True confession time - I don't like going to the dentist. I understand that many people are obsessed with spending time at the dentist and have glimmering white teeth. While I appreciate their passion, I do not share it. My wife on the other hand, is a big fan of dentists, so one day I decided to do a search and find her a top cosmetic dentist. Of course I went online to do the search. Research shows I fit right in with the 77% of patients who start in the same spot.
This was the beginning of a game I like to call, “Stop Following Me.”
Ads began to pop up on my browser with discounts for “teeth cleaning” from all across the state, along with marketing pieces offering braces, aligners, botox, and my personal favorite, “deep tissue cleanse” offers.
I can trace all of this back to that initial Google search for “a top cosmetic dentist”. It’s an extreme example of digital marketing strategies wrong, and a great example of the importance of providing the right content at the right time in The Buyer’s Journey.
The Buyers Journey
Consideration of The Buyer’s Journey has become a vital component of marketing (and sales), yet there is still some basic confusion over how to use the road map to acquire new patients.
The 3 phases of The Buyer’s Journey - Awareness, Consideration, and Decision - each require their own flavor of content to be truly engaging.
Offering content to a buyer that’s not in line with the stage of the journey they’re in drastically reduces your chance of ever engaging with that buyer – the amount of content available is staggering, and the wrong content at the wrong time will at the very least be ignored, at worst will drive a potential buyer away.
So, what are the “right” types of content for each stage of The Buyer’s Journey for patients? The names are a good hint. Let’s consider each and specific examples of the content you need to provide for each stage, by taking a road trip across The Buyer’s Journey.
At the Awareness Stage, buyers know that they have a problem, but aren’t completely sure what it is, much less how to solve it. To use our teeth whitening analogy, they aren’t even out of the bathroom yet… in fact, let’s say that they're looking in the mirror, and they have no idea why their teeth are discolored.
This buyer wants basic answers – Why aren't my teeth white? Can I fix it myself? Content for the Awareness Stage needs to be educational and help them zero in on what the specific issue is. General white papers, eBooks, research reports, and editorials geared to what could be the issue will allow the Buyer to move forward in their journey.
Now that the Buyer knows the specific issue, they begin considering all of their options. Let’s say it turns out that it’s their habit of three cups of coffee a day and not seeing the dentist 2x year.
As the Buyer now has specifics, the content provided can be more specific. In the Consideration Stage, webcasts and video tutorials are a great way to offer specific facts. White papers and blog posts that answer specific questions and influence decision are appropriate for this buyer who now know what they need and is deciding which solution is best for their need, as well as who will best supply that solution.
This is where the rubber meets the road. The Buyer now knows exactly they need (the teeth must be cleaned), and consequently the content needs to now steer them to your practice.
In the Decision Stage, offering case studies of successful work done in the past, offering live demos and free trials are great examples of content which can help the buyer make their final choice. This is not, however, a time for superlatives – keep the content objective and actionable as you give the buyer a clear road to your services.
The Road to Acquiring New Patients
The word “Journey” implies a beginning, a middle, and an end, however in dental marketing the road goes ever on and on – a continuous loop of solving problems, answering questions, and offering recommendations.
Stay mindful of the performance of your content, making adjustments or creating entirely new content as needed. It is a “beast which must be fed,” but it can be a friendly beast, as long as you’re providing potential buyers with the right information at the right time in their journey.
At all stages, keep it fun and engaging, and enjoy the ride!