Marketing for Orthodontists: 4 Tips and Strategies

Marketing for orthodontists can be tricky. About 50-60% of your appointments will probably come from referrals, most likely from your general dentist and pediatric dentist buddies. Even though a patient technically does not need a referral before visiting an orthodontist, they typically wait until receiving some prompting from their general dentist before fixing their smile. […]

Marketing for orthodontists can be tricky. About 50-60% of your appointments will probably come from referrals, most likely from your general dentist and pediatric dentist buddies. Even though a patient technically does not need a referral before visiting an orthodontist, they typically wait until receiving some prompting from their general dentist before fixing their smile. In other words, most orthodontist practices do not get the bulk of their patients by using a direct-to-consumer strategy.

This means you need to get creative with your marketing strategies to get more referrals and reach more patients. You should already have a dental website. Having a strong presence on platforms like Facebook and Instagram is also must. And it doesn’t hurt to have authentic 5-star patient reviews of your practice on Google. But what else can you do? We’ve pinpointed the two aspects of marketing for orthodontists that should be the priorities: increasing brand awareness and boosting community involvement. Below are four strategies you can start implementing right now.

1. Network with other dentists in your area.

One of the best things you can do is form relationships with other dentists in your town. When their patients need to correct an overbite, who will they refer them to? You. To meet other dentists, join local dental associations, and attend dental conferences and events. You can also use Linkedin to connect virtually with other dentists in your city and ask to meet up for a coffee. Establish a genuine connection before asking them to refer you to their patients. This tip works particularly well for orthodontist-only practices. If you’re a pedo-ortho practice, most of your orthodontics patients will naturally flow over from the pediatrics side of your practice. Generally, pediatrics-only offices and family-oriented general dentists will be wary of referring their patients to you because you are a competitor.

2. Create an internal referral system for patients.

Get your current patients on board with recommending your practice to their networks. How do you encourage patients to refer you? By giving them a benefit or reward for doing so. “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want,” wrote motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. Give your braces and Invisalign patients a small gift when they recommend your dental practice to their network. There are a few ways to go about this. First, a handwritten thank you note can go a long way in making patients feel appreciated when they refer you to a friend or family member. Take things a step further by offering a credit or gift voucher that they can use towards their next dental procedure. It doesn’t have to be much. It can be a 5-10% discount deducted from their copay. 

3. Get involved with schools and youth organizations.

Sponsor events at the local middle school to increase brand awareness. At these events, pass out promotional brochures, sugar-free gum, floss, and dentist goodie bags filled with healthy snacks. You can even give out branded t-shirts featuring your dental practice’s logo and slogan on them. When they wear your t-shirt at school, other parents and students will come to be familiar with your brand. You can also offer free hygienic clinics or be the official sponsor for organizations like the YMCA like this Encinitas-based dental practice did. Such a partnership aligns you with trusted and recognizable youth organizations. When a parent is finally ready to fix their kid’s smile, your dental practice will be the one that comes to mind. This tip is especially applicable to pedo-ortho practices.

4. Go viral on TikTok.

Move over Instagram and Facebook. There’s a new kid on the block named Tik Tok. TikTok is a popular video-sharing platform where users can post clips that are typically up to 30 seconds long. You might associate the app with dance videos and angsty 15-year olds, but the social media site can be a game-changer for increasing brand awareness. Thousands of doctors and dentists are already using TikTok to create videos that are educational and entertaining. This is where your target audience—teenagers who need braces—are hanging out online.

For an example of an orthodontist on the platform, check out a few videos by Dr. Enrique Cruz (@orthotricks). Among his viral videos is a timelapse of how braces are placed. A few of his other videos include: “How to restore a tooth,” “Thinking about becoming an orthodontist?” and “Gum Sculpting.” Showing people what you do as an orthodontist connects them with you. Getting started on TikTok is free and easy. Find a trending dance or sound, make a video tailored to orthodontics, and post it! 

Marketing for orthodontists doesn’t have to be stressful. We have a team ready to support you with getting started on promoting your practice. Feel free to contact us directly for advice tailored specifically to your orthodontics practice’s needs.