Top Dental Marketing Trends and Recommendations for 2017

Auld Lang Syne rings in your ears, your waistband is a smidge tighter than it was a month ago, and those must-have toys haven’t been touched in two weeks – welcome to January 2017. Whether you were sorry to see 2016 come to a close, or couldn’t put a fork in it fast enough, the great Bob Dylan said it best when he sang, “The times they are a-changing” – as they always do.

To help you keep pace with the year ahead, the dental marketing experts at ProSites recently published a whitepaper, The Top 10 Trends in Dentistry & Marketing for 2017. Below, we’ve highlighted only a few trends because some of us are still feeling the effects of the holiday season (gluttony is not victimless). For the entire list of trends, complete with recommendations for ways your practice can acclimate, download the complimentary whitepaper.

Many of us spent the last few weeks with extended family, full of thanks, sweet potato pie, and gratitude that the holidays only come once a year. And while the Top 10 Trends in Dentistry & Marketing are based on the behavior of a much larger sample size, is there any better microcosm of society than the holiday dinner table? We’re pretty sure that the trends covered below resonate with at least some of those squeezed around Grandma’s table.

1. Trust of authority and experts is decreasing. 

This trend is music to your hippy uncle’s ears. Those who came of age during a time when anyone over 30 was suspect, developed a healthy skepticism of expert opinions. The difference is your uncle’s cynicism was most likely rooted in political activism, and today’s wave of distrust stems from a combination of general apathy and 24/7 access to overzealous media outlets.

A great example is a way the misgivings around flossing took off. What began as an article from the Associated Press titled “Medical benefits of dental floss unproven,” quickly turned into a war on the dental hygiene staple. Propagated by a number of media outlets focused on driving website traffic with provocative headlines, word on the street quickly morphed into something akin to “stop flossing immediately”.

So, how does a message become convoluted so quickly? Enter apathy. It wasn’t that long ago that an outrageous headline was cause to look deeper. But now that we’re bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers’ worth of data each day, who has the time to validate? Instead, we click ‘Like’ and share or retweet and leave it to someone else to verify. Then, before you know it, dental floss is as controversial as saccharine.

Why should you care? As a doctor, you’re seen as an expert and if your messages are automatically cast to the wayside you’re going to have a hard time reaching prospective patients.

2. Belief in crowds and social networking is increasing.

Anyone who has ever tried to tell their 20-something sister that she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know can testify to the dangers of this trend.

While social media has broken communication barriers and brought news to the forefront, it has also created a self-limiting circle of influence known as confirmation bias. In an effort to provide relevant content, Facebook’s algorithm factors in user behavior. This means that the content and ads you see are based on what you like, follow and unfollow.  Over time, people develop feeds that heavily reflect their beliefs, essentially creating a bubble of like-mindedness.

Why should you care? To be seen as a credible source you need to find ways to insert yourself into current and prospective patients’ social communities.

3. Everything is going mobile.

It’s likely your teenage cousin wasn’t the only one hiding a smartphone under the holiday table this year. Our mobile devices have practically become appendages, and there is no sign of that changing in 2017. According to the Global Web Index, 80% of Internet searches are done on smartphones. We now do everything from ordering lattes to locating the nearest dentist on these convenient handheld devices.

Why should you care? If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices you could be alienating prospective patients before they even call your practice.

4. Video content is becoming necessary to engage your audience.

Your mother can argue against the merits of screen time all she wants, but the fact is video is engaging (which is why The Walking Dead puts your spouse in a trance). This, combined with technology constantly upping the ante, means that what once grabbed Internet searchers’ attention (hello pop-up ad) no longer registers. People are actively searching online for video content on topics ranging from proper brushing techniques to how toothpaste is made.

Why should you care? The Internet is crowded, but video provides an engaging inroad to current and prospective patients, with the added bonus of expanding your online reach.

So here we are – 2016 behind us and 2017 staring us in the face. As trite as it sounds, you can make this year your practice’s most successful year yet.

Find out what else is in store for 2017 and click here to download the full whitepaperThe Top 10 Trends and Recommendations in Dentistry & Marketing for 2017

And, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals. ProSites specializes in providing comprehensive online dental marketing services that deliver measurable practice growth. Reach out to an Internet Marketing Advisor today at 1-888-932-3644 and get the year started off right.