As the United States gets closer to a Post-COVID environment, it’s time for dental practices to take stock and consider how to increase new patients and maximize production. Without question, the pandemic took a toll on dental practice productivity. Now is the time to re-examine critical aspects of dental practice marketing post-COVID to look for ways to thrive rather than just survive.
Dental practices that clung to more traditional marketing before the pandemic quickly learned a lesson during lockdown: digital marketing is king. When quarantines and remote working became a reality, digital marketing became the new superstar.
In fact, remote workers turned to the internet for everything. Telehealth went from a novelty to a necessity for the medical profession in a matter of weeks. Dental practices that had long held digital marketing at a distance suddenly realized that this wasn’t something they could continue to do.
To get patients to return for routine hygiene appointments and elective services, dentists have to fully embrace digital marketing. Dental practice marketing post-COVID must not look like dental practice marketing pre-COVID. The days of relying largely on old-school marketing techniques like brochures and print ads are likely over.
Digital marketing provides a reliable, cost-effective way to reach existing and new patients in the internet age. It’s also far easier to create truly targeted strategies in a way that traditional marketing never could. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at several aspects of digital marketing and why they can help dentists attract more new patients and increase retention rates.
Recognize That Google Analytics Provides Valid, Verifiable Data
Dentists and specialists are often at a loss to understand what’s working and what isn’t with their dental practice marketing post-COVID. With little more than guesses to help them decide which strategies are effective, dentists have a tendency to do the same thing over and over again, regardless of whether it is succeeding or failing to bring in more new patients.
Google Analytics is just one tool in digital marketing that empowers dentists to know a lot more about what’s happening on their practice website. For example, dentists (or practice owners) can know:
- The total number of visitors coming to the practice website in any given time period
- Whether they’re on a computer or a smartphone
- What brought them to your practice website
- Keywords they used to find you
- What pages they visited
- How long they stayed on each page
- Whether they followed internal links to other pages
Taken together, that’s a lot of very specific information. A careful, thoughtful analysis of this data will lead to many conclusions about the effectiveness of a dental practice website. For example, some pages may be visited frequently while others are barely viewed. Perhaps a majority of viewers spend very little time on your website at all.
Unfortunately, some data points may be unpleasant to see. However, such cold hard facts are necessary because they help dentists build more effective dental practice marketing post-COVID.
The data at dentists’ fingertips with Google Analytics is extremely useful. Analyzing this data will always yield better results than making guesses or relying on mere intuition. This is one of the great benefits of digital marketing: done correctly, it’s highly cost effective.
Relevant Content Motivates Readers to Call Your Practice
Although digital marketing for dental practices has many components, the doctor’s website is at the center of it all. That website depends on content. Many dentists mistakenly see their practice website as something you upload and you’re basically done except for the occasional update. That, of course, is far from true.
Content is the reason prospective patients land on a dental practice website. The goal should always be to give them a reason to return to your website more than once. If a return visit offers nothing new, many viewers will realize the site never changes and may not return. Informative blogs are just one way to get viewers to come back more than once.
As part of dental practice marketing post-COVID, new content should be uploaded to a dental practice website each month. It’s important to remember that this process never ends. Fortunately, there are many things that dentists can talk about on their websites. An obvious topic would be various aspects of elective services that the practice offers. Blogs about professional whitening, veneers and implants are all good topics to cover. Patients should look to your website as a source of reliable information about need-based and elective services. Don’t disappoint them by failing to provide enough pertinent information.
Video Content is Now a Major Priority
It’s hard to believe that video wasn’t a major component of most websites as little as ten years ago. Back then, smooth video playback was often a luxury. Since then, two things have happened. First, broadband service improved greatly and two, the pandemic. COVID severely limited in-person contact for an entire year. Lockdowns removed many in-person business interactions and, as a result, companies leaned heavily on video to fill the void. In healthcare, telehealth quickly became common. So common, in fact, that it’s not projected to disappear when the pandemic subsides.
It’s often said that content is king on a website. That’s true. However, video content has become far more important, even before the pandemic occurred. Your dental practice marketing post-COVID must take more video content into consideration. Given a chance between reading something and watching something, it’s clear that watching something is what more and more people want. People watch videos, even if they’re ads. Since videos can be watched anywhere due to the proliferation of smartphones, it only makes sense that video content should be a part of every dental practice marketing plan.
Aside from video ads, there is much video content that can be generated for dental practice websites. Patients testimonials are some of the most powerful video content that dental practices can provide. It’s one thing to read a great patient testimonial. It’s another to actually watch a patient describe his or her positive experience in the office.
Other powerful video content can be something as simple as the doctor explaining various dental procedures. Elective services took a hit during quarantine. Therefore, as the country works its way back toward normal, what could be better than dentists talking directly to their patients about professional whitening or veneers or implants? Although it wouldn’t technically be a case presentation, there are some similarities. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to essentially “pre-sell” a few patients on elective procedures you’re hoping to expand?
As dental practices strive to include more video content in their dental practice marketing post-COVID, it’s important to realize that big budget productions aren’t needed. The pandemic got people used to Zoom calls and informal video in general. Therefore, a dentist sitting at his desk or chairside and talking to a smartphone or laptop is perfectly acceptable (the only caveat would be to make sure the audio is clear and understandable). Patients care whether dentists are knowledgeable and personable, not whether they look like they’re in a Hollywood production.
Dental Practice Marketing Post-COVID – It Starts Now
The pandemic changed the way we work, the way we shop and the way we research purchases. As a result, the days of dentists being able to rely heavily on traditional marketing slipped away. Digital marketing is a cost effective process where dentists can make data-driven marketing decisions. In short, digital marketing is how dentists are going to find more new patients and increase production. Your dental practice marketing post-COVID depends on it.
Dental practices wishing to extend their digital marketing capabilities should carefully evaluate providers. For example, are they Google Premier Partners? Are they recognized as SEO experts? Do they have results they’ve achieved for clients that they can share? These are all important questions.
You don’t need to be involved with digital marketers who can’t deliver what they promise. If dental practices are to achieve success in the post-COVID world, they need experienced and knowledgeable digital marketing partners to make it happen.