You may not stay on top of the latest fashion trends, but as a dentist, oral surgeon, periodontist, and/or orthodontist, you absolutely need to know the top dental marketing trends of 2020! Do you strive to compete with other local dental practices, better educate your patients, offer more cosmetic services, or all the above?  Your practice will thrive when you incorporate these dental marketing trends into your 2020 marketing plan.

The Top Dental Marketing Trends of 2020

1. Active Social Media Presence

Social media isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s only evolving and expanding with ads, live video services, and more. While it’s important for all industries to maintain a social media presence, it’s especially vital for doctors and dentists. In the past year, we have seen many more dentists flocking to Instagram to find and retain patients. Why? Because it’s where your patients spend their time.

Research shows almost three-quarters of patients research a practice online before scheduling a visit. Plus, over 60 percent of social media users say they trust healthcare professionals online versus 30 percent who trust brands. That means the money and time you invest in social media will automatically do more for you than other industries because customers actively seek and trust the content you publish! Focus on gaining more reviews and endorsements on your social profiles, especially Facebook.

Not sure where to begin with your social media strategy? Not to worry. You can get inspiration from other dentists on Instagram and emulate what you like. We have seen dentists succeed by offering monthly promotions, sharing educational content, and even simply making their hours and available appointments more accessible. We usually recommend dentists become active on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. It may seem like a lot of work, but you can subscribe to a social media scheduling platform to make publishing content a breeze. And of course, if you need help from the pros, just get in touch. We specialize in helping dentists use dental marketing trends to their advantage on social and are happy to steer you in the right direction!

2. Live Video

Video marketing has been a consumer-preferred marketing medium for a while now—and that’s not going to change any time soon. As video becomes more mainstream, businesses that are not implementing a video strategy start to stand out as dated. This year, 80 percent of all content consumed online will be in the form of videos. In short, you should absolutely have a solid video marketing strategy in 2020!  If you don’t, you’re way behind that dental marketing trends curve.

You don’t need fancy camera equipment to get started with video marketing. In fact, an iPhone or similar smartphone paired with editing software will record a professional video at an affordable price. Recruit someone in your office to take videos of dental procedures (patient consent permitting, of course), employees in the office, and tips from the dentists, dental hygienists, and surgeons each week.

If you think this will be a huge time-suck, learn how to make content part of your routine so it feels less like a chore and more like a normal day-to-day activity. Trust us, with proper planning and delegating, producing high-quality video for your dental practice will become as second nature as perfecting smiles!

3. Original Customer Photos, Videos, and Testimonials

Stock photography can only get you so far. Fortunately for you, a lot of dentists and oral surgeons utilize sterile, stock images that look more like ads than an intimate and authentic representation of their practices. Why is this fortunate? Because it provides you with an opportunity to stand out by posting original photos, videos, and testimonials.

Every day, set a video and image quota. We recommend trying to snap at least 3 photos each day and 3 videos a week, so you never run out of social media marketing assets. Ask happy patients if they would mind recording a testimonial or being featured on your social media account. Create a hashtag people can use to show off their dental work so you can post user-generated content on your site or social media feed. Whatever you do, take aesthetically-pleasing, genuine photos and videos. Your social media followings will eat this up!

4. Mobile Responsive Website Design

Your website is the heart of your digital marketing presence! Mobile is also where the majority of today’s customers will discover your website and book their appointment. Unfortunately, many dentists are still stuck in the year 2000, when patients called or used their desktop to make an appointment. Make sure you polish your website ASAP if it’s dated. Focus on better UX and a seamless mobile-responsive design.

If your website doesn’t have a design that adapts to mobile, search engines will penalize you, so your dental practice will no longer show up at the top of organic search results. Curious how your site stacks up on mobile? Use Google’s Mobile-friendly Test to find out. If your site isn’t up to snuff, you’ll need to switch over to a mobile-friendly website template immediately. Most WordPress themes are now mobile-friendly, and it’s not too costly to have your website redesigned for better performance. We help dentists who need a new website every day, so definitely reach out if you want our advice!

