What is content marketing and how can you begin utilizing it for your practice?
Take a look at your personal social media profiles. Chances are, you’re following a brand or two on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. For example, on my Facebook account, I’m following Netflix, Target, and Title Boxing Club. These are three separate brands whose ultimate goal is to sell me something: online streaming subscriptions, group fitness workouts, or household items and clothing.
However, when you actually scroll through their profiles, none of these brands use every post or update as a sales pitch. They instead use these platforms to provide their audience with relevant and valuable content like interior design inspiration, movie and TV trivia, or fitness class schedules. These brands, along with many others, are implementing what is known as content marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
We mentioned three brands above, but the truth is that almost every major brand worldwide is utilizing content marketing—and it’s paying off. This marketing tactic has proven time and time again that it can increase sales, save you money, and create loyalty between you and your audience.
Getting and keeping new patients at your practice can be difficult. Some might only visit when they have a serious issue, others might be shopping around, or some might have too much dental anxiety.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways that you can start using content marketing to build and maintain patient loyalty.
How much time do you suppose you spend watching videos that you find online—whether it’s on YouTube, Facebook, or other websites? Probably more than you would expect. In fact, Mist Media has reported that users will spend up to 88% more time browsing a website that includes video content. If that isn’t enough, Eyeview performed a study that revealed that a company who includes video on their landing page had an increased conversion rate of an amazing 80%!
You might be wondering, as a dental practice, how can you start using videos on your website? Don’t worry, we’ve prepared some ideas for you:
- Dental office tours
- Meet the doctor/team
- Frequently Asked Questions
Videos aren’t just for big brands with bigger budgets. Setting your phone or camera up on a tripod in the office with some nice lighting is effective. Give it a try!
AND…Google likes video just as much as patients do, so it will help increase your visibility online too! WIN-WIN!
2. Social Media
The last thing you want to do is come off as a lifeless, robotic presence through your social media channels—or worse, not be on social media at all! Being active on social media is a fantastic way to bring awareness and a personality to your practice. It’s also the perfect place to organically interact and engage with your patients (which strengthens their trust and loyalty to your practice!) We’re not telling you any new information when we say that Facebook and Instagram dominate the social media world. People use these sites on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and family, to check the news, and to keep up with local events.
By posting relevant and useful information on your Facebook and Instagram profiles, you’re showing your patients that you really do care about them. By sharing infographics, interesting articles, or comedy skits that poke fun at dentistry, you can start showing your patients who you really are, besides the person who pokes around their mouth with sharp metal objects.
We’ve just talked about keeping contact with your audience through social media, but there are several other ways that you can engage with your patients. For example, open up a question and answer session on Facebook or Twitter. Collect patient questions for a few days, then film a short video of you answering those questions. Not only can you post this video on your website, but you can also share it across your social media profiles. Basically, you’re taking the two points we’ve just talked about—video and social media—and combining them into one. Twice the benefits, right?
Are there any local businesses or apartment housing near you? If there are, reach out to them and see if you can strike up a deal to partner up in some advertising. The other business probably gets a variety of customers that you don’t, and inserting your practice advertising into their territory has the potential to increase your patient base. Offer their customers/tenants a new patient consultation or a discounted service when they mention that they saw your advertising at the other business. Likewise, your patients can also receive perks and discounts when they visit your partner. Sharing is caring!
We’ve included an example of how Oreo teamed up with the fast food chain Arby’s to sell one of their products:
5. Volunteer Work
Getting involved with your community is a solid tactic no matter who you are. Not only are you helping raise awareness for various causes and charities, but you’re also raising awareness about you and your practice. Sponsoring marathons, contributing your services to charity, or visiting elementary schools to speak to kids about dental health are a few good ideas on how you can start getting yourself out there. For those who want to go above and beyond, consider joining an organization like Kiwanis who helps children all over the world.
(P.S. Getting links from local charities’ sites back to your website can give you a big boost in search rankings!)
6. Get Quirky
Sometimes it’s okay to get a little weird. Letting your patients see your goofy side is going to diminish the myth that dentists are scary or cold-hearted. Get on Facebook and show off your impressive PEZ Dispenser collection. Flaunt your ridiculous selfies. That’s content, kid.
It’s no secret that everyone loves getting free stuff—and we’re not just talking about the goody bags we get after each check-up with the dentist. Setting up contests in the office and online is an ideal way to garner attention from your audience. You can hold contests for seasonal gift baskets, tickets to a local sports event, reservations to that super nice restaurant downtown…Honestly, your options are limitless. By sharing the contest online, you can increase web traffic, page engagement, and your following. Patients who submit their entries in the office can leave their email which you can use to send them newsletters and updates. Encouraging your patients to opt-in for a contest is going to benefit your practice in more ways than one.
8. Acknowledge Your Team
Use your online channels to familiarize your patients with the members on your team. When patients get to see a “behind-the-scenes” version of you and your practice, it suddenly puts a real face to your business. Then, the next time those patients come in, they can instantly recognize everyone on your team because of the blog, video, or social media post that they saw. The shoe company TOMS is a good example of this with its “TOMS HQ Update.” Check out their video below:
9. Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla marketing is a cheap and effective creative marketing tool that has been gaining popularity among large businesses over the past few years. And yet, much like videos, this tactic isn’t just for the big kids on the playground. Small practices can utilize guerrilla marketing without emptying their pockets.
10. Be Human
You want to keep in mind that users visit websites and social media for entertainment, not to be given a heavy-handed sales pitch. So when you converse with your patients online, don’t plug your practice at every opportunity. Just be human. Your patients are going to appreciate you much more that way than if you spent all of your time trying to force them to buy something. Curate your marketing tactics through understanding who your patients are and giving them useful, relevant information in a variety of creative ways.