Facebook Ads for Dentists: A Complete Guide

Let’s be honest…

Dental school teaches dentists the business of dentistry, not marketing.

But in order to grow a dental practice, a successful online marketing strategy is critical.

This guide was created to help you get started.

First Things First: Why Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads for Dentists

Facebook ads for dentists are extremely powerful for a few reasons.

For starters, the targeting options are nearly limitless. Want to show your ads to Goldendoodle owners who use an iPhone? Easy!

People who live within 5 miles of your office who have a birthday this month? No problem.

The Facebook advertising platform is also connected to Instagram, so you can easily run ads on both platforms in a single campaign. As Instagram gains popularity, this is a great feature.

Another reason to use Facebook ads is that they are a lot cheaper than advertising on Google. While both are an auction process, the cost per click on Google could run you $20-$40. On Facebook, we usually see a cost per click of $1-$5. That’s a huge difference!

The Truth About Dental Facebook Advertising

We know that Facebook advertising is powerful. But is it effective in the dental industry?

In short, absolutely. But it needs to be done right.

Advertising on social media used to be a lot less competitive and easier to master. But in 2020, every business is on there (and if they’re not, they’re losing customers to their competition).

Here are a few things you need to know before you get started with Facebook ads, whether you plan on doing it yourself, have an in-house marketing team, or are going to hire an agency.

1. “Boosting Posts” Is Not The Same As Running Ads

If you already have a business Facebook or Instagram page for your practice, I’m sure you’ve seen the prompts that say “boost this post to reach up to 900 more people!”

While a boosted post works the same way as a Facebook or Instagram ad does, you are very limited in your options.

Facebook tells you that as little as $5 can get you a bunch of engagement (likes, comments, shares). The kicker is that’s not what we really want. Likes, comments, and shares don’t pay the bills!

Ideally, we’re looking for leads and new patients. And you CAN achieve this through Facebook ads… They just need to be set up correctly.

Here’s an example of how Facebook and Instagram will prompt you to boost your posts:

Facebook Ads for Dentists

2. It’s All About The Creative

By “creative,” I mean both the imagery and the copy you use in your ads. Unlike advertising on Google, you have more real estate on your Facebook and Instagram ads. Both platforms are very much about the pictures (or videos) so you need to get this right if you’re going to find success.

Here’s an example of a Facebook ad design we created for a client that performed well:

Facebook Ads for Dentists

Good creative can make or break your campaign results.

3. Make Sure You Are Tracking Results

A lot of the dentists I speak with about marketing say they have no idea whether they are getting results or not from their campaigns. With Facebook ads, it’s ridiculously easy to track!

The Facebook ads manager platform will give you insight into your reach, impressions, website visits, cost per click, cost per lead, and more. Use this information to gauge success and determine ROI from your ad campaigns.

How to Track Results and ROI

The Most Common Mistakes We See In Dentist Facebook Ads

Online marketing in general is all about trial and error. You never know if something is going to work unless you give it a go. Especially because technology is constantly evolving. But there are a few things that are just plain no-no’s.

Save yourself time, money, and headaches by avoiding these common pitfalls:

1. Forgetting The Facebook Pixel

I’ve audited a lot of Facebook ad accounts, and one of the most common mistakes I see is forgetting to set up the Facebook pixel. The Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that is installed on your website (or the landing page you’re driving traffic to).

The purpose of the pixel is to track how many people landed on your site from your ad campaigns. Without it installed, it’s nearly impossible to determine the success of your campaign (unless you are only interested in engagement on the platform itself).

Another main benefit of having the Facebook pixel installed on your website is the ability to retarget visitors. In case you’re not sure what retargeting means… Think about the last time you were shopping online but didn’t complete your purchase. And for the next week, that pair of shoes followed you all across the internet.

Powerful stuff, right?

Facebook Ads for Dentists

Facebook advertisers are able to retarget users by tracking their browsing history with the pixel. Retargeting campaigns typically result in the greatest ROI – so make sure you don’t miss out on this!

Installing the pixel is a simple process. All you need to do is copy the small piece of code Facebook provides and paste it into your website header. If code like this makes your head spin – it’s a simple task to send to your web developer.

2. Not Using A Landing Page

Another common mistake I see in dental Facebook ad campaigns are running the ads directly to the homepage of your website. This is not a good idea if you are running some sort of special offer or promotion.

Think about it…

You see an ad on social media for a great deal. Let’s say, free teeth whitening if you refer a friend. You’re ready to sign up right then and there!

Then you click on the link and it takes you to the dental office’s homepage. Now what? How do you redeem the teeth whitening offer? Are you going to pick up the phone and call the office and ask? No way!

The attention span of the average user is only 20 seconds, and then they’re gone. So we need to capture their interest quickly by using a specific landing page for the exact offer you’re promoting. I promise, it will boost your conversion rate.

3. Not Following Facebook’s Advertising Policies

Anyone who has experimented with Facebook ads knows that the platform has some strict policies in place. If you don’t follow their policies, your ad won’t be approved and won’t run. You even run the risk of getting your ad account shut down completely.

A few of Facebook’s rules to pay attention to in the dental space are:

  • Personal Attributes: Ads cannot imply personal attributes like beliefs, religion, age, gender, or medical condition
  • Text in Images: Don’t use images with extensive text on them (keep the amount of text to 20% of the image or less)
  • Before and Afters: Ads can’t use any before and after images
  • Close-Ups of Body Parts: Avoid using any images that are zoomed in smiles or teeth as they will likely not be approved

How To Track Results and ROI

Running Facebook ads without tracking your ROI is like throwing spaghetti at a wall. What’s the point?

A few tips that make it easy to track your results from your campaigns:

1. Use A Specific Landing Page For Your Ads

Rather than directing traffic to the homepage of your website, create a specific landing page based on the offer you’re promoting. That way you know anyone who filled out the form on the landing page came from your ads.

2. Install The Facebook Pixel

Once the Facebook pixel is installed on the page, you will be able to track who clicked on your ads and made it to the landing page, and who made it to the thank you page. This will help you determine your cost per landing page view and your cost per lead.

3. Set Up A Lead Tracking Sheet

One of the first things we do when we are setting up a client campaign is create a blank Google Sheet with the following columns: Date, Name, Email, Phone, Status. We use a software called Zapier to set up an integration so every time a lead comes through, the information is automatically added to the sheet. Then it’s up to you to keep it updated with status information. You should log whether or not you contacted the lead when they came in, and whether or not they converted to a new patient. Keeping all of this logged in one place will help you easily determine your ROI from your Facebook advertising campaign.

Best Softwares For Dental Facebook Marketing

There is a lot of software available to help you get great results from your marketing efforts. Our team has experimented with many of them, so you can skip the trial and error and jump right in!

  • Clickfunnels (or some sort of landing page software)
  • Jotform or Wufoo (to build form requests)
  • Zapier (to integrate leads with your tracking sheet, and to integrate your funnel with your email marketing system)
  • MailChimp or ActiveCampaign (for email marketing)
  • Facebook Business Manager (for ad creation and optimization)
  • Clicksend (for text message marketing)

In Summary: Facebook Ads For Dentists Are Powerful

After reading this guide, I hope you realize how powerful Facebook ads can truly be (when implemented correctly). This guide should serve as a starting point for you, but it’s not something that can be mastered overnight. If you have any questions or want us to take a look at your campaigns directly, we’d love to chat!

You can schedule a free strategy session with the team here.

Alyssa Ege

President and Lead Strategist at Sail Away Media. Loves to come up with creative solutions for our clients to help them achieve their goals.

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