Marketing for dentists demands a two-pronged approach: First, you have to explain to people why it’s a good idea to regularly schedule dental appointments. Second, you must explain why they should schedule the appointments with your dental offices.
While the American Dental Association reports that dental spending increased in 2021 compared to previous years, many still don’t get even the recommended twice-a-year check-ups. Health insurance benefits help encourage potential patients — but that’s not enough. On average, 37 percent of adults in the U.S. haven’t had a dental visit in the last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Statistics.
This is where content marketing for dentists comes in. Now that so many people spend time online, modern dental offices can leverage that attention with a digital marketing campaign. With so many kinds of relevant content to consider when crafting your plan, you can personalize the message for your target audience. Dentist marketing requires a strong brand identity to set the practice apart from the competition, and content helps make that happen.
Content marketing is a digital content strategy that provides free, useful written and visual material to meet key business objectives. It works for all kinds of industries, including dental care.
In previous years, most dental practices relied on traditional advertising to attract patients. Budgets once focused on paid ads in newspapers, on local radio and television shows, and even on billboards plastered around town. While these methods may have been effective, they’re also expensive — and increasingly outdated. Your patients aren’t opening the Yellow Pages anymore, so marketing for dentists has been forced to change, too.
Today, competitive dental offices integrate content marketing into their comprehensive strategy to attract potential clients and keep current patients active and returning.
Why Is Content Marketing Important for Dentists?
A content marketing plan is a strategic way to connect your dental services practice with potential patients and build a trusting relationship. Your valuable content on social media platforms and business blog posts begins to position the dentists and support staff as the experts in the industry that they are. That’s just one reason why content marketing for dentists is so important.
Increases Website Traffic and Rankings
By now, almost every small- and medium-sized business has a website — but are you maximizing the effectiveness of yours for dentist marketing? Even the most beautiful website must have search engine optimization, which means the pages contain enough keyword research. That way, people who are plugging those terms into Google’s search engine in search of a dentist will find your website.
In fact, website traffic is one of the content marketing metrics that many content marketers compare at the beginning and end of a campaign to determine its effectiveness. You can track traffic-related data by installing Google Analytics, which is free.
Improves Brand Awareness
As you consider implementing a dental content marketing campaign, messaging is one of the first things to consider. You must show that your dental office is the first, best, or different from other dental practices in the area for very clear reasons. As you work to express this, creating a brand for the office makes it easier to resonate with loyal patients.
Brand awareness should be focused on the values and experience you will be providing for your patients, including what dental procedures your team specializes in. Content marketing for dentists gives you an opportunity to share the voice, tone, and wisdom of the brand with people who may schedule an appointment.
Plus, it takes time for people to shift from first seeing your office’s brand to scheduling an appointment. It’s called the “rule of seven,” which describes how you must connect with a person seven times before they’ll take the next step.
Encourages Social Shares
For now, it’s easier for people to click the forward button on a social media post than to schedule a dental appointment — but that social share might be enough for someone to pick up the phone. Another reason why dentist content marketing is important is that it encourages connections that support business with word-of-mouth advertising.
For example, let’s say you want to celebrate National Dentist’s Day on March 6. Imagine how much more traction a well-written dental marketing blog or aesthetically pleasing visual content like an interesting infographic would get compared to a simple holiday greeting. You can start a conversation with dental content writing — and that interaction will be with your future patients.
Builds Trust and Loyalty
Of course, every patient needs to trust their dentist. That’s at the foundation of the doctor-patient relationship, and it’s one of the most important messages you should send in any content marketing for dentists. One way to build trust is to share valuable content that helps patients improve their dental health — and possibly their lives.
Loyalty for dentists isn’t just a matter of good business. When patients return regularly for at least twice-a-year appointments, they’re supporting their own good health. A dental marketing blog that explains the importance of frequent visits and care is a service that makes patients feel supported and part of the family.
Helps You Become a Thought Leader
Content marketing, through in-depth pieces like eBooks and white papers, offers a platform where dentists and other health professionals can showcase knowledge that sets them apart from others in the region. If there is a topic that one of your doctors is especially interested in, a great way to engage them in meaningful discussions with patients is through high-quality dental content writing.
You may have a list of questions your potential customers frequently ask, and those answers can be more than social media posts. Content pieces can also be thoughtful, valuable, and helpful articles that show potential patients that your office is professional and ready to help.
