dental marketing (3)

How to Revamp Your Dental Practice Post Pandemic

It would be natural, with everything going on, to return to what you were doing for marketing before the pandemic; running the same internal initiatives and resuming whatever external efforts you had in place. Will this work? 

While we don’t know for sure, considering patients may be hesitant to return to care quickly, the possibility of a resurgence of the virus, and the fact that dental practices will be competing for patients – signals a change to your approach may be in order. Even if your practice has pent up demand now – marketing is vital to what happens in your practice 3-6 months from now. Creating a road map for your practice’s marketing efforts will help you implement recommendations to ensure your practice stays on track.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

We encourage you to have an overarching strategy for your approach. This is not the time for disjointed efforts. Consistent messaging is key.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Once you know your audience, craft content that is consistent with what they want to know. Appealing to your overall community? You might want to show your social responsibility as a dental practice and business. Appealing to current patients? Consider content about safety and cleanliness. Looking for new patients? Discuss convenient hours, virtual consultations, safety procedures, and readiness to serve.

As part of your plan, consider:

  • What are your business growth goals for the rest of 2020?
  • Re-visiting your marketing budget for 2020 
  • What marketing already exists that you can leverage?
  • Outlining the new initiatives you want to focus on
  • Measuring your results
  • Re-evaluating your efforts quarterly

 

You should have an external and an internal focus to your marketing efforts – all sharing consistent messaging, designed for your target audience, all linked so you are marketing smarter and using resources wisely.

 External Marketing

1.  Website

Your website is a powerful platform that forms the bedrock of your marketing efforts. All other marketing efforts should lead a patient and prospective patient back to your site. Ensure this by:

 

  • Updating your site, if it is not responsive or loads slowly. Prospective patients will move on to the next practice. According to StatisticBrain.com, website users’ attention spans lie somewhere around 8 seconds.
  • Maintain or enhance SEO efforts to keep your organic search optimization high. 
  • Consider adding a Safety page to your site; detail what your practice is doing to keep patients safe.
  • Add an FAQ page spotlighting hot buttons for patients right now: convenient practice hours, teledentistry offering, your membership plan, payment options, and treatment to support a job search like whitening.
  • Make necessary changes to ensure easy navigation to find your office hours, phone number means to schedule and a bio for the doctor(s)

 2. Social Media

  • Post 1-3 times per week on the top two platforms in dental – Facebook and Instagram. Keep these posts positive, real, personal, forward-looking, and fun.
  • When you post, be sure to include your branded hashtag and a “follow us on” any other platforms the practice is on.
  • Social distancing has prompted a higher social media engagement from people searching for social connections. Consider boosting your Facebook posts. Boosted posts are an inexpensive way to capitalize on the higher-than-average social engagement during this time. 

 

Reputation Management

Update review sites (Google, Yelp, HealthGrades, and Facebook) with open announcements, stressing steps you have taken to keep patients safe. (The opportunity to complete a review on Google was turned back on at the end of April.)

  • Ask for reviews. A recent survey showed that almost 70 percent of customers are willing to provide feedback when requested. 
  • Put direct links to your feedback profiles in multiple places, for example, in a thank you or follow-up email.
  • Focus on your average ratings (4.5 and above is key), getting recent reviews, and getting more reviews.
  • Respond to reviews, positive, neutral, and negative. Prospective patients need to hear the voice of the practice as well as the reviewer. Keep responses to negative reviews short by inviting the patient to call in, so you can help resolve their issues, while respecting HIPAA laws

 

Internal Marketing

While marketing efforts often focus on gaining new patients, some of your current patients could be considering a change in dentist due to a change in benefits, job, or perceived lack of care or safety measures from your practice during the pandemic. Be proactive and be sure to reconnect with current patients. They are the most reliable revenue source for you right now.

1. Connect with Patients

Call or email your patients personally, to connect. This will leave a lasting impression. If you have a large patient base, contact those with outstanding treatment first, long-term patients next, followed by the remaining patient base.

  • If you are unable to call, connect via email and text through your patient connection software. Messages ending in “we are looking forward to seeing you again; call for an appointment” will leave your patient feel cared for.
  • You may have postponed community events. Take this opportunity to test digital alternatives to stay in front of current patients, referring dentists, and community groups.
  • Email newsletters – This format has a 25-30% open rate right now.1 Constant Contact or Mailchimp are easy and inexpensive online marketing platforms to use.
  • A: Ask for Referrals
  • Now more than ever, your entire team needs to be personally asking for referrals.
  • Carve out time at a team meeting to share times and ways to ask.
  • When a patient compliments the office… “Thank you. We really appreciate your feedback. We are accepting new patients, so if you have a friend or family member who’s looking for a new dentist, we would love to see them.”
  • Send a hand-written thank you note to patients who have referred to you.

