Wow, 2020 has been a hot mess of crazy! As we are winding the year down with the holidays, it’s a great opportunity to prepare for 2021. But what should you expect? It’s easy to feel afraid that 2021 could be more of the same, but if your goal is to make 2021 the best year ever for practice growth (it is, right?!), you have to be ready to capitalize on the largest opportunity that the year is likely to provide. Let’s look at the trends and talk about what you need to do to be ready.

Google trends projection for the terms 'dentist' in 2021US Consumer Confidence Index

History Sheds Light on the “Unprecedented”

Look at the Google Trends graph above. You’ll see that it goes from November 12 to November 12 year over year. Why November 12? It doesn’t matter where we start as long as we measure a full year of data year over year. The blue line is 2017/2018, and the red line is 2018/2019. The yellowish-orange line is 2019/2020, and that large trough in the middle of the graph was the worst of the pandemic. The fang-like dips on the left side are the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. In January and February, we always see spikes in dental search volume according to Google.

I’ve been in marketing for 20 years now and working with dentists since 2004. During that time, I’ve learned how to track results and find the underlying causes of different shifts in dental traffic online. As part of that analysis, I’ve used Google Trends, which has shown year over year growth in online demand for dentistry year over year, with fluctuations caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • Global events (such as war and now pandemics)
  • Financial market and employment news (positive and negative)
  • Seasonality

The pandemic news, government restrictions, not to mention actual illness and need to quarantine to protect others slammed dental demand and overall economic confidence (see above purple graph from CEIC) as people lost their jobs and worried that the worst was yet to come.

The right side of the graph shows that as 2020 progressed, dental demand on Google started to normalize right up until a couple of weeks ago when the presidential election took over what was left of our collective mental energy. The still-tender economic confidence took a hit as the election approached and the headlines voiced concerns about what COVID was going to do this winter.

Historical economic confidence and Google Trends data indicate we should expect continued recovery toward the norm over the next month and that January and February will be great months for dental search. The headlines are starting to turn a little more positive now that the election has all but come to a close. The news of multiple vaccines nearing FDA approval and becoming available to some Americans as early as mid-December will surely be a shot in the arm for dental demand as well.

Lead the Way

Most offices that we work with are slammed right now. The pandemic is making people sick but it’s not eliminating the need for dental care. Our offices are still targeting patients interested in quality dental care too. One office reports having had their best year ever in production despite the pandemic. That office is leading the way in marketing. They had it in place before the pandemic, and they did not downsize their efforts during the pandemic.

Lead the way now. Review your marketing with your account manager today and let’s get aggressive campaigns in place for a record harvest of new patients in January and February. If you wait, you’ll be at least a month behind and you’ll miss out. The time to act for a better 2021 is now! Call us at (970) 672-1212.