Marketing for Orthodontists: The Definitive Guide (2021)
Let’s face it: this whole “Internet Marketing” thing is confusing.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube…
Not to mention the hundreds of other marketing “opportunities” that appear in your inbox.
This leaves the majority of orthodontists scratching their heads and asking:
“What is actually going to work?!”
This guide is about getting the answer to that question!
This is NOT your basic “5 Steps to Marketing Your Ortho Practice” post.
This guide is designed to give you advice that actually helps.
Stuff you haven’t heard before.
Real marketing strategies that are working great right now for real Orthodontists all over the United States and Canada.
So if you’re looking to grow your practice this year, buckle up and start scrolling.
The Digital Marketing Disclaimer
I’m going to shoot straight with you:
There are no “hacks” or “dirty secrets” in marketing anymore.
Let me explain what I mean…
Years ago, the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) market was dominated by something called “link farms”.
If you wanted to rank on the first page of google, you would pay someone overseas to go link random websites to your website.
This worked really well, actually.
Until it didn’t.
Eventually Google caught on, and if your site had those types of links, you were automatically bumped down in the search results!
People had spent thousands of dollars on these links, and *poof* just like that, all the traffic to their website was gone!
You see, what people don’t typically realize is that their online presence is owned by the platforms they use to promote themselves.
Here’s what that means:
Facebook could remove your profile tomorrow. (No notice, no reason why, no shame)
Instagram could limit your post’s visibility to 2 or 3 people.
Google could come out with another update that bumps your website down 3 pages.
This kind of stuff happens ALL the time.
It seems like every other day there is some new shiny object or marketing “trick” people come up with to get around what these platforms are designed to do.
And while they may work in the short term, if you want a thriving, CASH FLUSH business…you have to play their game the way THEY designed it.
AND… you must build your business on more than one or two platforms (diversify).
I wanted to write this before you go crazy trying to implement anything, because it can be extremely easy to chase shiny objects and quick fixes.
But you might be wondering:
What is it these platforms actually want from me?
I’m glad you asked, let’s jump in!
The Orthodontic Marketing Funnel
While “What do these platforms want from me?” or “How do I hit the algorithm?” are helpful questions and inform content creation, they should be asked after this one:
What do I want from these platforms?
Here’s a hint:
New Patients. You want new patients.
Never forget that likes, comments, and shares don’t mean anything if your social presence isn’t bringing you new patients.
The Marketing Funnel
The only way you can get these patients consistently is by building a marketing funnel.
Posting on social media is part of a marketing funnel, but it is by no means the whole enchilada.
Simply put, a marketing funnel is a framework.
Also known as a buyer’s funnel, the concept was developed to help people conceptualize how marketing typically works.
There are a few common models of the marketing funnel, but all are based on the original AIDA Model:
No matter which model you use, the concept is the same:
Buyers must travel through each stage of the funnel before they can buy.
NOTE: You may hear people use “Funnel” to refer to a series of landing pages that upsell customers on related products. While this is an application of the marketing funnel, it is not, in and of itself, a complete funnel.
The Orthodontic Marketing Funnel
As an Orthodontist (a local, service-based business), you may find it difficult to see how concepts like the marketing funnel apply to your own practice.
We’ve simplified this for you, big time:
This is the Orthodontic Marketing Funnel.
First you help them become aware, then invite them to consider, then in for a consultation, and then finally to start treatment.
Here are some quick notes on each:
Also known as branding campaigns, these ads are the first time a new prospect hears about you.
PRO TIP: Awareness campaigns are commonly referred to as “top of funnel” ad campaigns.
Examples of awareness campaigns include:
- local sponsorships
- local signs
- simple awareness social media campaigns
- social media giveaways
The goal of a good awareness campaign is reach. The more people who enter the top of your funnel, the more can come out the bottom.
A good awareness campaign should be seen several–if not dozens–of times by your target market.
Pro Tip: When creating an awareness campaign, think: “How can I be seen as often as possible by my target market?”
This stage of the funnel incorporates everything you’ve ever put online or shared with your community.
Potential patients will use your social-media profiles, your website, your online reviews, recommendations from friends, special offers, etc. to form an opinion about you and your office.
Depending on the strength of your marketing message, you will convince a percentage of these people to come in for a consultation.
The consultation gets its own special spot in the orthodontic marketing funnel for one reason:
Consultations provide an especially precise way to calculate marketing effectiveness.
