Dental Marketing – Why The Machine Gun Approach Just Doesn’t Work

dental marketing incentive gift

It’s my birthday today! Yep, even dental marketing professionals have them ya, know!

So why am I telling you this? After all, I’m not sure I want the world and his dog to know that I’m on the wrong side of 40. Okay, okay, so I’m 49.

Anyway, I mentioned it because when I opened up my emails this morning, I’d received one from Ikea. You know, that Swedish furniture chain that you either love or hate.

While that isn’t anything strange in itself (I receive emails from Ikea all the time) this one went something like this….

Hi, Dale and many happy returns! We know that today is a very special day for you, and we want to celebrate it with you. So we’d like to invite you to a free menu in our restaurant, and on top of that, we’re giving you a €6.00 voucher off your next purchase”

Now as stupid as this is gonna sound, and despite the fact that they probably send that same email out to hundreds of thousands of customers every year, I was touched.


Because I felt that they were speaking directly to me on what I guess is my ‘special day”.

Now here’s the thing.

We weren’t planning a trip to Ikea as we’d been recently, and it’s a 120km round trip from my house. However, because of their promotional discount offer….and the idea of free food 🙂 there’s a strong chance that we’ll take up their offer and end up spending a small fortune in the process.

That’s great marketing!

Now I know what you’re thinking.

That’s all well and good, Dale, but what in the heck has this got to do with dental marketing

Well, let me tell ya!

They could have used the machine gun approach to marketing and simply fired off hundreds of thousands of ‘same old, same old’ emails about their latest products. That being the case, I probably wouldn’t have even opened it.

But they didn’t…

Instead, they ditched the machine gun in favour of a laser-targeted rifle  and aimed it directly at me.

In other words, they made it personal and because they did, (and I’m a bit of a sucker), they got me hook, line and sinker!

Do you see where I’m kinda going with this?

Laser-targeted marketing works! It’s incredibly effective, and if done properly, it can bring about great results.

So the question is…how can you use this type of dental marketing to the best effect in your practice?

The answer lies in targeted emails.

Emails are a much-underused tool in your dental marketing arsenal. In fact, short of sending out patient appointment reminders, they’re hardly used at all. So here’s an idea…

Why not send a simple birthday greeting to patients on their special day?  What’s more, you could go that one step further and offer them a promotional voucher for, say, teeth whitening or their next hygiene clean. This is where you can be as creative as you like.

So why does this work?

Because as individuals, we’re faced with more advertising than ever before. As such, we become pretty desensitised to it. Therefore dental practices need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Laser-targeted marketing is a way you can do exactly that.

By talking to your existing patients directly, they’re way more likely to take action. That’s true, especially if the offer is something that you know they’ll be interested in. The Ikea advert I received this morning is a true case in point.

While blasting out emails “machine gun style” to everyone on your mailing list might seem like an easier, quicker option, the truth is that it just doesn’t work!

Instead, take the time to laser target your list and make every email you send specific to them. Do this, and I guarantee you’ll see just how effective ‘rifle’ marketing is.

Top dental marketing tip If you do offer a promotional gift, ensure that it’s time sensitive. In other words, don’t let it run and run. People are more inclined to take up a promotional offer if there’s a time limit involved. It creates a sense of urgency!

So there you have it….arm yourself with a rifle rather than a machine gun…trust me…it’s way more effecfive!

At Dental Writers, we can help you with laser-targeted emails, newsletters, and content for your dental marketing campaign.  If you’re interested, email me at and let’s talk strategy!

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Dale King
Dale King

Dale has been writing in the dental industry for over 10 years and keeps up to date with the latest technologies and treatments

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