DSO Marketing Strategies for Patients & Affiliates

group of dentists posing in a clinic

As a Florida digital marketing agency that has years of experience working with dental offices and dental service organizations (DSOs), we can definitely say that DSO marketing can be an extremely strenuous task.  

Others might even say that it’s an understatement.

Not only will you have to get prospects to frequent your member practices using a variety of cost-efficient patient acquisition strategies, but you also have your affiliate program to take care of.

It’s important to keep in mind that affiliates and patients are two different audiences, which means both have very different goals.

Sure, engaging them with your marketing channels – be it paid ads, organic search, social media, or whatever else you’re using – won’t be that much of a task. What you should be concerned about, though, is figuring out their needs and motivations.  

If you’re currently struggling to market to DSO patients, don’t throw in the towel just yet. You’re not the only one. Believe us, hundreds of other dental practices are in the same boat as you. That’s exactly what inspired us to create this comprehensive guide of ours.

In this post, you’ll be learning several tried-and-true ways to promote your dental practice to both patients and affiliates through the power of DSO marketing. We’ll also be discussing in depth on how a dental service organization works, why many dental practices have decided to invest in it, and what DSO marketing’s all about.

With these things in mind, let’s get started!

How Does a DSO Work?

DSOs refer to independent business support centers that contract with dental practices. They’re there to provide critical business management and support including non-clinical services.

While the licensed dentists are in charge of conducting the actual doctor-patient interaction and care, it’s the DSO who is responsible for the practice’s operations and management.

With the DSO and licensed dentists being experts in their respective roles, there’s not a doubt that their collaboration would lead to a highly successful dental organization that can reach a wide range of different sizes across the US.

Why Do Dentists Rely on DSOs?

The number of dental practices teaming up with DSOs continues to grow day by day.

Why’s that? What is it about DSOs that make them such huge assets to the dental industry? There are tons of reasons actually, but we’ll only be tackling three of their biggest perks:

Quality Dental Care for Patients

dentist with a happy patient giving thumbs up

First, the creation of DSOs has allowed dentists to maximize their practice with the support of professional office management. This means that dental specialists can solely focus on their patients’ oral health and deliver excellent care at the same time.  

Instead of having to deal with all the management and functions involved in dental practice, the dentist can concentrate on treating their patients. This, in turn, can improve the standard of care. Not to mention, they’ll have more time to manage other tasks without the need to learn the ins and outs of their practice’s operations.

Extra Peace of Mind for Dentists

Compared to dentists, DSOs are generally armed with better management skills, which is another win for dental practices that work with these support centers. By allowing a DSO to oversee the management and non-clinical aspects, the dentist will have the reassurance that their business is in good hands.

The fact that DSOs only want to be affiliated with practices that ensure top care and safety for their patients goes to show that they’re really committed in providing the highest quality of work possible.  


Lastly, dental service organizations provide more networking opportunities for their dentists and staff members. New dentists who are part of a DSO can reach out to more seasoned dentists within the organization for mentorship and guidance.

Best Practices for Marketing to DSO Patients & Affiliates

So, how can a group dental practice make sure that each location performs well against the competition in each market? What can you do to reach new patients, retain existing ones, and turn them into loyal advocates? How can you market your DSO to affiliates for sustainable growth?  

These DSO marketing strategies will get the job done:

Identify Your USP  

Unique selling point (or proposition), aka USP, is a factor that tells everyone what sets you apart from competitors, particularly what makes you better than them.

A strong USP emphasizes and clearly articulates a certain benefit that makes you stand out from the rest. It's basically what tells your prospects why they should choose your dental practices.

To identify your USP from the patient's perspective, think about the high-level differentiators that are consistent across your group practice.  

Do you want to be known as the DSO with the most advanced technology for a certain procedure? Think you have the best growth and support program for member practices? Let your target audience know!  

Not only is this your best chance to attract more patients, but it will also get many dentists to greatly consider joining your DSO.  

