Top Anticipated Trends for Dentistry

Top Anticipated Trends for Dentistry and Marketing by 2020

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By PDA Endorsed Vendor, Prosites

As we kick off the new year, everyone seems to be publishing predictions for 2018, but ProSites? Not to be braggadocios, but this endorsed partner has gone the extra mile and looked ahead to 2020 because predictions limited to the year ahead is so 2016.

In ProSites’ latest whitepaper, Seven Predictions and Recommendations for Dentistry and Marketing by 2020, they examine current trends to predict what the future of dentistry and marketing will look like by the next decade. Below is a brief synopsis, but make sure to download your full copy of the whitepaper here to make you sound ahead of the curve at the next holiday party. 

Trend 1: A Weak Middle Class Will Squeeze the Dental Market
We hate to start out on a somber note, but at least now there’s nowhere to go but up. So here it is – today’s “middle class” is getting squeezed (shocked, aren’t you?). Combine this with the recent shift towards a gig economy (which has many pros, but dental insurance isn’t one) and suddenly routine dental visits and cleanings are seen as elective and added to the list of “nice-to-haves”. 
So what’s there to do, aside from reminisce about the good old days of generous dental plans and cleanings every six months? Two words – capture mindshare. Now is the time to use search engines and social media to get in front of new patients. Provide educational articles and engaging posts. Essentially, create a loyal patient base that views oral health and the services you offer as more than a commodity. 

Trend 2: Lowered Trust of Facts Requires Building a Trustworthy Persona
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be saying goodbye to “fake news” or the associated decrease in trust of authority anytime soon. In fact, reliance on social media seems to have increased our general skepticism. While warranted in some situations, an overall rise in distrust of experts means businesses, dental practices included, need to work harder to gain confidence from potential customers (patients). 
Enter your dental practice’s online reputation, as this is where prospective patients are likely to form their first impression of you. You must encourage current patients to share positive feedback on review sites and social media channels as both play important roles in attracting new patients. 

Trend 3: Digital Content Consumption Will Be Constant and Led by Video
Think our dependence on digital content has reached the point of saturation? Alexa, weigh in. Given that we’re always connected, our consumption of content is ever increasing. To compete and gain valuable mindshare, your online presence must be dynamic.  
A website alone is no longer enough; patients want more. Try creating a library of how-to videos that address common concerns like “how to floss with braces.” Easy-to-read articles and posts are also great ways to share content. But remember, consistency is key – as even an engaged audience is fickle and will quickly go elsewhere if you stop meeting their needs. 

Trend 4: Paid Content Will Overshadow Organic Content
While you’ll always need organic content (assets and articles that you don’t pay to promote) to build your brand and engage patients, it’s becoming a less effective means to acquire patients on social media. To help users wade through all of the content out there, Facebook has changed its algorithm to emphasize advertisements which has caused a decline in the reach of organic content on social media. 
By 2020 all social media channels will be pay-to-play, and you’ll need an online advertising strategy (and budget) to use them effectively. This is one area where a DIY approach is not recommended. Knowledge of both the dental industry and online advertising is essential, so unless you’re prepared to spend (and possibly waste) a lot of time and money, outsourcing to an expert is your best bet. 

Trend 5: Most Patients Will Be Mobile-First, If Not Mobile-Only
The fact that we need laws to tell us not to read our Facebook feed while driving is a good indicator of the prevalence of mobile technology. While the number of people who browse the Internet from a mobile device has steadily increased in recent years, there is now a growing segment that solely or primarily access the Internet (i.e. your website) from their mobile device. 
To provide the best user experience possible, have a website that takes a mobile-first approach with quick load times, thumb-friendly buttons, easy-to-read text, of course, format correctly across all devices.

Trend 6: A Digital Front Will Be Expected
From grocery shopping to ordering lattes, your patients are doing everything online – and per Trend 5 –  it’s most likely from a mobile device. Short of a real-time root canal request (crazy, we know - who would request a root canal?) what can you enable patients to do online? Probably more than you think. 

Patients will soon expect to have the ability to book visits, confirm or cancel appointments, or complete forms online or via text. Regardless of how fast your website loads, if you fall below patient expectations (which are higher than ever) your practice is sure to lag behind the competition. The answer is not to invest in more staff, but rather integrated systems that can manage scheduling, appointment reminders, and recall campaigns – all of which are designed to keep patients engaged while delivering the level of customer service and convenience they want.  

Trend 7: Automation and Artificial Intelligence Will Be Required to Compete
Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) might seem futuristic, but so did the year 2020 until you realized just how close it was. The truth is, most businesses already benefit from automation (think email marketing) and AI (i.e. chatbots that provide answers to common questions online). 

With broad adoption of automation and AI on the horizon, now is the time to automate and integrate as much as you can. From practice management systems to patient communication and dental practice marketing, you’ll be poised to reap the most benefits when you have everything working together. 

In conclusion, technology is greatly impacting how we do business in the future. And, if you don’t soon embrace where the industry is headed, you won’t be able to make up the ground. Click here to get your free copy of the complete whitepaper from endorsed partner, ProSites, or call them at (888) 932-3644 to see how they can meet you where you are today and help you get to where you want to be in the future.  

Article written by Heather Frechette-Crowley, Director of Product Marketing at ProSites. ProSites is endorsed by the PDA for their website design and online marketing solutions including search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and pay-per-click advertising. PDA members receive 25% off the standard website set-up. For more information, or to start a free trial, call (888) 932-3644 or visit