While there may be hundreds of people considering treatment with you at any given time, measuring all of them precisely is impossible.
The metrics “consultations scheduled” and “consultations attended” let us do this simply and efficiently.
The final “official” stage of the orthodontic marketing funnel, where a patient starts treatment and you get paid!
Bonus: Increasing Profit Per Customer
There are only two ways to make more money in any business:
- Get More Customers
- Get More Profit Per Customer
The bonus stage refers to way #2 of increasing revenue.
If you can figure out how to increase how much each customer pays you, you benefit on two fronts: you increase revenue, and you spend less money per new patient start.
Let’s say it costs you $200 in advertising to start the oldest sibling of a new family. How much does it cost you to start their siblings when they are ready?
Nothing! It’s 100% Free.
While there are other ways to increase profit per customer, like whitening kits or merchandise, most of these are better given away for free as marketing materials!
This is an easy way to turn your existing customers into raving fans. Over delivering will do much more in the long term than any extra revenue made from small sales.
Filling Your Orthodontic Marketing Funnel
Effectively filling your marketing funnel will require you to focus on two key things:
Marketing Funnel Messaging
In our experience, brand messaging is the single most overlooked aspect of marketing for Orthodontic offices in the US and Canada.
Simply put, good messaging is marketing that resonates with your potential customers.
Let’s do a quick test: of the two options below, which appeals to you more?
Option 1: “Love to Smile”
Option 2: “World Class Braces and Invisalign You Can Comfortably Afford”
These are two REAL headlines from two REAL orthodontic websites.
Office number two really understands what customers are looking for and they have crafted their message around that.
When their ideal customer lands on this practice’s website, they will know that they have come to the right place. If they land on office number one’s website… not so much.
Marketing Funnel Metrics
Unfortunately, there is a prerequisite to a prospect seeing your saliva-inducing headline:
They have to land on your website in the first place!
This is where metrics come in. “Metrics” means increasing the amount of people who will see the message you’ve created.
Creating a good message should always come first.
Reaching thousands of people every day won’t do you any good if the people who see your message aren’t intrigued enough to take action.
Some examples of ways to fill your funnel (after you create great messaging, of course) include:
- Facebook ads
- Instagram ads
- Google ads
- YouTube ads
- Search Engine Optimization
- Local signs and sponsorships
- Referral programs
We’ll discuss each of these options in depth throughout the next chapters.
“What parts of this can I outsource?” is a great question to consider at this point.
Based on years of experience, here are our recommendations:
- Determining your messaging and branding
- Posting content to social media
- Video editing
- Facebook and Instagram Ads
- Graphic design
- Referral programs
- Patient Events
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it illustrates an important point:
You must take responsibility for the message you bring to the market.
If you don’t do this first, it doesn’t matter how much you pay someone to market for you. They will never do quite as well as they could with a great brand and message.
Once decided upon, this brand and message needs to be effectively communicated to your third-party vendors so they can portray you in the best possible light.
More on this in Chapter 3, see you there!
Messaging: How To Brand Your Orthodontic Practice
Creating a successful and compelling brand isn’t luck.
It isn’t very complicated either.
The only thing you need to know to create a great brand is who you want to serve.
Let me explain…
Who, given the choice, would you like to see come into your office for treatment?
This includes both:
- Demographic information (age, gender, income level, family profile)
- Psychographic information (the way they think, their goals and aspirations, the reasons they buy)
If you get extremely clear on your who by answering the questions above (more on how to do this in the next section), you will be able to answer every other branding and customer experience question with ease.
Getting Clear on Who You Want to Serve
The best way to do this is to create a customer avatar.
A customer avatar is like creating your own SIM’s character. You get to choose everything about them.
Here’s an example of what you might create:
Occupation: Full-Time Mom
Family: Husband and 3 kids
Hobbies: Book Club, PTA, Tennis
Family Income: $150k/year
What is a typical day in the life of your avatar?
Ashley Avatar lives in [insert your city here]. Her mornings usually start out early getting her kids ready for school. From there, her day consists of shuttling her kids to and from school, soccer practice, dance classes etc, making dinner for her family, and taking care of the household. Ashley enjoys taking care of her children, but also feels suffocated by so many expectations of her as a mother. She wants her kids to grow up to be good people, and does her best to help them be good functioning members of society.
