Did you know that there are more than 300,000 dental assistants working in the U.S.? And that makes them the largest group of oral healthcare providers? You’re not alone if you didn’t.

Many of these professionals feel that they don’t get the respect and recognition they deserve. As a result, many feel that assisting is “just a job,” and not a professional career to invest in.

To help rectify this, The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) is committed to elevating the dental assisting profession and providing assistants with a path for success. By passing DANB’s certification exams, dental assistants can earn the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential – which is a source of pride for many. The CDA certification is also accredited, so it meets high testing standards.

However, only about 11% of dental assistants are certified. DANB believes that when dental assistants are certified, they not only provide better patient care, they gain personal and professional benefits.

There is very limited research that focuses on dental assistants – again, underscoring how this group is overlooked. To learn more about dental assistants and the value that certification brings, DANB conducted a survey of certified and uncertified assistants. The Dental Assistants Salary Survey capitalized on the popularly of salary as a topic but also included questions about a variety of career issues.

Survey results showed that Certified Dental Assistants exceeded uncertified assistants on all measures, including earning more than those who were not certified. CDAs also got more raises, and received more work benefits such as paid vacation and holidays. Additionally, CDAs performed more duties around the dental office, such as infection control and expanded functions. They reported having pride and confidence in themselves, higher career satisfaction, greater professional commitment, and more education and additional credentials.

As a result, DANB created a content marketing plan that highlighted research and brought those facts to life with personal and compelling stories straight from the CDAs themselves.

Through photos, quotes, and graphics, this approach ensured the DANB would engage its audience in a meaningful way and foster online conversations about the value of certification. Additionally, each content piece had a clear call to action – to drive dental assistants to one of DANB’s online channels to learn more or to take the next step in earning certification.

The plan included several elements:

• Developing a microsite that highlighted key findings from the survey in a visual format

• Preparing a visual and eye-catching report with the full findings, available for download from the microsite

• Drafting multiple blog posts, each focused on a different aspect of the survey’s findings

• Publishing the blog posts via two email newsletters

• Developing multiple Facebook posts based on the microsite and blog content

• Creating content for DANB’s website that drove readers to the microsite

• Developing a brochure to distribute at dental meetings that highlighted the results and linked to the microsite for more details

Content was also created to match marketing goals:
• Awareness – Increase awareness about the value of DANB certification

• Engagement — Create content that resonates with dental assistants so they are motivated to share it among their own networks, thereby delivering content to an even wider audience

• Consideration — Drive dental assistants to DANB’s website

• Acquisition — Encourage dental assistants to apply for certification exams

  • • Retention — Underscore the importance of renewing certification

DANB took a fun, conversational tone, highlighting dental assistants’ own stories, so that messages would be relatable and inspiring. Their strategy capitalized on owned and social media channels, to create a “surround sound” effect and amplify impact.

While dental assistants were the primary audience, dentists were targeted as a secondary audience, since employer support and awareness of certification is also an important factor.

Campaign results exceeded expectations:

Across all DANB’s owned and social media channels, they earned more than 416,560 impressions:

• Microsite – 22,673 impressions

• Facebook posts – 230,250 impressions

• Blog posts – 41,430 impressions

• E-newsletter – 108,210 impressions

• Website content – 14,000 impressions

  • Content drove traffic to DANB’s website, resulting in a 74% increase in website referrals from blog posts and a 14% increase in website referrals from Facebook posts.
  • DANB also saw increased traffic to key DANB website pages, including a 23% increase in views to the “Become Certified” page, and a 15% increase in views to the “Maintain Certification” page.
  • During the campaign, DANB saw a 74% increase in online certification exam applications, a 22% increase in certification exam study materials sold, and a 16% increase in online certification renewal.