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In today’s climate, the first place everyone turns for information is Google. If you search for the best ways to market your startup dental practice you will get countless pages of articles all written by experts in their respective fields. The amount of valuable information is overwhelming. One website alone has 31 “must have tips” from 31 different experts. To get started, you can read up on how to build your brand, how to do direct mail the right way, the importance of review generation and establishing your social media presence. If you master that quickly, you’ll graduate to search engine optimization, how to create your sales funnel, what are ad-words, the best way to use targeted/re-targeted advertising, and of course, Google analytics. And if you’re not overwhelmed yet, you can take graduate level studies about the technical side. Start with information about plug-ins, safe updates, toxic back-links, keywords, conversion, and optimization. The fact is, marketing is a lot like medicine, there’s one main umbrella but underneath is a vast array of specialties.  To become an expert in each one takes a very unique skill set and years to master. But to successfully market your start-up dental practice you absolutely need them all.

With the average price tag of around $500,000 to open a new dental practice, many new owners feel they can cut corners and tackle the marketing themselves. As a marketing firm that has been helping dentists in every stage of their business for over 20 years, we’ve seen it all. Because you have a clean slate as a start-up, and it’s much easier to do it the right way from the beginning, we encourage you to consider a few things before you decide to DIY your marketing.


If you have a heart condition, who will you want to go see? If you have a broken bone and need surgery, who will you call? Of course, in both circumstances, you will be calling a specialist, right? Your general practitioner is great for most concerns but when it comes to the bigger, more life-altering issues you will turn to the one with a specialized skill set. You will seek out the doctor who has trained for years to master the very thing you need. Because your life is on the line and it’s not the time for generalization.

The same thing holds true when it comes to your marketing. This is life or death. The success of your practice depends on this. This is heart surgery and being able to walk again. Because the fact of the matter is, you could build the most phenomenal practice, acquire the very best technology, hire highly trained staff and pay attention to every detail with beautiful amenities but if no one knows about you, you’re sailing a sinking ship.

THERE IS A Difference between marketing and advertising

Many people use these words interchangeably;however, they are very different things. Advertising is simply the placement of “ads” in various places. As they say, it’s throwing mud at a wall to see what sticks. Marketing encompasses the placement of the ads for sure, however, it’s so much more. It’s the plan. It’s the strategy. It’s making sure that everything the public sees sends a cohesive message and it’s leveraging every available dollar to reach the most people and have the greatest impact. See, anyone can advertise. Your receptionist can advertise. It takes the marketing heart surgeons to develop your best ventures and see them through to fruition.

The playing field for new dentists is getting tougher. There are more dentists coming out of school than are retiring each year and with the average overhead of a dental practice running at about 70% (source:, it is imperative that you are clear about what makes you stand out and that you are using your budget wisely to ensure maximum new patient flow. This is where you need that team of 31 experts; the collection of specialists who can advise you on your next best move at the best time.


You were drawn to dentistry for certain reasons, you have a set of strengths that make you great at what you do. Too often, we see new doctors who are trying desperately to master their own craft and everything else it takes to run a successful business. They are doing their own books, and their own legal documents and their own marketing. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a tribe to build and run a successful dental practice.  Make a list of your strengths, what business functions are you confident you can do on your own? Do you have the expertise to be your own CPA? Do you have the skill set to handle your own legal matters? And do you have a powerful working knowledge of branding, direct mail, social media, search engine optimization, Google analytics, safe updates, toxic back-links, keywords, and conversions? Maybe you have a few of those in your wheelhouse if so, that’s great. For the rest, find your tribe of experts. Because the heart of your practice, your new patients, depends on the care you seek.

We’ve been helping dentists nationwide market their practices for over 20 years. At Affordable Image we’ve brought together a team of experts in every area who truly care about your success. We’d love to be your tribe! For more information please call our Start-up Specialist, Ingrid Snow, at 949-769-9909 or email


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