Top 5 Mistakes Dental Advertisers Make on Facebook

Understanding Facebook advertising can be quite challenging, mastering it requires help.

We all understand that Facebook is one of the premier marketing and advertising hot spots around the world, but for a doctor, dentist, or other medical professional, money spent on ads is often squandered on this hot spot as a result of five common mistakes. Although the mistakes result in wasted time, dampened morale, and missed revenue opportunity, the solutions are relatively simple.

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Targeting Errors

Targeting errors involve mistakes rookies often make, but they also represent mistakes made by seasoned marketing veterans as well. The rookie-mistake portion of this marketing equation stems from not defining specifically the intended audience. For instance, I like to select an age range that is as narrow as possible. Even if it seems too narrow, I remind myself Facebook has millions of people using it. The seemingly narrow age range will still be vast.

The reason a narrowly defined market is important is that people in a narrow yet similar age, income, or regional bracket will have very similar dental needs, and an ad will target just these people. Too broad of a dental ad campaign will waste revenue by showing the ad to uninterested users. Yes, technically, these uninterested people might fit the defined demographic, but within the broad definition of what makes a customer, many people will see the ad, yet those people will remain unlikely to become a customer. Narrow targeting avoids wasted ad displays.

The more difficult type of mistake to avoid is the unintentional slight. The modern customer is largely more sympathetic, sophisticated, and connected than any other hypothetical customer in history. Although an ad campaign might successfully target the right range of potential new patient opportunities, the wrong bit of ad copy, be it humorous or otherwise, must also successfully target that group of visitors. Images or posts that exploit, damage, or insult will set off a firestorm of unwanted criticism capable of damaging a marketing campaign or ruining a business. I attempt to write copy that remains positive, supportive, and beneficial.


Facebook advertising campaigns are often considered a shotgun technique that work—eventually. Enough time must be allotted for the campaign to pay off. Just as important, enough time must pass before making any decisions regarding under-performing ads. What constitutes enough time? Opinions vary, but an overall advertising campaign should last at least 90 days. That campaign can then be divided into one-week or two-week periods.

For initial testing, I have found one week’s worth of advertising will provide enough data to make adjustments. Two weeks of advertising will provide enough data to make any required adjustments, and it is also enough time to make a preliminary determination if the ad is working well or simply not performing. A third week will provide all the required data to determine if something is right or wrong. More importantly, if after three weeks, the ad campaign is not working, the overall budget is still largely intact.

Medical providers interested in conducting abbreviated campaigns will end up spending most of the entire budget just as the initial data comes in. If no additional funding is available, the conclusion might be that social media marketing does not work—when, in fact, it does.

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Adding value to someone’s life is the cornerstone of most products. However, over-selling the product, especially to a focused market, can be perceived as spam. When it comes to social media marketing, best practices usually advise two to three posts per day, each separated by three to four hours.

Additionally, each post should be materially different. The product or service might be the same, but for any product or service, multiple benefits exist. Promoting the product or service by emphasizing different benefits across different days will seem more like slightly different conversations. An ongoing conversation is much more effective than an endless onslaught of purchase requests and calls to action.

Misunderstanding Your Services

Most dental practice owners know their services and products, but it is a matter of common wisdom that many do not either know the services or, perhaps, they do not understand the true benefit they offer. Additionally, some business owners might not understand when a service is most needed.

For instance, a dentist might provide teeth whitening services. Whereas some dentists understand that whiter teeth mean greater confidence, some might not. Additionally, some dentists might understand that the best time to sell teeth whitening services might be in the spring and summer months during the so-called wedding season. Additional times might be around the holidays when pictures are taken. Campaigns emphasizing a dental treatment’s true benefit work best as do those during peak times of need.

Missed Opportunities

Perhaps the biggest mistake a dental office might make is that of missed opportunity. When it comes to social media, missed opportunity means the following four things: email harvesting, amassing likes and comments, funneling, and shopping analytics.

  • E-mail harvesting involves obtaining the e-mail addresses of potential customers. These serve as leads for future sales.
  • Likes and comments help establish social legitimacy, helping to convince other shoppers they, too, might like the product or service.
  • Funneling is the practice of channeling (funneling) visitors from a Facebook page to the actual landing page containing the call to action. Missing an opportunity to funnel people already interested in a service is equal to lost revenue.
  • Shopping analytics are behind-the-scenes statistics that provide such information as what pages were the most popular and led to sales conversions and what types of times, purchases, or products ended up being abandoned in the shopping cart.

Of course, additional tips on creating successful ads exist, but anyone in the medical industry mastering these five will be far ahead of their competition.

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