Dental Marketing Moving Away from the Phone Book?

Dental marketing through the phone bookDental marketing through the phone book is no longer what it once was, with a third of dentists dropping their ads and another third reducing them. In the Internet Age, a dentist advertising in the Yellow Pages appears to be optional.

“What a waste!” said one dentist. “At one point I spent approximately $24,000 in one year in yellow pages advertising and got $3,000 in revenue. How’s that for ROI? It’s all on the net now.”

Only 7% of respondents said they have never used dental advertising in the yellow pages.  Of those who use those listings as part of their overall dental practice marketing:

  • 5% are increasing dentist ad size or listings
  • 27% have made no change
  • 36% are reducing ad size or listings
  • 32% are dropping yellow pages marketing completely

Here are some dentists’ thoughts on the subject:

  • “My ads direct readers to my dental practice websites.” (Texas dentist)
  • “I will drop it altogether next year. It’s an internet world!” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Great ROI for our area!!!” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “It attracts less desirable patients. Since dropping phone book ads, my drug-seeking patients are almost nonexistent.” (Utah dentist)
  • “Most patients are finding us through word-of-mouth from current patients and our website which costs us much less than any display ad in the Yellow Pages!” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “There are too many yellow books to list in everyone.” (California periodontist)
  • “It does not work as well as in the past.” (California dentist)
  • “The Yellow Pages is one part of my comprehensive external marketing program. With all of the pieces working together, we have maintained a very busy schedule.” (Tennessee dentist)

Read more: Dental Advertising May Be Moving Away from the Phone Book

Dental Marketing in the Phone Book (video)

Yellow pages dental marketing videoAbout two out of three dentists market themselves through the Yellow Pages, found our survey.

“Keep ’em professional!” advised one doctor. “My state has new rules regarding the advertising of specialty services by a GP, so be careful to disclose ‘general’ dentist (not ‘dental implants‘ or ‘cosmetic dentist‘).”

“Antiquated and worthless compared to well positioned dental website,” declared one dentist.

“It brings patients, but not necessarily the high fee ones,” offered another dentist. “The rest is up to your internal dental marketing.”

“May not even be necessary. We are tracking calls from the display ad, and rates are amazingly low,” said a pediatric dentist spending $1500/month.

Read more: Most Dentists Advertise in the Phone Book

Dental Practice Marketing: Is Yellow Page Advertising Dead?

yellow pages advertising for dentistsSome dentists feel they don’t get quality patients from the Yellow Pages anymore, concluding that, running a display ad isn’t worth the cost.

With that being said, a majority of dentists are still advertising in the Yellow Pages as part of the overall dental marketing plan.

One Georgia dentist said, “I don’t really get qualified patients from the phone book, just people looking for cheapest deal or same day emergencies.”

The Wealthy Dentist decided to ask dentists if they are still getting patients from the phone book. Even in the age of the Internet, dentists still aren’t quite ready to give up advertising in the Yellow Pages, even if they aren’t getting many new patients.

Here is how the dentists responded to getting patients from the phone book –

  • 19% — Yes, absolutely.
  • 15% — Here and there.
  • 30% — Very few.
  • 36% — None.

dentists who are getting patients from phone book

Yellow Page advertising makes sense if you are a rural dentist, or if your dental patients are over 60. But the suburban dentists who responded to this survey were the majority of Yellow Page advertisers.

Yellow Page Advertising by location

Here’s what dentists had to say about Yellow Page advertising –

Money is a factor

“Horrible amount of money wasted. My $600 per month bill went to $128 when I went to a simple listing and Internet listing.” (Indiana dentist)

“The Yellow Pages are pricing themselves out of the game!” (South Carolina Dentist)

“What a waste of money!” (Virginia dentist)

“I have spent considerable money there in the past to no avail. I think we generally had a net loss.” (Florida dentist)

Patient quality is an issue

“Honestly, without being judgmental, the people who come from the phone book tend to be less interested in quality dentistry, and less likely to remain faithful to our practice.” (Illinois dentist)

“We get only off hour emergencies looking for prescription drugs.” (New York dentist)

“It attracts mostly druggies and bad debts.” (Minnesota dentist)

Still used by older patients

“We get just a certain older demographic.” (Nevada dentist)

“My patient population is older and still depend on phone books.” (Texas dentist)

“We get new patients only if they’re old and scared of the Internet!” (New York dentist)

“Yes. Older patients — over 65.” (Virginia dentist)

Yellow Pages work

“Patients still look us up in the Yellow Pages. I think it depends on the demographics and age of the patient.” (Suburban dentist)

“They are a very motivated patient if they are looking up dentists in the Yellow Pages.” (Texas dentist)

“We track all our calls, and the ads are very effective with a low cost/call and a high ROI.” (Urban dentist)

“I believe people still keep their main local directory near the phone for quick, familiar use and access. Being visible with a well designed ad demonstrates a successful, viable business.” (Georgia dentist)

“This is unique to our region of the Waikato in NZ where 76% of people still use the Yellow Pages to look for Dentists. This probably reflects the rural aspect and farming community.” (Urban dentist)

It’s dead

“The paper-based phone book model is dead. I even asked our Yellow Pages rep when the last time he opened a phone book (unrelated to his job), and he didn’t have an answer for me. Focus your marketing online unless you are trying to attract potential patients over 80 years old.” (Indiana dentist)

“It is possibly as useful as a buggy whip.” (Suburban dentist)

“The phone book is DOA. Most everyone use the Internet to look up phone numbers and see display ads.” (California implantologist)

Is it misguided for dentists to think that Yellow Pages advertising is dead? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Dental Marketing – Dentist Website Design & Patient Results

Dentist talks about his Internet dental marketing from his dental website, email newsletter and online directory listings. Dr. Garza of Goliad TX reviews his Internet results for high-value new patients and how his web site design works with his Yellow Pages add, practice sign and internal office marketing.


Over Half of Dentists Advertise in the Phone Book: Survey


Dental SurveyDental Marketing in the Yellow Pages

There are many different avenues for dentists seeking to actively market their dental practices. The telephone book has historically been a valuable source of new patients. Given this, our most recent poll asked dentists: As part of your dental marketing, does your practice advertise in the Yellow Pages with a display ad?

Of the dentists responding to this survey, 61% responded yes, their dental practice markets itself through the Yellow Pages. The remaining 39% reported that their practices do not do any telephone book marketing.

A dentist’s geographic location was highly correlated with their yellow pages advertising. Rural dental practices are far more likely than urban ones to spend money on phone book advertising. In fact, 3 out 4 rural dentists reported taking out yellow pages ads, whereas less that 1 out of 2 urban dentists did.

Here are some comments from our dentists:


  • “I think it’s fine as long as it is done tastefully.” (Illinois dentist paying $400/month)
  • “Not a fan of Yellow Page ads. Seems demeaning to the profession.” (Colorado dentist)
  • “Life would be easier if no dentists were paying for advertising.” (California dentist)
  • Antiquated and worthless compared to well positioned website.” (Washington dentist)
  • “Even though the cost is high, it pays for itself over and over month after month.” (Florida dentist paying $9000/month)
  • “I have the same ad in two different regions of Massachusetts, urban and country. The ad in the country accounts for 50% of new patients. The urban ad less than 1% of new patients.” (Massachusetts general dentist paying $1000/month)
  • “Mandatory. Line listings = Losers!” (Texas dentist paying $1200/month)
  • It’s a necessary evil… You have to at least be in the yellow pages in order for patients to find you… The number of full page ads dentists place is ridiculous!” (Michigan general dentist paying $275/month)
  • May not even be necessary. We are tracking calls from the display ad, and rates are amazingly low.” (Florida pediatric dentist spending $1500/month)
  • Less and less effective year by year.” (Connecticut general dentist paying $300/month)
  • “I believe it has been worth the expense so far.” (Louisiana orthodontist paying $1200/month)
  • “Advertising in the Yellow Pages has never attracted the right kind of patient for me; they have always been very price sensitive and not quality-conscious.” (California dental implantologist)
  • “Everybody does it, thus it offers no differentiation.” (Texas general dentist)
  • Read more dentist comments or leave your own below!



Plus, check out the complete yellow pages marketing survey results.


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