Consider this problem: You have built an amazing website, but the conversion rate is still very low. Or, you are regularly posting informative and unique blog posts, but they hardly seem to help drive patients to your dental practice. One of the reasons could be that the content you have created focuses on one stage of your marketing funnel and ignores the others. This may create a gap where your potential patients can “leak” out and prevent you to from attracting new patients.
So, what is the solution? The solution is: mapping your content with each stage of the marketing funnel.
What Is the Marketing Funnel?
The marketing funnel is a concept to guide healthcare marketers in building relationships with potential patients. The shape of a marketing funnel is wider at the top to represent all the prospects who discover your dental practice and narrows out at the bottom to represent patients whom you successfully convert.
Content is the key ingredient to attracting potential patients to your dental practice. According to research, more than 74 percent of businesses believe that content marketing increases both quality and quantity of lead generation. However, at the same time nearly 87 percent of marketers struggle to produce quality content that would truly engage potential customers at their respective stage in the marketing funnel.
But why is there a huge gap between content’s effectiveness and its impact on potential patients? It is because most healthcare marketers struggle to align their content with potential patients’ journey through the marketing funnel.
When marketers align all of their content to the funnel, things may get trickier. Most healthcare marketers shy away from promotional content that could scare away their target audience. However, at some point marketers need to make that turn if they want to attract more potential patients to their practice. This means content marketing cannot just nudge prospects through the funnel – it must encourage them forward without spoiling their experience. Mastering this balance is the key.
Defining the Patient’s Journey
In order to map your content to the marketing funnel, it is important to understand the stages of the patients’ journey.
While there are a number of definitions of the patients’ journey, generally it refers to the progress an individual makes toward considering your dental practice. Typically, a marketing funnel includes four stages:
The idea of defining a patient journey in the marketing funnel is that your pool of potential patients grows smaller as it moves toward its first interaction with your practice. At the top of the marketing funnel, a lot of people will become aware of your brand, which is often the first step in the conversion process. Toward the middle of the funnel, fewer people will be considering you for your products or services. At the bottom of the funnel, a lot of prospects who considered your practice during the early stages may end up deciding not to engage. Your goal as a healthcare marketer is to guide potential patients toward eventual conversion.
What do these stages in the marketing funnel mean for a dental practice marketer? It highlights the importance of mapping your content to specific stages of the funnel so that you are meeting the needs of your target audience at each stage. Some general informational content can be great, but it is critical to have knowledge of who your target audience is and create content to their preferences.
Mapping Content to Marketing Funnel Stages
In the awareness stage, a potential patient is figuring out more about his or her health problem. This is also the stage where your target audience is casually browsing online and seeking advice and insight. However, they are not looking for specific brands or services. They have identified their health issue, but they are not sure how to address it.
At this stage, the content that works should be informative and educational. It may include:
- Blog posts
- Interactive content
- Basic videos
- Social media posts
If you are looking to repurpose content at this stage in the marketing funnel, you can consider content pieces you already have and rework them to address the common questions your target audience may have. In addition, create content with the most relevant SEO keywords in mind. You can add terms that will be most likely to catch your target audience’s attention and drive them to your post or page in their early stages of the marketing funnel.
Pro Tip: It is essential to do keyword research and come up with the most powerful keywords for creating content that would work best at the awareness stage.
If the potential patient is still with you at this stage, you have successfully sparked his or her interest. The prospect is now aware of your brand and how you can address his or her health problem. However, this does not mean you can leap right into “visit my office.” Often, an effective type of content would be to provide them with examples of how your service is better than competitors’.
You can include the following content at this stage:
- Case studies
- Product demos
- Unique features of your products and services
A strong content strategy will help move a potential patient toward a purchase. However, it may not happen all at once, so do not expect one piece of content to do all the heavy lifting. This is why it is critical to vary the type of content you use and to have a comprehensive strategy in place.
Your potential patient may have reached this stage via a journey through your healthcare content, or he or she might come straight to this point, skipping the other stages because one of your existing patients recommended your services to him or her. This is where you can consider making a direct pitch. It is the time to give them a final push for convincing them to visit your practice and try your services.
Your content at this stage may include:
- Patient testimonials
- Success stories
- Discount offers on social networks
- Demos or free product trial announcement on your website or social networks
The content at this stage is more straightforward. It can involve clear descriptions of your services that outline the unique benefits they provide to patients. It could include charts or checklists that compare your services to one another or to those of your competitors. This type of content is the sales material of healthcare content marketing.
The potential patient has taken the leap of faith and visited your practice and tried your services. Do not ignore or neglect your patients once you have won their business. This means your content must continue delivering value to patients as well as keeping your brand on top of their mind.
You can consider including the following type of content at this stage:
- Tips for getting the most of your products and services
- Email newsletters
- Special offers for new service trials
- Answering frequently asked questions on your website
Keep listening to your patients and understanding what content topics and focus areas are of interest to them. Sharing useful content is a great way to channel patient loyalty and retain them for a longer time.
Content is for every stage of the healthcare marketing funnel, though we often find dental practices neglecting content for those patients they wish to retain.
All of your content should have an end-goal with regard to which stage of the marketing funnel it is targeting. Your existing patients as well as your prospects at each stage have different needs, so present content that addresses those needs.
Lastly, content can be used to keep existing patients interested in your services and loyal to your practice. If you are consistently delivering value for them with great services coupled with quality content, you can place yourself in a better position to attract them and retain them for the long term.