5 Essential Grass Roots Marketing Tactics to Get Patients to Your Practice

5 Essential Grass Roots Marketing Tactics to Get Patients to Your PracticeDr. Rich Higgs and team promote the Aquila Dental Cares event – a free day of dentistry for Chandler community residents in need of dental care. Aquila Dental – Chandler, Arizona

It’s the goal of every practice to grow and continue to garner new patients. But opening a completely new practice or expanding into a new city can be difficult. Even for established practices, integrating into the community takes effort. Cultivating interest isn’t always easy, but the good news is that most people are actively looking for healthcare professionals they can trust! Referrals, sponsorships, and outreaches are all effective ways to put yourself out there. With this in mind, SmileMakers has some refreshing ideas on getting new patients to walk through your doors!

  1. Community Engagement
    Not everyone will respond to an online ad, but personal interactions can tip the scale when patients decide who to trust with their healthcare. The majority of your patients will be local, so forming a bond with your community is key. Consider being active in town hall meetings, local events, and humanitarian groups like the Rotary Club. These community engagements are perfect for leaving a lasting impression.

    Customized items, like fridge magnets, are fun tokens and convenient reminders of your practice. Paired with memorable conversation, these custom giveaways will remind community members of your eagerness to serve, and they’ll think of you when they’re looking for a healthcare provider.

  2. Networking & Referrals
    Collaboration with other healthcare practices is another source for new patients. Propose an agreement with local orthodontists, pharmacists, dentists, or pediatricians that you’ll refer patients to them as long as they do the same for you. You can also exchange brochures or posters to advertise at each other’s practices. Patients trust referrals, making this mutually beneficial partnership a gift that keeps giving.

    An opportunity may arise to partner with local magazines for a business profile. They’re always interested in discovering charitable businesses and local outreaches. A brief message or mention of your specials will reach the community with your target audience. The more interaction you have with your city, the more likely these news sources will be to feature your practice.

    Don’t discount the importance of word-of-mouth. Referrals from relatives or friends are often all it takes to attract new patients. The better your interactions with current patients, the more likely they are to suggest your services.

  3. Sponsorships
    If you’re willing to invest, sponsorships are an effective way to get noticed in your city. Parents are always grateful when their child’s little league team has a sponsor and will remember your practice for its generosity. Marathons provide a  stream of people who will happily take custom sunglasses, stickers or other merchandise. These events are excellent opportunities to attract new patients because you’re showing that you’re invested in your community and willing to support it.

  4. Volunteering & Outreach
    Be on the lookout for volunteer events where your medical knowledge will benefit the community. Fundraisers and public markets are also a good place to promote your practice. The more well-known you are in your neighborhood, the more trustworthy and friendly you appear. These are the characteristics that patients desire in their doctors and dentists, so don’t be afraid to put yourself and your practice out there.

  5. 5 Essential Grass Roots Marketing Tactics to Get Patients to Your Practice
  6. Educating Children
    Schools are a great opportunity for teaching children to value their health while promoting your practice. Educators are always happy to have a healthcare professional teach the kids because it’s such a memorable experience, especially if they’re given fun prizes to take home. For older kids, customized pens or pencils will be useful. All the buzz will reach the ears of the parents, and likely gain you a few new patients.

Remember, there’s no ‘one size fits all!’
Every city and community is different. Reaching new patients in a large business district may take a completely different approach from small-town marketing. If you struggle initially, don’t be discouraged! Adjusting to a new town or even extending your current patient-base takes time. The more you know your community the easier it will be to invite them to use your services.

Looking for creative ways to be remembered?
SmileMakers offers a range of custom stickers and promotional giveaways that promote your practice to potential patients!


Levin, R. P. DDS. (2015). Research report: New patient acquisition and conversion. Dental Economics. Vol. 105, Issue 9. Retrieved from:

FutureDontics. (2016). What Dental Patients Want. Retrieved from: