The ‘Survive’ and ‘Sustain’ Strategies for Dental Practice
Amid the coronavirus crisis, all of us are going through a lot of changes right now. The novel coronavirus has disrupted our lives in many ways. This has been an extremely difficult month for dental practices across the nation, and we’re looking at other several challenging weeks ahead.
Now that the ADA has relaxed the restriction level back to Level 2, it is great news for dental practice owners that they can finally open doors again for more than just emergency treatments.
While resuming the operation, you must understand what areas to focus on and where to channel your efforts for a sustainable business model.
In this episode, Multi-site practice owner Dr. Padma Gadiyar and Prabin Gautam from 360° Dental Marketing talk about telehealth and top dental marketing strategies that is appropriate right now:
1. The most essential marketing right now
Although the situation currently may feel like a huge blow to your dental practice, there are certain things you can do to keep a steady pace with your dental marketing.
This approach will ensure you hit the ground running once you can resume business as usual. Here are some TOP 3 key things you should be considering to better position marketing for dental practices.
Organic traffic is on the ascent. Pausing your organic SEO or digital marketing campaign may seem to make sense, but remember, this current crisis will end. And the organic search is a zero-sum game, so if you drop your SEO campaign, all of your competitors will continue without you. Instead of staying at the front of the pack, you will fall behind, which will make it more difficult for you to acquire patients when the industry comes roaring back. The dental practices that continue with their marketing efforts will have a big advantage over those who don’t.
Even at a time like this, your business must be visible online so that once things get back to normal, your position on the SERPS will still be intact. It’s why dental SEO planning matters. Some things you can focus on include:
- Use various trending keywords to add relevance to content that you post so you can show up in the top-10 search results on Google.
- Prioritise quality content to climb to the top results on search engines
- Invest in organic growth, so you are prepared for a bounce-back surge in business
- Focus on Local SEO. This is even more crucial now when patients are staying close to home. Optimise your website for terms patients may use the most.
Email & SMS marketing:
Now is the right time to build rapport and show your patients how much you care about them and their dental health. Most dentists maintain patient email lists. Use this list with various technology tools to your advantage by sending emails regarding what they can do in case they find themselves dealing with a dental emergency. It is also a great way to keep your patients updated on your practice timings and valuable information.
You can send emails & SMS regarding the COVID-19 crisis and things they can do to stay safe. Keep in mind that our patients are dealing with upheaval and significant stress. An occasional email sent to their inbox can be reassuring and indicates that they have your support and that you care.
During this pandemic, safety means you provide your patient with assurance, that you genuinely care for them. Whether it is your existing, lapsed or new patients letting them know you are there to support them is crucial.
2. Telehealth & Dental Marketing
Before some months, only a few might have imagined teledentistry as a possible option but right now it is an urgent need to jump into the bandwagon and be a part of the telehealth service.
Since this is a new concept imposed suddenly to the service providers and patients at the same time, many confusions are going on. It is still in the infancy stage, but it is for sure that this system increases efficiency and it is here to stay.
That is why ADA recently released Teleconsultation item number (919) for the dental professionals. This formalisation and recognition have certainly paved a way for modern dentistry and healthcare.
It ensures the patients that Dentals can still access care while reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission by providing valuable information. It is an effective way to reduce cross-contamination and risk exposure.
Regardless of having limitations, teledentistry right now can help triage in conditions where:
- Reassurance is needed for non-urgent cases
- Expert advice is needed to manage emergency cases like a sore toothache
- Referral to a specialist is urgently required
3. Top 3 strategies during this situation:
As the situation tends to escalate quickly, we’re looking at another several challenging week ahead. However, as a dentist or dental practice owner, you should remember that you are in a prime position to get through these uncertain times and bounce back—especially if you take the appropriate measures now to safeguard your business.
You should first be clear that the strategies you were previously using might not be implementable right now as the situation has already hit the reset button. You will need to readjust some working models for a sustainable system during and post-crisis.
To help you set up your practice for success, below are TOP 3 strategies:
Whilst this period of uncertainty is set to continue for some time yet, we will eventually emerge on the other side. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always having a winner’s mindset, it’s more about focusing on what’s the best you can get out of these difficult experiences.
One good example is having a mindset like an Ant, meaning you are fully focused on your goals. You know where you are heading towards, and no matter what circumstances arise in between you are not giving up. You need to build the muscle of patience now and realise things are always going to change.
There probably could be a huge financial-economic downfall but having your mind prepared to adapt to the situation can make a huge difference in how you handle the situation. We need to adjust our mindset to move the business from survival to sustainable mode before scaling the business further. Mindset is important not only around business but also for personal well-being and health.
The way you establish communication today, with your existing, lapsed client base or team is going to make a huge difference for your practice to scale up in the future.
For the team:
As a practice owner or a professional, keep in mind to let all your team members know that you all are on the same boat, on the same frequency. The entire team needs to be aligned in the same direction moving forward. Having said that, it is true, it could be quite vulnerable but in a situation like this being vulnerable is ok as everyone is facing fear and difficulty.
What is more important is to know that everyone on the team is on the same track and are aware of “What’s coming next?” and what can be done best for the practice and to reassure the patients. It is essential to have all the pieces in places ready for when business ramps up again.
Don’t go quiet—keep communicating with patients and let them know you’re here to help. Whether it’s through blog posts, social media posts, or email newsletters, you’ll want to find ways to serve as a helpful resource. This not only helps you better serve prospective and current patients in their time of need, but it also allows you to build stronger relationships with them, making it more likely they’ll choose your practice now and in the future.
Analyse and Innovate:
The ongoing crisis is ramping up the pressure in other businesses as well as on the Dental industry, but as the old Chinese proverb says, “Crisis is an opportunity riding on a dangerous wind”. This crisis is also an opportunity to bounce back harder. When there is a critical mass of will and clear priorities, innovation can quickly reach the front line. Use this time efficiently to make the right innovation, utilise it to unleash underlying opportunities.
This is the right time to analyse each part of the business model, to innovate new action plans. Everything will be different post Covid19, the way patient care was delivered will not be the same. Rather than getting at the situation and thinking, “What am I going to do now?” it is best advised to reach out to every part of business now and check “How can you redefine it in a better way?”
No doubts! Adaptability and flexibility will be your two best friends when the restrictions are lifted.
On the go, you will make decisions and you will be aware of your goals but moving forward you will also keep on innovating your action plans. When you develop this kind of attitude you will know your key areas of growth & your weakness, which will be a great lift for business model innovation.
Understand this opportunity clearly. Be aware that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lastly, ask yourself:
Are you ready to adapt to these changes with the changing time? What actions are you taking today?
Should you need any help in navigating this crisis, let us know. We can connect you to our trusted partners who are experts in these matters.
You can count on us to support your practice through this important time. To know more, book your 30-minute FREE consultation