Considering everything going on with the pandemic, your dental practice’s marketing may be the last thing on your mind.
After all, you’re dealing with issues like making sure you’re abiding by new CDC guidelines and state and local government restrictions, securing enough PPE for your team, and ensuring that your staff is intact and not experiencing burnout. With all the latest changes, you may be finding it challenging to meet demand from your existing patients, let alone finding ways to bring in and serve new patients.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be putting your marketing on the backburner.
It’s actually more important than ever to make sure your practice is prepared with an ironclad strategy for maximizing your business productivity for the remainder of the year.
With the added expenses associated with adhering to new guidelines for treating patients during COVID-19, the cost of care will likely go up. Additionally, you may be continuing to deal with decreased patient volume for some time. As a result, you need a marketing plan that will help you bring in more revenue and fill any gaps you expect to see at the end of the year.
To help you get on the right track, here are a few initial steps you should take to put your practice on the path to long-term success:
- Reevaluate your end-of-year goals. If you haven’t done so already, look at the business and revenue goals you set for your practice at the beginning of the year, and identify how they need to be adjusted based on your new reality. Figure out what your new revenue targets should be and how much business is needed on a monthly basis to reach those goals.
- Based on how much business and revenue you need to generate each month from now through the end of 2020, map out a strategic marketing plan that can help you bring in the volume of patients and types of appointments that are required to keep you on track.
- Be proactive versus reactive. If you choose to be reactive and wait to promote your brand until you can handle new patients, you’ll lose market share to your competitors. Building your brand now is an investment in the months to come.
In case you need to slowly build up your marketing
If you don’t feel you’re quite ready to dive into an aggressive digital marketing strategy, it’s best to pace yourself, starting with what makes the most sense for your practice.
Here’s the plan we recommend:
- If you’re not able to handle new patients at this time, start with some brand awareness marketing. Write blog posts that answer common patient questions, share helpful content and updates about your practice on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, and post educational videos on YouTube. The goal of these tactics is to expose your dental practice to new audiences and build brand recognition so they’re more likely to think of and trust your practice in the future when they’re ready to schedule an appointment.
- Once you’re able to take on more patients, start investing in a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. With PPC, you’re able to show ads for your dental practice in search engines like Google and Bing when people are searching for a dentist or specific dental services in your area. This will help you generate more calls and appointments and fill gaps in your schedule.
Google Ads and Bing Ads are a great tactic because they not only give you greater visibility in search (the most competitive ads show up right at the top of the results page), but they also allow you to target specific audiences, such as people within certain zip codes who are searching specific terms.
- Attract the right type of business by targeting high-value procedures in your campaigns to ensure your time with patients is as profitable as possible. For example, if your practice is equipped to offer dental implants, this may be a good service to advertise in order to attract a higher level of revenue with fewer patients. It may also be helpful to focus on more long-term procedures like these that prevent the need to turn rooms around as frequently.
Dental practices whose marketing is paying off
We have worked with a number of different dental practices that are great examples of how continuing marketing even during a pandemic can pay off. Here are a couple of their stories:
One family and cosmetic dentist in California launched her website with us in June 2020 and immediately started attracting new patients from her site. The next month, she took her online presence up a notch by investing in content marketing and a digital advertising campaign, and she saw her monthly patient volume grow even more. The dentist’s practice has been busy ever since, and she’s even had patients drive from almost an hour away to come to her office.
“This was a scary investment to make during COVID, but I am happy I was marketing when a lot of people pulled out,” she said. “I can see how this will continue to help me.”
A dental office in New Jersey that we serve has also been seeing great success. Here’s what one of the dentists had to say after starting a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign to make the practice more visible in online search:
“Wow, things are definitely trending in the right direction. We have really felt that in the office,” he said. “We've seen a lot of new patients from Google. The paid advertising campaign is working on all cylinders!”
And then there’s one of our periodontist clients in Oregon. He launched a content marketing campaign during the pandemic, which allowed him to significantly boost brand exposure for his practice on Facebook.
As part of his social content strategy, we helped the periodontist and his team produce engaging content and then promote it on Facebook. We also worked with the practice to add a Surgically Clean Air page to their website that highlighted the steps they were taking to keep their office safe during COVID-19. The Surgically Clean Air page ended up becoming the second most viewed page on the practice’s website.
Overall, having the extra exposure through strategic social posts has kept the periodontist’s followers and patients informed and connected while also strengthening his brand and authority in his space.
Start taking action now
If you haven’t revisited your marketing plan for 2020 yet, it’s not too late to get started. The more strategic you are with your marketing now, the better positioned you will be to end the year strong.
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