Attracts Potential Customers
Content marketing for dentists sidesteps the concern that younger generations have about the messages in advertising. One study reported in Forbes found that 84% of millennials did not trust traditional marketing. However, they do use the internet to search for answers to their questions about their oral health.
These pieces of content can serve as a tool to attract new patients as they begin a customer journey with your dental office. Content can be used at the top of a sales funnel, which is designed to bring in new interest by offering a useful resource that your target audience will appreciate. Once they sign up with their email and receive that resource, you can continue connecting with them and encourage them to make their next appointment with you.
8 Content Types Every Dentist Should Leverage and Why
Now that it’s clear why content is a great idea for marketing dental practice businesses, you may wonder what kind of content marketing for dentists will be most effective. There are many types of content that can be created on the topic of dental health, but don’t worry: You don’t need to implement all of them at once.
Instead, as you learn about the eight different types of content that are ideal for dentist marketing, see which one seems most realistic or could resonate most with your target audience. Once you’ve created and implemented the process for one form of content, you’ll be more successful as you move on to other styles.
1. Educational Podcasts
Podcasts are a fast-growing way to get your dental brand’s voice out to a larger audience in a fun and different way. If you work with dentists who love to chat, a new podcast could be perfect. Start by listening to some of the current dental podcasts for inspiration.
Then, think about how your office could make a better podcast. Brainstorm about actionable insights you can provide listeners on a variety of important topics. The more refined your niche can be, the easier it will be to find your audience — and new patients. Keep the conversation light and enjoyable so people can listen while they’re doing other things. Personal stories are always a good idea.
2. High-Quality Dental Blogs
Unless you’ve got an effective blog writing toolkit, you may consider blogs to be a challenging type of content. But it’s worth the extra effort, as high-quality blogs are a great way to integrate dental SEO and increase your brand awareness.
In general, blogs range in length from 500 to 1,500 words. You can host the blogs within your office website, a practice that will bring more people to your site when they organically discover the blogs through web searches. Remember, it’s always a good idea to complete a keyword research report as you brainstorm topics for future blogs to maximize your success.
3. Useful eBooks and Online Guides
Some topics simply require more than 1,500 words to fully share everything your current or prospective patients need to know, and that’s when eBooks and online guides are worth adding to your content marketing plans. eBooks and guides can be as long as you need them to be to cover a topic in-depth. This may include technical writing, which is challenging but can powerfully position your team as scientifically knowledgeable thought leaders.
Often, these longer resources serve as the reward patients get for sharing their email addresses. It’s a good trade: They get a helpful tool, and you can stay connected and encourage them to trust your office for their life-long dental health.
4. Attractive and Engaging Social Media Content
Social media marketing dovetails nicely with content marketing for dentists as they both meet your prospects where they already are: spending time online. You can post blogs and other forms of content on your business social media page, and you can also create another content-based campaign specifically for your social platforms.
The numbers don’t lie. There will be a projected 254.26 million Facebook users in the United States by 2027, according to the site Statista.com. You’ll want to have a social media presence there and on other platforms if you want to reach certain audiences. Like any time you’re marketing dentists, social media content requires planning and strategy to get the best results.
5. Informative Newsletters
Newsletters are another popular way to use content to bring in more patients. Newsletters can have as many sections as you need and can be as long or short as makes sense for your office. The trick is to use a visually appealing template so that readers will know what to expect each time they receive it in their inbox.
Newsletters can highlight upcoming events, share ways that your office is giving back to the community, and tips for improved dental health. You can even highlight a member of the office staff to give your patients a more personal look at who helps them during their appointments.
6. Visually Appealing Infographics
Some of the most effective written content contains few words and more images. Infographics are visually interesting pieces of content for sharing data and complex topics in easy-to-digest ways. If your dental office wants to share statistics or another numbers-based message, consider working with a graphic designer to make an infographic.
7. Highly Engaging Video Content
Another fun way to connect with your target audience is with videos. Instead of writing blogs, content marketers can create video scripts for short educational videos discussing a variety of health topics. If your dentists are comfortable in front of a camera, all the better.
When creating videos, make sure to focus on the quality. This may mean investing in recording equipment for clear sound and lights so the subjects are easy to see. Thankfully, video editing software like iMovie is often free and doesn’t take long to learn.
