A guide to dental marketing during coronavirus (COVID-19) by pH Marketing.
Marketing plays a vital role in almost every organization in today’s business world. However, ever since the pandemic started, we have seen many dental offices pause their marketing efforts, paralyzing their marketing team. Nevertheless, as states have reopened their economy, and dental practices are looking into reopening solutions, it is imperative that all offices bring their marketing team back together and running.
Furthermore, dentists need to acknowledge that dental marketing during COVID-19 will be completely different from what they used to do. Marketing, like many other functions of a business, changes according to context. Strategies and efforts will need significant adjustments. In this article, we have assembled our top recommendations for practices to update their dental marketing strategies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dental Marketing During COVID-19 Best Practices
Let patients know what’s new
According to the research conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), 43% of consumers said that they find it reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust during these uncertain times. Another 40% want to understand how brands are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as with cleaning procedures. These insights can also be applied to dental patients.
Various researches have pointed out that the risk of cross-contamination in the dental setting could be alarming without necessary infection control protocols. Thus, it would be normal for dental patients to feel skeptical when finding dental care. This is why your practice must let patients know about your efforts in protecting their health when meeting them in person.
Firstly, all offices need to have a specific page designated to COVID-19 on their website. On this page, you need to highlight what your office is doing in response to the pandemic. Having a page like this creates a sense of trust from potential patients. We recommend practices to add this page to your home page or the header section for easy access.
Secondly, dental practices could use “push” marketing strategies to send this content to patients, both old and new. Strategies like email blasts, social media, and print mailings work well. Click here to view a sample letter that we created for dental offices to use for this strategy.
Update your SEO strategies
Did you know that search behavior has changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic? For instance, the popularity of the two search terms “teledentistry” and “dental emergency” have seen a large increase in March and April.
Nevertheless, as you can see from the charts, the popularity of these search terms have been decreasing since the beginning of May. However, it is highly likely that there will still be considerable demand for them in the upcoming weeks.
The demand for online dental care and consultation will be around for a long time, as patients fear the risk of infection when receiving face-to-face treatments. On the other hand, for the states that are not yet fully reopened, the popularity of “emergency dental services” will remain high.
Practices should try to optimize their websites for keywords within these two topics. As a start, practices could create new landing pages for each service offered in teledentistry and emergency dental care, optimize those landing pages for specific keywords. To identify which keywords to target, use keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or MOZ.
For teledentistry, offices could explore keyword ideas by exploring phrases such as “online dental consultation” or “dentist online.” For emergency dental care, offices could explore search terms like “emergency dental,” “emergency dentist,” or terms relating to emergency cases, such as “tooth infection” or “knocked-out tooth.” To monitor the popularity of search topics, we suggest offices to use Google Trends.
Dental offices could also apply our suggestions for SEO to their PPC strategies. We also have another bonus insight that could help dental offices below.
You can see that the popularity of the search term “dentist near me” dropped sharply in March. However, the graph shows that it has been recovering since then. Offices should restart their local SEO efforts right away.
Update your visual
Cross-contamination prevention will be top-of-mind for dental patients. Therefore, if possible, practices should update all their imagery on their website, social media, and all other marketing materials to adapt to the current situation. Here are a few ideas:
- Update images of dental staff wearing face masks. For example, add an image of your receptionist greeting a patient during check-in while both are wearing face masks and follow social distancing rules.
- Avoid images of crowds or people touching. For example, remove images of handshakes and images of many patients waiting in the waiting room.
- If your practice will be using an extraoral suction system, rubber dams, or mouth rinse with hydrogen peroxide from now on to reduce infection risk, add images of dental procedures with these newly added practices to let your patients know.
Show how you can help the community
“What can I do to help?” is a question that all dental practices should ask themselves during this pandemic. According to the 4A’s research, 56% of consumers are happy to hear how brands are helping out communities. Support can take many different forms. Dental practices could highlight how they are supporting the community in two ways:
- Communicate the benefits of your services. For example, if you are offering virtual dental consultation, share their benefits to let others know that your practice is helping people to have good oral health while staying at home.
- Create helpful content. Practices could create content about dental health tips and best practices. Additionally, entertaining and inspiring content can also be used to keep people occupied while staying at home.
Helping the community may not increase sales immediately, but these efforts will build goodwill and help increase trust and patient loyalty. Moreover, the faster the world can recover from the pandemic, the better chance your practice has in returning to normal business.
Don’t exploit the situation for business gains
Additionally, practices must avoid capitalizing on the situation with tactless messaging.
- Avoid using content that could make others panic. Practices could report on updates on COVID-19, but don’t overstate or use dramatic language to attract additional online traffic. Moreover, always look into the credibility of the content or source before sharing anything.
- Avoid using “COVID-19” to grab attention. Don’t use tactless callouts like “COVID-19 Special Offer.”
Connect with your patients (on a personal level)
This is a great time to show your patients how much you care about them. Like supporting the community, staying connected with your patients during this time can improve long-term relationships. So that when this restriction ends, patients will think about your practice right away when they need to receive dental care. You could use email or social media to push messages such as “We hope you’re doing well” or “We’re in this together” to your patients.
To conclude our article about dental marketing during coronavirus, we want to mention that fresh data and up-to-date information will be crucial for dental offices. We are living in a new normal now. Patient behavior will never be the same. That’s why your marketing team needs to be flexible and proactive in carrying out marketing initiatives. Moreover, connect with your patients right away if you haven’t done so in the past few months.
Don’t forget to share this article on social media to help other dental practices out there.