We wrote recently about Content Marketing and the importance it plays in keeping patients educated, engaged and coming back to your practice for recommended treatment and maintenance. Here’s another critical point to adhere to when creating good content: it must be something your patients care about.
There are many ways to segment your patient base to make sure your message doesn’t fall on deaf ears. The most basic and powerful? Think patient age.
As you’re planning your future patient outreach efforts, please consider the ideas below. If you’re a RevenueWell customer, filtering your patient base by age is super easy. If you’re not, you will still benefit from running age-based reports in your practice management software to make your campaigns more effective.
6 to 24 months
New parents run the gamut from exceedingly prudent to surprisingly lackadaisical when it comes to getting the dentist involved in their child’s early development. Here are some ideas on subjects to communicate around:
- Recall reminders: The importance of periodic exams and cleanings (this one really applies to all age groups)
- Home hygiene basics: Tips and tricks on brushing and other care
- Preventative dentistry: The possible need for fluoride supplements
- Dietary strategies: Achieving a balanced diet early in life for good oral health later
- Feeding practice awareness: bottle, breast-feeding and no-spill training cups
- Non-nutritive oral habits: thumb sucking, pacifiers
2 to 12 years old
Ah, the little ones are growing up. Teeth are coming in at all sorts of crazy angles, and parents are going crazy from the rise in obligations. Consistent messaging from your office is critical during these years to ensure the kids of your community grow into healthy teens. Here are a few campaigns you can direct at the parents of these youngsters:
- Preventative dentistry: The benefits of pit and fissure sealants
- Orthodontic consultation: Having one by the child’s seventh birthday is good for both the child and the parents’ wallet
The years “everything” happens! As children start to come into their own, new habits and desires begin to unfold as well. You’ll see every imaginable concern during these years, from piercings to calls for whitening, braces and the need to refer to a general dentist for continuing oral care. So, talk early, and talk often about:
- Cosmetic dentistry: Things they can do and things to avoid
- Things to avoid at all costs: Smoking, alcohol, intraoral/perioral piercings and the like
- Orthodontics: Options for minimizing appearance and health problems later in life
- Home hygiene tips: Brushing, flossing, choosing the right mouthwash
- Craniofacial injury prevention: They’re starting to get real active in spots – so counsel the parents on the importance of mouthguards
18-25 years old
With the teen years winding down, things like work and college start to loom large, and for some in this age group, marriage may also play a role. Expendable income is also coming into play, and even for cash-strapped college students, finding the money for “wants” instead of “needs” always seems possible. The purchase of elective services can and will rise among this audience. You’ll want to be talking about the same messaging given to teens, plus:
- Preventative dentistry: Wisdom teeth removal to avoid future orthodontic problems
- Cosmetic dentistry: Veneers, bonding and whitening procedures that may be applicable now that their permanent teeth are fully grown
- Injury prevention: You can never stress dental appliances enough. The ADA estimates 200,000 oral injuries a year can be prevented with mouthguards
26-39 years old
These are the years where decades of wear and tear start to catch up with patients. They’re starting to have kids of their own, which will put a stress on their finances AND the time they have to dedicate to their own healthcare. You’re going to need to be proactive in getting this bunch into your office. Here are some ideas of what to communicate with them about:
- Cosmetic dentistry: This group is very self-aware and is a great audience to educate about elective cosmetic services like teeth whitening, veneers, etc. Just make sure to stress the ease and speed of these procedures
- Restorative dentistry: Especially same-day restorations. If your practice has CEREC, it will be a big hit with this busy group
- Product announcements: Patients in this age group LOVE gizmos. Turn that love into an opportunity for better oral health by educating them about sonic toothbrushes, irrigators, etc.
40-65 years old
With maintenance and repair beginning to be top of mind with this audience, tailor your approach along similar lines. That said, since we tend to remain as conscious of our appearance as the day is long, cosmetic procedures can still win an audience regardless of age. Messaging to this audience is essentially the same as with the 26-39 group – but you also need to educate them on:
- A wider array of restorative dentistry subjects: implants, crowns, bridges, mini-implants and even dentures
- Preventative dentistry: Oral cancer screening
65+ years old
Communicating with older patients involves a multi-disciplined approach. At this point in one’s life, aside from aging teeth, patients may have other health concerns that disrupt their typically healthy mouth. Some of the subjects to consider are:
- More vigilant in-office routines: The importance of periodic exams and cleanings for their overall health
- Systemic health education: Counsel your patients on linkage between oral health and other health factors: medications they’re taking, heart disease, possible diabetes, etc.
Summing it up
If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to remain relevant to your patients without over-messaging, creating age-appropriate messaging is one of the great ways to do it. Once you’ve got this routine down, you’ll be able to start thinking about additional segmentation methods – such as messaging your patients around diagnosed conditions, past treatment and proposed services. The possibilities to deliver great content to the right group are truly endless!