The Difference Between Dental Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Scott Yoder

 | 
April 19, 2022

At first glance, marketing strategies and tactics might seem similar. However, a successful marketing plan will begin with a focus on determining strategy before diving into tactics. 

Deciding on the best marketing strategies for your dental practice creates a “map” for the tactics you’ll use. This can save you time and money when implementing your marketing strategies. You’ll have specific purposes for each tactic, and with that, you can ensure you don’t overspend. You will also be able to measure the success rates of your tactics to determine if you’re getting the best results and return on investment (ROI).

A Common Marketing Pitfall

One of the biggest mistakes dental offices make in their marketing is to jump straight into tactics without having a strategy. This happens because most dentists don't understand the difference between strategy and tactics - so let's clarify with an example.

Understanding Dental Marketing Strategies

Let’s say your dental practice is opening up in an area with a lot of new suburban housing. It's an attractive area for young families.

One marketing strategy could target families moving to the area looking for a new dental home. The strategy works on the assumption that mothers are the primary decision-makers for dental care, so you look to create an affinity with that demographic. One of the primary goals of this strategy is to bring in the entire family as new patients.

Your marketing strategy helps you understand your audience - who you're trying to persuade.

Implementing Effective Tactics

Now that their strategies are in place, this dental practice could run Google Ads focusing on families looking for a new dental home. The ads might offer a special incentive for first-time hygiene appointments. The word choice and the images on the website landing page would focus on a family-friendly message. Keyword targets include "family dentist" searches.

An additional tactic for this strategy could be to run Facebook ads targeting mothers new to the area. They could target specific age groups, family status, and household income. Depending on their marketing budget, they might also consider running retargeting ads to people who have already visited the website. The ads would have imagery and word choices designed to create a relationship with moms looking for a dentist for the entire family.

This dental practice could even use direct mail as a marketing tactic to reach new families directly in their mailboxes with a special offer or information about specialized services they provide. Direct mail is still a very effective and budget-friendly way to reach new patients in your area, especially when you’re looking to target families. 

So you can see that once your strategies are in place, there are several different options for tactics that can help you reach your goals. First, determining the right strategy enables you to know what to say and where to say it, and then you can choose tactics that allow you to reach your target audience with a relevant message.  

Putting It All Together

Thinking back to our example, imagine if the practice jumped right into tactics without considering strategy. They would miss gaining the competitive advantage of creating ads designed to appeal to moms who are new to the area. 

They might even decide to focus on a service that isn't relevant to new families. Your dental practice wouldn’t be as successful with ads that show older people who need dental implants in an area where the primary audience is young families. This could significantly impact your ROI and your marketing budget. 

Need Help With Dental Marketing Strategies or Tactics?

When you create a marketing strategy for your practice first, your tactics will be more successful.

A well-planned strategy helps you focus on who you're trying to communicate with. Then, once you have a picture of that audience, you can use the right tactics to reach them with a relevant message. 

Your team at GDW can help you strategize your marketing plan and implement it with a wide range of effective tactics focused on your unique location and market.

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