The Dental Specialist's Guide to Content Marketing
by Sarah Al-Daghreer, on August 2, 2019
As a dental specialist, whether you’re located in a smaller suburb or a sprawling metropolis, there’s one primary goal that needs to be achieved in order to keep business steady; patient flow.
The more patients you can see in any given calendar year, the more opportunity your practice is given to grow, expand, and make a name for itself no matter where you are.
In order to increase patient flow and drive conversions for your practice, you have to find new patients, and effectively reach them. Once you reach them, it’s necessary to convince them that you’re the practice that can best suit their needs. This is where the effective nature of content marketing becomes relevant, and where your content creation efforts can pay off tremendously.
If you’ve never had a content marketing strategy before, it may be difficult to determine where to start. This complete guide will detail some of the most crucial aspects of a content marketing strategy, how to execute them, and how they can pay off for your dental practice!
- First Things First: Who is Your Target Market?
For any business, this is an important question to ask. For dental marketing, identifying your target and ideal patient base is key for drumming up business. You need to know who it is you’re trying to target so you can create a strategy specific and beneficial to them.
As a dental specialist, you’ll have narrowed your talents down to a specific field. Each field will have its’ own unique demographic to target, and these are the areas you should be focusing on! Is it periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics? Whatever your niche is, make sure the potential patients you’re targeting are good candidates for your services!
As a pediatric dentist, your demographic will be parents, and patients younger in age. As an orthodontist, your focus may be more so on people that are more likely to seek orthodontic services; teenagers, etc.
Whatever your demographic is, it needs to be clearly identified in order to move forward with any type of marketing strategy, especially content. We’ll be learning how to generate content that attracts and converts, and you can’t do that if you’re putting it in front of the wrong audience!
- Provide Value
Yes, the goal is to, at the end of the day, attract new patients, but that isn’t necessarily the primary focus. Your content needs to be relevant, and most of all, valuable enough for your target audience to engage with. Are you offering them information or resources they wouldn’t have access to on their own?
This does require some brainstorming, and some research. Once you have a target audience identified and fully mapped out, the work of helping your patients make informed decisions needs to be done, too.
You can show what you know with your content, but if there’s no higher purpose to it, it won’t be as valuable to your patient as something that helps them learn, make a decision, or keeps them informed about the industry.
- Find Out What They’re Searching For
I’m talking about the magic of keyword research! The truth is, your patients are looking for dental specialists online more than they’re scouting the streets or reading flyers. Why not factor into the results the search engine gives them?
There are so many ways to perform keyword research, and so many ways to meticulously and strategically fill your content with these words to encourage the search engine to trust you. The search engine has one main priority, and that is to provide the best possible content to the searcher based on the keywords and phrases they use. If this is what the search engine focuses on, it’s your job to become the best option!
Keyword research will tell you what phrases your target audience is looking for, so you can effectively tweak your content to fit that need. It won’t change the subject matter, it’ll simply help you to understand the phrases and wording your audience is using. This research shouldn’t be skipped, or ignored - otherwise, you could find yourself buried in tens of pages of results, and who has the time to scroll through all that?
- Think Big Picture
Content creation is one thing, while content with purpose is another entirely. You can be the dental practice that creates individual pieces of content that brings in one new patient per blog, post or infographic, or you can be that practice with a strong strategy that consistently attracts new patients!
This is where the development of a content strategy becomes key. You won’t just be publishing on one platform, such as your website, and wiping your hands of it either.
You need to re purpose your content to fit all platforms, including many different social media platforms. Content marketing has diversified, and is more than just publishing dental blogs on your website, or distributing flyers to your area.
So, instead of focusing on generating content and distributing it, think a little bigger. What is the goal you have in mind for your content? Are you trying to strengthen your branding, attract new patients, promote something? Whatever the goal is for your content, make every piece in support of that!
The thing about content marketing is that it’s purely an umbrella term. Content marketing means a variety of different things to different businesses, and every organization takes on the challenge differently.
Without a defined strategy, you’re taking the risk of losing the goal you once had for your content. Without the goal, your content is reduced to just information. So take your time with it, make a plan, and make sure that before you schedule and publish your content, it’ll be worth the time and resources! Even more importantly, make sure your content is going to resonate with your patients based on the research you performed and data you collected.
- Automate, Automate, Automate!
There are so many reasons to automate your efforts, and make sure your content is efficiently distributed to everyone.
Some of these reasons include:
- Keeps Leads Qualified, and Your List Fresh
- Keeps You In Front of Your Audience
- Protects Your Reputation
- Saves Time
- Keeps Your Organized
- Helps You to Re purpose Content
Aside from all these great benefits, automation is all about reaching your existing leads in a timely manner, which ensures they’re contacted and engaged before they have a chance to lose interest.
If a prospective patient submits a form on your website requesting a consultation and you take weeks to get back to them, it’s very likely they’ll have moved on, or forgot they tried to make contact in the first place. Automation will ensure that every potential patient that has expressed interest in your practice will be sent the appropriate content, properly nurtured, and qualified as a strong lead over and over again.
Automation will also prevent you from wasting your time on leads that may not be profitable for your practice. Much of the automation process is evaluating your lead list periodically, and ensuring every contact is still a strong potential lead. If they aren’t, they should be removed from your list.
Not only will this keep your time and content relevant and valuable, but you won’t be irritating anyone with emails that seem to never end. Adding an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of each email will also help to continually qualify your list for you, as those that may have lost interest can remove themselves from your list at the click of a button.
- Stick to Your Brand and Brand Goals
Your brand is the mark of your company. Dental specialists commonly mistake their brand to be synonymous with their business, but this simply is not the case. Your brand is the experience and level of care you promise to deliver to your patients, and something you committed to long ago when crafting your practice.
There are a few obvious things to consider when it comes to maintaining your brand. The first one is maintaining your brand’s visual identity, which is what your patients are going to associate with your business. Your content should contain your brand colors, logo, name, and consistencies such as font, symbols, etc. This information should be incorporated with all of these details so your patients can recognize it, associate it with you, maybe even help you promote it if they like what they see.
This will help you to stand out, and to create and maintain a name for yourself in the industry. Aside from being recognizable, a strong brand makes a promise to a patient, and lets them know what they can expect.
You want your patients to remember you, and you want prospective visitors to remember you, too. The best way to ensure this is to do business based on the experience your brand promises, and make sure your brand promises a great patient experience!