Dental Marketing Guide: Promoting In-Office Teeth Whitening
Your practice has invested in teeth whitening technology, but now you need to determine how to engage patients to purchase this treatment. Fortunately, teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic treatment options, with the market revenue for professional teeth whitening (in-office) expected to increase by over 28 percent by 2025. In order to most effectively engage, educate and sell whitening treatments to potential patients, though, you should build out a strong marketing plan that includes multiple tactics and touchpoints.
Read on to discover how your practice can create a successful marketing plan for promoting its in-office teeth whitening treatment option.
Plan for Marketing Success
To positively market teeth whitening to your patients, you should set the groundwork for a comprehensive approach. This starts with documenting goals that align with your practice’s growth objectives.
Knowing how you want to market your in-office teeth whitening services comes from understanding what you want to achieve. Each practice will have some shared goals—like ultimately looking to improve revenue—but there may also be additional goals that need to be identified and accounted for in your marketing strategy.
These might include determining:
- How many existing patients do you want to sell whitening to?
- How many new patients do you want to engage with your whitening treatment offering?
- Are you looking to use whitening as a starting point to engage long-term new patients?
- Which product offering fits best into your practice (e.g., manual vs. automated) and why?
- What timeframe are you hoping to achieve a return on investment from this technology?
Setting your practice’s goals first and foremost will help drive every other step of your marketing strategy.
Identify Target Audiences
Take the time to evaluate your current patient base to determine who may benefit most from whitening treatments, then directly reach out to them accordingly. This can be through targeted emails, direct mail or even face-to-face during the patient’s next appointment.
You can also incorporate a seasonality approach or hold events when targeting customers. Consider focusing on messaging that aligns with specific times of year, including popular wedding months. By accurately hitting these target timeframes, people may be more motivated to invest in whitening.
Curate Your Messaging Points
When marketing your treatment, make sure to focus on the overarching benefits of professional teeth whitening, including:
- Enhanced smile and overall appearance
- Improved confidence
- Long-lasting results
It’s important to also showcase your practice’s specific technology. Not all whitening options are the same, so what sets your treatment apart from the rest? Why is in-office whitening better than at-home options? Does one treatment reduce patient sensitivity over the other? Make sure you educate your patients on why an investment in your practice’s whitening treatment will help achieve the experience and long-term benefits they are seeking.
Audit Existing Marketing Materials
Evaluate your printed and digital marketing materials to see what you're promoting and where you’re promoting it. Is your practice actively using social media? Are you marketing your services on your practice’s website? Do you have pamphlets or flyers designed to educate patients on teeth whitening? Are your current assets updated with the latest information?
By reviewing your current marketing approach, you can see where gaps and opportunities exist to better market your teeth whitening treatment. You’ll then have a better path forward for integrating your teeth whitening services by seeing which marketing methods have effectively resonated with patients in the past.
You’ll also want to take before-and-after images of several patients you have treated; patients are going to be more trusting of your service offerings when they can see real results that your practice has achieved. You can even consider having some of your own practice employees experience the treatment so that they can provide a firsthand look at possible results to patients. Give them talking points that they can share with patients during visits to showcase their results and describe their experiences. Set talking points will help ensure that your practice’s message remains consistent when discussing this treatment.
Set a Budget
Actively promoting your in-office whitening treatment can speed up the return on your investment. Sit down with applicable team members to build out a maximum quarterly or annual budget for your marketing initiatives, including costs like website updates, creative development, copywriting or even paid advertising placements.
Remember that the budget goes beyond just your financial investment, though. Take into consideration the time and resources that will be spent supporting your marketing approach, including internal staff time to research, develop, design and monitor marketing materials. Your practice should also train staff on the teeth whitening technology beyond just a technical usage standpoint; they should also be armed with talking points and benefits messaging that they can share with patients.
By assigning responsibilities in your practice for who will handle which tasks, you can guarantee a successful integration and deployment of your teeth whitening marketing.
The primary responsibilities to consider when assigning staff members to tasks include:
- Posting marketing content, including social posts and new website content
- Monitoring marketing channels, including online reviews
- Tracking analytics to advise on adjustments to the marketing plan
- Tracking budgetary investment to ensure all marketing spend stays within the approved budget
If you have concerns that your in-house team won’t have the capacity or skillset to manage the above, you may consider partnering with an agency that specializes in dental marketing or even bringing on an in-house marketing specialist to handle the day-to-day management of these responsibilities.
Marketing Tactics for Professional Teeth Whitening
You have a variety of options for engaging and educating prospective patients. Ensure that you align any of your selected marketing tactics back to your initial planning, including goals and budget; this will help you get the most from your investment.
Before launching a comprehensive marketing plan, it’s critical to put in place a customer support plan. In fact, 47 percent of consumers have a more favorable view of brands who respond to customer service questions or complaints on social media. Be prepared to address questions or comments that may come through online and identify who is responsible for monitoring and responding.
New patients will review your website prior to scheduling an appointment, as they’ll want to ensure you have positive reviews and offer the services that they need.
It’s critical that you update your website immediately to acknowledge that you offer professional teeth whitening, including showcasing which specific technology you have. While the name of the technology may not directly be meaningful to your patients, having an explanation of what the technology is and what sets it apart from other options can help them understand the benefits.
Additionally, there are other small content adjustments you can make on your website to help your teeth whitening service offering stand out:
- Include before-and-after images and testimonials to make your service listing more impactful
- Outline the general steps for what patients can expect from the treatment to help them feel more at ease and willing to invest in the treatment
- Provide resources that detail out aftercare steps and other guidance to help patients feel comfortable that you are knowledgeable and will support their care every step of the way
Ensure that your website is continually updated with the latest before-and-after images, as well as recent testimonials. This will help showcase an ongoing commitment to patient care and increase trust in your practice.
