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Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a critical metric for the success of any business, including orthodontist practices. A high CAC can strain your marketing budget and hinder your ability to attract new patients. In this article, we will explore how to lower your orthodontic practice’s CAC through effective digital marketing strategies. We will draw insights from a case study involving Postmates, a delivery app, to provide actionable steps for orthodontist practice owners.

Problem: Postmates aimed to reduce its CAC from $40 while increasing conversions to hit its growth milestones.

Approach: The marketing agency pivoted from targeting “meal delivery apps” to “menus.” They capitalized on high search volumes for menu-related keywords, acknowledging that people searching for specific menus were potential customers for the app.

Solution: The agency integrated comprehensive menus into the app, driving users to landing pages based on specific menu-related keywords.

Results: An impressive 82.5% reduction in CAC, achieving a $7 CAC over a 1.5 year period, along with a 36.51% conversion rate and remarkable metrics.

Applying the Insights to Orthodontist Practice Marketing

Step 1: Understand Your Audience and Keywords

Conduct thorough keyword research to identify popular and relevant search terms in the orthodontics field. Look for keywords that potential patients are likely to use when searching for orthodontic services. Here are the top 20 search words for my market. You should conduct a similar analysis for you own market. I highly recommend the pros at Market Hardware – Powered by Socius. They are well-versed in using all the tools referenced below.

  1. Orthodontist near me
  2. Braces for adults
  3. Invisalign treatment
  4. Clear aligners
  5. Teeth straightening options
  6. Affordable orthodontics
  7. Orthodontic consultation
  8. Best orthodontist in [Location]
  9. Dental braces cost
  10. Orthodontic treatment for kids/children
  11. Adult orthodontic solutions
  12. Teeth alignment solutions
  13. Metal braces vs. Invisalign
  14. Orthodontic specialists
  15. Retainers after braces
  16. Jaw alignment treatment
  17. Orthodontic insurance coverage
  18. Invisible braces
  19. Braces for overbite/underbite
  20. Orthodontic reviews/testimonials

Here are some popular tools to help conduct keyword searches and to better understand your market and exactly what consumers are searching for when choosing an orthodontist:


Google Keyword Planner: This is a free tool within Google Ads that provides insights into keyword search volume, competition, and suggested bid estimates. It’s a great starting point for generating keyword ideas and understanding their potential impact.

SEMrush: SEMrush offers comprehensive keyword research capabilities, allowing you to explore search volume, keyword difficulty, related keywords, and competitor analysis. It also provides insights into organic and paid search data.

Ahrefs: Ahrefs is another powerful SEO tool that provides keyword research features. It offers data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and click-through rates (CTR) for specific keywords.

Moz Keyword Explorer: Moz’s tool helps you find relevant keywords, analyze their search volume, and evaluate their difficulty. It also provides suggestions for related keywords and topics.

Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest provides keyword suggestions, search volume, and estimated CPC (cost per click) data. It’s user-friendly and can help you discover new keyword ideas.

Answer the Public: This tool generates keyword ideas in the form of questions that people commonly ask. It’s useful for capturing long-tail keywords and understanding the specific queries potential patients might have. This tool generates keyword ideas from Google Autocomplete, helping you discover variations and long-tail keywords that can be valuable for targeting specific patient needs.

Google Trends: While not strictly a keyword research tool, Google Trends allows you to explore the popularity of specific keywords over time. This can help you understand seasonal trends and adjust your content accordingly.

Social Media Platforms: Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to explore trending topics and hashtags related to orthodontics. These can provide insights into popular patient concerns and interests.

Competitor Analysis: Analyze the websites and content of other orthodontists in your area to see what keywords they are targeting. This can help you identify gaps in your own keyword strategy.

Step 2: Create Compelling Content

Develop engaging and informative content that adds value to your target audience. This could include articles, blog posts, videos, and infographics that address common orthodontic concerns, treatment options, and benefits. There are brilliant orthodontists like Dr. Grant Collins, Dr. Kyle Fagala, Dr. Brad Chvatal, Burrow Welchel and Culp, and many others who create incredible, valuable and entertaining content. Large groups like Smile Doctors, Rock Dental Brands and Aspen Dental also have a lot of wonderful content that doctors can review as a guiding light or for inspiration. If it’s working for hundreds or thousands of dental office locations, it’s probably worth paying attention to. Whatever your content creation strategy, make it authentic and consistent. If you need help in this area, contact my friends at Market Hardware – Powered by Socius

I’m not recommending you put video on all of your pages unless the data indicate it would help build engagement and ultimately result in more conversions, so please be cautious in creating a ton of video content. It could slow down your site, which would likely lower conversions. However, if done right, like my friend Dr. Simone Stori was doing in Italy, video can really boost engagement. So we tested this when I was in private practice and we created educational videos for almost all of the clinical procedures in our offices. 