What aspects of their life or personality affect how you market your product to them?
Because she is busy, Ashley prefers visiting an Orthodontist that is close to her kids schools, and that offers appointments at flexible times.
What happened in the past that led them up to this point? How do they feel about what happened in the past?
Ashley and her husband both grew up in a different state, and moved to [your city] about three years ago. She feels slightly lonely in a new place after living her whole life near family and long time friends. Because of this, she is always looking for close friends in the area with kids around the same age as hers.
Does anything about their relationships have a bearing on how they might use your product or fit it into their week? Does your product address any of their concerns that relate to their family?
Ashley makes most of the financial decisions for the kids in their household, but consults with her husband on big purchases like braces. She loves paying for things up front to get a discount.
Because they aren’t too stressed about money, Ashley doesn’t mind paying a bit of a premium for her kids to have the best when it comes to extracurriculars or big life events like getting braces.
What is it about your product that matters to this person? How does it solve a need, ease a pain, or make them feel good? How does it improve their life?
Ashley’s kids are always at the front of her mind. She wants them to be healthy, fit in at school, feel confident, and be prepared for life. She takes her kids to the dentist and doctor regularly. When it comes to orthodontic treatment, Ashley doesn’t question the fact that her kids will need braces, it is just a matter of where she takes them.
What sorts of thoughts should go through this person’s head right before they decide to purchase your product? What is the “final straw” that makes them pull the trigger?
Right before she buys something, Ashley always asks herself “will I regret this purchase down the line?” and “am I getting the best possible option for the best price?” Guarantees are important to her.
Your avatar profile should be as detailed as you can possibly make it, it determines everything else in your brand!
Crafting Your Brand
So now that you know who you want to appeal to, it’s time to figure out how to do so.
Remember, your brand doesn’t actually physically exist, so you can make it whatever you want it to be — think of it as the perfect imaginary friend that you’re trying to introduce to your ideal customer.
Here are some important things that make up that imaginary friend (your brand):
Vision and Values
This is the core of why you do business. Straightening teeth is what you do, but most people require a bigger vision to feel their work is important and worth waking up for.
If you, as the leader of your company, are clear on what your company’s values are, you can rally your team, your brand, and your dream customers behind it.
Examples of orthodontic practice visions & values:
- Service to Others (Rochester Orthodontics, Dr. Grant Collins)
- F—family I—integrity S—service H—humility (Fishbein Orthodontics)
- Creating lasting memories within our communities
Your brand personality describes your “imaginary friend”. What type of person is that friend? What is it like to be around them?
Another way to think about this is “what type of vibe do I want to give off?”. The ideas you use here will be reflected in your logo, your tagline, your marketing campaigns, and everything you do from this point forward.
Examples of orthodontic practice visions & values:
A good tagline communicates EXACTLY what your ideal customer wants, in a short, powerful sentence. When crafting this, it’s important to use the words your dream customers use.
For example, you may hear your dream customers reference “peace of mind” or “quality of service” or “affordability” over and over again in your interactions with them. This is a sign that this should be in your tagline.
Some examples of orthodontic taglines:
World Class Braces and Invisalign You Can Comfortably Afford (Premier Orthodontics)
Artistic, beautiful smiles are what we create. Unbelievable experiences are what we provide. (Frost Orthodontics)
We have the right solution for every smile (Graham Orthodontics)
Your logo communicates your brand personality through a symbol. Once you are clear on your vision and values and, in turn, your brand personality, the next step is to represent those parts of your brand through a symbol.
Some of the most iconic logos in the world can increase the value of an item by thousands of dollars. Getting yours right is important.
Your brand colors are used in your logo, website, and marketing materials. These are powerful and send important subconscious cues to your prospects.
Again, your colors should match the words you’ve come up with to represent your brand personality.
Typography refers to the font, size, and spacing you use in your orthodontic logo, website, and marketing materials.
Maintaining consistency with your font is important because it allows customers to easily recognize you and file your company away in their brain.
The attractive character — sometimes referred to as the local celebrity — is the face you associate with your company.
People like people, and they can remember faces, personalities, and quirks even better than they remember logos, colors, and typography.
Attaching a picture of your attractive character (the doctor) to all of your marketing materials will increase ALL of your metrics.
Your backstory is what you tell your customers about why your business exists. Human beings love stories, and when you can tell them a compelling one about yourself or your business – they will listen and become even more invested in your company.
