If you’re looking for ways to market your orthodontic practice, Look no further. I’ll share with you creative marketing tips on how to create a profitable and future-proof orthodontic brand.
By the end of reading this article, you’ll know why and how to market your orthodontic practice. Not only that, but I’ll share with you what are branding strategies and how they boost your marketing effort for maximum profitability.
This article covers:
- The dire need for marketing in orthodontics.
- Why most orthodontic marketing fails (and how to mitigate the risk).
- Orthodontic office marketing ideas.
- Using brand voice and social media.
- Using Storytelling and content marketing.
- Ridiculously cheap digital advertising platforms.
- The secret to marketing your orthodontic practice.
The risk of not being seen in the dental industry
With the ever-increasing competition from Primary Care Dentists (PCDs) and the rise of DIY dentistry, there’s high pressure on orthodontists to run profitable medical businesses.
In today’s age of accelerated change, depending on referrals from PCDs alone is insufficient. General practitioners are relying on DIY products (Invisalign, anterior braces, or myofunctional appliances) to treat their patients.
Furthermore, the explosion of Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) adds insult to the injury. DSOs often encourage its general practitioners to treat their patients using Products like Six-Months Smile or Smile Direct club, (a mail-order of DIY treatment) and the thought of referring to an orthodontic specialist outside the corporation for comprehensive brackets and wires is discouraged.
This results in PCDs overprescribing Invisalign and orthodontists feel pressure to agree to Invisalign treatment out of fear of losing the patient to the PCD.
As an orthodontist, you must increase awareness of the differences between what value you provide and what is being advertised by these companies. You need to educate and communicate with patients directly rather than relying on the referral chain.
And what better way to communicate your values than marketing? Well, marketing works. It increases your “sphere of influence” and attracts new patients to you. It can educate your patients on what you have to offer and why they should choose you over others.
However, orthodontic marketing often falls flat. Let’s explore why some marketing efforts fail and how you can mitigate that risk.
This is why most orthodontic marketing efforts fail
Marketing without branding is an accumulation of tactics that comes with an expiration date.
Most practices over-invest in marketing without building their brand. They focus on acquiring new patients rather than retaining current patients.
The problem is that acquiring a new customer is 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Dental businesses are focusing on the more expensive ways to generate cash flow.
Patient acquisition is essential, however, acquisition alone is not predictable and not profitable in the long run. You need to shift the focus from acquiring new patients to nurturing relationships with would-be patients.
And to retain and build a cult-like-loyalty for your practice, you need to build a charismatic brand.
Brand building is the management of all components that make a brand for which patients believe there’s no substitute.
Branding your dental practice is all about sending trust signals to your patient. This “trust-creation” is the ultimate shortcut to influence buying-decision. We make our decision based on trust and our confidence in the brand.
This is not to say that marketing is not important. Just that marketing is more sizable, more profitable, and more dependable when you focus on long term relationships of building your brand instead of short-term revenues.
If you want a deep dive into the unmatched advantages of building your medical brand, check our article on branding in healthcare
Orthodontic marketing ideas
To illustrate how branding strategies can empower your marketing effort, I’ll share with you marketing ideas combined with branding.
Leverage Social Media (I know. But hear me out…)
Worry not, this is not your run-of-the-mill “be on social media” type of advice. I’ll share with you creative ways you can supercharge your social media presence.
Social media can be a great channel for two-way communications. You can engage with potential patients, increase your authority, and expand your presence.
The trap most orthodontic practices fall into when using social media is that it is more of a “nice to have” rather than a strategy to increase patient volume to the practice.
If you check some of the orthodontic-related Facebook pages or Instagram, you’ll encounter dull “update” messages or the yawn-inducing posts that nobody is willing to react to.
Would-be patients who are in social media are there to have fun. If your posts are bland or medical jargon to them, they won’t follow or engage with you online.
So how do you combat this issue?
Well, a great way to make your posts enjoyable and secure maximum patient engagement with your social pages, is to use a technique called Brand Voice.
Skyrocket your social media followers Using Brand Voice
The digital landscape is crowded. It’s filled with chatter from brands and individuals alike. You can only stand out so much based on your visual content, logo, or care services alone. Your written content needs the same attention and consistency you give to the other elements of your brand presence.
A Brand voice is an individual style, tone, and language behind all of a brand’s communication and messaging. It’s a unique way that you communicate who you are, what you do, and who you serve.
The tone of voice should reflect your medical brand’s personality and should be appealing to your target patient.
Brand Voice Development Process
To define a brand voice for your social media posts, we’ll use two creative branding exercises: Brand voice and Brand Tone Projection
1) Brand Voice
Using the Brand Voice Template, plot down the manner in which your brand should speak.
Is your brand’s voice formal or playful? Serious or authoritative? Your communication should be consistent throughout all social media pages.
You can access the Brand Voice template here
2) Brand Tone Projection
To solidify the voice of your brand, we’ll use Tone Projection exercise to drill down on the tone you chose for the brand.
We’ll project the voice of the brand across 4 dimension of speaking: humor, formality, respectfulness and enthusiasm.
The goal of this exercise is to answer the following questions
- How humorous your communication on social media will be
- How formal is your brand when talking
- Level of respectfulness infused in the speaking manner, and;
- How enthusiastically the voice should be
The formula for this exercise is as follows:
We’re _______ But We’re Not ________.
Here’s an example of Tone Projection
You can access the tone projection template here
Here’s a simplified description of what a brand voice will look like
After defining a brand voice for your brand or social page, you can then add a dash of personality to your posts using a unique way of communicating.
