It’s that time of year when prognosticators read the tea leaves to make their predictions for 2018. Since we’ve been following the trends in dental marketing all year, we think we have a good grasp on where things will go over the next 12 months. Keep reading for our take on what you need to put into action to make your practice successful in 2018.
1) Content Marketing
Creating useful, relevant, informative content will never go out of style. The way it is delivered might change (anyone still subscribing to Poor Richard’s Almanac?) but the old adage that content is king still rules. Content is a win/win/win. It’s an SEO strategy that benefits all parties: the producer, the consumer and the search engine (primarily Google). People love searching for free stuff to read online when they should be working. If it delivers value and helps instill trust in your practice, then all the better. But there’s a new reason to double down on content in 2018: ad zappers. Ad zappers are software that seeks out and removes ads from the websites you visit so you don’t get deluged with annoying banners while you read your nifty content. It’s debatable if these ad zappers are good or bad for business but the bottom line is that in lieu of throwing money at local advertising that might never get seen, you will want to divert some marketing funds toward creating content to attract visitors organically. Read more about ad zappers and how content can help fill the void here.
2) Social Media Marketing
Again, nothing new here. We’ve been promoting social media marketing for orthodontists for years now. What we predict for 2018 is the growing importance of social media as a first stop in finding your practice online. That’s because Millennials aren’t necessarily going to your website to research your business. In a recent survey, 45% of Millennials say they begin researching a company on social media first. So if you’ve let your social media presence go stale it’s time for a refresh. Fill your page with useful info about your practice, links to your blog posts, and pictures of happy patients. You need to engage your audience in new ways to encourage sharing so when they ask, potential patients have a place to go on Facebook to do their research. Read more on this social media marketing and Millennials here.
The future of marketing is the acceleration of what we already have in place now. That’s right things are moving even faster in 2018. Don’t worry, you won’t need to be a speed demon to keep up, you just have to be there with useful information when your next patient is looking for a dental practice in her hometown. Google defined micro-moments as the extension of an already empowered consumer now armed with the web at her fingertips on a mobile device. You get your info wherever, whenever. “Waiting has become a thing of the past. That translates into today’s pervasive micro-moment behavior—immediately turning to a device to know, go, do, and buy… In short, marketers have had to start being a lot more assistive.” Producing good content, having a dynamic social media presence, and making sure your practice shows up in Google results with lots of positive reviews are three strategies to capturing the mico-moment. Will your practice be the one a parent picks when she Googles “orthodontists near me”? Find out more about micro-moments and how they will affect your marketing here.
You can’t just sit idly by waiting for the calls to come in. In 2018 you will need to be fully engaged with your current customers so they can evangelize your practice on social media and review sites like Google Business and Yelp. Being present on social so that you can respond to questions and comments goes a long way to humanizing your practice. It also lets potential clients know there is a real doctor behind the page who is knowledgeable and friendly. Social media is a powerful tool to communicate the value of your practice if done right. We have some ideas about how to engage patients on social media on our blog here.
5) Live Video
When Facebook first unveiled its live video feature, it didn’t make much of a splash as it was limited to celebrities and people with verified accounts. Media companies and marketers tried to figure out how to use it. Fast forward to today and live video streaming is available to everyone on the platform and it’s become a hot way to communicate on social. And it’s only going to get hotter in 2018.
It’s not just Facebook that has realized live video’s potential on social media. Now, SnapChat, Marco Polo and other many apps have come to develop their own versions of shared video on social networks. (For those keeping score, even before Facebook Live there was a live video service called Periscope that integrated with Twitter.) Videos on Facebook don’t have to be watched live either. When you’re done filming they’re archived on your page for later viewing just like any other post.
Live video is easy and fun thanks to integration right in the Facebook mobile app. Just go to your page and start filming your patients with their new smiles, having fun in your office around the holidays, or finding out they just won a prize in one of your contests. Click here for a simple and easy intro on how to jump into the live video frenzy from Facebook.
Are you ready to take your marketing into the future? Contact People & Practice today!