Practice Marketer



What’s working in practice marketing

What's working in orthodontic marketing really depends on your practice, your target audience and your location, but there are nationwide trends that we are happy to address in this forum.

To coupon or not to coupon.
Whether or not to use coupons has been a contentious argument among practioners for years. If you use coupons to market your practice, you'll be seen as cheap. If you don't you may not get all the new patients/client you deserve. So where do we find a happy medium?

Thus the big questionis: How do you give new patients a way to try your services without discounting the value of your service?

There are two schools of thought:

1. Offer a discounted or free introductory consultation to get patients in the door. This allows the patient/client to taste a bite sized piece of your practice without a big commitment.

The pros and cons of number 1

The Pros

  • You offer a service that costs you only time
  • You allow those who wouldn't ordinarily use your service to get to know you, risk free
  • You get your name out in the community, (also called branding) which allows those who had been thinking about using the service you provide but just haven't acted on it.

The Cons

  • You spend time on people who may never commit to a service
  • You have to sell yourself and your services

2. Offer a loss leader. This gets people into the practice, allows them to see what you have to offer, allows them to get a terrific service for a great price.

The pros and cons of number 2

The Pros

  • People will respond to your offer... if it's a great value
  • You will have new patients in the door
  • You will expose your practice to many new faces

The Cons

  • Not all the people who want the specific service you are selling will want to become permanent patients (they may already have another provider)
  • You have to sell yourself and your services. Your office staff has to be friendly, helpful and sales oriented. You must keep your mind on how do I convert this person into a patient/client.


To distribute your coupon/flyer a number of options are available including:

  • Paid direct mailed companies(advo/valpack/pennysaver/moneymailer, etc)
  • Buy your own list and mail to them (remember to mail to enough people in the right areas (more than 5000 is considered a minimum)
  • Newspaper insertion (many papers offer this once a week)
  • Pay someone to hand them out in a neighborhood
  • Pay someone to hand them out at the supermarket/heavily trafficked area.


Average direct mail response rates vary; however the standard is 1-2%. This means that, if you mail 5000, you should get between 50 and 100 responses. That does not mean new patients/clients. That means people who call. It is up to you and your staff to sell them on coming in for the service.
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