Click here to see a great example of a backstory video by Collins Orthodontics
Choosing the right branding for your orthodontic practice
To recap: the first step in choosing a successful brand and message for your orthodontic practice is to define your dream customer.
Here are some exercises to get you started:
- Conduct a psychographics survey:
Interview 10-30 current or past patients about their experience with your company. Have them walk you through their entire journey from ideation to contract to debond (if applicable). Take notes on what they say they liked and didn’t like about the process, what made them choose your practice over a competitor, etc.
- Conduct a demographic analysis of your current customer base/local area: Collect clear data on the ages, income levels, and family profiles of those in your local area.
- Create an avatar of your dream customer and give it a name (think of creating your own SIMs character). Write down everything you know about your avatar (demographics and psychographics) and constantly refer to him/her (i.e. “would Brittany approve of this policy change?” or “What would Dan think if we did that?”)
Once you’ve created your dream customer avatar, do this:
- Create a second avatar (your brand) that would be the ideal provider for your dream customer to meet and do business with. Reference and think hard about everything your customers said in your psychographic surveys during this process.
- With these two avatars in mind, craft all the components of your brand as mentioned above.
Wasn’t that fun?!
Before we move to chapter 4, remember:
If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one.
Social Media for Orthodontists (How to Post Effectively)
Social Landing Pages
A landing page is a one page website designed to sell.
A social landing page is a social profile designed to sell.
Potential patients should be able to understand who you are and what you care about (your brand personality, vision, and values) as soon as they land on your social pages.
NOTE: If you are looking for a list of Orthodontic Social Media Post Ideas Click Here to purchase the Social Media Blueprint – A 6 MONTH Social Media Content Calendar for Orthodontists that will ensure you never run out of social media content ideas!
Document, don’t create
Your north star for posting on social media should be to document, not create.
Not only will “documentation” posts perform better than canned content, they are super easy to create! Just whip out your phone and take pictures of what’s happening every day.
Making the switch from creating to documenting helps your audience to relate better to you and want to come back every day to see what’s next!
With both of these concepts in mind, let’s discuss the three platforms we recommend each orthodontic practice use to their highest potential: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
PRO TIP: Avoid posting stock images on social media. These portray the opposite of your brand personality and platforms automatically limit who sees them.
Facebook for Orthodontists
Anyone who tells you Facebook for businesses is outdated needs a reality check.
- In the first quarter of 2020, Facebook had 2.6 Billion Monthly Active Users (Over ONE THIRD of the earth’s population).
- Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging application in the United States with over 106.4 million unique U.S. users.
- Facebook’s proprietary advertising algorithm allows businesses to reach their ideal customers through paid advertising for as little as $1/day.
- Facebook’s groups, business pages, personal pages, facebook live, events, stories etc. make it the most versatile social platform available.
Your Facebook Social Landing Page
Profile Picture: Adding a picture of your attractive character (the doctor) instead of your logo is the best practice to apply here. Choose wisely; this will be the picture representing you everywhere on Facebook.
Cover Photo: Use this opportunity to showcase how awesome your practice is and show another picture of your attractive character!
Call to Action: Make sure you have a frictionless way for a prospect to contact you on Facebook. The send message button works great.
Posting to Your Facebook Business Profile:
Post multiple times a week to your business page documenting things that are currently happening in your office: birthdays, debonds, anniversaries, holidays, and dress-up days are all great things to document and post to Facebook.
PRO TIP: These photos do NOT have to be taken on a professional camera, favor authenticity over beauty.
Here are some examples of awesome “documentation” posts from some of our clients:
Posting to your Facebook business page story will keep you visible to your community and patients. Since your Facebook stories show up at the top of messenger and the Facebook app, you don’t need to fight the algorithm for them to be shown — it’s free exposure.
Tips for great stories:
- Post short videos or pictures daily of day-to-day operations
- Let your community in on what happens behind the scenes
- Showcase the way you apply your vision and values every day
Facebook groups allow you to connect with niche audiences, or in your case, local audiences.
Consider this scenario:
Dr. Chang joins the local “Portland Small Business Owners” Facebook group.
Dr. Chang starts to interact in a genuine and helpful way within the group. She doesn’t try to sell her services, just comments on posts and writes a couple helpful posts herself. Jack, a local hardware shop owner, starts to see Dr. Chang’s comments and posts in the group. He’s curious about what she does and clicks to her personal profile. Her Facebook profile is clean and presentable, showing a good mix of her work and family lives.
