There was a time when simply being a good dentist was enough to build your practice. Word of mouth was key to expanding your patient base. Advertising was unheard of for dentists or doctors. Websites and social media didn’t exist.
Then a few practices started giving away promotional toothbrushes and personalized toothbrushes to their patients after their appointment. Floss was a natural next step. Eventually came advertising and now websites and social media engagement.
So, the question is — are dental promotional products still worth the investment? Will your patients use the items they receive and, more important, remember your practice? Will their friends see your name and ask about your practice? Or does this free stuff simply go in the back of a drawer or, worse, the bottom of the garbage can?
Are promotional products worth it? The answer is…Yes. It’s very hard to directly quantify a return on investment for these items, but they have become a must for every practice. In a way, it could be better to think of them both as a way to remind patients about your practice, but also as a thank you gift for being a patient.
Download the most popular dental promotional items list
Tips from Fellow Dentists
Dr. Silver – Macleod Trail Dental
If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend not ordering too much of the same thing. Instead, start slow and see which branded products offer the best results…Think about the largest population you serve – what is something useful you can give them that other people are likely to see? Toothbrushes are a common hand out, but more people see a box of mints you carry around all day compared to a toothbrush tucked away in your bathroom. Start making a point to ask new patients how they heard about you to see where your referrals are coming from. Armed with this information, you can customize a marketing budget based on where your best results come from.
Dr. Vadivel – Implants Gum Care
Don’t hold out hope for a silver bullet. There’s no such thing in marketing…Think of your budget as a starting point. It’s an investment. The first thing you need to do is establish the method you’ll use to set your budget. The most popular and most successful for small businesses is making your marketing budget a percentage of your gross revenue. Rule of Thumb: Practice should spend a minimum of 7-10% of their gross income on marketing.
- Always get three quotes
- Print permanent stickers
- A/B Test
Dental Promotional Items Are A Necessity
One thing is sure — your competition is giving their patients something. It’s not really an option to have your patients take off their bibs and you leave them with nothing more than a smile and “See you in six months” salutation.
Brand awareness is crucial for all practices, you don’t want to miss a potential referral because your patient can’t remember your practice name!
Whether you like getting these kinds of things yourself doesn’t matter. They have become a staple for dental practices. So, how do you know the best giveaways for your practice?
Dental Promotional Products Work
If you’re hedging on putting some giveaways to work building your practice, consider a few statistics:
- 85% of people remember the name of a company/firm giving them a promotional product.
- 87% of consumers keep promotional products for longer than a year.
- 50% of people who receive promotional drinkware (i.e. coffee cups, water bottles, etc.) use the item 2-3 times per week.
- 91% of people who receive promotional USB drives keep them.
Consider the timing
One thing to think of is when or in what context will you be giving these items away. Consider these different scenarios:
- At the appointment end— What is the patient leaving your office with?
- New patients— How are you going to say “welcome” to a new patient?
- Open houses— If people take the time to come to an open house, you should have them leave with something.
- Community events— If you have a presence at an event, such as a 5K run, what are you going to give people who stop by your table?
- Promotions or contests— Contests are popular on social media. “Write a Caption” for the picture of your hygienist’s funny-looking new dog, and win a prize. Obviously, this item would be more involved than a logo-imprinted lip balm.
Discover More Dental Marketing Strategies
When you think of these different scenarios, they involve different types of giveaways. So your first step is deciding where your involvement will be.
Plan a dental open house on any budget!
Match the items to your audience
While the choices of giveaways can seem daunting — there are thousands of different options — you can really narrow your options by considering your audience and what they like to do. Think of the majority of patients in your practice, and picture what kinds of items they would make use of.
- For instance, if your practice is in an active area, such as Boulder, Colorado, you can assume they would use items geared toward an active lifestyle: water bottles, iPhone holders for their arm when running, sunscreen, lip balm, or reusable grocery bags with your logo and a catchy line.
- If your primary patients are younger professionals, your items would change. Maybe a smartphone stand for airplane flights, or a 3-way charging cable, USB drive, or notepads.
- If your patients are predominantly elderly: denture boxes, toothpaste tube squeezers, denture brushes, denture-specific toothpaste.
- If you have lots of kids coming through your doors a toy box is fun. While the kids won’t be making the phone calls for appointments or telling their friends, their mothers will remember and will share your giveaways with their circle of other moms.
- If you want to have a contest on your practice Facebook page, your prize could be a new Oral-B Electric Toothbrush, with your logo on it. This would allow you to do a little education when you’re detailing the contest. Oral B was the first electric toothbrushes to be approved by the American Dental Association, so you can tout their benefits when describing the contest and the prizes.
You can see that it’s important to show your patients that you don’t simply provide great care for their oral health, but that you also understand them.
Don’t just opt for run of the mill
Having a small bag with a toothbrush, floss, and maybe travel-size toothpaste (handy to get through airport security in a carry-on), is pretty much a necessity for modern practices. All of the items should have your logo on them. You could ask if they want a toothbrush, as some people have their own preferences and will just put yours in the back of the drawer. You should test and consider changing up items over the coming appointments.
Think about it — if someone just had a root canal or their wisdom teeth removed, what’s better than giving them a branded blue ice bag on their way out the door?
The bottom line on dental practice giveaways? Statistics show your patients use these items…if they see value in them. You don’t have to break the bank and give away Fitbits, but if you match your giveaways with your audience they’ll appreciate the gesture and will feel more loyal toward your practice. And their friends will notice your logo on their stuff, too! Who knew something as simple as a water bottle or cloth grocery bag could work so hard for your practice?