The industry of professional services is at a crossroads – many well-qualified dentists are finding work harder to solicit because of the overwhelming amount of choice that new consumers have from the Internet. Dentistry is a field in which trust is cultivated very slowly and lost very quickly. With an exponential amount of choice for every local community from dental franchise offices and expansive dental practices, how can a small, up and coming office build its audience? Even for those dental offices that have earned respect in the local community – how do they keep it?
If the answer was all about performing better services, then everyone would have their workdays filled with clients. There are other measures that must be employed.
Content Marketing for the Dental Industry
Dentists must now become marketers as well as dental professionals. This means learning how to generate, localize and optimize content. For most small offices, this also means managing an outsourced partner.
Generating Content for a Dental Practice
Generating content for a dental practice goes beyond listing services on a static website. Everyone has the ability to invoke Invisalign and the like – these services are not what make you special! In order to generate content that will actually turn into customers, it must incorporate the following characteristics:
- Consistency – Web content in general, must be consistent in order to make a difference in a marketing campaign. The major search engines give these so-called “dynamic websites” more attention, moving them up in search rankings and increasing their visibility. Most customers will only search the top three pages of a Google keyword listing, so your office needs to be on these first three pages – on page one, if possible.
- Authenticity – Your dental office should write about authentic things that occur in the office, and not all of them have to be related to the practice of dentistry or orthodontics! Remember – you already have the information about what you can do on your static website. Your job with content generation is to drive people to that site with an active interest in you as a person. The more of your personality you show through your content marketing efforts, the higher your conversion rate will be.
- Relevance – All of your content should relate to your office or to you as a person in some way. Do not veer off into politics or sports, because people will question your professionalism.
Localizing Content for a Dental Practice
Dental practices receive the majority of their business from the local area. It does a practice no good to market itself worldwide. People in Birmingham, England are not coming to the office of a dentist in Topeka, Kansas, no matter how good the content on that site is! Localization ensures that everyone who sees the content online is a potential customer, geographically speaking.
The advantage of localizing content in this way is less expense for the dentist. If a dentist chooses to engage in a pay per click campaign through Google or a social media marketing blitz through Facebook, keeping the content local is much less expensive and more likely to result in a great conversion rate. Each platform has its own mechanisms for localizing content, but there are some general rules to keep in mind.
Much of content localization has to do with the placement of keywords within the body of the text. This is done to help the major search engines index the content and place it in the right geographic searches for web browsers who come to Google or to Bing looking for a dentist in the area. Because of the sophistication of these search engines, there is nothing special that a content creator has to do to localize content other than writing naturally and truthfully about the surrounding environment. For instance, if a dentist is doing a special with the local Kroger’s in Wilmington, simply putting “Wilmington Kroger’s” in the text is enough for the major search engines to pick up on and properly index that content!
As more content is generated, dentists should ensure that there are plenty of local terms. Pictures can be localized too, simply by putting a caption with local terms below the picture or in the meta tags.
Optimizing Content for a Dental Practice
Once content is generated and localized, it is time to optimize that content so that the major search engines can index it most easily. The more easily that the search engines can index content, the higher they will promote it within their listings, meaning more visibility for the office!
In general, keep this in mind: All of the suggestions for optimization are basically the tenants of good writing, with a few tech tips specifically to cater to the major search engines.
Content can be optimized first by a simple spelling and grammar check. The major search engines trust content that is well spoken. Make sure that everything that goes up on your site adheres to the basic rules of English.
Other ways of optimizing content include breaking that content up into bite sized pieces using bold or italicized headings and short sentences. This makes content easier for humans to read as well. Make sure that the headings speak directly to the content beneath it.
Link to resources that you use within your text. If your content is relevant, then the sources that you use will also be relevant. The major search engines love pages that link to other relevant pages, and this will improve your visibility.
How to Manage Content for a Dentist’s Office
If the above content management program sounds like a lot of work, it is. Fortunately, dentists do not need to take on this full-time job alone. Outsourcing content generation, localization, and optimization are popular techniques among all small professional offices in the modern business landscape.
As a professional, you will direct the overall strategy behind the daily content that your marketing partner will generate. You will be the one providing pictures and captions for blogs because they don’t know who those people are! However, you can relieve yourself of the headache of learning to be technically proficient in SEO, SMM and PPC campaigns. Make sure that you hire a content marketer who is familiar enough with the local area to add to your content authentically. Also, make sure that you hire someone with the discipline to post content regularly that is of a high quality – this is the only way that the major search engines will trust you!