 

2. Patient Experience

Future referrals depend on creating a patient experience that leaves patients feeling as though they are well cared for by skilled, caring professionals. Review your patient experience and make any needed changes. Solicit suggestions from your team, review other practices’ websites and social media for ideas.

Conclusion

Above all, consistent focus on your marketing efforts and consistent messaging should empower your practice to not only rebound but slingshot to greater success. If you’d like professional support with your marketing, we have vetted referral sources. The Practice Support Team will be standing by to support you.

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With the dental professionals slowly getting back in action, it is highly recommended that you should be moving ahead with a revised marketing strategy. The daily workflow and conversations with your patients are no longer going to be the same. With in-person appointments falling drastically, it is necessary that dental practices stay well connected with your patients adopting new and effective ways of communication. 

To help you through the process of how you can communicate with your patients at these times of uncertainty, here are a few guidelines which we would like to share with you. From promoting your practice’s online presence to revising your marketing strategy, these five guidelines are definitely going to assist you to navigate to the new normal. 

1. Reach out to your patients 

 Even if you are not in direct contact with your patients due to the decreased volume of in-clinic visits and appointments, you can always consider reaching out to them. A simple text message or an emailer that says you are with them in these difficult times or sharing an informative blog on how to take self-care of their dental needs are definitely going to move their minds. It will reassure your patients that no matter what you are thinking about their well being too; and not taking advantage of the situation.  

It is not some marketing pitches that they are looking forward to. Reach out to them with empathy and understanding that in-business or out of business you value your patients the same. This will help you to regain your patients quickly as the normal clinical appointments start kicking off. 

Do not be quiet at these times. Tell them more about how you are getting back the hold on your practice, consulting with patients through telehealth conferences and online scheduling. Post about the new updates from your practice on your social media platforms. Engage with them and ensure that the new procedures are for the safety of the patients and that you strive to provide quality dental care even through these difficult times. This not only helps you to gain more appointments but also allows you to build stronger relationships with your patients ensuring an increased loyalty and trust towards the practice. 

2. Extend out of the practice care 

This is your opportunity to show your patients that it’s not only always about revenue and patient collections, but also about the oral health and well-being of them. Keep your efforts more about providing insights on how your patients could keep a tab on the preventive care, their oral health, and other necessary safety measures in the middle of the pandemic. Push out more messages and blogs on the importance of being top on their health and safe well being. Even though it feels like no one is listening, pivot your marketing pitches in a way as to extend the care any patient would look for in these times. Think like a patient and proactively have conversations with them on their recent worries and concerns regarding health. 

Conduct webinars or run campaigns for your patients just to tell them more about being healthy in the middle of the pandemic; just give in a few tips, a new routine to follow or may be a free dental checkup online. These are what your patients going to see and measure at a time when the in-practice visits are yet to get normalized. 

3. Update all your patient-facing platforms

You must be just getting back to normal, but your patients who are still at their homes concerned about getting infected from unnecessary clinical visits will never know what to expect from you as you reopen the practice. It is therefore important to communicate efficiently with your patients regarding the progress you are making with your practice and the recent shift in safety procedures you have brought in to ensure a safe consultation experience for them. 

Update the progress you are making on all your patient-facing platforms or convey them directly through messages and emails. Tell them that you are out there working for them providing them all the facilities they need like teledentistry, curbside check-in and online scheduling to ensure a safe and convenient patient journey. 

Through regular social media posts or emails guide them through the new process. Let them know what all services that you are providing currently through virtual offices and how they could avoid unnecessary clinic visits for a simple dental checkup. If you can undertake any emergency procedures let them know that too along with a proper layout as in how you will be dealing with the procedure to ensure the safety of your patient. With unwanted traveling being restricted at the moment, your patients will definitely appreciate the effort you are making to guide them through the virtual process and letting them have online appointments. 

4. Be consistent with your communication

 Keeping your practice up and running along with dealing your patient communication is an enormous task. The new normal is definitely going to catch you off guard with its numerous safety guidelines and procedures to be taken care of after each patient visit, which means more time would be gone looking after your practice than your patient engagement. 

Therefore creating a schedule to communicate with your patients will help you to market your practice more proactively and efficiently. It is advised that you keep your schedule up for a few days. In this rapidly changing environment, nothing is going to last as we presume them. Thus, it will be easy if you could stick on to a time assigned to a couple of days where you can compose messages to be sent and schedule them on any automated scheduling tools. In such a case you will not be wasting your time creating messages impromptu on the days that you want to engage with patients. 

