Local Facebook Advertising for Dentists - Debugging The Myth

Let’s be honest, social media and specifically Facebook advertising isn’t that easy for most dentists. So is it worth your time and money?

Please bear in mind that this is not the ultimate guide (I don’t believe there’s one) for attracting customers. However, this article will provide you with valuable insights, developed through working with dentists across multiple locations in the UK.

The global dental market will be worth nearly 37 billion dollars by 2021. That’s a big number for the tooth fairy to deal with. And if you’re looking to get your teeth into that pie, it’s important to start leveraging social media and digital marketing in the right way

But let’s be honest, social media, specifically Facebook advertising, isn’t always favoured in the healthcare industry. You may already be thinking that it’s overhyped or have been burned by agencies who over-promised and under-delivered. 

Sometimes, relying on someone’s promise is a risk. Educating yourself and continuously testing your marketing campaigns are calculated investments. As with any other form of marketing or advertising, you must be willing to put in the hours to be able to get your return on investment. 

If you’re hesitant to use social media generally, I’d recommend checking out this article to challenge your own beliefs about what’s possible for your dental practice.

After growing my London-based travel business, using solely social media marketing and online community development, I realised that local businesses are the ones who face the biggest digital marketing struggle. 

Now, I’m running my agency, with a passion for helping small businesses grow. That’s why I’d like to give you some guidance here, and perhaps release any reservations holding you back from using Facebook to grow your practice.  

One important thing to bear in mind is that Facebook’s primary objectives are to keep people on the platform for as long as possible and make advertisers happy. Which means they work hard to constantly improve their algorithm to get us (advertisers) results. Our job, however, is to use their tools as effectively as possible.


So where and how do you start?

Without knowing your particular level of marketing awareness, I can’t simply give you step-by-step instructions. But let’s assume you have an overall understanding of what a marketing campaign encompasses. In this case, you will start by figuring out the fundamentals, such as buyer personas and learning about the market segmentation, before you jump into Facebook Ads Manager. 

You should know that the guys at Facebook like big data, which makes them more inclined to work with large audiences belonging to bigger businesses, rather than smaller ones. This raises another question ⁠— not only for dentists but for all local businesses trying to jump on a Facebook ads wagon ⁠— How can you advertise without shredding your marketing budget to pieces? 

There’s no short answer to this.

However, after working with dentists in multiple locations across Cambridgeshire, I’ve come up with a ‘formula’ that works: the right offer + creative sales copy + demographic/behaviour targeting + split testing + (consistent leads follow up + automation) = good ROI.

Every step requires ongoing attention and development:

  1. The copy needs to be refreshed at least every month and impressions set to 10-15. 
  2. The offer has to be attractive enough for people to take action. 
  3. The buyer personas have to be identified.
  4. Testing is a never-ending process.
  5. Leads follow-up is extremely important. 

As you may already understand, it’s worth going through the prep work before you get disappointed and put a ‘waste-of-time’ sticker on Facebook Ads Manager. 

How can you attract quality leads using Facebook?

First, which leads would you deem as good-quality? Patients with general dental problems? Dental implant patients? Those who need Invisalign or braces? How old are they? What are their biggest frustrations and fears? Where do they spend most of their time on social media? These are some of the questions which must be answered before you can know how to offer a solution to their problems. 

Let’s take a look at this from another angle. 

More often than not, small businesses (not just dentists) skip a few important steps. They approach their prospects as if they’re already loyal clients, trying to sell to everyone and assuming everybody in their market is eager to buy. 

Facebook marketing is like dating. How likely is it that your date says yes to sleeping with you, without even sharing dinner? The same applies to your marketing strategy. No dining, no sale. 

Now let’s get back to the question above and have a look at the following:


How to convert quality leads into patients   

On that value ladder, you’ll see that the lowest tier offer is designed to get people through your door. I call it a ‘mafia offer’. It could be anything, from a free consultation and free x-ray to a discounted teeth-whitening treatment. 

First, we’ll take your patient through every single step (natural progression) of that ladder (A1-A4). 

Let’s say you acquire 12 leads this month, at £4 per lead, through a Facebook ad campaign. Eight out of those 12 leads come in for a free consultation and scan, and maybe four of them have cavities. Then two out of the four cavity patients require major dental procedures, such as root canal or dental implants, or possibly cosmetic work like veneers.

Your £4 cost-per-lead Facebook campaign can potentially turn into thousands of pounds in revenue.

The insight is not to look at Facebook as a lead-generation goldmine, but to understand and follow the process which turns leads into high-paying customers. 

I’ll explain how to implement B1 further in this article.

But first, let’s understand the basics of local demographic targeting


How can you target customers in your location?

I mentioned above that Facebook does a better job when it comes to bigger audiences. That’s why we’ll need to approach local targeting with more detail and care.

Your location has a specific type of demographics, customer buying and spending behaviour, and other factors, which play a significant role in the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaigns. 

Keep mind that you’ll need to test different targeting combinations to see which one performs best with your creative. For example, if we drive traffic to a separate landing page which incentivises people to book a dental implant consultation, we want to segment our target market into different demographics and behaviour categories. 


Facebook targeting for dentists


Each targeting segment has to have a personalised creative and a landing page, otherwise, you’ll simply be wasting money on trying to understand your customer. Personalisation has to be a part of every marketing campaign you run.

Gender and age are a good place to start when segmenting your audiences.

Here are some stats, collected after running a dental implant Facebook ad for four days. 

How to target dental patients

As you can see, the most responsive category were women aged 65+, which also had the cheapest cost per result. Now we can go ahead and produce a separate ad, targeting this specific segment. 

Make an offer they can’t resist.

A good offer will only work when you’re absolutely clear on your target audience.

Let’s take a look at an example I created for one of my clients.

Remember the Value Ladder? In this case, we don’t follow the traditional (A1-A4) Value Ladder method and instead, offer a limited amount of dental implant consultations (B1). In certain instances, this approach works better. But remember that the cost-per-lead will be much higher for dental implant and Invisalign leads (depending on your location and amount of competition).

Now let’s identify what makes this offer deliver results. *Although this offer has been proven to bring and convert leads for my clients, it doesn’t guarantee that it will produce results for your location and audience. 

  1. Test two variations of a good headline: a) straight offer or b) [desired result] without [what they’re afraid most] in [specific time frame].
  2. Write a sub-headline that restates what they’re getting: [extra value] + [amount of money they’ll save] if booked before [offer expiration date].
  3. Create compelling bullet points.
  4. Make it easy for people to contact you by providing a phone number as well as your contact form, as not everyone is willing to leave their contact details on websites.

Landing page for dental implants



Local advertising is not easy and it shouldn’t be. It takes effort to understand your audience, build trust, and continually adjust and improve your campaigns. But it’s worth it because every penny you put into advertising platforms like Facebook can be effectively measured and yield a much better ROI than traditional marketing. 

So what’s next?

If you see the value in these tips and would like to find out more about driving revenue using the principles I’ve described in this article, let’s talk!

If you decide not to move forward after our phone call, that’s fine too. Worst case scenario, you would have received some free advice from my team which will help you generate more traffic and sales.

Ultimately, this is for people who take action and know a good opportunity when they see one. If this is you, today is the day to step up and take your business to the next level.

Click here if you’d like to talk now.

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