fun marketing ideas for orthodontists

Fun Marketing Ideas for Orthodontic Offices

Welcome back to Orthopatients! In this article, we’re going to answer a big question that a lot of small business marketers have: where can you get ideas for your marketing campaigns? We’ve got some creative and effective ideas right here.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of some of the most engaging and creative marketing ideas you can use for your orthodontic practice starting today. Many of these tricks or ideas come from some of our previous orthodontic practice clients, so they’ve already led to great success. Also be sure to check our awesome in-depth Orthodontic Marketing Guide when you’re done here.

More of a visual learner? Let me take you through the same marketing tips on YouTube.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

NOTE: Join our Social Media Kickstarter for Orthodontists Course completely free for more in-depth training on effective social media for orthodontists!

Be Fun on Social Media

Teenagers spent a lot of time on social media these days, more than ever before. In particular, many of them spend time on the popular app TikTok, where users share short videos across a global video network.

It’s a very good idea to be more active on social media platforms like this and to be fun with your content creation. Check out some of the videos from competing orthodontists in your area to get an idea of whats most popular on TikTok or other platforms.

Of course, TikTok isn’t strictly necessary for your social media marketing. But it can be a great way to showcase the day-to-day energy of your orthodontic office and to entice people who are looking for a down-to-earth, patient-focused practice for their kids or themselves.

“Snow Cone Shacks” and Other Offline Engagement Festivals

Dr. Tyler Coles, one of our former clients, decided to try a new method for his practice when all of his other marketing efforts online had not worked the way he had hoped.

One day, he decided to offer a “Snow Cone Shack”. In exchange for a free snow cone, all people had to do was provide their email addresses, which Dr. Coles then used to send a coupon for several hundred dollars off braces.

It’s brilliant if you think about it; all he had to do was email his current and past customers that his practice was offering free snow cones at a shack outside his practice and people came rushing over to enjoy the treat on a hot summer day. People who were around the neighborhood saw the event as they walked by.

You can do something similar and simply tweak the above idea depending on your circumstances, like the weather. For example, you can offer a “hot chocolate shack” in the winter.

The point of any of these efforts is to bring people to your business personally so you can meet future clients and so they’re already intrigued in your business because of your free treat. You can get email addresses easily this way and provide coupons to the public to better endear yourself to future clients.

This doesn’t even touch on the fact that people will likely be sharing the news of the event you decide to hold on social media. There may not be a better way to spread the word of your small business than this!

Swag Bucks

This idea comes from one of our longest clients – Thompson Orthodontics in Utah – and it’s also deceptively simple, especially for how effective it is. Here’s how the system works:

  • Thompson Orthodontics gives out T-shirts to its current patients
  • They request that the patients wear the T-shirts and practice good dental hygiene (i.e. brushing teeth, flossing, etc.)
  • If Thompson’s patients wear their shirts to their appointments and they follow their dentist’s rules, they get a certain number of “Swag Bucks”
  • Over time, patients can collect more of these points and eventually trade them in for prizes, like $50 gift cards or other things

Not only is this a great way to drive engagement with your current patients, but it’s also a good way to spread the name of your brand.

Think about it! People wear the shirts to school or work so other people learn about the orthodontic practice handing out free prizes just for brushing their teeth and showing up for their appointments on time.

You don’t have to use the exact same point system, of course. But the principle still stands. Create a game out of coming to appointments and practicing good dental hygiene and engagement should increase across the board. Plus, you’ll get some free exposure!

Hold an Annual Event

Odds are you likely already do something like this, but if you don’t, now is the time to start! An easy example is renting out a movie theater so that each one of your orthodontic patients can go see a movie for free. Hold an event that everyone in the office and most of your major patients can attend, get to know each other better, and generally have a good time.

More importantly, you can let your patients invite their friends and family members. Therefore, an annual event is an easy way to get referrals for future business from people already within your client network.

Use Swag as a Loss Leader

Dino Watt is responsible for our next big marketing idea. Not sure what a loss leader is? In a nutshell, it’s an item or service you list for a price that makes it a loss. In exchange, you get people to come into your orthodontic practice more frequently, so you make more money overall.

Imagine that a grocery store sells a common item like apples for such a low price that they take a loss on every apple sold. Due to the low cost, more people come into the grocery store, buy other thing and then spend more money at the grocery store they otherwise wouldn’t have.

You can do the same thing with your orthodontic practice. Put together a “Swag Pack”: basically a bundle of goodies that you send to people who have signed up for a consultation with you but haven’t signed up for a paid service or treatment plan.

You send the gifts, like a mug, T-shirt, and toothbrush, and the prospective patient comes away already knowing that you care about them. This makes them more likely to go through with a consultation, more likely to pay for a service, and you get some free marketing out of it as well by spreading your brand name through the bag of goodies.

Sure, you take a loss on putting the swag bag together in the first place. But you’ll more than make up for it in new patients.

Fun Things After Debonding

Patients are often in the mood for celebrating after they get their braces taken off. You can lean into this and create an opportunity for fun and social media engagement by offering fun things for your patience at the end of the last appointment.

For example, you can offer free candy, ice cream, or something similar. Not only will this make the patient happier to come back to you for any other orthodontic needs, but news of your office’s fun spirit will spread through social media like wildfire.

Do a Flat Doctor Contest

This is a simple but fun way to drive engagement for your orthodontic practice. A “flat doctor contest” simply means challenging your patients to post pictures of you on vacation on social media. The person who creates the best picture through Photoshop or other tricks gets a prize, like a $300 gift card.

Naturally, this makes your practice an even more engaging company for your current customers. But it also helps spread awareness of your brand over social media since people will be posting the pictures, other people will be seeing the pictures and following your Instagram or other social media profiles, and so on.

Utilize the Dream 100

At its core, the “Dream 100” strategy just means forging relationships with other businesses in your area so that you can both refer clients to one another without directly competing. For example, your orthodontic practice might partner up with a family-oriented dental office that handles general dental cleaning but not orthodontic services.

One good example of this in action comes from Dr. Anissa Holmes. Based on her experience, she suggests that you drop a list of the top 100 businesses in your area that are similar to you and that you would like to work with. Send out a message recommending that you team up with these businesses by starting a gift card campaign like:

  • Offering a $100 gift card to people who follow both your orthodontic practice and the business you want to partner with on social media
  • Giving a $200 gift card to people who give both businesses their email addresses

Since both you and the business you partner with will be posting about this simultaneously, news of it will spread everywhere throughout your community. It’s a great way to both forge lasting, positive relationships with other businesses in the area and a good way to get new clients and consults.

Bonus Tip: Give Free Products with Treatment

This is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book, but it still works! Offer free products like AirPods, Nintendo Switches, or other desirable gadgets or goodies to people who get treatment from your practice.

The key here is to only give products away to people who get a service or product from your business. Word of mouth will ensure that potential consults and clients quickly learn that you’re giving away sweet free stuff for everyone who gets braces or similar treatments.

It’s just another distinguishing factor your orthodontic practice can leverage to set itself apart from the accommodation.


All in all, any and all of these fun marketing ideas can do wonders for revitalizing your social media marketing efforts and improving your brand’s awareness in your area. If you’re looking to grow your orthodontic practice this year, the team at OrthoPatients would love to help you achieve your goals. Sign up for a strategy session today or watch our free 10 minute training and see how we can help you implement the tips from this article – see you on the other side!

NOTE: Join our Social Media Kickstarter for Orthodontists Course completely free for more in-depth training on effective social media for orthodontists!

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