Professional advice about maximizing the potential of your healthcare practice.


It takes effort to build a thriving dental practice. But, after reading this article on how to make it happen, you’ll feel more confident in taking that first step.

Idea 1: To make money, you need to spend money.

Simply put, if you don’t spend money on marketing, it will be difficult to bring in new patients. The amount to allocate varies from practice to practice, but here is a good rule of thumb1:

  • If you’re in the building stage of your practice, spend up to 25% of your income on marketing1
  • When you’ve reached a comfortable income level, you can reduce your marketing spend to 10%.1 Also, it’s not what you spend, but how much you make back. Wouldn’t you spend a dollar if you knew your return on investment was going to be 3 dollars?1

Idea 2: Carefully select the business you want.

Ask yourself these 3 very important questions before going after new patients:

  • What does my practice have the most capacity to do?1
  • In what area do I make the most money?1  
  • What do I most love doing?1

Naturally, you want to set yourself up to succeed, so make sure you answer these questions carefully. The more you love what you do, the better you will do it. And when you love something and are skilled at it, it becomes contagious, leading to word of mouth from your patients. And word of mouth will draw even more patients to your practice.2   

Idea 3: Apply the 3 Ms—Media Mix, Message, and Movement.

Or, to put it another way: the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.

When it comes to marketing, a diverse Media Mix is what drives business. So take advantage of all the various media channels: digital, social, print, events and seminars, direct mail, and internal referral programs. The more channels you have working together for you, the better. But, if you can only do 2, try a social media program and a referral program. If you can manage to do both of these well, you should see an increase in business.1

Regarding the Message, be as specific as possible when describing the symptoms or problems your prospective patients might be suffering from, to make it relatable to them. Marketing works best when it’s right to the point and highly targeted. Since patients relate more to their symptoms, use words that they would use to describe the problems they’re having—not the clinical-sounding words you might use. For instance, if you want periodontal patients, your marketing should focus on “gum disease” and other user-friendly words that these prospective patients would use.1,2  

Creating a clear path for prospective patients to make an appointment is called Movement. The path may be a phone number, a Web address that leads to an online form, or an RSVP card. Whatever paths you choose, just make sure they are simple and easy ways for prospective patients to contact you. And there must always be a way for them to give you their contact information, so they can be entered into your database.1 You will want to have this information handy so you can engage them with direct mail, e-mail, and other communications tools with which you can maintain an ongoing dialogue. Relationships matter. Remember, your existing patients are your best source of word of mouth!2

We hope you found this article of value.


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1. Luginbill, J. Six steps to grow your practice quickly. DentistryIQ. Accessed December 11, 2015.
2. Tekavec C. Tips for practice growth in difficult times. Dental Economics. Accessed April 18, 2016.