COVID-19 Dental Marketing:
Adapt Your Dental Marketing Strategies to The Demanding Situation Arising Due to The Coronavirus Pandemic

At SocialHi5, our professionals are currently working with our clients to advise them on the necessary steps that they must take to ensure that their dental marketing strategies continue to bring real results amid the coronavirus outbreak. In this piece, we attempt to share some of our ideas with our beloved readers to offer them a glimpse into what needs to be done during such challenging times.

The situation created by the pandemic can be characterised as overwhelming, chaotic, confusing and unpredictable. From classes being shut down to lockdowns being implemented all over, we are facing an unprecedented crisis that history has never witnessed before. Hence, you must also be prepared to tackle these difficult times with foolproof and effective strategies.

As a dental office, you must be prepared for the surge in demand of dental services due to COVID-19. Marketing experts must first focus on the impact of COVID-19 on communications. For instance, they must think about the message that the clinic would want to put across in society, how to educate people and how to handle any crisis that may arise.

The very first thing that needs to be decided is whether or not it is beneficial, for all, to keep your clinic open amid the pandemic. You must take into consideration your dental specialties, practice philosophy, patients' needs and the prevailing situation to conclude the said matter. More severe conditions would require you to stay open full time while less critical times might allow you to remain open partially or when needed. However, the ADA has directed all dental clinics to keep medical supplies in stock for urgent cases and the prevention of the spread or exposure to the virus.

How can you introduce necessary changes in your marketing strategies and budgets to tackle the hurdles brought forward by the COVID-19 emergency?

Before talking about the "how" of COVID-19 dental marketing, we would like to chalk out the differences between marketing and advertising. Both carry different meanings; advertising is actually a part of marketing. However, it's not the only part of marketing.

Dental marketing is done usually in six ways: branding, digital marketing, traditional advertising, dentist referral marketing, internal marketing, and public relations. If your dental clinic is quite big in its operations, then marketing is crucial for your practice. Certain aspects of marketing like branding, patient experience, and dentist referrals are continuous in nature. This is largely because dental clinics build their brands by ensuring excellent patient experiences and offering expert services to humankind.

These testing times also demand the public relations teams of dental offices to be communicating candidly and proactively to the people of their respective communities via the local and/or regional press.

You might be wondering of the implication of all these measures on your existing digital marketing and traditional advertising budgets. Let us take a look at it:

  1. The Official Website:

    You must post an urgent notice on your website regarding the COVID-19 situation and the changes it has brought about in your usual routine.

  2. SEO:

    Any investment made in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is usually long term. Hence, there is no need to stop with it; it must continue as it usually would. Our experts are suggesting our clients to stop investing in traditional advertising methods (which would be irrelevant in the current scenario) and instead invest that amount in SEO and improving your website.

  3. Reputation Management:

    You must have reputation management and social media monitoring program in action if you do not have one already. The people in your community must know about your role and contributions during this pandemic to further build your image and reputation.

  4. Paid Search Marketing:

    We don't see the need for open dental clinics to stop investing in effectively optimized paid search marketing campaigns during this time. You might argue that the current demand is much lower. You have to keep in mind though that you would be paying for only those clicks by people who would be searching the services provided by you.

  5. "Free" Social Media:

    The content you publish online (on your website, social media, etc.) and offline must address the challenges of the new reality of life.

  6. Paid display advertising and paid social media:

    Digital advertising would be advisable for those practices which are looking to continue building their brands and interacting with the people. However, if immediate returns are what you seek, then your finances must be steered towards other relevant methods.

  7. Traditional Advertising:

    Traditional advertising methods would come in handy if you want to build your reputation and educate the people. But, any intentions regarding the engagement of potential patients must be avoided.

Tips on how to implement your coronavirus dental marketing strategies

    While every dental practice is unique, here are some extra tips which are crucial for guiding your coronavirus dental marketing efforts.

  • You must realize that once this pandemic ends, things are not going to be the same. Your actions and values will very much define your brand during this unsettling time. Hence, this is the time that you must look beyond your traditional advertising and embrace your mission to help the community in any way possible. In the long run, you will be remembered and highly regarded for your leadership roles.

  • This is an ideal time to boost your Google rankings by doubling your investment in SEO.

  • When things are rather stable, you can take the opportunity to explore any marketing ideas you might have had but never got the chance to work on.

  • Optimize your digital marketing campaigns based on the current situations and the new reality of life.

  • You can resort to videoconferences, podcasts and webinars to educate people and spread healthcare information.

  • You can try out teledentistry, which would protect your patients as well as your staff from coming into contact with the virus.

  • Show compassion towards and empathise with your patients, now more than ever.

  • While the reality might be changing around us, the need for marketing remains unwavering. Hence, adjust and don't abandon your marketing strategies.

These struggling times require you to educate as well as serve your community. This is also an opportunity to strengthen your role as a healthcare provider.