Jack’s youngest is in the market for braces, so he immediately sends a friend request to Dr. Chang and messages her inquiring about braces for kids.
Next week, Jack’s son is in braces at Dr. Chang’s office!
Executed correctly, posting and networking in local Facebook groups can be one of the highest ROI decisions you ever make as a business owner.
And it’s totally free!
Instagram for Orthodontists
It’s no secret that Instagram is hot — and it’s only getting hotter. There are only two ways to post to this platform, but its power lies in its simplicity.
Before we cover what to post, let’s take a look at the elements of your Instagram “social landing page” that will help you appeal to your ideal customers right away:
Your Instagram Social Landing Page
Instagram Profile Picture
Adding a picture of your attractive character (the doctor) instead of your logo is the best practice to apply here. Choose wisely; this will be the first thing that everyone will see when they visit your page for the first time.
Use this opportunity to insert your tagline — an instagram bio is short (only 150 characters), so make sure it is powerful and speaks directly to what you know your avatar wants!
Instagram Story Highlights
Story highlights are opportunities for you to showcase some of your brand, personality and company vision and values. Choose to highlight 4-10 of the most important things for a potential patient to know about you, and regularly update each story highlight with the best content you produce each week.
NOTE: Check out Dr. Dovi Prero on Instagram for some great ideas of what to include in your Story Highlights.
Instagram Bio Link
Your link should go to your website. This allows people who find you on Instagram to go to a place where they can learn even more about you, as well as contact you if they are ready for a consultation.
There are two ways to post to Instagram:
Your posts to instagram should be visually appealing and showcase your brand personality.
Avoid posting too often to this platform unless you are sharing engaging content that people will love.
PRO TIP: Avoid putting strong Instagram filters on all your pictures and instead opt for a more authentic look or edit them outside the app. This authenticity will help your page appeal more to potential patients who find you on Instagram.
These are where you film the reality TV show of your orthodontic practice! Keep everyone updated on what’s happening each day.
The more you post to your story (5x every day is an excellent standard to shoot for) the better.
You can even include non-orthodontic related content about the doctors (what they are doing on the weekend, pictures of family, etc.). This allows your followers to connect with your doctor as a person, instead of just viewing their relationship as strictly business.
YouTube for Orthodontists
Historically, YouTube has been used to amass giant, worldwide audiences.
Using YouTube as a local business, however, is all about having a place for customers to get to know you.
Using YouTube as a local business is all about having a place for customers to get to know you.
In marketing speak we call this “Indoctrination”.
Picture this: Shelly, a mom of four is looking for an Orthodontist in her local area. It’s been a long day, but she sits down after putting her kids to bed to do some research because she has a few questions about braces.
She searches Google for “Orthodontist near me” and finds a practice called Nelson Orthodontics. On the front page, she sees a link that says “Check out our YouTube channel for answers to common questions”.
Shelly clicks through and sees that every one of her questions is answered by an in-depth video. There is even an office tour!
Let’s say Shelly didn’t schedule a consultation with Nelson Orthodontics that night. Do you think she’ll be able to forget the amazing orthodontist that answered all of her questions on YouTube?
Not a chance.
YouTube is the BEST place online for long-form content that indoctrinates your prospects.
And, as a bonus, putting content on YouTube will boost your rankings in Google!
Your YouTube Social Landing Page
Your YouTube cover photo is located above your profile picture. This is a great spot for a fun team photo, or anything that reflects your brand personality.
Your YouTube profile picture should follow the same guidelines as your Instagram and Facebook profile pictures — make it your attractive character!
Your YouTube channel should link to your website and other social media sites.
The about section on your YouTube channel is mostly for SEO purposes. Use this opportunity to put your tagline, the name of your practice, and your address and service area.
An example: Smith Orthodontics, We Provide Amazingly Affordable Orthodontic Care in Kokomo, Juniperville, and Hunter Indiana. 12345 Nowhere Street, Kokomo, Indiana 22222.
The term thumbnail refers to the picture that someone sees before they click on your video. Each of your thumbnails should have a picture of your attractive character, show your brand personality, have a somewhat consistent theme, and help show the promise of the video.
Posting to YouTube
The name of the game on YouTube is QUALITY over QUANTITY. 5 amazing videos will do much more for you than 20 mediocre ones.
