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.

Sail Away Media Selected for the 2019 Best of Delray Beach Award

Best of Delray Beach

Best of Delray Beach

Sail Away Media has been selected for the 2019 Best of Delray Beach Award in the Internet Marketing Service category by the Delray Beach Award Program!

Each year, the Delray Beach Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Delray Beach area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose winners in each category. The 2019 Delray Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are chosen based on the information gathered both internally by the Delray Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Delray Beach Award Program

The Delray Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses in the Delray Beach area. Recognition is given to companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Delray Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. The organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Their mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

About Sail Away Media

Sail Away Media is an Internet Marketing Company that specializes in Facebook Advertising for Dental Practices. We use Facebook Ads to help practices grow their revenue so they can spend more time doing what they love.

The first step is building out a proper lead generation funnel to run on Facebook. We have tested and validated funnels that we know work to bring in new leads and patients.

The next step is to roll out the ads. If your business is relying on SEO, growth is going to take a long time. We target your local audience using Facebook and Instagram ads, send them to your funnel and watch the leads pour in.

We also implement automated chat or messenger bots to step up your marketing game either further. People prefer to use messaging apps to communicate. We incorporate automated messenger sequences into your funnel to capture leads who would prefer to chat.

We make things really simple for you by taking all your marketing needs off your hands. You know exactly how many leads are coming in through your ads. No more guesswork.

Want to learn more? Request a free strategy call with the team right here or view our case studies right here.

How The Crossroads Club More Than Tripled Their Investment On Facebook Ads


The Crossroads Club, 501C nonprofit in Delray Beach, hosts a large community event called The Taste of Recovery each year. Using the power of Facebook and Instagram ads, we were able to triple the investment they made on Facebook and Instagram ads leading up to the event.

crossroads club ticket sales

To generate more ticket sales using Facebook and Instagram


We built out a custom funnel for The Crossroads Club to promote The Taste of Recovery across Facebook and Instagram and rolled out targeted ads to people within a 50-mile radius of the upcoming event.

We used a combination of images, carousel ads, and videos to get the message across. We drove all the traffic to a custom landing page so we could explain the benefits of getting involved with the event and track the results of the campaign.

We implemented retargeting campaigns to take the results to the next level. If users showed interest by visiting the landing page, but didn’t purchase, we showed them a variety of retargeting ads.



return on ad spend


in revenue from ads


tickets sold through ads

3 months

to achieve these results

Want results like these?

3 Reasons Why Your Dental Practice Should Use Facebook Ads

3 Reasons Why Your Dental Practice Should Use PPC Ads

The drive to get the attention of potential patients for your practice both online and off is not getting any easier. With more people on the web, specifically on mobile, it’s becoming more and more important to have an online presence. Social Media Advertising Campaigns are one way for you to get found without waiting for the long-term impact of search engine optimization (SEO) to eventually work.

You can have the best dental services in town, but without any exposure, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to grow your business to its potential. Especially if other practices nearby are running campaigns. You don’t want to miss out on the action.

Facebook and Instagram ads play a huge role in competing with other business competitors in your area – but that’s just one reason why you should be investing in social media advertising – here are the others:


Brand Recognition Increase

While your ranking isn’t directly dependent on social media advertising, studies show that running ads alongside search engine rankings can lead to higher click-through-rates or an increase in traffic, especially since you’re taking up more search engine real estate.

According to Marketing Land and Vantage Local, brand awareness has increased by 63% when businesses employed the use of PPC as a marketing medium.

Image result for brand recognition

Additionally, people tend to correlate ads online with a strong brand attached to the business (which means more exposure outside of the internet as well) and once associated with a brand has been made, results have shown a dramatic 300% increase in traffic to the brand’s website.


It Generates Leads Quickly

Image result for lead generation

This is by far one of the biggest selling points when it comes to social media advertising. Having a unique selling proposition along with brand exposure can result in a lot of interested patients. Unlike SEO where you have to wait for the accumulated value to deliver better ranking for your site, paid ads will start delivering immediately. Additionally, you can choose where to place the advertisements. You can select mobile, desktop, tablet, and so many other variations.

But don’t worry – with the right marketing agency for dentists, you can keep your budget in a very reasonable range. In fact, social media advertising can often be less costly than you think when you compare it to other forms of traditional advertising. So you would have the benefit of gaining a massive ROI for the fraction of the cost.


