For dentists, summer can be a frustrating time of year. In the early months, your appointment book may be shockingly sparse. But then, come the end of July and beginning of August, a flood of bookings come in, as parents try to get their children seen before school starts. Wouldn’t it be nice if at least some of those patients could head your way in June and early July to balance out your schedule? Let’s explore four marketing ideas to increase summer dental appointments.
1. Social Media Blitz
Your opportunities to influence the scheduling behaviors of busy, multitasking parents exist in a very tight window. Before school ends, parents are still overwhelmed, perhaps even more so than during some other times of the year. Teachers need goodbye gifts, celebratory parties are loading the kiddos up with sugar—it’s an exciting but also chaotic time for many.
In short, if parents receive communications from you during this hectic time, whether via a mailer or social media post on their feed, they probably aren’t paying much attention.
The trick is to get their attention right after school has let out. At this point, parents are taking a deep breath as they look ahead at their summer plans. Should those include an earlier trip to the dentist? We think, Yes!
This is why, although snail mail is generally still very effective, we love social media for the goal of increasing summer dental appointments. Your team can be preparing a series of social media posts about appointment scheduling and have those posts ready to go live one after another right after school ends and summer begins. To optimize this strategy, research when that is for the majority of schools in your area. Oh, and don’t forget the power of paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, which include geotargeting.
Don’t worry, we aren’t leaving you hanging without any ideas for content! Here’s an outline of what a two-week posting series could look like.
Week-Long Summer Appointments Series
“The kids have said goodbye to another school year, now let’s say goodbye to cavities!”
Announce special promotions if any:
“Book an appointment for any time before July 15th and receive 10% off for you or your child’s next cleaning.”
“Whoop whoop! The best Fridays are summer Fridays! Spend one with us for a 10% discount!”
Once you’ve released that social media post series, follow up with posts here and there over the course of the next several weeks and leading up to your deadline for a discount.
2. Promotion for Summer Bookings
You may not prefer to give discounts, but working toward the goal of booking more summer appointments, this approach makes sense. Offering discounts could help you fill out a sparse schedule (and thus ease the burden of August). That means the ROI is there. If you offer 10% off but that discount encourages 15 more people to book appointments before August, you’ve won from a financial perspective.
There are two schools (pun intended) of thought here. First, you could offer the discount to anyone who books before a certain date. Because hey, if an adult with no kids wants to take advantage, why not? Alternatively, if you want to maintain more control over how many patients are receiving that discount, consider making it exclusive to kids. Your discount’s marketing could say, “Get 10% off of your child’s next cleaning when you book them for an appointment before July 15th.”
3. Website Banner Ad
When Mom or Dad hops onto your website, you want the ability to schedule in the beginning of summer to be advertised front and center. A thin banner at the top of the website won’t be overwhelming or take away from anything else on the page. But that ad will make sure they see your message right away.
If you have a discount, mention it here. But even if you aren’t doing a promotion, you can put something as simple as, “Parents, book before July 15th!” Then link that through to a page explaining the booking volume challenges to come. Some parents will likely make an appointment right away because they’re now worried they won’t be able to schedule an appointment come August.
4. Run a Feature in a Local Publication
Does your town have a small local magazine? These publications often share information about events for kids … and parents read them! Consider reaching out to local magazines in your area to ask if you can pay for an advertorial-style article. If so, you’ll pay for an editor-written article wherein they share your insights (maybe on sugar and cavities for kiddos) through their lens, having interviewed you. An advertorial positions your expertise nicely, and will get your practice in front of plenty of parental eyes.
The exposure alone will likely increase summer dental appointments, but you can of course also mention a discount within the article. The great thing about working with an editor here is that they will be able to tactfully include the discount info. So, if you’re worried about seeming desperate to book appointments, this could be the perfect alternative advertising avenue for you.
And you might be thinking, well, how early would I need to start working on that? You would be surprised how quickly a publication can incorporate one more story—especially when you’re going to bring them ad revenue. But the sooner the better is optimal for print editions compared to online.
The struggle to increase summer dental appointments is real, but it doesn’t have to be! If you put in a little extra focus on this time of the year, it could be your most profitable summer ever. And your hygienists will thank you for the less-packed August!
Remember these four marketing musts:
- 1. Social Media Blitz
- 2. Promotion for Summer Bookings
- 3. Website Banner Ad
- 4. Run a Feature in a Local Publication
And here is our final takeaway: If you don’t want to worry about all of the above, focus on social media combined with a promotion. This strategy isn’t incredibly time-consuming and is sure to produce results.
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