With two years of unprecedented change in the dental industry behind us, it’s time to evaluate emerging trends in the new practice landscape and the direction dental marketing is heading. From 24/7 patient convenience to new social media platforms to targeted advertising, consider your current practice marketing strategy and how you can incorporate these new trends and features.
Here are the top trends to watch for your practice’s marketing in 2022, broken down by patient experience, social media, strategic advertising, local SEO and Google Business Profile and marketing analytics. These are trends we’ve noticed among our own clients and through research.
Modernizing the Online Patient Experience at Your Dental Practice
Don’t just keep up with the modern features your patients expect, exceed their expectations with these trends.
1. Online Bill Pay
The trend: Add online bill pay to your site so patients can pay on their own time, even after hours, without having to call your office.
Our WM Wisdom: Our clients constantly ask us to add this feature to their website. Online bill pay is essential for modernizing your patient experience.
2. Dental Insurance Checker
The trend: How many calls does your front desk receive about what insurances you accept? Do you have a cohesive answer? Using a dental insurance checker allows patients to check and see if your office accepts their benefits on their own time.
Our WM Wisdom: We highly recommend this feature. Clients who add an insurance checker see higher traffic on their contact, online scheduling and dental membership plan pages.
3. Live Chat
The trend: Modernize your website by adding a 24/7 Live Chat feature for patient conversions.
Our WM Wisdom: According to techjury.com, 44% of online consumers and patients say having questions answered via live chat during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. Live chat is crucial for conversions.
4. Online Scheduling
The trend: If patients want to schedule an appointment outside of your office hours, online scheduling allows them to do so.
Our WM Wisdom: The modern patient much prefers online scheduling to calling your office, making this a great trend to follow.
5. Improving and Varying Your Patient Communications
The trend: Your patients expect proactive messaging from you regarding their appointments and a variety of communication formats, like text and even social media messaging. Your patients need you to communicate with them in the ways that work best with their lifestyles. This includes email, phone calls and text messages.
Our WM Wisdom: From appointment reminders to post-appointment review requests, your patients now expect convenient messaging from you. A postcard may’ve worked in the past. But unless your target clientele is an older population who prefers postcards, we’d recommend doing away with this and focusing entirely on digital communications.
6. Creating a “Patient Resources” Page on Your Website
The trend: Make your new patients’ experience as seamless as possible by adding a page on your website where they can easily access information about your practice and any forms they may need to fill out before their appointment.
Our WM Wisdom: Anything you can do to simplify a patient’s transition to your practice will be appreciated — and remembered — when they go to review your practice.
7. Easy Paths to Review Your Practice
The trend: Use your patient communication system and website to make it as simple as possible for patients to review you. Send texts and emails requesting a review following patient appointments, and create a unique section of your website just for reviews.
Our WM Wisdom: With nearly nine out of ten people reading reviews before making a purchase or choosing a business, having online reviews is essential for your practice.
8. Making Your Practice Easy to Find Online
The trend: You must appear across the Internet in a variety of different ways to truly be noticed by patients.
Our WM Wisdom: Utilize a strong combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), your Google Business Profile, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media to stay in front of prospective patients digitally.
9. Updating and Modernizing Your Website
The trend: Your website needs to be high speed, optimized for user convenience and have strong calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout to promote new patient conversion.
Our WM Wisdom: Your website is one of your most valuable employees. These modernized features are standard practices for each website we build for clients. Make sure your website is optimized for both mobile and desktop users.
Social Media for Dental Practices
1. Utilizing the Relevant Social Media Channels For Your Audience
The trend: Invest your time and energy into the social platforms where your ideal patient base is most active.
Our WM Wisdom: Diversifying your social output is important, but think more about adding than taking away. Facebook is a standard platform for a dental practice, but maybe you’re also trying to target millennials and want to show off your office and technology. Use Instagram to reach this younger population.
2. Get a Marketing Coordinator in Your Office
The trend: Do you have someone on your staff who’s particularly social media savvy? Ask them to serve as your internal point-of-contact who’ll work with your external marketing team.
Our WM Wisdom: Marketing success starts with your internal team. Our clients who regularly work with our team and share content see high levels of success on social media.
3. Hiring Made Simple
The trend: Is your practice struggling to attract new employees? Use social media to advertise open positions, show off your office culture and boost posts to ideal candidates.
Our WM Wisdom: Social media is an excellent place to attract new talent, from strategically boosting posts to posting video testimonials from staff to using your local Dental Peeps group to share postings.
4. Marketing Across Channels
The trend: While targeting the social channel where your patients live online is critical, it’s also important to branch out across social networks like Twitter and Instagram if you feel it’s a worthwhile investment for your practice.
Our WM Wisdom: Creating active, dynamic Facebook and Twitter profiles for our clients is standard practice here at Whiteboard Marketing. If a client is a good fit for Instagram, we create this profile, too.
5. Video Marketing
The trend: 86% of businesses are using video marketing to share content with their followers. The rise of mediums like TikTok and Instagram Reels presents an opportunity to share informative and entertaining content directly from your team to your patients. You can also share video content directly on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, too.
Our WM Wisdom: We see high levels of impressions and engagement for clients who post videos directly on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles and recommend sharing videos on these platforms. If your practice uses Instagram, Reels may be another good fit as long as you’re creating worthwhile content for followers. However, unless you are trying to target patients ages 18-25, we recommend staying away from TikTok.
