Dental Marketing: Radio Ads Lead to More New Patients

Belvedere Tiburon, California   January 12, 2009   Business News
(PRLEAP.COM) Dental marketing can take many forms, and each dentist has to decide how (or if) they want to advertise. Slightly less than half of responding dentists (41%) advertise on broadcast media, found a poll by The Wealthy Dentist. The remaining 59% do not utilize TV or radio advertising to reach more new patients.

Of those dental practices that do run television and/or radio ads, half say they get excellent results. "Even when radio seems to be failing for some, we have continued our success," boasted one dentist.

Dentists in rural areas are far more likely than their urban counterparts to run broadcast ads. They often find that radio and TV allow them to reach dental patients in a large geographical area. "We advertise on radio for sedation dentistry and complex dental services. People drive well over one hundred miles, or as far out as they receive the radio's signal," raved a California dentist.

Dentists don't always realize how far patients are willing to travel for dental treatment. "I have had a few patients who have travelled 150 miles one way to come to my office," said a suburban orthodontist.

Radio advertising can be a particularly effective form of dental patient marketing. "Talk radio is the only way to go!" advised a South Carolina dentist.

However, too much advertising can actually be counter-productive. "I do the I Hate CPAP campaign [for sleep apnea patients]," said an Illinois dentist. "It works best if I do two weeks, then switch to another station. I'll return a month later and periodically do one week of ads. Continual repetition on the same channel seems to make you invisible."

Some are not certain the marketing expense would lead to a good return on investment. "If I could afford broadcast media ads in Southern California, I really wouldn't need to use them anyway," scoffed a California dentist.

Dental practice marketing has changed a great deal in recent decades. Some doctors long for the days when dental practices didn't need to market themselves. "It cheapens the profession," complained a general dentist. "When was the last time you heard a cardiologist or a neurosurgeon advertise?"

"There's no law forcing dentists to advertise," said Jim Du Molin, dental management consultant and founder of The Wealthy Dentist. "But when everyone else in the marketplace is marketing for new patients, it's hard for a dental office to maintain a steady income without some sort of marketing plan."

Du Molin invites readers to visit his blog and comment on this survey.
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Julia Frey
The Wealthy Dentist
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