Is Direct Mail Better Than Facebook Ads For Dentists?

direct mail for dentists


What I love about media is that everything old can become new again.

I have personally been creating and delivering Facebook Ads for dentists for years. Numerous dental practices were excited to try them out. There are stories all over the internet about local businesses having great success with them.
In the beginning, we could say the same. Facebook conversions on ads were significantly higher than other mediums we were using.
Why Online Marketing Is Crucial
Before I go on I would like to say that I’m a big believer in being on top in SEO and Google PPC. The main reason is that people searching on Google are raising their hand that they have an interest in dental services or at least looking for answers to a problem they have. I would always suggest capturing those people first.
I’m also experienced enough to ask: If 50% of people aren’t going to the dentist and 50% claim they already have a dentist then why are their so many online searches? It’s no secret that most online searches start from an offline activity. This is why offline advertising is so important.  As marketers, we need to place our messages in the minds of potential patients as many times as possible. We need to make them think about going to the dentist.
Direct mail accomplishes this better than any other medium. I realize most people feel like it gets thrown away without people looking at it. That’s actually not true. When you do a postcard (especially a creative one) people at least have to look at it to identify if it’s important or not. That takes a few seconds. And sometimes that’s all it takes.
Why Not Facebook?
My feeling on Facebook ads is that people have become a lot better and certainly a lot faster at passing by advertising in a news feed. Facebook and Instagram are great sources for branding but trying to get someone to engage in that split second scroll is now a big challenge.
Facebook also limits what you can say in your ads due to sensitivity. No more “Want to straighten your smile in as little as six months?” It’s more like: “Charlotte residents are turning to Dr. Smith for a great smile!” Not as catchy is it?
Why Direct Mail? 
With direct mail, those limitations just aren’t there like they are online. It’s a great place to be creative and test call actions to see what your community is responding to.
The final difference is targeting. Frankly, I’m done with marketers trying to convince local service businesses that data is what makes marketing effective. How many times have you seen marketing agencies run ads like this: “Our patented patient accelerator system uses data points to find those hard to reach dental patients and deliver them straight to your chair!” “We can find those needles in a haystack!”
If you’re trying to figure out where I am in the car buying process this might be effective. People that need a dentist don’t engage this way. That data isn’t as relevant.
What Should You Do?  
What wins in marketing a service-based local business like dentistry is consistency. People need to see your ad numerous times to remind them of why they need to go to the dentist and why they should choose you.
Consistently doing direct mail keeps you top of mind. When someone does decide to go to the dentist they will remember you and already have a good idea about you. This means they will be looking for your next ad. Just remember: They will come “straight to your chair” when they’re ready.
Several years from now when advertisers don’t see the benefit of Facebook ads anymore it might be a good time to invest there. For now, contact us for a direct mail proposal.

See Direct Mail Examples

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