(This article is a 7 minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How to develop a marketing persona
2. How to link that persona to marketing goals
3. How to create a content strategy with a goal in mind
Meet Fred, the dentist. He's thinking of doing a Google campaign to get more patients. But Fred's campaign runs the risk of failing because he doesn't have any kind of content strategy behind it. What he's planning to do involves putting the cart before the horse.
A dental marketing strategy shouldn't start with what you're doing. It should start with who you're talking to. Once you know who you're talking to, you can figure out what you want to achieve from your marketing campaign. Then you come up with a strategy to achieve that.
The first step of a content strategy
The first step in working out who you're talking to is developing personas. Many dentists know the market that they're operating in. Your market is where you’re doing business. It might be a particular location. Or it might be based around a particular area or specialisation. But whether you’re a GP or a specialist, your market is broadly, a group of people in a place. In other words, a demographic group.
But it isn’t just that, is it?
A market is a group of people in a place with a problem you can fix. To identify those people—to weed them out from the general demographic—you need a process to set them aside. You have to develop specific personas that are based on some of the broad demographic information that you already know about your market.
What is a persona?
Who do you want to treat? Which individuals or groups in your market do you want as patients? Do you want to treat families? Do you want to treat women between the ages of 35 and 45? Or do you want to treat men, or older folk? These are targets. They don't represent all of your patients. You're just developing a fictional persona of the type of patient who you want to talk to.
So choose an ideal patient. Then think about what a day in that individual person's life would be like and why they would particularly want your services.
For example, you might offer teeth whitening services. When you're looking at a particular group that you want to talk to, when would they be available to actually undergo teeth whitening services? If you're talking to mums and young families, they often live a very busy life. They may not have the time to come in and sit down in the chair because they're too busy driving kids to school and working a part-time job and taking care of their family.
This idea of a marketing persona is very different to a demographic. A demographic really just describes a broad group of people in a particular area or with a particular shared interest. With a persona, you want to be thinking about what does this individual care about? Where do they go during the day? When do they have time for an appointment? What are their values?
Creating a strategy with a goal in mind
Then the next step in developing your content strategy is to think about what you want to achieve from your marketing. Do you want to get one new patient every week or do you want to get 10 new patients every week?
What you want to achieve out of your marketing should be reflected by what you have time to manage in your surgery and the number of people you can afford to see. Other factors to consider include: do you want to expand? How many patients are you losing that you need to replace?
Because every surgery is different and because people are unique, you can't know exactly what kind of numbers you'll get from your marketing campaign until you have a point of comparison. In the broadest possible sense, start with the expectation of getting 10 per cent of prospects turning into leads, and 10 per cent of leads turning into customers. So if you want 10 new patients, then you need to have 100 people expressing enough of an interest in your services to actually give you some kind of contact information. In order to get 100 people expressing those interests, you'll need at least a thousand people who are connected with you who are prepared to listen to you in the first place.
There’s a calculator on our dental marketing page that can help you work out numbers that are specific to your practice.
They’re very broad generalisations, and the real numbers will be different for every practice. You need to test and refine those numbers and find out what's true for your surgery.
The aim of your content strategy
The first task of your content strategy is to connect with those thousand people. The question is how will you do that? The easiest way is to give them some kind of meaningful content that solves their problems and then ask for permission to keep talking to them.
Once you actually have a plan to get in touch with those people, then your next steps in your content strategy is to develop a plan to gauge their interest in your surgery and in your services and then you can start to look at promoting particular offers to them in order to get them in and turning them into loyal patients.