5. Revamp your marketing strategy with the trend

 Take this time to revisit your website. Your practice workflow is getting revamped and so should your marketing strategy. Make the updates regarding the way your practice will be functioning from now onwards. Keep in mind the SEO listings to the changing times and change your strategy and website according to the shift in patients searches. 

Search for your dental practice taking insights from Google trends and see if your practice is being listed in the first page. If not revamp your business listing and your content strategy. Give more focus to the new keywords that have emerged at the times of pandemic. 

Referrals and reviews matter a lot to your practice. Make sure that your dental practice has updated reviews from patients who have visited you or have consulted with you through the virtual platforms during the pandemic. Get some images with your patient's consent and upload them on your business listing. Patients who browse for the practices near them will definitely relate to your practice quickly if they see original photos of patients like them consulting with your practice. This will boost their confidence to take similar actions which will further increase your appointment volume and revenue generated. 

Even in these incredibly challenging times, a well-planned marketing strategy can still influence your patients positively. No patient can deny the challenges you must be facing to bring them the best dental care. It’s just that you let them know that as a dental practitioner you are keeping your patients’ needs at the forefront. As you focus on that it is just a matter of time for your patients to realize that they are in safe hands and to make regular appointments with your practice.

Read more…

As the Coronavirus makes its way across the globe, many businesses and dental practices alike have cut expenses starting with the removal of marketing or are contemplating stopping their SEO campaign during COVID-19. Those who have cut marketing from their strategy are now wondering what they can do to stay top of mind for reopening and how they can fast track the generation of revenue loss during the quarantine.

We have some great news if you’re in the boat above!

Digital marketing provides an enormous opportunity for dentists to market their dental practice online to acquire more prospective patients.

The best part of digital marketing... you can control it with minimal to no costs.

Do not rely on old dental marketing methods like yellow pages, newspaper ads, radio ads, or word of mouth.

You can’t control any of those marketing methods.

Today, we will discuss the most effective digital marketing strategy that is Dental Search Engine Optimization to enhance your local presence and build your patient base. SEO is a unique strategy as it aims to increase your dental website and content rankings on Google.

Benefits of SEO (once your website is highly ranked):

  • increases ROI
  • increases patient acquisition
    • automated patient growth
    • creates consistent led generation
  • increases practice exposure
    • creates 24/7 marketing
    • free marketing 365 days/year
  • decreases marketing expenses if not removes all
  • decreases patient acquisition cost

Most customers use the internet to find answers. SEO-optimized websites rank higher in organic search results. So, you need to optimize your dental website for search engine ranking. How can you control your ranking? You need to do these things for dental SEO: 

  • Your website needs value-based and unique content with HD images. These images should be relevant to the visitor's need, for example, informative content, dental blog posts, landing pages with pertinent dental keywords. It is necessary to include answers to popular dental questions, infographics, and press releases to appeal to those visiting your site. Do not write all contents about yourself, concentrate more on how your services benefit your prospective patients. Also, Include an FAQ section and informative videos and testimonials.

 

  • A dental website should not take more than three seconds to load. Also, it should be SSL secure and mobile-friendly.

 

  • The design of your website needs to be modern, clean, and the content should be driven to encourage the visitor to engage with your practice. Successful engagements are direct calls, inquiries for information, or a scheduled appointment.

 

  • It is also vital to get backlinks from other authoritative websites to establish your site’s authority. Join your local chamber of commerce as they usually allow a business website within their business profile page, if you’re a member of the ADA check to see if they allow members to enter their website into the profile page, make sure every one of your social media pages includes your website and do outreach to other dental websites for content creation.

 

  • Blog about the most common questions asked at your dental practice.

 

  • The FAQ section should be concise and direct. FAQ sections can also provide you an opportunity to rank for Google’s featured answer snippet, which appears first in search.

 

  • Also, make sure to provide useful information on different topics such as wellness tips, information on particular dental treatments, and business updates/news.

 

You can also use several other methods and channels to help with SEO. Various channels allow dentists to connect with potential clients such as through social media, blog sharing sites, and even email marketing. 

I hope this article provided some practical tips for your practice’s SEO during the quarantine as SEO will help your practice be seen by everyone who uses the internet to search for a dentist.

 

Adam Yang, MBA, is the founder and digital marketing expert of Beyond Marketing Solutions, LLC, a digital marketing agency that specializes in teaching and helping dentists to scale back their marketing budgets while increasing their patient volume and revenue through digital avenues. With his marketing experience in corporate dentistry, private dentistry, and dental laboratories, Yang has taken his passion for both digital and dental marketing to the next level by founding the first-ever e-commerce digital marketing agency to streamline and simplify the marketing and purchasing process for dentists. For more information on this topic and additional resources, email Adam at adam@beyondmarketingsolutionsllc.com.

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