Producing the Video
- Make a list of real-life FAQs (questions you actually get asked)
- Choose the FAQs you can easily answer in a 3-5 minute video segment (these videos can be longer as well)
- Find a good background for your video — preferably inside your orthodontic office.
- Find quiet time to sit down (audio quality is very important) and answer the questions on video.
- Hire a freelancer or have one of your staff members edit the pauses, ums, etc. out of the video.
- Create beautiful custom thumbnails for each video.
Posting the Video
- Upload the videos on a schedule (2-4x a month is ideal).
- Insert the link to your website at the top of the description inviting people to visit it (e.g. Schedule a Free consultation with us at – www.mypracticewebsite.com)
- Write 2-3 paragraphs about the video and what it covers in the description (Don’t skip this step!)
- Add as many relevant tags as possible to your video — these should be about the topics you’re discussing and the location of your practice
PRO TIP: Match your YouTube tags with the keywords you have spaced throughout your YouTube description. This provides congruency and will boost your authority in YouTube’s eyes.
- Email your current and past patients letting them know about the video to get your first few views and subscribers!
TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media platforms for Orthodontists
You may be wondering about TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media platforms that come out in the future.
Here’s a helpful rule: Do everything you can to build a following on ONE social media channel, then branch out to the others.
We suggest you choose either Facebook or Instagram as your main channel. You can continue to post on the other channels, but don’t shift your main focus until you have achieved platform success with one.
“Platform success” happens when you have built up enough of a following around your content to post and get new customers for free.
Metrics: Paid Facebook and Instagram Ads for Orthodontists
Let’s say you show up in front of 1000 people in your local area at an event.
Most people will see you once, then leave.
Now, imagine showing up in front of 10,000 people in your local area with a sign.
They will most likely see you once or twice a week until they move.
Now, imagine showing up in front of 50,000 locals on social media.
Every day. Multiple times a day. For years.
This is what paid Facebook and Instagram ads can do for you!
These are sponsored pieces of content that appear in your feed. You’ve probably seen them before:
The above exercise illustrates the first reason you must use these platforms — it’s where the most attention is.
Secondly, the advertising capabilities on Instagram and Facebook are extremely sophisticated. They allow you to target the precise neighborhoods you want to pull patients from, and specify age, gender, and income.
Last of all, supplementing your social posting on Instagram and Facebook with paid advertising will help you grow a platform that won’t require as many paid ads in the future.
Pros and Cons
Facebook and Instagram ads are very powerful, but they do have limitations. Let’s discuss both so you get a clear idea of what to expect:
Extremely versatile. You can spend $1 a day or $1000 a day on advertising, and turn your campaigns on and off whenever you want.
Attention, attention, attention. Your future patients are using these platforms every day!
Targeting Options. You can target specific neighborhoods, age, and demographics.
Difficult to use successfully as a beginner. Although anyone can advertise on Facebook, not everyone can do so successfully. A lot of trial and error is in store if you’re just starting.
People on social media are distracted. Many doctors complain that the leads they receive from Social Media are unqualified. While there are many possible reasons for this, interrupting someone in their Instagram feed is bound to produce fewer quality leads than a high-intent Google search.
They aren’t free. These ads cost money and the costs are rising each year.
Not just Facebook. You’ll need to understand and use other software to integrate with your ads if you want to be successful. Facebook and Instagram can get you eyeballs, but it’s up to you to turn those eyeballs into customers.
Guidelines for Paid Social Advertising for Orthodontists
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you create your campaigns:
Put the Customer First
Providing a compelling reason for your prospect to engage with your business is critical.
This requires putting your ego behind you and giving the customer what they want (as opposed to what you want).
NOTE: Read Chapter 3 of this guide for more on this topic.
Notice the difference in these two approaches!
When you put in the effort to bring your prospects value before they even meet or purchase from you, you’ll be much more successful online.
You’ve developed a brand personality for a reason — this is the time to flaunt it!
Authenticity goes a long way online because you’re communicating with people on the other side of the screen – not robots.
Whatever you put in your ads, make them genuine — you’ll know when they’re not.
Pro Tip: Avoid Excess Text on your Images. Facebook will disapprove certain ads if the image is more than 20% text. It will also charge you a premium for ads that run with text on them — stick to simple, authentic pictures as much as you can.