Increase In-Patient Inquiry Phone Calls

Facebook and Instagram ads can not only be targeted to match what a potential patient’s interests, but also by also the city, state, or zip code they reside in. With this, you can write ad text (copy) for the specific audience that persuades them into an offer custom made for them. This offer would be of high value to them that is of a free or reduced cost. In exchange for the offer, they would need to put their name, email, and phone number. This would lead to a call to action that would have them schedule an appointment or have you call them immediately when they fill out the form.

If you’re ready to give PPC a try for your dental office, request a free strategy call with us and we can get your business in the right direction in terms of incorporating this. We are no stranger to how much a dental owner has on their plate. We will be sure to take care of your marketing needs.

It’s not you, it’s Facebook…

It's Not You It's Facebook

I hear it all the time.

“We just haven’t been able to crack the Facebook code”


“We were crushing it for months and now, NOTHING!”

After auditing thousands of ad accounts, I can spot red flags in a matter of minutes. But as a busy business owner, the last thing you need to be doing is tinkering around in Ads Manager for hours trying to lower your cost per lead.

You see, the Facebook platform is constantly changing.

So if something is working well right now, you can almost guarantee it’s not going to work in a few months from now.

It's Not You It's Facebook

Here’s the inside scoop on what we’re finding is working really well right now (you will not hear this from a Facebook rep, guaranteed):

Big Audience Sizes

“The bigger the better” definitely applies to finding a well-converting audience, especially when initially testing out cold audiences. I’m talking 600K plus. 1 million, good. Facebook is loving bigger audiences right now!

You may be thinking, “my product or service is too niche, there is no way over 1 million people would be interested.” Or… I’m not wasting money showing ads to anyone more than 10 miles away from my location…

Here’s the thing… Facebook is a machine learning algorithm that needs as much data as it can in order to optimize your campaigns. If your ads are shown to millions of users, Facebook will shuffle through the ones that they think would covert/engage the most and only show it to users who will convert. That’s why it’s best for ads to be shown to as many people as possible, then let Facebook do its thing.

Give it a shot. We’re seeing large audiences work really well right now.

Broad Audiences

This is also known as “blanket targeting” or “the carpet bomb” approach. It means no Interest Targeting and no lookalike audiences. You put in as little refinement as age and location and let the algorithm do its thing. We’re basically saying, trust the platform.

We’re finding this works well if you have been running ads for some time, meaning you have a seasoned Facebook Pixel and Schema set up on your website.

If you are using this approach, try running a conversion campaign and letting your pixel do the work for you. This approach ties in well with the big audience idea.

Campaign Budget Optimization

Facebook is shifting towards only allowing you to adjust budgets at the campaign level, and we’re seeing success testing this in certain scenarios. This is worth starting to test right now. In a few months, this type of budget optimization will be mandatory for all users so it’s best to get a head start now.

A good way to go about doing this is to test various ad sets with various ads within each of them. Within those ads, layer in different copy, and different ad types (carousel, images, and videos). Then let the platform decide which convert best. This is working well with larger budgets.

If you’ve been having bad luck with your ad campaigns lately, give some of these strategies a shot.

I’m excited to hear what kind of results you get!

How to Crush Your Competition This Black Friday

Crush Competition Black Friday

I know – it’s only October. And as a business owner, the holidays are probably the farthest thing from your mind right now. But we’re approaching the most competitive time of the year right now in the marketing space.

Last year, online sales alone reached 2.4 BILLION dollars on Black Friday (more than 5 billion if you include Cyber Monday). People are ready to whip out their wallets and spend their cold hard cash. So if you aren’t getting ready for this – you are falling behind.

So how can you take full advantage? Don’t have a plan yet? I’m about to give you 3 ideas so you can whip one up real quick!

Idea #1: Run a Contest to Generate Leads

This is actually REALLY easy to implement. The first step is coming up with an awesome giveaway. Own a dental practice? Give away a free whitening treatment. Gym owner? Offer up $500 towards membership.

Run ads on Facebook to promote your contest. In order to enter, make sure participants submit their emails and phone numbers so you are building up your list with prospects who are clearly interested in your services.

And to make things even better, you can send a follow-up email after the contest is over to all the runners-up with a discount they can redeem. Boom!

Idea #2: Come Up With An Irresistible Offer

On Black Friday, everyone is searching for the best deal. And if your end game is long-term customers, offering up a strong discount isn’t a bad idea.

Consider offering up bundles (we’ll go back to our dental example) like get a free whitening when you bring a friend for their first exam.

Idea #3: Run a Pre-Sale Messenger Bot

Before all of your competition starts promoting their deals, give your prospects a “sneak peek” via Facebook ads and have them opt-in via Facebook Messenger.

