Woman With Tablet

Today's dental marketing means being familiar with variety of screens and devices

Nov. 5, 2014
Dental marketers want to reach potential patients through whatever device they're on, from TVs and laptops, to tablets and mobile phones.

In an era of technological boom of digital communication devices in many sizes, have you considered how many screens are involved in delivering your marketing message to your target audience? With the growing availability of technology, it has become imperative to give your potential patients the content they want on the digital device of their choice. You need a cohesive strategy to connect your marketing and communication efforts seamlessly across multiple screens.

Experienced marketers and communication analysts are working to understand consumer behavior with regard to multi-screen marketing. Once you have insight about how your targeted audience interacts with information across multiple screens, it becomes easier to design and adapt your dental online marketing strategy to optimize your efforts. The important communication screens that you need to consider in your marketing strategy include televisions, laptops and personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones.

Adopt a holistic approach
Marketing experts who are analyzing the potential impact of various screens on consumers recommend that marketers adopt a more holistic multi-screen communication approach. Before you define your best possible multi-screen dental marketing strategy, look at the relationship that potential patients may have with each screen, and which type of content to leverage within the promotional, informational, or educational campaigns. People tend to form an emotional connect with their devices.

To begin with, dental marketers should understand that television is the most familiar and trusted gadget in most people’s lives. Computers are considered more sage-like, with a perennial stream of knowledge where consumers turn for information. Tablets are akin to an explorer, where consumers launch into an immersive content journey to new territories. Mobile phones command the most personal and intimate relationship, where content should be highly individualized, personal, and relevant.

Multi-screen responsive website design
Once dental marketers recognize the importance of addressing the information and engagement needs of potential patients through multiple screens, they need to take the first step. They must evaluate whether the dental practice website is based on a web design that is responsive to multiple screen sizes. A large number of dental patients now search for information online through their mobile screens.

If your dental website is mobile friendly, patients will be able to review it comfortably on their mobile phones. However, if users finds obstacles in surfing through the website online, the dentist stands to lose the traffic of potential patients that may exit the website to look for other sites that are mobile compatible. The same holds true for tablet devices. The website design should be able to adapt itself to tablets to provide an effective website viewing experience.

Layered online engagement
Most conventional dental marketers focus on developing a “mobile” marketing strategy or a “social media” marketing strategy. However, instead of placing devices and platforms at the center of their marketing strategy, marketers should put consumers at the center and develop layers of marketing around them. Which screens or platforms to be targeted should be determined from a combination of the marketing goals of the practice and the innate needs of potential patients.

For instance, if potential patients want information about various new procedures and services, and how they can benefit from them, the marketer must strive for deeper engagement. A good place to start is to provide snippets of information or teaser ads in social media to ignite curiosity. The goal is to encourage them to search for more extensive information, no matter what the device.

Patient-centric thinking
Dental marketers should not become trapped by new tech features or platforms, and should consider how useful these features are for potential patients. The more focus there is on patients before platforms, the nearer they will be to developing effective digital marketing. Patient-centric thinking means thinking from a patient’s point of view.

Marketers should step back and think about the people who interact, engage, and receive dental services. They should consider what services and procedures these these patients need. What is the best platform to engage them with based on those needs? The marketing strategies should be driven by this information, and not on the features or capabilities of the latest media platform.

Provide multi-screen experiences
In many cases, marketers mistakenly assume that the target audience is less technology-savvy than it actually is. The fact is that average consumers are driving the demand for seamless multi-screen information. Potential patients want to transition naturally between their physical and digital environments.

People are sharp enough to understand if an online piece of content or website may be useful to them. They are quick to reject the sites that don’t serve their needs. Online readers are also looking for snippets of content that offer a quick break from monotony or a fleeting moment of entertainment. Dental marketers should remember this when developing multi-screen content to keep audiences engaged across platforms.

Susan Hutson is vice president of marketing at Ekwa.com, a complete Internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media marketing, and the online reputations of dentists. Vikas Vij is the marketing manager for Ekwa Marketing. Visit the website at www.ekwa.com.