Guest Contributor: Adrian Lefler, CEO at My Social Practice

Transitioning from a solo dental practice to being part of a Group Practice or Dental Support Organization (DSO) presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. This transition involves adapting to a new way of operating and leveraging the strengths of a larger organization, particularly in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. One common challenge in marketing for dental service organizations is balancing the brand consistency of a DSO or Group Practice with the personalization of an individual practice.

How can a dental practice adapt? By adjusting marketing strategies, dental practices can take advantage of the opportunities a DSO or Group Practice offers while maintaining their authenticity. Read on to discover our four top tips for moving to a DSO or Group Practice as smoothly as possible.

Learn more about DSO marketing strategies and effectively managing the transition by watching our recent webinar from industry experts.

1. Harmonizing Brand Consistency with Personal Touch

Brand consistency serves as the backbone of trust and recognition in any Group Practice or DSO. A strong brand assures patients of a standard level of care and service, regardless of which practice they visit. This uniformity, echoing the organization’s core values and service promises, builds a dependable image that patients come to rely on. However, the task of translating this consistency into your own practice’s voice poses its own set of challenges.

While brand consistency is crucial, the power of personalization in a dental practice cannot be understated. Each practice within a DSO or Group has unique community dynamics and patient relationships. Personalization involves highlighting these unique aspects on social media and on a practice’s website—be it through spotlighting staff, showcasing community involvement, or sharing patient success stories. Local and personal engagement are essential factors in maintaining patient loyalty, and a great social media strategy or dental website design idea can set a practice apart from their competition.

While a Group Practice or DSO provides a unified branding strategy, individual practices can maintain their unique identity in marketing and their online presence. Even within a structured DSO environment, there’s room for practices to showcase what makes them unique.

2. Crafting a Personalized Social Media Presence

How can a dental practice embrace personalized marketing online? Social media is an excellent way to showcase the unique traits and atmosphere that attract and retain patients. Social media for dental service organizations should marry the brand’s wider ideals with an individual practice’s personality. Some ideas for how to leverage social media to create a personalized online presence include:

  • Localized Content Creation: Practices should focus on creating content that resonates with their local community. This could include highlighting local events, community involvement, or patient stories specific to the area. For example, in our recent webinar, Dr. Tobler mentioned, “At Mortenson Dental, we encourage practices to share local stories and events which foster a deeper connection with the community.”
  • Empowering Staff: Engage and empower staff to contribute to social media content. Each member brings a unique perspective and can help create a more relatable and diverse online presence. As community members, employees offer a window into a dental practice’s atmosphere. Everyone from hygienists to front office personnel can share memorable photos and quotes to add relatability to social media posts.
  • Consistent Yet Personalized Branding: While adhering to the overall branding guidelines of the DSO, practices should infuse their personality into their posts. This could be through the tone of voice, visual style, or even the type of content shared. For instance, a practice might use the DSO’s branded templates but personalize them with local flair and messaging.
  • Regular Engagement and Interaction: Practices should actively engage with their audience by responding to comments, asking for feedback, and participating in local online communities. This interaction enhances online presence and builds trust and loyalty among existing and potential patients.

Social Media Strategy Adaptation for Group Practices and DSOs

When marketing for dentists, adapting social media strategy is pivotal in maintaining a practice’s individual voice, especially in competitive markets. In a Group or DSO structure, overarching campaigns provide a unified brand message. Individual practices should use this brand message as a launching point for their marketing strategy, contributing localized content that resonates with their specific patient base. Incorporating Group or DSO materials and messages into a practice’s events and social media content creates a sense of trust in a brand and the personalized touch that many patients prefer when searching for a dentist.

3. Mastering Local SEO for Community Dominance

For an individual dental practice within a Group or DSO, local SEO is a powerful tool to stand out in its specific community. Local SEO for dentists focuses on optimizing the practice’s online presence to appear in local search results, making it more visible to potential patients in its immediate geographic area. This involves tactics like optimizing the practice’s Google My Business listing, ensuring NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency across online platforms, and incorporating local keywords into website content. Local SEO is about making a practice easily discoverable in their community, which is essential for any practice transitioning into a DSO or Group Practice.

When a practice joins a Group or DSO, it benefits from the broader organization’s marketing resources and expertise. Still, it also faces the challenge of maintaining its unique identity within its local community. By ranking higher on Google Maps, a practice can target and attract patients from its immediate vicinity, offering a more personalized and localized online presence. Dr. Eric Tobler from Mortenson Dental Partners highlighted this in the webinar: “While we operate under a unified brand, it’s important for each practice to connect with its local community, and local SEO is a key part of that strategy.”

Advantages of a Group Practice or DSO for Search Rankings

The good news is that being part of a Group or DSO like the AADGP can significantly enhance a practice’s local SEO efforts and, by extension, its overall search rankings. Dental SEO for DSOs is a critical piece of a marketing strategy. The collective online presence of a DSO or Group creates a larger digital footprint that an individual practice can leverage to its advantage. When a practice’s local SEO efforts combine with the DSO or Groups broader SEO initiatives, it can lead to improved overall search rankings, not just for the individual practice but for the Group or DSO as a whole. Check out these dental SEO tips for more information!

4. Measuring Success and Adapting the Best Marketing Strategies for DSOs and Groups

An effective transition from an individual practice to a Group or DSO also involves reevaluating how success is measured. A practice should look beyond likes and shares on social media to more substantive metrics like patient engagement rates and website traffic. Tracking improvements in search rankings, website visits, and appointment requests becomes crucial for SEO. Sometimes, the best way to manage implementing and measuring new strategies is to work with a dental marketing company. An effective company can partner with a practice to implement new SEO and social media strategies while creating content that seamlessly combines Group or DSO brand ideals and an individual practice’s values. 

The Best Marketing Strategies for Groups and DSOs: The Bottom Line

The move from a solo practice to a Group or DSO can be transformative, particularly in marketing. While the transition requires adapting to new strategies, the expertise and resources of a DSO or Group can significantly enhance a practice’s visibility and patient engagement. Mastering this shift in social media content and local SEO allows a practice to enjoy the benefits of a Group or DSO’s brand trust while remaining authentic and relevant in their community.