COVID-19 is leaving an indelible mark on the healthcare industry, including the dental sector. Compared to the same period in 2019, dental services dipped 75% and 79% in March and April 2020, respectively. It was during these months that North America went on strict lockdowns following the onset of the pandemic. Even after dental practices began reopening, the decline remained palpable. More than half of polled dentists reported lower patient volume than usual. People are still concerned about acquiring COVID-19 or a variant. They’re unsure as to whether or not it’s safe to go back to clinics.
As dental practitioners, you need to find ways to communicate with clients. Not only do you have to reduce their concerns, but you also have to promote your practice. In today’s pandemic world, both would need to go hand in hand. You can start with the following:
Embrace the digital transformation
People have turned to the internet for everything amid the pandemic, even for dental assistance. This trend can be an advantage for your practice when you approach it the right way. You can save valuable marketing dollars when you meet potential patients where they are – online, in this case.
One way to be truly present in the digital space is through providing information and access through online mediums like social media and websites. But web users tend to skip ads and content that don’t offer them value. So beyond just posting ads, take it up a notch by having virtual dental services (teledentistry) available, too. This way, you can increase awareness about your practice and drive conversion at the same time.
Become a thought leader
Regaining patient trust is one of the main priorities for dental practices today. Showcase your expertise across all your marketing materials. This builds credibility and eventually encourages the trial of dental services.
Now is an ideal time to establish yourself as a leader in the dental industry, especially since healthcare marketing and management training is readily accessible online. There are various online courses that you can take ranging from short seminars to full online degrees that are 100% coursework and very flexible. In addition, online healthcare management programs will include specific areas such as business education, helping you develop an effective growth strategy for your practice. Not only do these programs sharpen healthcare and technical skills, but they also incorporate marketing and communication abilities – both essential skills in today's pandemic world. As a team, your dental practice can create newsletters and content covering all bases, from relieving COVID anxiety to providing information about dental procedures.
Build a community around your practice
A dental practice is very much location-based. As such, it’s important to build a solid local community with your practice as a key pillar. Due to the increased use of social media throughout the pandemic, community-building is made more convenient.
First, you need to enlist your employees to become ambassadors for your brand. Putting them through employee brand ambassador programs transforms them into advocates for your practice. This is crucial as employee ambassadors increase your organic reach. They can do live streams or post personal behind-the-scenes company content, or it can be as simple as sharing your page on social media. Now that you have all this content, you can create a Facebook community to house these posts. Invite people from your area into the group and continue to foster interactions and relationships with them. Keep churning out value-adding content, and you can trust that this community will turn to you for expert dental advice and care.
In today’s pandemic world, marketing your dental practice involves so much more than self-promotion. It requires empathy and a heavy dose of creativity.
Article written by RoseAnn John
Exclusively for curvedental.com