting a response from a potential patient. This is where you advertise benefits, features, and price.


You have such a limited time to catch a potential new patients attention so knowing what they want is important. If they come into your office what’s the benefit to them? Saying “a healthy smile” probably isn’t going to make them pick up the phone or send in an appointment request. Think about THEM. “Your smile is the first thing people notice.” Play on their societal concerns. “Get that fresh mouth feeling” makes them feel like maybe their mouth isn’t fresh. Nobody wants that. Play around with this and find what works for your potential new patients.


This is where you can put in what your office has to offer. Early morning hours for busy moms. Sedation services. Laser treatments. Same day crowns. Be careful not to overload an ad with too many features. Think of your audience and pick the top three. They will get the point.


In today’s society, this has become the norm. People have been trained to think about cost. The 50% of people not going to the dentist have numerous reasons but the price can be a big deterrent when the average person has no idea what that patient exam is going to cost. Go ahead and do the $99 new patient exam, the free whitening, the $100 of $500 for treatment. They will appreciate it.

The biggest takeaway from this is to not be scared about what you’re marketing or HOW you are doing it, but that your messaging is effective in bringing in new patients. Some practices will have to be vigilant with targeted marketing. Some can get away with just a peripheral campaign. Most will need a solid strategy that includes both.

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