It’s tough being a small business in the 21st century. You’re probably all too aware that one in three business start-ups go under within the first year of trading.
Take dental practices, for example. They have the added pressure of needing to set themselves apart in what is already a highly competitive field.
This is where content marketing for small businesses can help.
So what is content marketing exactly?
Content marketing is a strategy used to attract, engage, and retain audiences by creating and sharing articles, videos, podcasts, and other media.
The bottom line is that when content marketing is carried out correctly, it really works!
In a benchmark 2019 report, Hubspot found that businesses that produce regular content receive 4 times more traffic than businesses that don’t.
But that’s not all…
Content marketing is the ideal tool to grow your brand.
Strengthening online visibility using content marketing allows dental practices to stand out from the crowd.
In fact, content marketing can be used as a platform to:
- help to build brand confidence
- establish authority and connect with people on an emotional level and,
- highlight any business benefits to a wider audience
So how long does it take to see results?
In short, 6-12 months.
It’s important to remember that content marketing for small businesses isn’t your typical 3-month marketing campaign. It’s implausible that you will see any benefits of this marketing style in such a short period of time.
Of course, you may achieve results quicker than this, but you will need to up your content output significantly without compromising on quality.
So how much content should you produce?
The magic number appears to be 11+ blog posts per month. Understandably, for many dental practices, that’s a lot of content to produce. Instead, a more realistic figure for most dental websites is 2-4 added posts per month.
With this in mind, it isn’t unreasonable to say that a more realistic timescale for results would be 12 months.
Here’s my own content marketing story as further proof.
The bottom line is that if you get it right, your audience will ultimately reward you with their custom and their loyalty.
How content marketing builds trust
There is no other form of marketing that can establish and nurture relationships like content marketing. These relationships are vital for a dentist to remain connected with current patients and gain trust among potential patients.
Once your audience recognises that your business wants to help them by offering valuable free advice, you’re more likely to be their go-to resource when they need or recommend a dentist.
This is why you’ll find dental marketing content on topics such as:
- Recovery tips for wisdom teeth extraction
- How to transform your smile
- How to overcome dental anxiety
- Why are my gums bleeding?
Content like this answers common questions people have about dental topics and shows them how they can resolve their oral health problems.
The principle of demonstrating you understand your audience’s concerns and willingness to help them improve their lives is vital in building patient trust.
But how do you get started with content marketing?
You already have your dental website. Adding regular blogs provides the perfect platform to kickstart your content marketing.
From there, you can always expand into how-to videos, ultimate guides, newsletters and even email campaigns.
The role of blogging in content marketing
Blogging is central to content marketing for small businesses like dental practices. It lets you stay in touch with current customers and engage with prospective customers who would otherwise be unaware of what your business can do for them.
You’re also constantly updating your website with new material that will attract major search engines like Google by blogging consistently. These updates result in more traffic heading the way of your website (remember the Hubspot report above?)
Each blog a dental business publishes increases the likelihood of being ranked for more long-tailed keywords, which increases the chances of being found by people looking for dental services in your area.
If you continue to produce valuable content, you’ll get more and more organic traffic over time.
That’s the theory anyway!
But what’s so great about organic traffic, you may ask?
Unlike online advertising such as Google Ads, you don’t have to pay to appear in organic search listings. Hence why content marketing using blogs is cost-effective.
Expanding your reach
You can also use your blog posts to widen your reach by sharing them through your social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn. Doing so will introduce your business to a fresh new audience.
The benefits of sharing blog content on social networks as part of your content marketing strategy include:
- Free traffic. Signing up to social media sites costs nothing – and neither does the traffic it generates.
- Faster results. Fresh content posted on social media sites can get you noticed by search engines faster than just adding a new page to your website.
- Improved domain authority. Providing a link on social media back to your original blog helps increase domain authority – the rating of the overall value of a web page.
- Increased brand awareness. The value of a brand is often equated to a business’s reputation on social media sites.
- Better search engine optimisation (SEO). Content on social sites often proliferates search engine results pages.
You could also use your blog content as the basis for a video, a series of newsletters, an email campaign, or repurposed as an eye-catching infographic.
Planning an effective content marketing strategy
Like any marketing strategy, content marketing for small businesses requires a research-based, structured approach with a sustainable schedule.
Three essential components of a good content marketing strategy are:
Make sure you understand your audience.
Having a clear idea of the priorities and challenges of your audience will enable you to produce content that speaks to them directly and gives them the information they want. You also need to understand search intent – why someone enters a specific term into a search engine. Google likes content that gives online searchers exactly what they’re looking for.
Deciding who will produce your blog content.
Your target readers – and Google – will judge your content on its quality. Poorly written copy can do more harm than good. If your content appears shoddy, people will assume the same of your professional standards and the goods or services you offer.
Do you have the resources to maintain a consistent output of quality blogs, or would you be better off outsourcing the job to professionals?
Setting a manageable content production schedule
It may be tempting to come up with a content marketing plan that’s too ambitious. As a first step, create a short-term plan for a realistic number of blogs based on your budget and resources.
As a top tip, keep track of how long it takes to create each piece of content so that you can allow for that time in future long-term content creation planning.
Why consistency is crucial in content marketing
It can be a challenge to maintain quality and consistency. Both are critical if you want the best rewards for your efforts.
Content topics need to be carefully researched. It should also be well-written and structured to optimise reader engagement.
You also need a steady stream of content to reach as many of your target readers as possible and maximise the potential of converting them into customers.
Here’s an interesting stat…
Research indicates that nearly 50% of prospective customers view three to five pieces of content before engaging with the business. So, the need to produce regular content is clear.
Do you need help with your dental content marketing?
Dental practices face the same content marketing challenges as any other type of small business – a lack of time and resources to produce quality content regularly.
Many practice owners and managers look to Dental Writers to solve these problems. We write exclusively about dental topics – so we know what we’re talking about! We also understand the concept of content marketing and how to do it to get the best results.
Get in touch if you need unique, superior content that will appeal equally to prospective patients and search engines alike. Let us help you to reap the benefits that content marketing for small businesses brings.