6. Sharing Organic Content and Telling Stories
The trend: Share natural photos of your team in and outside the office on your social media profiles so patients get a look at your culture.
Our WM Wisdom: Our team sees overwhelming success with posts featuring authentic photos of our clients in action versus posts featuring stock photos.
7. Incentives and Contests for Followers
The trend: Run a giveaway contest on social media for a gift card or a special item your practice sells, like a Sonicare.
Our WM Wisdom: We see success with contests like this when they are tied to something like Facebook likes. Have patients like your page for a chance to win.
8. Sharing with Instagram and Facebook Stories
The trend: The Story feature on Instagram and Facebook gives you the opportunity to share spontaneous content. Maybe another office you refer to sends you cookies. You can immediately share this content using Stories.
Our WM Wisdom: This is an excellent way to share the organic content we previously mentioned.
9. Meet the Team Posts
The trend: Meet the Team posts where you share photos, fun facts and information about your staff members are an excellent source of content for your social media profiles.
Our WM Wisdom: These posts are a regular part of our posting schedule for clients, including both photos and videos.
Advertising for Dental Practices
1.93 billion people use Facebook each day, and 5.6 billion Google searches are made each day. These two wildly popular platforms have built-in advertising features you must use to succeed in your practice marketing.
1. Facebook Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The trend: Use Facebook Ads to push certain services to prospective patients as they scroll through social media.
Our WM Wisdom: We highly recommend using Facebook PPC if a practice’s goal is to promote themselves and the unique services they offer.
2. Google Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The trend: Show up when prospective patients search for a new dentist near them by investing in Google PPC.
Our WM Wisdom: We highly recommend using Google PPC for practices that want to acquire a set number of new patients each month, since patients using Google have an urgent need for a dentist.
3. Targeting Your PPC to Where Users Live Online
The trend: Pay attention to the platforms your patients use most often and where your online advertising traffic comes from, then invest your PPC dollars here.
Our WM Wisdom: This is a fundamental part of the research our PPC team does to best determine which form of advertising our PPC clients should use.
4. Targeting Your PPC to What Patients Are Searching For
The trend: Are you trying to attract patients looking for a certain type of service, like dental implants? Develop your campaigns to fit this messaging.
Our WM Wisdom: Again, this is a fundamental part of the research we do to create the best PPC advertisements for our clients.
Using Local SEO for Your Dental Practice
Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is a wealth of information for prospective patients — and your ticket for showing up when a patient searches “Dentist near me.”
1. Optimizing Your Google Business Profile
The trend: Regularly updating your GBP and making sure all sections are filled out so patients have the most accurate information when searching for a “dentist near me.”
Our WM Wisdom: Ninety percent of patients search online for a dentist. By claiming and optimizing your GBP, you provide a one-stop-shop for prospective patients to view your address, hours, phone number, Google reviews and other essential information. You can also add Google Posts and answer patient questions, too.
2. Stay On Top of New GBP Features
The trend: Google is always adding additional features you can put on your GBP, too, like if you are a Black-owned business or if you accept certain insurance carriers.
Our WM Wisdom: Even if you don’t mention a certain attribute on your website, you can still show up if a patient searches for it if you include this in your GBP. For example, we have several clients who show up for “Black-owned dentist near me” because of their GBP, despite not mentioning this on their website.
3. Call Tracking and Listening to Recorded Phone Calls
The trend: Start using a call tracking number so you can follow where people are finding your office number across the web. Record your inbound calls, too, so you can see how your staff is communicating with new and returning patients.
Our WM Wisdom: Call tracking is duly useful: you can clearly see where your calls come from, and you can use recordings to properly train staff on their phone skills and how to answer practice-specific questions.
Marketing Analytics for Your Dental Practice
Making decisions based on data you’ve gathered is critical for the success of your practice marketing. Let these numbers guide you as you decide where to invest your dollars for maximum impact.
1. Data About Your Content
The trend: How does your social content perform with followers? Check the engagement and impressions, or the number of views and number of comments, each post gets to see what your patients like best.
Our WM Wisdom: Knowing what your patients like best on social media helps you clearly define and build your unique brand voice.
2. Data About Your Patients and Audience
The trend: Collect data about the populations you predominately serve such as average income, where they live in your region and family size.
Our WM Wisdom: Knowing your general patient demographic helps you target your marketing to the right audience.
3. Pay Attention to Where Your Patients Are Coming From
The trend: Follow how patients are finding your practice so you can properly allocate your marketing dollars.
Our WM Wisdom: This is invaluable information to both efficiently spend your marketing dollars and target your dollars to where your patients live online.
4. Gather Web Analytics
The trend: See how your website is best serving patients by gathering valuable information on the back end of your website. What are your most-viewed pages, how fast is your website and how much time do patients spend on your site?
Our WM Wisdom: Your website can’t be stagnant; you must constantly be updating and maintaining it for patient satisfaction. As you update your site, evaluate questions like what are your most-viewed pages, how fast is your website and how much time do patients usually spend on your site?
5. Audit Your Referral Process
The trend: Are the practices you’ve been using as an office still efficient for patient and staff referrals? Take time to evaluate and audit these practices and see if they’re still accomplishing your initial intentions of growing your patient base and staff.
Our WM Wisdom: In-office efficiency and how it impacts the patient experience is just as important as your digital marketing presence.
Here to Help With Your 2022 Dental Marketing
At Whiteboard Marketing, we specialize in helping our dental clients develop unique, sustainable, successful marketing strategies that attract, acquire and retain the patients they want for their practice.