If you’re like just about every medical practice or health care brand in America, there’s no doubt that 2020 has disrupted any business plan you may have had at the beginning of the year. But even so, you still have a business to run and benchmarks to meet. This requires a solid strategy in place for keeping patients coming through the door and revenue flowing into your practice.
With the end of the year just around the corner, what’s your plan for finishing 2020 strong?
Your marketing should be an essential component of that plan to reach your target audience, establish your reputation as a top provider in your area, begin scheduling appointments with new patients, and keep current patients coming back. Taking the right steps with your marketing now will set you up for greater success not only as we close out the year, but also as you continue building your business in 2021.
Why marketing during the pandemic is an investment, not just another cost
It may feel counterintuitive to continue spending money on marketing if your practice or practice group is still struggling to manage new operational demands, but the investment into keeping your office (or offices) busy over the long run, will ultimately determine your long-term financial success.
Past research shows that businesses that are willing to invest in their marketing and advertising during economic downturns are the fastest to recover. One study by McGraw-Hill research found that companies that chose to maintain or even increase their marketing budgets during the 1981-1982 recession had significantly better sales performance once the economy bounced back, compared to businesses that elected to cut their budgets.
And another study from 1999 cited in Forbes magazine showed similar results. The study analyzed three groups of businesses in the United States and Europe:
- Group 1 cut their marketing and advertising budgets due to their financial challenges.
- Group 2 kept their marketing and advertising budgets the same.
- Group 3 increased their budgets.
After the recession, here are the results they saw:
- Group 1: Their market share decreased by 0.8%.
- Group 2: Their market share increased by 0.6%.
- Group 3: Their market share grew by 4.3%.
If there’s anything we know, it’s that history repeats itself. Even if you’re not able to invest as much into your marketing and advertising as you initially planned at the start of the year, it’s important to make sure you are still dedicating as much as you can to promoting your brand.
Three marketing tactics to consider
So what should you be doing? Here are a few ideas:
Content and social media marketing: If you’re strapped on your budget, this is a good solution. It’s easy and affordable to write and share helpful content online. Write blog posts that answer common questions your patients have, create informative videos, and share your content on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Content and social media marketing is important because it allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field and helps introduce your practice to potential patients, and build trust with existing patients. For the best exposure, you can put some funds aside to boost your social posts or build advertising campaigns to further promote your content and direct it to your most ideal audiences.
Display and retargeting ads: Display ads are advertisements for your practice or brand that appear on other websites, such as when people are browsing news or health-related websites, spending time on social media, or even scrolling through their email inbox. This allows you to raise awareness about your practice to new audiences (and you can target those audiences by factors like location and demographics) so you can keep your practice top-of-mind. Retargeting ads are display ads that appear to patients who have already visited your website in the past, which helps to boost brand recognition. Display and retargeting ads tend to be fairly affordable, so they’re a great option even when you’re on a tight budget.
Pay-per-click advertising in search: This form of advertising, known as “PPC,” allows you to show ads at the top of the search results when people in your area look for medical services like yours. While this requires more of a dedicated advertising budget, it’s extremely effective for getting your practice found by the right types of patients (those looking for the exact services you offer) at the right time (when they’re ready to schedule an appointment). If you’ve paused your PPC campaigns during the pandemic, definitely start them up again once you have more flexibility in your budget.
Getting better results with strategic marketing
Our medical practice clients who have been using the marketing tactics mentioned above along with others during the coronavirus pandemic have been seeing them pay off — their leads are up and their costs per lead are down, which means they’re able to make their advertising dollars stretch further. Many of our clients are also seeing higher conversion rates, which means they’re getting more prospective patients who are turning into new patients. We’re seeing these improved results across a variety of medical industries, including general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, veterinary medicine, urgent care, and plastic surgery.
If you want to know more about how you can put your medical practice on the right track for success both now and in the future, don’t hesitate to speak to one of our medical marketing experts at Scorpion. You can also sign up for our email newsletter to receive helpful marketing tips in your inbox each month.