Social Media Channels
The use of social media for marketing and promotion has skyrocketed to 3.6 billion active users globally, and this number is projected to increase to 4.41 billion by 2025. As such, promoting your practice and your innovative technology on social media is critical.
Social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram, are an easy and cost-effective way to communicate with current and prospective patients. Consider prioritizing channels that have proven effective with business-to-consumer marketing and emphasize those in your marketing approach.
As you create content for your channels, focus on educational resources that will help build trust with current and prospective patients. You can also use your social channels to showcase your practice’s expertise and results. Your channels should share the content your audience wants to see, though—not just content that you want them to see. Analyzing performance of posts can help you identify what is resonating best with your audience and what should be adapted for future posts.
As you start creating content, keep in mind some best practices for organic social posts, including:
- Size all imagery correctly for each platform. The image sizing you’ll use on Facebook is different than what will be needed for Instagram. Optimize all content by taking the time to accurately size images.
- Maintain a consistent brand tone. If you have multiple people helping with your social media management, take the time to set a brand tone and style guide so that all content—no matter who is posting it—sounds consistent.
- Post at optimized times. Most social channels will provide you with insights on when your audience is most active, which can ultimately determine when you post.
- Share content consistently, but don’t overwhelm your audience. Some social platforms will penalize accounts that post more than once per day, so take the time to set the most effective cadence for remaining consistent without over posting.
Social Media Advertising
While posting on social media offers several benefits, you may want to increase reach by also investing in paid placements. With paid placements, your practice will be able to target select individuals based on location, interests or personal attributes, helping your message get in front of the right audience. This can help increase reach of your practice’s content and engage new followers who in turn may opt to become new patients.
If your practice decides to utilize paid social media, take the time to understand each platform’s advertising rules. For example, Facebook and Instagram advertising do not allow the use of before-and-after images; utilizing those in your advertisements can result in penalties, including ad rejection or even having your ad account disabled in full. Additionally, social platforms can penalize advertisements that feel like they are targeting people, so it’s important to limit the usage of “you” in your copy. You’ll also want to avoid implying that your audience has a specific condition or concern, as that can also be viewed as targeting.
Be sure to review the rules for every platform prior to finalizing any creative so that you are aligning with restrictions and scheduling ads that will be successful.
Often, practices will already have patients’ email addresses on file for sending appointment reminders and other general communications. Is your practice using this information to promote new services, though?
59 percent of respondents say that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
Email is a valuable communication tool that can promote your business, including treatment offerings, patient success stories and general business information. You can also consider setting up a drip campaign, which involves sending pre-developed emails to patients over a period of time or based on a user’s actions. When specifically triggered by user interaction, email automation can help seamlessly continue to market to patients about a specific topic.
When using email, keep in mind these best practices to help see positive results from your customers:
- Personalize the message
- Keep your subject line short but engaging
- Avoid using words like “free” that will be viewed as spam and put your emails into patients’ junk folders
- Keep email copy concise and focus on a primary message
- Include visuals and video
It’s important to not overwhelm your patients with emails, though. Keep information relevant to the patient and always provide the ability to opt out of promotional content.
Utilize your waiting room to provide targeted resources to your patients. While patients are waiting for their appointments, give them the chance to read a brochure on your whitening treatment or provide them with general educational resources on the benefits of teeth whitening.
In-office television is another strong way to showcase your practice’s most important messaging. If your office utilizes in-office television, add messaging that highlights your cosmetic services and results, including your new teeth whitening treatment option.
Your practice’s in-office television can include a range of content, like:
- Static testimonial quotes or short patient video clips
- Before-and-after images
- Promotional deals
- Tips and insights on how to extend treatment results
- Treatment time
The most important objective is taking advantage of the moments where you have your patients’ attention. Make sure you own the messaging they see and provide them with a comprehensive experience that lives up to that messaging.
Your existing patients are some of your most loyal brand advocates; utilize them to promote your new service offerings.
When your patients are in for appointments, let them know that your practice is now offering a new whitening treatment and provide a brochure that showcases the treatment benefits. You can even consider providing a special rebate or gift if they refer a new patient to the practice. For example, you could give an existing patient a rebate on his or her whitening treatment if that patient refers another person to also get the treatment. This will incentivize your patients to talk about their results with others and increase your service offerings’ reach of awareness.
New Patient Initiatives
Practices are continually working to engage new patients, and your in-office teeth whitening treatment may be a differentiator that can entice these prospective patients. If you’re actively working to engage new patients, consider offering discounted rates on teeth whitening when done in tandem with other dental services, like new patient teeth cleanings.
You can also consider hosting open house events for your practice where community members are invited to learn more about the practice and meet your staff. These events are prime opportunities to show off new technology and demonstrate how it works. Promote the events through your social channels, emails to current patients or even targeted direct mail if your budget will support it.
Market with the Right Technology
Teeth whitening becomes much easier to market when you’re able to offer an effective and efficient treatment option that your patients will love. Set your practice apart from the competition by investing in the TheraSmile® system.
The TheraSmile system offers a uniquely automated whitening treatment that dynamically delivers whitening fluid for 360-degree* whitening—bathing buccal, lingual and occlusal enamel surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. This effective technology can provide your patients with full hydration of the teeth throughout the entire treatment and offers immediate results. Plus, through the utilization of our MavGuard® gingival guard and ArmorLC® resin, you can provide a more comfortable patient experience with complete gingival isolation.
Learn how the TheraSmile system can deliver better whitening results for your patients—and enhance profitability for your practice—by getting in touch with us today.