Finetune Your SEO Strategy

Traditional marketing methods such as display advertising and direct mail are still effective when it comes to raising awareness. However, when acquiring new patients, particularly those who are planning to switch dentists, SEO is king.

In case you’re not familiar, SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving your website in order to rank high in search engines like Google. The higher you rank, the higher your chances are of attracting web visitors who could potentially turn into your patients. As In fact, a whopping 77% of people use online search before booking any medical appointment.

People today heavily rely on the World Wide Web to hunt for health information – whether it’s to look for a medical specialist, learn about alternative treatment options, or even diagnose themselves. They can access a wealth of information wherever they want, wherever they are. It only takes a single click.

This is where SEO comes in.

By using SEO the right way, you make it super easy for patients to find your dental practice and schedule an appointment online. It pretty much sets the tone for the overall patient experience.  

Do you have all of your dental offices listed on Google Maps and other dental-related directories such as Dentist Directory, and American Dental Association? Can you see your DSO’s multiple locations and primary services on the first page of search results? Were you able to enable significant features like a click-to-call?

These are all crucial SEO strategies that can help you drive more patients to your dental office door. There are many other tactics as well, and what you’ll see below are the basic ones that you can do on your own:

Research relevant keywords

By relevant keywords, we mean terms or phrases that are relevant to the dental industry. Including them throughout your DSO website is actually the smartest way to unlock its potential for attracting new patients.

Dental practices like you should have a deep understanding of the terminology people normally use when searching for dental services. That way, you’ll be confident that search engine bots will rank you high for those keywords.

To determine which particular dental procedures and treatments people are searching for, you’ll need to take time doing keyword research. There are tons of tools available that are specifically designed to help users come up with their target keywords. Our favorites would have to be Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Ubersuggest.

Publish valuable and engaging content consistently

If there’s one metric that Google primarily uses to rank your DSO website and keep you ahead of the competition, it’s definitely content. Google loves sites that produce high-quality content so much that it rewards them with outstanding rankings.

Aside from the need to communicate your DSO effectively, your content should be able to reinforce the key characteristics of Google’s E-A-T concept (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), a vital ranking factor. Oh, and this is also where you make use of your dental keywords.

In other words, it should focus on educating your audience so they’ll see you as a reputable and authoritative name in the dental industry. Folks want to ensure that they're under the care of someone who REALLY knows dentistry.

Your DSO marketing content doesn't have to be a blog post all the time. There are many other forms of content - infographics, videos, case studies, e-books, and more.

Prioritize Local SEO  

Because one of your main objectives is to acquire expand your dental patient volume, you'll have to extra attention to local SEO.

Local SEO is practically like SEO - both share the same goal of improving page rankings in Google and other search engines. The only difference is, the former is specific in terms of location. It's all about targeting potential patients within your area.  

Here are several quick tips:

  • Create a Google Business Page for your multiple dental offices  
  • List your dental group practice in popular online directories like Foursquare, Moz, Yelp, and Bing
  • Do a NAP (name, address, place) check to make sure that all citations on your directory listings are consistent and error-free  
  • Ask for patient testimonials and positive reviews
  • Write local content and fill it with local keywords naturally

We know you want more local SEO tips, so here's a comprehensive post for your reference.  

Nurture Your Existing Relationships

An effective DSO marketing plan is one that includes nurturing relationships with potential buyers.  

Map out the entire journey one takes from the first touch until becoming an affiliate. You can move those prospects of yours along the funnel through organic social media content, email, and more.

Let Us Help You Market Your DSO

person using laptop with dental concept

Although these DSO marketing strategies will definitely make a massive difference in your marketing efforts, we understand how difficult it can be if you always have your hands full.

The best solution? Leave it to experts like Digital Resource!

Our dedicated team of specialists has collaborated with countless dentists across the country. Using SEO, reputation management, paid search, and more, they've made it possible for our clients to flourish in the dental industry.  

Contact us today to learn how we did it!