You can set up an automated Messenger Bot to fire off Facebook messages to them so they can stay up to date with the deal and you can stay ahead of expensive advertising costs when the holidays are here.

Keep the messenger flow fun and engaging so they stay with you the entire way!

Questions? Drop them in the comments!


How to Run A Successful Video Ad Using Instagram Stories

Instagram Story Ads

Instagram story ads have been a hot topic lately… It’s a huge opportunity because users are enmeshed in their Instagram Stories day in and out. Having your brand pop in there in video format with a call to action is powerful stuff!

When you select automatic placements, you run the same ad/creative across various platforms (including the Instagram Stories placement) like the example below from Facebook.

instagram story ads
Source: Facebook Business

But what’s even more powerful is customizing your creative specifically for this placement.

Let’s talk about the best ways to do this…

The ground rules:

  • Use a video that is no longer than 15 seconds
  • Use vertical dimensions
  • Keep it upbeat and captivating (consider your audience!)
  • Use a call-to-action to get consumers to swipe up
  • Get creative

The best tools for creating Instagram Story Ads

Here are some of our favorite tools for crafting these videos…

  • Quik (GoPro’s video editing app, you can create these videos easily using templates on your phone!)
  • Camtasia
  • Adobe Premiere Pro

Things to keep in mind…

Don’t forget a clear call to action. Get your users to act quickly.

And test, test, test!

P.S. Check out >> these examples from AdEspresso.

Use Gamification to Lower Your Cost Per Lead


Use this trick to lower your cost per lead

I’m sure you’ve all seen the popular content floating around your Facebook newsfeeds… What flavor of shrimp are you? What city do you belong in?

You’ve probably even taken the time to participate in some of these.

Why are these types of posts so engaging? Maybe because they’re distracting, entertaining, or just plain fun. Whatever it is, we love to play games. So how can you put a “gamification” twist on your marketing efforts?

So… What’s Gamification?

Hubspot puts it simply, “it’s the marketer’s equivalent of turning a baby’s spoon into a rocket ship so the baby has fun trying to catch it, and you get your baby to eat the smashed peas. Everybody wins, and the baby has a good time to boot.”

It’s turning your marketing into a game in order to achieve your end goal. For instance, using a quiz to collect an email in return, using a points systems to reward your customers for coming back, challenges, contests, do this to win this, etc.

Gamified marketing campaigns tend to get a ton of social proof (likes, comments, shares) and a lower cost per lead (CPL) because you are giving your audience upfront value — ENTERTAINMENT!

Still confused about how your business can use gamification?

Check out this simple quiz I built and find out how much you really know about Facebook ads.

Should You Boost Your Facebook Post?

Should You Boost Your Facebook Post

If you have a business Facebook page, I’m sure you’ve seen the notifications saying…“This post is performing better than 90% of other posts on your Page. Boost it to get more great results.” So you must have wondered, should I boost my Facebook post?

The Boost Post option is available as you write new posts for your business page as well. It looks something like this:

Should I boost my Facebook post

If you click that tempting ‘Boost’ button, you’re led to an easy to use interface that guides you through the set up. Choose your targeting, budget, and duration, and your post will get a higher reach. As little as $3 can get you a bunch of engagement (likes, comments, shares). Nice!

…Actually, NOT so nice, Facebook.

Before you boost your next post, I want you to think about this: What is your intention and strategy behind this boosted post? Is it general brand awareness? More leads? Sales? And does this boosted post make sense for your goal?

If your boosted post doesn’t coincide with your goal, I would save your money and put it elsewhere. It might seem like just a few dollars, but it adds up quickly. I’ve audited quite a few ad accounts who rack up thousands of dollars in boosted posts with zero strategy behind them.

Why you should stay away from the Boost Post button

Below is a real life example that we caught in a FB ad account audit.

This client spent over $14K on a single campaign that they forgot to turn off. No strategy behind it at all. No results. Just wasted dollars.

Should I boost my Facebook post

On the bright side, if you DO have a goal, such as getting more leads, page likes, sales, you can achieve these goals through Facebook ads. They just need to be implemented in the correct manner. Campaigns should be set up in Ads Manager so you have more control over how you set them up.

With Ads Manager and Power Editor you have more control over:

  • Objective of your ad: Link clicks, conversions, messages, engagement, etc.
  • Ad placements: Mobile, desktop, Instagram, etc.
  • Targeting: Interest based, location, retargeting website visitors using the FB pixel, custom audiences, lookalike audiences, etc.

So stop pressing that tempting ‘Boost Post’ button and start using your Ads Manager. It’s going to take a LITTLE bit longer to set up your ads this way, but I promise, it’s worth it!