Smart marketing technologies for today's dental practice

Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report April 2020, Volume 54, Issue 4

Thanks to recent tech advancements, it’s never been easier or more cost-effective to market your dental practice.

From 3D scanning to the latest CAD/CAM equipment, cutting-edge dental technology is changing the way dentists treat and diagnose patients. Did you also know there are smart tech solutions specifically designed to help dentists attract and retain patients too?

While print advertising and appointment reminder postcards were the norm a decade ago, today’s marketing options are infinitely more advantageous. Gone are the days of paying for advertising up front and crossing your fingers, hoping for the best. Thanks to modern technology, there are a host of new and innovative ways to reach new patients, as long as you subscribe to what I call the 3Ts of modern marketing.

These rules to live by highlight the critical areas where modern marketing tactics have far surpassed the old-school efforts. And together, they solve the biggest problem many dentists have with marketing, which is that it’s often too difficult to determine whether marketing is truly effective or not. Today, dentists have more data at their fingertips, but it can also feel as though there are more marketing opportunities (and more sales calls) than ever before. So, as you evaluate your current marketing strategy, and before signing on the dotted line for any new programs, use the 3Ts to ensure you are making the best marketing decision for your practice.

  • Targeted – One of the biggest challenges dentists have faced with marketing is being able to precisely target their efforts in order to reach their desired patient type, such as Moms or Baby Boomers. Many of today’s ventures allow for customization of audiences, making any marketing effort immediately more effective using hyper-targeted strategies.

  • Timely – Another problem with old-school marketing is the difficulty in maintaining a steady stream of new patient inquiries-and one that flexes with your practice based on seasonality. For instance, running a one-time direct mail promotion might spike new patient calls for the short-term, but it isn’t easy for it to continually deliver in order to keep the momentum going for the long-term. Fortunately, some of today’s marketing technology solutions can help with patient recall and reactivation while creating a consistent flow of new patients. An added plus is that often these tactics can even scale up or down based on the needs of the business to the degree that your budget allows.  

  • Trackable – Perhaps the greatest advantage of digital marketing is the ability to measure results. The data is often available in real time, allowing you to consistently monitor a campaign’s effectiveness, and even to make immediate changes as needed to ensure your marketing dollars are being used in the best way possible.

This 3T theory takes the guesswork out of dental marketing and helps you make smarter, data-driven decisions for your practice. Keeping this in mind, there are also tech-savvy solutions that help dentists run more efficient offices and offer the ease and convenience that today’s patients find incredibly appealing, which helps with retention and patient loyalty. Here are five fresh avenues worth exploring for your practice.

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Live Chat

Chances are you’ve used an online chat feature to help answer a question or resolve an issue. In fact, 41 percent of consumers prefer live chat for customer support, topping those who prefer phone, email and social media channel.1 Live chat enables you to essentially keep your front desk running 24/7 without actually staffing the desk all day every day, helping answer patient questions and new inquiries in the precise moment patients are seeking this information-and preventing them from contacting the next dental office on their list. And as tele-medicine continues to rise in popularity, a live chat feature will serve to help solidify your practice’s cutting-edge image.

Real-Time Patient Communication

More than ever before, patients are accustomed to texting, not only with one another but with their healthcare providers as well. Patients are increasingly ignoring voicemails and emails-and dentists need to keep up. The latest in front desk software allows your team to schedule, confirm, and follow up with patients using HIPAA-compliant, instant messaging from any practice device directly to your patients’ mobile phones in a fraction of the time. Smart communication solutions from companies like Weave ( and Unified Office ( free your staff up to focus on other more productive tasks while maintaining constant, personalized contact with patients using the methods that they prefer.

Scheduling Automation

Taking real-time communication to the next level, there is an entire category of dental practice insight software that is designed to track, analyze and optimize your practice’s front desk activities. For example, Dental Intelligence ( and Lighthouse ( instantly find holes in the daily schedule, then identify the overdue and even dormant patients who are likely to appoint. Not only does this technology streamline the front desk, it creates more revenue-producing opportunities.

Online Reviews

There’s simply no denying the importance of online reviews. People love to write them, and patients love to read them. However, it can often feel uncomfortable asking patients to brag about your practice online. That’s why more dentists are relying on software like Patient Pop (, WEO Media (, and Birdeye ( to facilitate the online review process. Using post-appointment surveys and helpful email reminders, this technology gently encourages patients to share their experiences online and then automatically uploads them to the most popular review sites, helping to boost your online reputation-no awkward conversations needed.

Patient Loyalty Programs

Patient loyalty? There’s an app for that. It has never been more difficult to retain patients than it is today, which makes patient loyalty programs all the more valuable. However, designing one from scratch requires time and effort that most dentists don’t have. Enter the modern patient loyalty program. Using a smartphone app, your practice can keep your patients engaged before, during, and after their visit, while rewarding them for things like arriving on time, completing treatment, and referring friends and family. When using services like those offered by Modento ( and eTrove (, all the data is captured and easily viewed in order to measure the effectiveness of the program at any time without adding more tasks to you and your teams’ to-do lists.

While all of these innovative solutions are designed to make marketing your practice infinitely easier and more effective, the real value in them is their ability to enable the dental team to communicate in ways that make sense to patients in 2020 and beyond. While automating routine daily tasks makes a lot of sense, many dentists worry about losing that personalized touch. But the beauty of today’s smart marketing technologies is that they offer a complete package that augments your current efforts and meets your patients where they are.