Dental advertising: a guide to offline marketing

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“I regard a great ad as the most beautiful thing in the world.” – Leo Burnett

We really can’t argue with that opinion from advertising icon Leo Burnett. But what makes an ad great?

Really, it depends on what type of dental advertising you’re talking about. Putting digital advertising aside (see our Ultimate Guide to Digital Advertising to dig deeper into that topic), there are quite a variety of offline media channels available to promote your dental practice. And each has its own advantages that you’ll need to know if you want your ad to be a “beautiful thing.”

To produce truly great advertising, you need to first choose the right media and then make the most of its particular strengths.

Dental Print Ads

Dental print ads in newspapers and local magazines can put you front and center before an audience of true “readers.” Those people are more likely to take their time and consider the content of your ad than the faster moving “digital” crowd. That means you can be a little more detailed in the amount of information you share (if it makes sense to do so). Printed publications also have some “pass along” value, meaning that more than one person can see your advertisement in each copy, especially if it is sitting around in a waiting room or other public area. People can also keep a copy of your printed ad handy if they are interested, so they can easily follow up and contact you for an appointment call when they’re ready.

Expert tip: give yourself some space

Ad costs are almost always directly related to how much space they occupy. So it’s natural to try and choose the smallest ad size possible that will fit everything you want to include. The problem is, that tends to create ads that are overcrowded and make the reader feel overwhelmed. Do yourself (and your reader) a favor and make sure your dental ad has plenty of “white space” to allow separation between text, graphics, and other elements of your design. If you don’t have white space, trim your content… or buy a bigger ad.

Dig Deeper

Dental print ads: Why aren’t yours so great?

Dental print ads: Why aren’t yours so great?


Dental print ads are one of the oldest, and most effective, ways to attract new patients to your practice. But […]

Dental Direct Mail Advertising

Dental direct mail advertising – whether it be postcards, self-mailers, or stuffed envelopes – is a highly effective way to reach people directly in their homes. As they’re sorting through their mailbox, they’ll evaluate each piece of mail and decide how they need to process it. That gives your ad more attention than it might normally receive in other media. By using targeted mailing lists, you can also send your ad to only the people who fit your “perfect patient” demographics, thus reducing your cost and maximizing your return on investment (ROI). Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is an even cheaper way to reach your target audience if its slower delivery times aren’t a concern. You simply select the zip codes and neighborhoods you want to send to (you can even specify some demographic criteria to narrow your distribution).

Expert tip: what’s outside matters

People perceive postcards and envelopes differently, so that should be a consideration when you’re planning your direct mail campaign. Postcards can feel more like ads, and can quickly end up in the circular file if they don’t immediately get the recipient’s attention. Envelopes, on the other hand, have a little bit of suspense to them, and people will often open them just to find out what’s inside. Ask yourself how exciting and interesting your message is when you’re choosing your format. If it has some “wow” to it, let it stand out as a postcard. Otherwise, consider enclosing it in an envelope with an enticing teaser message on the outside.

Dig Deeper

Is your dental direct mail advertising a waste of money?

Is your dental direct mail advertising a waste of money?


When you think of dental direct mail advertising, you probably consider it to be completely disconnected from today’s digital marketing […]

Dental Commercials

Dental commercials, whether on television or radio, can engage your audience with more personality and energy than other forms of dental advertising. TV has the advantage of tapping into the senses of both sight and sound, but radio is better at reaching people on the go, in their cars, or in public places.

Expert tip: repeat yourself

It’s pretty easy for consumers to ignore commercials, whether they’re heading to the kitchen to grab a snack or simply zoning out while listening to their favorite radio station. That’s why the frequency of how often your ad is played is important. (They can only ignore you for so long!) Focusing your schedule during a particular part of the day and playing your commercial on a single station where you’re most likely to reach your new patients is better than trying to spread your ad out to a broader audience.

Dig Deeper

Should your dental commercial be on radio or television?

Should your dental commercial be on radio or television?


According to Andy Warhol, we all have at least 15 minutes of fame coming to us. If you’re going to […]

Dental Billboards

Like radio, dental billboards are another great way to reach people while they’re on the move. In the case of daily commuters, you have the added benefit of repetition, since they’ll likely follow the same route to and from their place of work every day. You do have the challenge of only having a few seconds to get your message seen (and remembered) as people go zipping by. But keep it short and sweet and you’ll have a winning advertisement. 

Expert tip: choose your location(s) wisely

A billboard along a busy interstate highway may have twice as much traffic as one next to a lazy country road, but it also gives motorists only half as long to read your message. When signing a contract for billboard placement, consider the content of your advertisement and whether you’re better off showing your billboard to more people or giving them more time to look at it.

Dig Deeper

9 Dental Billboard Ideas That Will Bring A Smile

9 Dental Billboard Ideas That Will Bring A Smile


If you were to ask me what billboards I passed on my commute this morning, do you honestly think I […]

Don’t forget the basics

In addition to the tips shared above, don’t forget the proven basics that make all types of dental advertising better. To tap into Mr. Burnett’s brilliance once more, “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

Do all of that, and what do you get?

The most beautiful thing in the world.

Need ideas for offers to generate more leads?

If you’re looking for great promotional offers for your dental advertising that will get new patients to take action, download our FREE Dental Promotional Offer Idea Guide to find the incentives that will get new patient leads pouring into your dental marketing funnel.

Golden Proportions Marketing