It's not news to anyone that the healthcare industry is changing and evolving in several ways. As a result, everyone from patients to practitioners have to plan for the future.

The dental industry is no exception, and there are new trends emerging. Fear of the dentist office and potential costs continue to be some of the top reasons why a patient avoids a visit, but your practice can set goals to break that trend in 2018.

Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Providing a variety of payment options

Healthcare costs are a major concern for patients, and they don't always understand how insurance works with dental visits. Make sure you take advantage of opportunities to explain how your office handles insurance and payment.

It's also a good idea to explore payment options that give the patient flexibility and maybe a little more peace of mind. For example, you could choose to offer:

  • a loyalty program that offers benefits like discounts
  • payment plans or other flexible payment options
  • a healthcare credit card, like CareCredit

2. Start producing video content

Hubspot has some important video marketing stats that are worth your attention. If you think this can't apply to dental offices, think again. Practice Builders listed video as a top dental marketing trend for 2018 and backs it up with statistics like these:

  • Video is expected to make up more than 80 percent of online traffic by 2019
  • Nearly 65 percent of potential patients visit a healthcare office website after watching a video
  • About 92 percent of people will share a video with family/friends after viewing it on their phones

We've already established that costs and fear of dentists are significant barriers to office visits. So, you can create videos that feature:

  • an interview with the dental staff
  • patient testimonials
  • explanations about payment plans and patient experience
  • tours of the office

By producing video content, you can easily erase some of the "fear of the unknown" concerns for patients.

3. Take steps to optimize your website

You can also feature your video content on your website. If that content covers information about your staff, office and practice, then it can cut back on the amount of text. A lot of times, people would rather watch than read.

However, you still need to have existing text and content that is SEO-friendly. Base your content on what you know about your patients. What are their concerns? What do they love about your practice? It may be necessary to take time to learn what engages your audience.

You also need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. It's imperative that your website is easy to interact with using a mobile device. According to, over 63 percent of Google searches come from mobile, and that figure is expected to grow to over 70 percent next year.

4. Build strategies based on your online presence and reputation

Another person who should be searching for your practice is you. You can develop strategies based on the results. What are people saying about you? How are they responding to you on social media? Is one social platform performing better than another?

If you're on a social platform that isn't performing, it might be time to drop it. It will allow you to spend time on the more active social channels.

Feel free to ask your patients what they would like to see from you on places like Facebook. Video is going to be dominant there as well. Maybe they'd like to see you provide a live Q&A or share news about your practice.

Content has become more interpersonal and emotional and less one-dimensional and "salesy." Embracing that and other emerging trends could mean a whole new level of success for your dental practice in 2018.