5. Email Marketing and SMS

Email marketing is one of the most affordable marketing tactics, especially for dentists. Plus, it offers some of the best ROIs too, bolstering your website traffic, reducing no-shows, and getting lapsed patients to schedule a new appointment. If you have a limited budget, we suggest using a service like MailChimp to send out monthly or bi-weekly emails to your patient and email base that link to relevant blog posts, company announcements, or specials for services like cleanings, teeth whitening, or oral cosmetic procedures.

SMS marketing, a.k.a. text messaging also provides a huge opportunity for dentists. That’s because SMS has a 98 percent open rate compared to 20 percent for email. That is insane. Plus, about 95 percent of people see an SMS marketing message within three minutes and 75 percent of people want to receive promotions and offers via text. So whether you use SMS for appointment reminders, discount promotions, or anything else, this marketing tactic can be extremely useful to your dental practice.

6. Automation

Technology has made it so much easier for dentists and all businesses to use automation to help your marketing efforts. If you can, use automation for email marketing drip campaigns, web chat functionality, and DIY online appointment booking and cancellation. Any automation you can use to “set it and forget it” will help you efficiently execute your marketing tactics and avoid lapses in patient-communication due to heavy workloads.

6. Personalization

Customers expect and respond extremely well to a personalized experience with your dental marketing communications. Luckily for dentists, personalization isn’t nearly as complex or data-centric as for e-commerce and other industries.

For dental practices, include personalization in your email marketing subject lines, custom birthday cards and appointment reminders, advertisements and landing pages, segmented emails, discounts and offers, and even with the customer service in your practice. For dentists, personalization includes personal information like names as well as discounts and content based on individual preferences.

7. SEO

SEO is necessary for dentists and dental surgeons. Search engine optimization allows your practice to show up at the top of search results when a patient searches for relevant information. If you’ve never worked on your website’s SEO, learn the criteria that indicate you need an SEO audit. If you choose the DIY SEO optimization approach, here are some tools to help your organic search ranking.

8. Reputation Management

Word of mouth and written reviews are a maker-or-breaker for dentists—and all brands, really. According to research, over 90 percent of people say online reviews have a large impact on which dentist they choose, and over 70 percent immediately trust a doctor or dentist who has positive reviews.

It only takes a few negative reviews or reviews that receive no response or engagement from your practice to scare off prospective patients. That’s why you need to pay close attention to your online profiles and reviews. Some dentists find it’s easy enough to manage Yelp, Google My Business profile reviews, and more review platforms themselves. However, others like to use a service to aggregate comments and reviews in one place, so no issue is left unresolved. Whichever route you choose, just don’t let your reviews fall by the wayside. Even a negative review that receives a response and action from a business will enhance your online reputation.

9. Local Marketing

Dentists absolutely need to invest in local marketing. That’s because almost 90 percent of people who search for a local business visit it within 24-hours—and 97 percent of all Google searches are to find a local business like your dental practice!

Your Google My Business, Yelp, and other online profiles (the same ones you need to monitor for reputation management) are key to your local marketing efforts. So is the health of your website’s SEO. Make sure you use local hashtags in your social media content to help people find you. Create blog content that’s relevant to your local audience. Of course, get out into your community and sponsor events, and use traditional print advertising methods. Your dental practice is purely local, so there’s no room to skimp here.

10. Marketing Diversified Services

Many dentists are now broadening their offerings to include cosmetic enhancements like Botox and fillers. They’re also seeing that they can make much more profit by doing more veneers or Invisalign in addition to bread-and-butter, everyday dentistry services. If you want to make more money in 2020, consider rethinking what you are offering and which services you’re promoting with your marketing spend. The appeal of coming to your office to get a routine cleaning and some image-enhancing add-ons is stronger than ever with modern consumers. If your business can be a one-stop-shop for your patients, they may have more loyalty when it comes time to book their appointment.

Dental marketing trends change with each year, but the core goals of your marketing strategy do not. You want to provide quality dental care for your patients—and make more income doing it! You want patients to feel confident coming back to you over and over again in an industry that is highly competitive. Kudos to you for staying current on changing trends in the industry! If you need any help planning or implementing your 2020 marketing strategy, we are happy to lend our expertise. Just drop us a line!

Editor’s Note: This post was previously published in 2019 and has recently been revamped by our team to offer the latest and greatest images, stats, and educational info. Enjoy!