8. Well-Researched White Papers
Finally, white paper writing is another powerful form of content you can use to increase brand awareness, demonstrate expertise, and build trust with your current and future patients. White papers can be as long as a guide or an eBook, but they differ because they are scientific work backed by research.
This type of content may require additional expertise or the ability to do research with reputable sources. But you can use this content as the basis of press releases to get earned media that can reach tens of thousands of people in your community.
How To Create a Successful Strategy for a Dental Practice
Once you determine what kind of content seems realistic and most valuable to your office, the next step is to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes content marketing for dentists. Follow these best practices to make sure you’re prepared to begin.
Identify Your Business and Marketing Goals
Every content strategy needs to be directly connected with long-range business goals, which can be broken into marketing objectives. Goals should be achievable within a specific time frame and measurable using your available data. Your office can have many goals, so choose one at a time to focus on for each campaign.
Define Your Target Audience and Build Personas
Next, you’ll need to clearly understand who you want to enjoy the content you produce. It’s a common mistake to make a target audience too big; it’s better to narrow your focus so you can produce your content with a tone and voice that resonates throughout the campaign.
For example, to attract a younger demographic, try creating a campaign just for this customer persona. You can focus on senior citizens next if your practice also wants to bring in an older clientele. Choose one small target audience at a time.
Create Branding That Speaks to Your Audience
Once you know who you want to attract with your content, think about the values, pain points, and habits of this target audience. That’s how you can create messaging that is true to your brand while also connecting with these prospects. Use a design that draws their attention and creates consistency across platforms if you use more than one.
Consider What Your Competitors Are Doing
All good marketing plans start with a look at the competition. While you should always feel confident in creating unique content, you’ll want to make sure that it stands out. Review all the content from other dental practices in your area. Look at what seems to work well for them and brainstorm how to improve it for your target audience.
Consolidate a Unique Value Proposition
If you can’t do it better, you may be able to do it first or differently. Those are the three things to consider — what makes you first, better, or different — as you refine your message. As you think about ways to connect with your audience through content marketing, always come back to why your patients choose your practice over others. Make that clear in every piece of content, and people will notice.
Establish Your Available Budget
While content marketing is less expensive than most traditional marketing, you still need a budget for the work. You may want to hire professional writers and editors, or you may want to buy sponsored content as paid advertisements on social media platforms. When you create a realistic budget for the work, you’ll be more likely to accomplish the goals you set at the beginning.
Plan Content Around Relevant Topics
Always come back to the customer persona you created when you determined your target audience, and make sure that person will find your content topics relevant, educational, interesting, or simply entertaining. As you brainstorm ideas, make sure they will resonate with the people you want to reach.
Keep SEO in Mind at All Times
Make a list with the different content topics so you’re ready for the next phase of work, which is keyword research. Create a list of short-form and long-form keywords to weave into each piece of content. When you keep SEO top of mind, your efforts will be more effective.
Use a Content Calendar To Keep Everything Organized
It’s easy to get busy with other priorities and neglect a content marketing campaign if you don’t have an editorial content calendar. Have a master spreadsheet that outlines the type of content, the topic, and keywords, as well as who is responsible for the work, where it will be posted online, and when it will be published. This keeps everyone on track and knowledgeable about the plan from start to end.
Encourage and Share Customer Reviews
A smart way to improve dental SEO content marketing and add user-generated content is by asking loyal customers to write reviews and testimonials about their experiences. You can offer a small incentive as motivation to increase the number of reviews. Then, share the good feedback on your website, social media pages, and in your newsletter. Help the word-of-mouth advertising be even more effective.
How To Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing Strategy
If you set goals that can be measured, you’ll be able to check whether your content marketing strategy is successful. Look for a metric that is directly related to your objective. Content marketing is a long-term strategy, but you should be able to demonstrate changes after a few months.
For example, if a goal is 20% more website visitors within the quarter, you can determine if the content worked by comparing the number of page views at the beginning and end of the campaign. If a goal is to have a certain return on your investment, you can use an ROI calculator to see if your strategy is effective.
If you didn’t see the results you hoped at first, try another approach. Content marketing for dentists requires constant shifting and adapting as you find a strategy that works for your dental practice.