The Facebook Algorithm Explained (for Local Businesses)
Facebook has 1 primary goal: to make money.
There are 2 things that Facebook needs for that to happen: they need both
The algorithm is designed to balance these two interests — Facebook needs to create a great experience for users so they will keep coming back, and a great experience for advertisers so they will continue to spend money.
Facebook does this by:
- showing friend’s posts more frequently than business posts
- collecting data on each person on their platform and only showing them relevant sponsored ads
Facebook will ALWAYS prioritize user experience over advertiser experience.
It makes sense: if they lose their users, they have nothing to offer advertisers.
This is why you must create something that people actually WANT to see and click on. This way, you’re already playing into the biases of the Facebook ad algorithm (i.e. high engagement with an ad means happy users, which means Facebook is achieving its goals).
The algorithm is also a machine learning tool — it gets smarter with time.
Give the AI a few initial parameters to work around (e.g. show ads to women ages 24-56 who live in this 6 mile radius) and it will do the rest.
Once you’ve created a great ad, let Facebook do the heavy lifting. The algorithm has SO much data on SO many people that it knows much better than you who is in the market for Braces or Invisalign.
NOTE: See “Targeting” for more information about how to target a specific demographic.
In addition to its data on user interests and demographics, Facebook has data on their behaviors. This means advertisers can target people who are most likely to complete a certain action (e.g. click through to a website, send a message to the business, etc). This combination of behavior, interest, and demographic marketing allows for powerful targeting capabilities.
Because the algorithm is so smart, targeting (as a local business) is extremely simple. Just tell facebook the area you want to target and the general demographic of the people who typically buy your products.
Detailed targeting is not required.
Facebook Ads Manager Explained
As a beginner, the Facebook Business and Ads Manager can be extremely difficult to understand. For a business manager tutorial, check this video out.
Below, we will cover the Ads Manager:
The campaign level of an advertising campaign is the umbrella under which everything sits.
This is where you select the behavior-based targeting, or the goal of your campaign.
Ad Set Level
The Ad Set Level is where you select demographic and interest-based targeting, as well as the placement of your ads.
Here is a brief description of each of the current Ad Set settings:
NOTE: The User Interface of the Ad Set level can change based on the campaign objective you choose.
Destination — where your prospect will land after they click.
Audience – the audience for your ads
Placements – your ad will be seen in these places (Facebook feeds, Instagram feeds, etc.)
Optimization and Spending Controls – set start and end dates for your ad or set it to run indefinitely.
Facebook Ad Level
The Ad Level is where you input the creative of your Facebook or Instagram ad.
Here is a brief description of each of the current Ad settings:
Identity: designate the page you’ll be running your ads from
Format: the format for your ad (video, carousel, image)
Ad Setup: input the picture, words, and links for your ad
Template (only available on some campaign objectives): design the initial user experience for ad campaigns that stay within the Facebook ecosystem.
Tracking – connect the Facebook Pixel — a piece of code that allows you to track customer actions.
Metrics: Google Ads for Orthodontists
Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) allow advertisers to place links to their websites at the top of Google search results and pay every time a user clicks (Pay Per Click – or PPC).
Google owns 84% of the search engine market. This means that, conservatively, 75% of people in your area will use Google to help them make a purchase decision for braces or invisalign.
Appearing at the top of Google search results will put you in front of thousands of your ideal customers, every single day.
Similar to the ad platforms on Facebook, the ad buying process for Google is extremely sophisticated. Google allows you to target precise neighborhoods you want to pull patients from and change your targeted keywords to focus only on high-value clicks.
Pros and Cons
Google ads are very powerful, but they do have drawbacks. Let’s discuss both so you get a clear idea of what you can expect when running Google ads:
Here are the most important things to keep in mind as you are running Google Ads:
Get your website right
A good website is a must when it comes to running successful Google ads. All of your traffic will be going to this site and if it isn’t optimized (both from an SEO and from a marketing perspective) the money you spend on Google ads will be wasted.
Identify High-Intent Keywords
Once your website is right, identifying high-intent keywords will help you get the highest quality traffic.
Here are a few examples of low- and high-intent keywords:
The reason the keywords on the left are dubbed as “Low-Intent” is because we can’t be sure that the person searching that term is really interested in starting treatment soon. The keywords on the right, however, have a higher likelihood of being from a truly interested party.