You can download those videos here.

By paying attention to what patients watched and clicked on, we could start to create more effective advertisements for television and OTT media channels. You can download the videos from that project here. If you’re a member of Market Hardware – Powered by Socius, you can get access to these video scripts and marketing assets through a limited license provided by Burleson Media Group. Simply ask your marketing manager at Market Hardware for more details.

Step 3: Optimize Landing Pages

Build dedicated landing pages for specific orthodontic services you offer. Ensure these pages provide detailed information, patient testimonials, and clear calls to action (CTAs) encouraging visitors to schedule appointments or request more information. Years ago, we noticed a lot of consumers in our market searching for “Invisalign cost” and “braces vs. Invisalign cost” so we built out a landing page that specifically addressed the topic. It wasn’t long before our website was listed as the only reference in the quick answer box for “How much does Invisalign cost?” You do need to work with an expert in this area, as driving too much traffic away from your primary site to optimized landing pages can hurt your Google ranking, not that Google will ever tell us exactly what drives their ranking system, but in our experience, you can’t simply direct all of your leads to landing pages without a hit to your ranking.

Step 4: Utilize Social Media Advertising

Leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach your target audience with engaging ads. Use demographic targeting to focus on individuals within your practice’s catchment area who might be interested in orthodontic treatments. Don’t forget YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine, owned by the world’s largest search engine. I’m often surprised how many orthodontists don’t have content and advertisements on YouTube. 

Step 5: Implement Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Invest in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns using platforms like Google Ads. Create ads that align with relevant keywords and direct users to your optimized landing pages. Engage with smart firms like Market Hardware – Powered by Socius and Greyfinch practice management software so that you can accurately track which ads resulted in conversions. Use A.I. to split-test headlines, offers and calls to action the be sure to track your inbound phones and quantify which leads came from which Google Ads. It sounds complicated but it’s not for the pros I listed above and it’s crucial that you understand the phrases and headlines driving traffic, so that you and your treatment coordinators can be prepared for any market trends and shifts in consumer preferences.

Step 6: Provide Value Through Educational Content

Create a blog section on your practice’s website where you regularly publish educational articles about orthodontic treatments, oral health tips, and patient success stories. This positions your practice as an authoritative source and helps build trust with potential patients. Especially if you’re reading this outside the United States, please follow all regulations and statues regarding patient success stories. Our members in Canada and Italy, for example are not able to use before and after photos or testimonials in lead generation advertisements. 

Step 7: Monitor and Analyze Results

Someone much smarter than me once said you can expect that you inspect, so please regularly monitor the performance of your digital marketing campaigns. When I was in private practice, my marketing manager at Market Hardware had a report auto populated and emailed to me every Saturday morning. Without fail, I read the report in detail. How many leads, phone calls, missed opportunities and conversions did we have that week? I looked for trends in the day of the week and time of day for new lead phone calls and web submissions. I compared where we were in the month with our company goals. Were we ahead of pace, behind pace or simply apace? It wasn’t a theoretical exercise. If we were behind pace, I’d meet with the phones team and talk to our marketing manager to see what we could dial up in an attempt to make up for lost ground. You should utilize tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic, conversions, and other key metrics. Adjust your strategies based on data-driven insights in order to optimize your campaigns over time. It sounds like make-believe but trust me, if you work hard at this you can almost get your lead generation to happen on auto-pilot and then you simply dial it up or down depending on your need for new patients in the practice.

In summary, lowering your orthodontist practice’s customer acquisition cost through digital marketing requires strategic planning, creative thinking, and continuous optimization. By applying the insights from the Postmates case study and implementing the steps outlined in this report, you can attract more potential patients while maximizing your marketing budget’s efficiency. Remember, success in digital marketing is an ongoing process that involves adapting to changing trends and refining your strategies based on real-time results. Reach out to the pros at Market Hardware – Powered by Socius and Greyfinch practice management software if you need help in this area.


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