How dental practices can use technology to acquire patients and drive expansion

The dental industry is facing numerous challenges, such as a tight labor market, high levels of student loan debt for new dentists, increasing local competition and higher overhead costs due to necessary expensive technologies.

During a Nov. 21 webinar hosted by Becker's Dental + DSO Review and sponsored by Scorpion — a digital marketing agency — leaders from Scorpion discussed how DSOs, multi-location practice groups and solo practices can use technology to meet revenue goals and improve patient acquisition.

In opening remarks, Brandon Collins, Scorpion senior vice president of regional sales, said the dental industry's labor force mostly lacks the skills necessary to leverage digital technology to support practice operations and reach patients.

"The future of dentistry requires a new kind of dental technologist — one who possesses a broader skill set more in tune with the digital environment," Mr. Collins said. "Just as technology is needed to operate the practice itself, it's also necessary for acquiring new patients and overall marketing strategies."

Tony McGinnis, executive vice president of Scorpion's internet marketing, and Daylen Farkas, vice president of advertising research at Scorpion, shared how digital technology and marketing can be optimized to acquire patients.

How dental organizations can use digital marketing to drive patient acquisition

"The digital experience is the first step in patient acquisition," Mr. McGinnis said. Technology can support practice expansion at an affordable cost. However, to be effective, the right message has to be delivered in the right place at the right time, Mr. McGinnis said.

Constantly inundated with digital messages in a market of endless options, buyers' expectations have changed. Though the phrase "right message, right place, right time," has been around in marketing for a long time, it has evolved with technology, and now includes who the ideal patient is.

Dental practices offer numerous services, such as a cleaning, crown fillings and surgeries, to name a few. Each service has a different value to each practice.

"Understanding how you're generating each of those clients allows you to breakdown and understand where your marketing dollar is generating the best return," Mr. Farkas said.

Due to technological advancement, more leads no longer directly translates into more patients. Instead, better quality leads acquired through data technology are needed. Practices don't just want to make the phone ring — they want the ideal patient calling.

To understand who the ideal patient is, practices should look at data involving time of day, search terms, patient types, device, appointment type, ad scheduling and geographic location, among others. However, it's not possible for one individual to harness every channel and evaluate all available data. This is why Scorpion uses algorithms and predictive analytics to assess all data and extract meaningful information to help practices understand and grow their business.


The digital environment has changed drastically, offering consumers unlimited options. Dental practices must change with the evolving landscape and leverage tools available to them. To stand out among competition, practices must have a strong online presence and digitally reach patients who are currently searching for their services.

To learn more about Scorpion, click here. 

To view the webinar, click here. 

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