Every dental practice has a “default” when the discussion turns to dental marketing strategy. Your comfort zone is where you’re most likely to invest your marketing dollars.
Dental direct mail promotions have ruled for decades.
Then, email marketing took a share of the dental marketing air space.
Now, content marketing is gaining ground.
Actually, each is effective if…and those are BIG IFs!
If you choose direct mail for your dental marketing strategy make it compelling not merely creative
Direct mail for dental marketing still works. The reason has to do with expectation and quality.
People are accustomed to receiving promo-of-the-month mailers. The difference in those that are effective and those that are tossed have less to do with graphics and more to do with “architecture.”
It’s the structure (architecture) not merely the graphic design that compels a response.
An effective dental direct mail promotion begins (like all marketing initiatives) with one “big idea.”
Whatever the industry – direct mail fails when it tries to do too much in a limited space.
Since most dental direct mail promotions are two-sided mailers that space is premium. And it must be used strategically.
It’s easy to go graphic heavy thinking that eye-candy imagery is all that will compel the desired action.
Truth is, the headline carries the weight.
But not just any headline…
“If the headline is poor, the copy will not be read. And copy that is not read does not sell goods.” – John Caples
Your direct mail headline must cover one big idea while promoting a huge, can’t-live-without benefit.
The benefit will captivate then compel because it taps into the generally felt emotions of the reader.
Product or service features explain and help rationalize a decision. Their benefits compel!
Tap into someone’s emotions via a big idea themed, benefit-oriented headline and you’re more likely to compel their response. The graphic design is the frame… the benefit-focused copy is the focus.
Before you drop another direct mail promotion…
- Invest time seeking to understand the benefits your patients and the public are seeking from dentistry. Apply those to the copy of your promotional offer.
- Avoid sacrificing compelling benefit-rich copy to overdone graphics and images. Give attention to design but not at the expense of clear copy.
- Think benefits ahead of features. Briefly state the benefits in an easy to read format (e.g. crisp, conversational bullet-points).
- Be crystal-clear about your offer. State it…restate it…and be so clear about it that annoying fine-print can be eliminated.
If you use email make sure it rises above your patient’s inbox “noise”
Email isn’t overused. It’s more likely to be under valued because of its often irrelevant frequency.
The number of emails you send isn’t the issue. The delivered and perceived value of them is.
Why do you or your patients give permission to receive emails from an individual or business?
It’s probably due to yours or your patient’s desire to stay informed about useful or financially beneficial information.
The two keys are: useful and informative.
Promoting an offer or “special” should be secondary. Or it should at least be relevant to the valuable content you attach it to.
- Lead with value
- Compel with value
- Promote in tandem with perceived value
You risk a poor open rate or losing email subscribers if you’re inundating their inbox with merely promotional content to the exclusion of something informative or valuable.
And speaking of value here’s how to make sure that remains your priority if…you want your dental email content to be opened, read, and acted upon.
- Invest as much time on your subject line as you do the general content of the email. Benefit-rich subject lines that compel a can’t-miss response will be opened more often than a benign, “Oh-another-promotion” email.
- Keep it personal. Invest the time to segment your email delivery platform so you can address it to a specific person. Avoid generic (“Dear Reader,”), lead with “Hi <First Name>,”.
- Be creative with your email’s lead (the first paragraph or two). Tell a story, reference a trending current event, etc. And tie it directly to the information and/or what you’re promoting. This takes some creative-chops but it’s worth it to give your email more traction and personality.
- Clearly state the action you want the reader to take. “Click here…,” “Call us…,” “Read this on our website…,” etc. The more specific the better. And make sure the clickable content increases the value of the email they invested the time to read.
If you commit to a content marketing strategy stay with it for the long-haul.
Not all dental content is strategic. But all marketing content can be infused with a strategic benefit…when you deliver consistent value over time.
Content can be organically created. Or it can be curated.
“Organic” content is what you or a designated person create on behalf of your dental practice or dental industry business. This blog for example, qualifies as organic content.
It’s strategically designed to deliver something of value to you, the reader. And it’s consistent meaning you can count on new content on a relatively consistent schedule (not a one and done or every now and then approach).
Search engines (Google, Bing, etc) like organic, informative, keyword-centric content. You’ll find your search rankings improving the more of it you create and publish.
About curated content…
Since content is king – there’s a vast amount of it available to share. And sharing is good for you and the one who initially created it.
Social listening via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are excellent sources for curating content. Briefly review an article, determine its value to your patients, and share it directly with them via your social media channels.
Create organic content on-topic using what you’ve curated as the big idea.
Content marketing starts with a commitment to answering your patients questions and providing solutions to their unique problems.
- Listen and log every question your patients ask about treatment, dentistry, their pain, health, etc.
- Create content that answers those questions and publish them on the blog/article page of your dental practice’s website. Again, this requires time and available expertise to create compelling, readable content (the kind that’s not clinically heavy).
- Share your content via your social media channels and an email to your patient list.
Direct mail, email, and content marketing are three distinctly different dental marketing strategies. What they have in common is value delivery.
If… you deliver useful, informative, and financially beneficial content you can expect a positive result.
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Last modified: December 6, 2019