Right now, EVERYONE’s on social media — all of your current patients and all of your potential patients.
They’re reading emails, watching videos, chatting and sharing and “liking” because they’re stuck at home. Even though you’re in the same boat, remember that what appear to be problems can be opportunities. Take advantage of that.
If you’re an Identiwrite client, you know that I don’t require contracts, so I’m in the boat with you. When dental offices temporarily shut down for any reason, their revenue plummets. It’s non-existent. Marketing is one of the first items to cut if the dentist isn’t under a contract. So, as you can imagine, I’m paddling fast to stay above water, as well.
I’ll row in the front, you row in the back.
For dentists who want to keep their search engine rankings afloat, I’ve created a minimalist digital marketing package. I’m offering free SEO data tracking and management. This way, you can at least try to retain your position on page one of Google search results during the coronavirus crisis. For more info, email me.
When you stop marketing online, if your competition continues marketing, you risk sinking to page 2, then 4, then 10… It could take a long time to reclaim page one, and page one is what earns you more new dental patients!
Ask yourself this question: When the current crisis ends, where will your site rank online?
So here’s what I suggest, while you’re home with the kids, sequester yourself for at least an hour a day to work on your dental practice marketing. