Top 5 DSO Marketing Tactics for 2023

Jul 2023
dental seo dentist search engine optimization delmain

The Dental Service Organization (DSO) industry is continually evolving, and so are the marketing strategies needed to succeed in it. As we continue to navigate 2023, there are significant changes and trends that DSOs must adapt to if they want to stay competitive and continue growing.

Understanding the DSO Landscape in 2023

The DSO market in 2023 is more competitive than ever. The American Dental Association reports a shift in practice modality, with solo practice ownership decreasing and groups and dental support organizations growing. In fact, we’re seeing a surge of young dentists heading into the workforce, 30% of whom plan to join a DSO vs entering private practice.

Meanwhile, patients are making increasing demands for quality, convenience, and personalized service. Target audiences have evolved, expecting not just excellent dental care but also seamless digital experiences and robust communication channels.

The cherry on top? DSOs have not been immune from the staffing shortages hitting the US. This makes it more difficult than ever to meet the growing demands of patients, keep business running smoothly, acquire more practices, and reach revenue goals.

How are you and your member practices adapting to this changing landscape?

The top 5 DSO marketing tactics of the year

DSOs and multi-location dental groups require a unique marketing approach that supports their umbrella brand and affiliated practices. We recommend a marketing strategy where scalability and patient satisfaction are top of mind to support growth and reach revenue goals.

1. Create unique campaigns focused on each audience

The first step of an effective DSO marketing strategy is to segment your audience. As a DSO, you have quite a few audiences to consider…

  • Patients — you want each affiliate practice to succeed, which means helping them attract and book more of the right patients.
  • Dental practice owners — you also have goals of scaling and adding even more affiliated practices under your umbrella.
  • Employees — especially in light of recent staffing shortages, a strong recruitment strategy is key.

While some marketing strategies are universal, the real secret is making each campaign stand out. As you design your marketing approach, make sure you understand exactly who it’s for and why. This ensures you’re using your marketing budget wisely and getting the best ROI.

2. Invest in AI (and showcase the benefits!)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just a trend; it’s a game-changer for the way DSOs can attract and retain patients (and potential affiliates, too).

While continuous research and development on AI and augmented intelligence in dentistry are undoubtedly important, the marketable benefits are also significant. You consider how your DSO can safely and ethically stay on the cutting edge to provide the best care and experience for patients.

More sophisticated procedures and treatment planning

AI’s role in advancing dental procedures is quite remarkable. For instance, AI-powered dental imaging tools can identify patterns and anomalies that could easily be missed by the human eye. AI algorithms can also assist in treatment planning by predicting possible treatment outcomes.

Taking a modern, AI-powered approach can be used in your marketing messaging to gain a competitive edge and attract patients. In fact, discerning patients are already looking for a dental team that offers…

  • More accurate/faster diagnosis
  • Personalized patient education
  • Clear treatment planning
  • Excellent treatment outcomes

Improving patient care through convenience

Patients are placing more importance on convenience than ever before. In fact, 51% agree that access to care and convenience are the two most important factors when searching for healthcare providers like dentists.

And that study was done pre-pandemic! Since then, people have become even more accustomed to the trend of convenience — whether it’s grocery shopping from home, tuning in for a virtual workout class, or booking a dentist appointment.

AI is playing an instrumental role in meeting this growing demand for convenience. DSOs must look into incorporating AI-powered tools into their practice. Chatbots and virtual assistants are a great place to start. These tools can provide 24/7 support to patients, answering queries, providing information, and even assisting with appointment bookings.

Bonus — increasing operational efficiency

AI’s role in dentistry isn’t limited to patient care and treatments.

Appointment scheduling systems can automate the booking process, analyzing variables such as doctor availability, patient preferences, and clinic hours to provide optimal appointment slots. This not only streamlines the booking process but also reduces administrative workloads and enhances efficiency.

AI can also assist in administrative tasks like billing and claims management. With AI, DSOs can automate the process of coding and submitting claims, reducing manual effort, minimizing errors, and providing a high-quality, highly-marketable practice.

2. Design modern, cost-effective websites

dental website design delmain digital marketing

A DSO’s website is often the first point of contact for potential patients. It’s also the foundation of your marketing efforts. Your website must offer a beautiful, SEO-optimized, and modern user experience.

But for DSOs, designing a modern website brings up a few questions that you’ve probably already considered:

  • Should you design a custom website for each new practice that joins your DSO?
  • Does every practice need its own website or should you have one large corporate site that covers them all?

Creating a custom-designed site for every practice is a significant investment in both time and money. But if your DSO operates as a collection of brands, a single site isn’t a scalable long-term solution and will hinder your marketing efforts.

So what should you do? For DSOs that operate as a collection of brands, we recommend one of the options below.

Option 1

Design one custom site and use that design as a repeatable template for all other practice websites. This approach allows you to have a website design that’s specifically created for your DSO, but that you can quickly and cost-effectively repeat as more practices come on board.

