We can already see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s not over yet. Industry experts are wondering what will happen to the dental market in the post-pandemic years. My prediction is best described in an old La Fontaine tale.
In the history of the grasshopper and the ant, one of them – the ant – worked all summer, preparing for the difficult period. With the arrival of the severe winter, the ant was safe, but the grasshopper nearly died because of its summer inaction. What does it mean to your practice?
The question is whether you can act as the ant in this quiet, strange period. Yes, many processes have stopped, but this period should be used as a preparation rather than a rest.
In this guide, I’m going to show you a simple, 3-step marketing tactic we’ve developed for the current situation.
If you follow the presented steps, you could ensure a strong, secure market position in the post-pandemic era for your practice.
Step #1: Re-think your brand before the pandemic ends
Your brand isn’t your logo, your design, or your name. Your brand is a result, your practice’s business card. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about your services and your company. They’re creating it. It ends up in their heads, in their hearts.
Your brand should have an identity (who it is), personality (how it behaves), and experience (how it’s remembered). Whether you know it or not, there is an established experience of people about your practice too.
Just simply ask your customers about how does it feel to be a patient in your practice right now?
After analyzing the answers, you will be able to create an ‘improvement checklist’ and make some adjustments to your current brand. You could for example
- Re-determine your target audiences
- Re-establish your mission
- Re-define your core values
- Upgrade your visual assets
Whatever you change, don’t forget one thing. Everybody within your company is affecting the brand – it’s up to you whether they improve the brand experience or hurting it.
In the post-pandemic dental market, your physicians, receptionists, and other team members are still the real-life expression of your brand.
They must understand and support your brand so they can share it authentically.
Step #2: Develop your referral system
Nowadays, what your patients tell about you, is much more important than what you say about yourself. That’s why maintaining and enhancing your reputation is vital.
Since new patients are key to growing your practice, you have to attract them somehow. The best way to get them is through referral programs.
It’s truly profitable, but not easy asking someone to send a new patient to you – it takes practice, and it needs to be systematic. First, you have to understand the emotions behind referrals.
I believe in human goodwill, but in my experience, patients are more likely to recommend someone if you give a reward for it. You need to make patients aware of the referral program and its advantages. How?
I think you shouldn’t overthink the offer itself. In most cases, some kind of discount is a winning choice even for practices pursuing a differentiating business strategy.
The key is how you communicate your offer.
Get creative, get personal, and engage your staff. You can hand out cards, brochures, or both; you can send follow-up emails to patients about the referral.
It’s all up to you; the most important thing is to make it fit your style and your practice, and the way you want to engage patients.
Keep things tracked and examine how many referrals you’ve requested and begin to keep track of how many ends up reaching out for appointments.
Remember, it might be uncomfortable to approach your patients like this, but when done right, referral programs are one of the most effective tools you can build up for the post-pandemic dental market.
Step #3: Do invest in social media advertising
Forbes has put it simply. “When a recession comes, don’t stop advertising.” – Let me explain why it is true.
In the 2008 recession, there were two companies. The first was the leader in the food industry. They dramatically cut their marketing spending and other expenses, just like many other companies.
The second company was also in the food industry, but instead of reducing spending, they almost doubled their marketing spending and released a lot of advertising. A few months after the crisis, this company became the market leader. How?
In times like this, dozens of businesses have suspended their advertising campaign while more people stay at home in front of their screens. So those who dare to advertise can reach many more people at a much lower cost.
“But people aren’t going to spend money right now, and we’re closed anyway.” – I completely agree, but…
Instead of shutting down your advertising, you should just change the primary goal in this pandemic period. You cannot acquire new patients thus running conversion campaigns are not the ideal.
Rather, you can run brand awareness, video views, or traffic campaigns. You can create educating posts or ads about your service/offer. Running video ads/posts to increase people’s awareness is also a great opportunity.
Just stay on the surface and show that, unlike others, you continued to exist.
While the right approach now is social distancing, it doesn’t mean that you should also stop social interactions with your audience.
The great thing is that despite a physical location is closed, digital marketing is still an open opportunity for you, as a healthcare professional to keep and nurture the relationship with your community and prepare for the post-pandemic dental market.
If you have any questions regarding the covered topics, I’m here to help you! Click here and apply for a free consultation call + a thorough audit of your medical practice.