Examples of a dazzling Brand Voices in social media
#Fridababy, providing parents tools they need to easily care for their babies.
Their voice in social media is frisky, humorous, and unsolicited
#The Joint Chiropractic, providing convenient and affordable chiropractic care and solutions for back pain, neck pain, and more…
Their voice in social media is relaxed, casual, and uplifting
Their Brand Voice is consistent in their Facebook page
#One medical, membership-based primary care practice on a mission to make getting quality care more accessible, and enjoyable.
Their voice in social media is caring, warm, and thoughtful
Share your practice’s culture on, social media
Sharing your practice’s culture and work environment in social media adds transparency and builds rapport between you and your potential patients. It’s a great way to attract patients without being too sales-y.
Tulsa Braces regularly share pictures of their team on Facebook as a way of introducing themselves to patients
Utilize Brand Storytelling Strategy with content marketing
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and retain an audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable patient action.
Content marketing can be in the form of creating blog articles, YouTube videos, social media posts, mail newsletters, booklets, or handing out informational brochures.
The goal here is to educate patients and build authority for your medical brand using various marketing channels, which leads to increased exposure for your practice and increased awareness.
First, We’ll go into different content marketing channels, and then we’ll see how we can integrate a Brand Storytelling for greater results.
Create educational blog for your medical practice
Considering 83% of adult internet users search online for health information, creating a blog where you share tips and tricks to maintain oral hygiene can be a competitive edge for your business.
#~First, it attracts potential patients to your website, which can lead to them booking an appointment with you.
#~Second, building authentic healthcare blog posts are a powerful way of demonstrating knowledge and building trust as an expert.
#~Third, It develops relationships with potential and existing patients before even meeting you.
Here’s an example of topics and orthodontic blog posts:
Iorthosd, San Diego-based Orthodontic Practice blog
Another great example is Dr. Charles Gemmi from Orthodontics Limited, He regularly writes about all things orthodontic.
As a result, His practice website, gain massive amounts of traffic each month from Google.
That’s roughly 113,000 monthly visitors and potential patients.
Create engaging videos
Videos are huge, and by now you might already know it. Many medical brands are already using YouTube as a channel for their branding efforts to attract patients.
Be it How-to Videos, Flossing tutorial, or orthodontic-focused videos, content marketing has never been the same again with video.
Video is a great way to narrate stories, persuade would-be patients, impress your local community, and take your medical business to the next level.
Here’s an example of how Nance Orthodontic is using YouTube:
How to use Brand Storytelling with your content marketing
Now you have an idea of what and how content marketing can attract patients to your practice, let’s go over how to supercharge your marketing efforts using storytelling.
Brand Storytelling means using a narrative to communicate a message. The aim is to make your target patients feel something – enough that it’ll inspire them to take action.
To use the storytelling strategy, you need to define two key components: Core Message and Secondary messages.
Put simply, a Core Message is the main message you want your patient to know about your practice or about your marketing campaign.
Secondary Messages are the Core Message but dissected to pieces.
You want to take a big idea or message and chop it off into smaller messages that you can make stories out of.
A Core Message for a campaign targeted towards mothers-to-be can be the following:
“Shape your own birth experience”
This message carries multiple ideas, such:
- Empowerment of pregnant women
- Personalized birth experience
- Staying in charge and be in the know of your situation
You then take these secondary messages and make marketing campaigns for each one of them.
A visualized version of this will look like this:
This is the power of storytelling, it—asynchronously— feeds your potential patients with small sets of stories that make up your bigger core message.
Online paid advertising for your orthodontic practice
Digital advertising is not only more effective than traditional advertising, but it’s ridiculously cheaper. Today’s patients are on social media, surfing the internet for dental advice, and looking at dentist reviews to book appointments.
And in this section, we’ll go into 2 profitable advertising platforms for your practice to start acquiring more patients almost instantly.
1) Google AdWords
Imagine someone searching for “Orthodontist near me” or a similar search, and your website booking page appears on the top results along with directions to your office?
That’s exactly what Google Adwords is for.
It’s an auction-based platform where advertisers bid on their website to appear #1 in the search result. And when someone clicks on your website, you pay some amount of $ for that click.
The good news is that it’s cheap compared to other means of advertising. For example, if you offer braces dental service for $3500 per patient. And you spend $500 a month on Google Adwords to get 2 patients, your profit will be $6500, that’s 1300% ROI.
Alpan Orthodontics, A California-based orthodontic practice, is using Google Adwords to acquire more patients.
2) Facebook Ads
Facebook advertising is an important way to connect with your patients on the world’s largest social network.
You create a Facebook post and then promote it using Facebook’s Advertising Platform. That post can be a link or a picture that leads to your website where patients can book an appointment with you.
Unlike Google AdWords, Facebook helps users find businesses based on the things they’re interested in and how they behave online.
When it comes to the difference between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, you can think of it this way: Adwords helps you find new patients, while Facebook helps new patients find you.
Example of orthodontic Facebook ads
The “secret” to orthodontic marketing
Your marketing efforts are as good as the brand behind it. If you have an orthodontic brand that is differentiated, purpose-driven, and unique, your marketing will have double the effect.
Taking time to develop a differentiator for your practice and cultivating a brand is critical before marketing. You don’t want to market a soulless brand. Marketing should be empowered by your branding not weakened by it.
If you’d like to go deep into how to strategically put that into practice, check our free healthcare branding series .
Or if you’d like help building your orthodontic brand, Say hello to us and we’ll gladly help.