Option 2

Rotate between 2-3 semi-custom (templated) designs for every affiliate practice. With this option, you’ll ensure that each location or affiliate has a modern, optimized website that feels unique to them while ensuring a level of cohesiveness throughout.

Bonus — option for multi-location (single brand) practices

If your DSO operates under a single brand with multiple locations, we typically recommend a single website. Custom or semi-custom? Well, that’s entirely up to you, your timeline, and your budget. What’s most important is that your site is built to scale as you add more locations and that each location is represented with its own dedicated page.

Keep Reading: How to Choose the Best Dental Website Template

3. Always offer online booking

We touched on this briefly already, but it’s worth calling out as its own DSO marketing tactic — integrating a simple, user-friendly online booking system will significantly enhance the patient experience.

Online booking systems offer patients the convenience we know they crave. This feature enables patients to book appointments whenever they need to, reducing the administrative workload for DSO staff and improving overall patient satisfaction.

Online booking is also a great way to support and enhance your paid advertising efforts. When a prospective patient sees an ad for your practice and is immediately able to book an appointment, you reduce the risk of them moving on to another practice. It can also track your appointments and conversions directly, making it easier for you to calculate your campaign’s ROI and make data-driven marketing decisions.

Keep reading: Your Guide To Dental Scheduling Software

Pro tip for multi-location practices

Does your DSO operate under a single brand with multiple locations? Make online booking your #1 priority. Why? This strategy eliminates confusion for patients and streamlines operations for your organization.

  • Simplification: Having multiple locations listed on a single website can be overwhelming for patients. They may find it challenging to identify the correct number to call for their preferred location. With online booking, patients can effortlessly select their preferred location from a dropdown menu, reducing confusion and enhancing their overall experience.
  • Organized Operations: Online booking also simplifies the management process for your organization. Each appointment made online automatically associates with the chosen location, keeping the bookings neatly organized. This reduces administrative errors and ensures each location’s staff receives only their specific appointment details.
  • Uniformity: Online booking provides a uniform process across all your locations. Regardless of which location a patient chooses, they will encounter the same, straightforward booking process. This consistency improves patient satisfaction and strengthens your brand identity.

4. Emphasize local SEO

dental website design delmain digital marketing

Optimizing for local SEO is crucial for DSOs regardless of your operational structure — whether you function as a collection of distinct brands or a single brand with multiple locations.

Here are 4 reasons why:

  1. Visibility and Relevance: Local SEO helps to ensure that each location/brand shows up in local search results when potential patients search for dentists or dental services in their area.
  2. Improved Web Traffic: With better local visibility comes improved web traffic. This could lead to more online appointment bookings, increasing your patient base.
  3. Local Reviews and Reputation Management: Local SEO also involves managing online reviews on platforms like Google Business Profile and Yelp. Positive reviews and ratings can significantly enhance your online reputation, which can influence potential patients’ decisions.
  4. Competitive Advantage: When a practice is optimized for local SEO, it’s more likely to appear in the ‘local pack’ or ‘3-pack’ on Google’s first page. This is the block of three business listings that appear below the map in Google’s search results, receiving significant attention from users.

Keep Reading: Dental SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

5. Centralize your marketing for a hands-off experience

As a DSO, you may find yourself stretched thin overseeing various elements across multiple locations, from operational efficiency and staff management to marketing strategies.

Centralizing your marketing efforts and partnering with a marketing team that specializes in DSO marketing can be a game-changer. Not only will it save you time and resources, but it also sets you up for sustainable growth and success.

  • Unified Branding: Whether or not you operate under a single brand or multiple brands, a DSO marketing team can help maintain consistency in your brand messaging, ensuring that your values and unique selling propositions are uniformly communicated across all platforms and locations.
  • Scalability: As you add more locations, your marketing needs will grow. A specialized marketing agency can scale with you, ensuring that your marketing efforts keep pace with your growth.
  • Streamlined Operations: By outsourcing your marketing, you’ll free up valuable time and resources. A marketing agency can handle everything from strategic planning to execution, allowing you and your staff to focus on other crucial aspects of your business.
  • Data-Driven Strategies: Specialized marketing agencies can leverage advanced analytics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, providing you with data-driven insights to continually optimize your strategies.
  • Cutting-Edge Tools and Techniques: Agencies stay updated with the latest marketing trends, technologies, and tactics. This ensures your DSO benefits from cutting-edge strategies, such as AI-based patient targeting, automated email marketing, SEO optimization, and more.

Looking ahead

The DSO landscape in 2023 is a mix of challenges and opportunities. With the right marketing strategies, technology investments, and data-driven decision-making, you can navigate this landscape successfully. Our team is here to help.

At :Delmain, we offer turnkey strategies built to scale your organization, allowing for effective marketing across existing practices and new acquisitions, as well as your parent DSO. We know what it takes to attract and book the right patients. Our proven patient generation strategies have propelled dental groups and DSOs to new levels of success.

Learn more about our approach or book an intro call.

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