70% of small businesses are planning to increase their spending on digital marketing. As we wrap up 2017, forward-thinking dentists will already be contemplating their digital marketing strategy for 2018.

We’ve got everything you need to know about the top digital marketing trends you’ll see in 2018. Ready?

Let’s get started.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been on everyone’s lips lately, and it’s easy to see why. With 57% of marketers already using AI, this is expected to grow by 53% as technology improves over the next few years.

Artificial intelligence is one of the biggest digital marketing trends because it provides immense value to both marketers and consumers.

Chatbots are a great option for dentists, as they can provide continual service to your clients- answering questions and providing advice even while you’re away from your office.

2. Live Video

While live video has been around for some time now, it will grow exponentially in 2018. Top of the video trend? Facebook Live.

Live video is an excellent option for dentists since you can interact directly with current and potential patients. People love watching videos online, so you could easily set up a Facebook Live and answer some of the top dental questions online.

3. Mobile

Mobile will become even more important next year. More people use their phones to search Google than their computers, and that means that if you’re not actively working on your business’s mobile presence, you’re in trouble.

The first step is to ensure your website is adequately optimized for mobile. Google is now penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. That means your competitors would have a greater chance of overtaking you in the search rankings if they’ve optimized their site for mobile.

Mobile marketing automation is also an excellent way to connect with customers by offering deals relevant to their interests. You may want to try an SMS campaign offering a deal like a free cleaning or discount for new customers.

4. Content Marketing

While content marketing isn’t exactly one of the newer digital marketing trends, you can expect it to continue to get even bigger in 2018. 70% of people said they’d prefer to learn about businesses through articles than through ads.

Not to mention, content marketing is a cheaper, more effective form of marketing than many other options. And it can take many different forms, from videos to blog posts, to infographics.

You may have dipped your toe into content marketing in 2017, but if you want to gain a competitive edge in 2018 it’s worth creating a solid content marketing strategy for next year.

5. Voice Searches

This is one of those digital marketing trends you may have seen coming. Consumers are using voice search more than ever, with a variety of devices, including desktop computers, tablets, smart speakers, and phones. 50% of all searches are expected to be voice searches by 2020.

You’ll need to optimize your website for voice search. You can do this by including conversational phrases and long-tail keywords that people are likely to say when searching out loud. An example would be “Best Pizza in Chicago” vs “Pizza, Chicago.”

Content marketing makes it relatively easy to optimize for voice searching. That’s because it’s much easier to include conversational keywords into your blog posts than it is to try and fit them into your website content.

6. Transparency

Transparency is likely to become one of the most crucial elements of your marketing in the future. Most people read numerous reviews while considering trying a new service. This internet stalking allows people to learn everything they can about your business before they even make an appointment.

The internet will continue to catch up with this next year. People can already leave reviews on your online profiles and social pages. Google has also added another layer of trust and verification with Local Services Ads.

In 2018, you should be focusing on your review marketing strategy. This will allow you to add a more human element when it comes to your marketing. Consider giving patients a behind-the-scenes look at your dental office. Aim to connect directly with customers and you’ll be rewarded.

7. TV Marketing

No, we’re not talking about old-school TV marketing. Now, Amazon, YouTube, and Facebook already have their own TV series’. Hulu and Netflix have many exclusive shows only watchable on their platforms. And TV streaming services are so good that they’re winning Emmy awards.

As TV becomes more digital than ever, so will smart business owners. In 2018 you should say goodbye to local TV commercials and hello to YouTube and social media ads.

8. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing goes hand-in-hand with the trend towards greater transparency. Brands hoping to connect with potential customers can collaborate with influencers who often have large, loyal audiences.

These influencers create compelling content that feels much less staged compared to old-school advertising methods.

9. Strategic Social Media

As social media channels continue to change and update algorithms, it gets more and more difficult for brands to connect with customers and clients. You’ll have to work hard to have a social presence online.

That’s why it’s critical that you have a solid, actionable, and strategic social media strategy for 2018. This is one of those digital marketing trends that isn’t going away, so now is the time to consider how you’ll kill it on social.

10. Customer Experience Marketing

This is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s all about making sure that your customers are having a good experience when you’re marketing to them.

Customers judge your business by the sum of all of the experiences they’ve had with you. This can include anything from seeing one of your ads on Facebook to calling to make an appointment.

Ready to Embrace these Digital Marketing Trends in 2018?

The above digital marketing trends demonstrate how new technology is influencing digital marketing as artificial intelligence becomes even more popular. We can also see how marketing is becoming more about the customer, with greater transparency and a focus on the overall customer experience.

Want to learn how we can help with your digital marketing? Get in touch today to learn more.

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Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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