Inside Dentistry
October 2009
Volume 5, Issue 9

Dental Marketing Tactics & Activities Checklist

Some dentists may fear that marketing is a big, complicated endeavor, and this fear may keep them from getting involved in it, believes Joe Lancellotti, founder and CIO of DoctorsMarketing.com. But what’s involved with dental practice marketing is developing a system whereby several times a year, seven different tactics or activities are used over the course of 12 months in a consistent fashion to reach out to current patients and attract new customers.

According to John Christensen, founder and president of ChrisAD, a marketing group that consults with about 1,200 dental offices in all 50 states as well as 5 provinces in Canada, marketing activities do need to be integrated. With planning, dental practice marketing can be conducted systematically, and how the patient responds can be monitored to endure positive results, he says.

“It takes some fine-tuning and perfecting, but it all comes out of optimizing the patient-perceived values regarding qualitative and financial aspects of the dental practice,” Christensen explains. “When marketing, we can massage the marketing messages to optimize them for better results.”

Courtesy of Lancellotti and DoctorsMarketing.com, below is a checklist of dental marketing tactics and related activities, broken out by category (eg, public relations, referrals, reactivations, identity/branding, etc). Implementing these tactics is an ongoing process, he says, one that needs constant doctor and office manager support but which can motivate and empower all members of the practice team.

S.W.O.T. Planning System

  • Situation Analysis (review patient research: questionnaires, focus groups, patient panels)
  • Weapon/Resources (review practice strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
  • Objectives Development
  • Tactics/strategy creation

Publicity/Public Relations

  • Develop a media kit
  • Establish media relationships
  • Delegate to staff person
  • Hire a publicist or PR agency

Team Marketing

  • Huddles and team meetings
  • Receptionist training
  • Marketing coordinator training
  • Team customer service training
  • Approved scripting for patient interactions

Office Identity (Branding)

  • Logo creation
  • Business cards for entire team
  • Letterhead and envelopes
  • Business checks
  • Branded team apparel and uniforms
  • New patient folders
  • Practice brochures (CDs)
  • Appointment cards or emails
  • Multipurpose and return address labels
  • Sticky notes and note pads

Patient Communication

  • Newsletters (print and/or e-mail)
  • Patient letters (clinical and administrative)
  • Re-care announcements (cards and/or e-mail)
  • In-office clinical booklets and racks
  • Questionnaires on care
  • Invitations and announcements
  • Thank You cards
  • Birthday, anniversary, holiday cards
  • Patient education system (print/digital)


  • Organized referral system
  • Patient, staff, community network referral program
  • Care Enough to Share program
  • Marketing materials for referrer’s use
  • Referral incentives (check association rules)


  • Organized reactivation system
  • Delegate reactivation program to a specific person
  • Establish a 4-week reactivation sequence
  • Create reactivation telephone scripts, letters, and postcards


  • New resident programs
  • Advertising (newspapers, magazines, Yellow Pages, broadcast/cable TV, coupon booklets, radio, co-op programs, billboard)
  • Mini-ads (church bulletins, school yearbooks, coupon books, menus, movie screen ads)
  • Internet marketing (Web site, e-mail marketing)
  • Direct mail (postcard/brochure mailings)
  • Mall and community fairs
  • School oral care programs
  • In-office posters/banners
  • Personalized incentives (lip balms, nail files, pens, calendars, magnets, water bottles, etc)
  • Signage (primary sign/lawn signs)

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