patient reactivation post_final

3 Easy Steps to Reactivate Dental Patients Today

Randi Grant

By Randi Grant

Marketing Manager

Published June 8, 2020
Updated January 25, 2024

4 min read

No matter what's going on in the world, your community, or your individual practice, there are always patients that need re-engaging. For one reason or another, some patients haven't been coming in for routine care, or they've been ignoring an oral health issue, and it's time to bring them back.

Here we'll outline three specific strategies to re-engage your patients and fill your schedule.

Step #1 – Run a Social Media Contest to Encourage Engagement

Social media contests and giveaways are the ultimate in engagement-building tactics. Businesses large and small run contests on Facebook and Instagram all the time because they are a great way to get your followers to comment, like, and share your posts. 

The first step in creating a successful social media contest is to determine your goals. If your goal is to increase your followers and reach new patients, your contest will look a bit different than if your goal is to re-engage your existing followers (which is what we'll focus on here).

When you're re-engaging existing patients, they already know you. They know who you are, what you do, and the overall personality of your practice. You get to start a few steps ahead and just have some fun. And that's the key to a successful social media contest – FUN!

*Please note: due to varying advertising regulations, we strongly advise checking with your local regulatory board to find out what is and is not allowed as far as contests and giveaways in your jurisdiction.


Example: Custom Whitening Trays Giveaway

This dentist did a simple "Guess how many are in the jar" contest, posting a photo of a jar filled with cotton balls on Facebook and asking for guesses in the comments below the image. The winner would receive custom teeth whitening trays. This contest is effective for a few reasons:

  • It's easy to enter – anyone can easily make a guess and have a chance to win, making it likely to get a lot of engagement.
  • The prize is valuable – who wouldn't want to win custom teeth whitening trays? 
  • It's fun – even patients who don't win will see that the practice is having fun and being generous.

This alone could be enough to remind some of your inactive patients that they're due for a cleaning. Being present in their social media feed and actively engaging with them is sometimes all it takes. But steps two and three will take your reactivation campaign to the next level.


Step #2 – Give Your Email Marketing a Boost

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to engage with your patients. All you need is an up-to-date patient email list and you can easily send emails to your patients encouraging them to book their next appointment.

Another way to utilize email to re-engage patients is to use it in conjunction with your social media contest (step #1) to maximize the results.

Using the example teeth whitening tray contest above, you could create a landing page on your website with the details of the giveaway and a link to the Facebook post where patients can post their guesses. You would then want to send an email to your patients announcing the contest and directing everyone to the website landing page.

SUBJECT: Will you be the lucky winner?

Would you like to win ___________? Here's your chance! We recently announced a contest on our Facebook page where one lucky winner will receive _______________.

Check out the details here and enter today. 

But hurry, the contest closes in _____ days.


P.S. We're open [INSERT HOURS] this week. Call us at [INSERT PHONE NUMBER] to schedule your next appointment.

The email and corresponding landing page serve two important purposes:

  1. They allow you to announce the contest to all patients so that those who may not have seen the original Facebook post can still participate (and be reminded of how amazing you are). 
  2. They send traffic to your website, which is always good for SEO and critical for step #3 below.


Step #3 – Retargeting Ads Keep Your Practice Top-of-Mind

Have you ever been to a website, browsed for a bit, and then left, only to find that the company's ads follow you around Facebook and Instagram? That is retargeting. The website captured your visit (remember when you accepted that "cookie"?) and used that data to "retarget" you with relevant ads.

This is a very effective way to stay top-of-mind with your website visitors and existing patients. Remember how we suggested creating a landing page for your social media contest details and emailing that link to your patients? This is the main reason for sending them to the landing page – to gather website visitors so you can build your audience and retarget them with Facebook ads.

Here is an example of a dentist's Facebook retargeting ad:


When this ad appears in the Facebook news feed of Palmetto Smile's patients, they'll immediately recognize the staff and see the phone number front and center, making it easy for them to call and book their next appointment.

Facebook is one of the more cost-effective advertising platforms and is a great way to keep your brand in front of your target audience. Learn more about Facebook Ads here.


3 Touchpoints for Maximum Results

By implementing this 3-step patient reactivation strategy – social media contest, email marketing, and Facebook retargeting – you will:

  1. Actively engage with your patients in a fun way
  2. Schedule more appointments in a cost-effective manner
  3. Increase your website traffic to build your retargeting audience

If you're a Smile Marketing Premium client, reach out to your Digital Marketing Specialist today and they'll help you plan and implement your reactivation campaign. And stay tuned for our next post on how to get more new patients.