It can be easy for dental practice or laboratory owners, consumed with the day-to-day pressures of operating their business, to confuse content marketing (strategy) with social media posting (tactic). “I have a Facebook page, so I’m doing content marketing, right?” Of course, there’s more to it than that. Content marketing is about providing insight and knowledge on relevant topics for your business’ customers and prospective customers. It is about engaging in professional dialogue and helping your audiences to be more successful. And it can be a critical strategy for dental labs to employ to set themselves apart from competitors who are still only using traditional marketing tactics.
In a recent whitepaper, LinkedIn detailed some results of a survey of over 1100 users centered on content, its professional value, and how, when, and where they consume it. Among several key findings were the following nuggets:
- For 70% of professionals, 20% of each hour spent online is devoted to consuming professional content…almost every day.
- 52% of respondents agreed that “Professional content helps me to be a better decision-maker”
- 67% said that they “like to be the first to receive and share professional content that others might find useful”
- When asked to define “professional content”, 50% cited “news about trends in industry” and 41% noted “professional development, leadership, and productivity”
OK, that’s kind of interesting. But what does it have to do with dental lab marketing? I would argue quite a bit. While dental labs have been on the forefront of adopting new materials and technologies to make dental prosthetics more esthetic, stronger, and quicker to manufacture (e.g., zirconium oxide and CAD/CAM), many have been slower to adapt their marketing tactics and adopt current content marketing strategies. To this, I say simply “Look around you!” As a dental lab, you are surrounded on a daily basis by content that your customers and prospective customers – dental professionals – would find relevant, could use to make clinical and practice decisions, and would consume to stay up to date on trends, productivity, etc. Your lab, and the content you create and curate, can become a valuable resource on our industry and help dentists to be “in the know”.
So, maybe you’re smelling what I’m cooking here or at least considering that there could be some merit to it. But, where to get started? After all, doesn’t producing quality content require being an excellent writer with lots of spare time on your hands? Not necessarily. Again, look around you. Consider that, in addition to blog articles, content can take many forms:
- Slide shares of case reports detailing interesting or unusual clinical challenges and how your lab worked with the dentist client to solve them
- Photo “essays” showing steps in a particular case
- Tips and tricks for dealing with new technologies (e.g., “5 Tips for Sending a Perfect Digital Impression”)
- Updates on new technology adopted by the lab and how it is helping to speed up turnarounds and/or improve clinical results – these could be written or video
- Video tips (e.g. shade taking)
- Q&A with customers or lab personnel – written or video
Basically, share your knowledge, passion, and insights. Whether written, audio, photo, graphic, or video, the key is simply to get started with what you know and love. Additionally, consider the following tips for connecting with your audience, namely the dentists you serve and those you want to serve:
- Craft content that can assist in decision-making, either clinically or in practice management
- Create (or curate) content which can spark discussion or sharing among peers
- Produce content that can help to enhance knowledge or build their reputation through sharing
- Always ensure you keep patients’ personal health information private and invisible
Pictures of kittens, “throwback Thursdays”, and “follow Fridays” are fun. And, admittedly, these can help to show a lighter side. But for the dental lab, content marketing doesn’t have to be a mystery or relegated to the “fun & games” category. So many cases, so much data, so many client and patient stories come through the lab every day. Use this to your advantage to build a content engine if you haven’t done so already. The content is there…just look around you!
Thank you for reading.