Master Your Ad Copy
Since there are no pictures on Google search ads and you only have approximately 200 characters to make your office stand out from all the other options, you have to choose the words (or ad copy) in your ads very carefully.
This is also known as “salesmanship in pixels” and is another reason why having a stand-out brand personality and tagline is so important.
Here are some great examples of Ad Copy in Google Ads:
Sculpt Your Traffic
Once you’ve launched your Google Ad campaign, you will see all the searches that triggered a click on your ads. This feedback is invaluable to a process called traffic sculpting.
Traffic sculpting means finding the keywords that are triggering your ads, and adding negative keywords to block the ad from showing up for irrelevant search queries.
Negative keywords tell Google, “Don’t show my ad when someone searches [Keyword].”
An example of traffic sculpting would be casting a wide net with the positive keyword “Invisalign” but then adding in negative keywords for “Invisalign doctor site” “Invisalign marketing” “Invisalign Reddit” “Invisalign Stock” etc.
Metrics: SEO for Orthodontists
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means optimizing your website (and other online listings) to appear at the top of search results organically.
We already established that your ideal customers are using Google all the time, so becoming as available as possible on the platform is a smart move.
Unlike buying ads on Facebook or Google, SEO can’t be purchased (this is what organic means). If you get it set up correctly and maintain it, it will give you free traffic every single day!
Pros and Cons
SEO is very powerful and widely recognized, but it does have its drawbacks. Let’s discuss both so you get a clear idea of what you can expect from SEO:
Here are the most important things to keep in mind as you perform SEO:
Understand the Platform’s Mission
Google’s mission statement is: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
If you want Google (or any other search engine) to like you, everything you do on your website and listings should help Google serve this overarching purpose. We call this having a “Librarian Mindset”: make it as easy as possible for Google to find you.
- Titles: the titles of your site and website pages.
- Words: the words on your website.
- Links: Credible links help boost your rankings in the search results.
- User Experience: Get users to spend more time on your site by creating engaging content.
- Reputation and Consistency: comply with SEO best-practices over a long period of time
PRO TIP: Make sure your orthodontic practice is listed on 20-30 online directories (Google my business, Yelp, Yellowpages, Better Business Bureau) with the exact same phone number, email, and address (spellings and abbreviations matter!) to help boost your rankings.
Metrics: Local Promotion Strategies for Orthodontists
Promoting your Orthodontic Practice locally could include the following: Sponsorships, Dentist Referrals, Other Referral Partners, Events, Local Signs, and Advertisements in Local Publications.
If done correctly, local promotion can be an excellent supplement to your online strategy.
These types of promotion add a personal element to a business that deals with customers on a personal basis, which can be beneficial both financially and socially.
Pros and Cons
Local promotion strategies can be very lucrative, or a huge money pit. Let’s talk about some pros and cons:
Here are some tips and strategies to keep in mind as you promote your Orthodontic Practice locally:
Focus on Connection and Relationships
No matter what type of local campaign you run, focus on building relationships with people in your community, not just trying to sell your services. If you keep this in mind, everything you do will perform better.
Consider thi: even something as simple as talking to the person next to you in the line at the grocery store can be considered local promotion. If you focus on genuinely connecting with people in your community, you will be genuinely surprised at the results.
Capture Leads Whenever Possible
Most local events or promotions will leave you scratching your head and saying, “did we get any patients from that?” The way around this is to make sure you’re capturing leads (name and email at the very least), from every local strategy you employ.
For example, a snow-cone shack or a carnival becomes much more profitable when your practice collects 100+ email addresses from the visitors, and then sends email marketing campaigns to them.
Consistency (Show up EVERYWHERE)
If you choose to do local sponsorships as a form of advertising, the more you show up, the better.
Most prospects will not mentally register your logo from seeing it once on the back of a T-shirt. However, if you have a sign on a busy street, t-shirts, fridge magnets, and you hold a neighborhood event — prospects will know who you are, and you will be the natural choice when they are ready for treatment.
Now it’s your turn
Phew, did you survive?!
That was our Ultimate Guide to Orthodontic Marketing in 2020.
If you made it this far, I (Keaton) want to hear from you! Please leave a comment below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please use the strategies you’ve learned in this guide to explode your practice in 2020 and beyond, and let us know when you do!
Some other ways you can join the movement of successful orthodontic marketers:
Download the Ultimate Ortho Ad Swipe File
Schedule a free Strategy Session with our team
To your success,