As with any business, a dental practice must advertise locally to gain new customers and become an active part of the community. Your budget and your long-term business plan -- one, three and even five years down the line -- will dictate the type of local advertising you choose to use to promote your dental services . Advertising locally usually consists of a mix of free and paid advertising. Free advertising comes from your actions and relationships in the community, and paid advertising involves spending money to present yourself and your practice in a specific, planned fashion.
Create brochures and business cards for your dental practice. These are among the simplest forms of print advertising. You not only place them at your front desk for potential new patients to take, but you can hand them out at dental conferences as well as local events.
Set up an exchange partnership with a local orthodontist. Agree to advertise the other practice by placing its brochures and business cards in your practice. In exchange, the orthodontist will do the same.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce and find out about business referral programs in your area. Many non-dental businesses will make available your brochures and business cards -- usually on a “local businesses” information table or display.
Update your existing website with monthly or weekly news about the practice, dental services and the field of dentistry. In addition, offer services through the site such as patient account access that shows upcoming appointments for patient convenience. This type of setup will advertise that you’re not only a modern practice, but that you also care about your patients.
Keep your patients informed about your successes as a dentist. In addition, constantly keep up to date with new technologies and dental practices to reduce attrition and show your patients your dedication to the field and to their dental well-being. If your dental patient is happy with your dental services, she is more likely to tell others about your practice, providing you with word-of-mouth advertising.
Sponsor dental- and health-related local events and programs as well as local non-related events. By sponsoring not only dental and health programs, but also other non-related programs such as youth or adult sports, holiday and other events, your name and practice become associated with community improvement.
Volunteer -- you and your staff -- at least once a month locally. As with sponsorship, volunteering locally will impress community members and will show your desire to help others.
Post advertisements in local print and online newspapers and magazines. In addition, pay for an advertorial in the business section of these publications. An advertorial is a form of advertising crafted to look like a news story, but with input from you on the direction the story should take and the focus of the details such as new services or benefits to patients.
Invest in television and radio advertising during peak viewing or listening times. If a local network or station is presenting information about dentistry or health care, pay to have the advertising presented at the same time.