Starting a new dental practice poses some unique marketing challenges. Without an established base of patients, your marketing efforts need to be focused on reaching out to possible new patients. Here are three tips for getting that all-important new business.

1. New homeowner lists

People are moving into new homes in your area all the time, and they are going to need a dentist for themselves and their family. A good old-fashioned direct-mail campaign can be an effective means of reaching these prospective new patients. There are a few ways to get a mailing list of new homeowners. One way is to purchase a list from a site such as experian.com or directmail.com.

The lists are compiled from a variety of sources including current public records, county deeds, and tax assessor records. They are also compiled from US Post Office records of change of address data. By creating an attention-grabbing and informative post card, maybe with a special offer for first time patients, you will be tightly targeting just the demographic you need to generate some new business.

2. Local SEO

Local search engine optimization (SEO) means making sure your practice can be found by people searching the internet for businesses near them. It is one thing to optimize your main website for easy indexing by the search engines, but to get found locally and for people searching on mobile devices there are a few extra considerations.

It’s important to get a Google My Business account, which will make your practice visible when people are searching on Google Maps. Be sure that your main website lists your name, address and phone number (NAP) on every page, and that it matches the information you provide to Google My Business. It is also important to utilize responsive design in your website, which ensures your site will be rendered correctly on mobile devices. When someone searches from a mobile device, sites that look good on mobile devices will rank higher than those that don't. (Yes, Google knows.)

3. Get involved in the community

It’s important to get out and mix with the community that contains your potential clients. If you are often seen and heard helping out or participating in community events, you will be developing a relationship that fosters familiarity and trust. And when it comes to choosing a dentist, trust and comfort are major deciding factors.

You can extend your exposure past the end of an event with branded items such as pens, coffee mugs and other items, but a physical presence is key. Sponsoring a charity event and getting your office’s logo on a t-shirt and other merchandise will get your name out and show you support the community. There are lots of ways to get involved that will get the face of your business out into the community.

Getting new patients to your practice can be a challenge when you are just getting started. But by employing the tips above, it won’t be long before you have developed a loyal base of patients and their families.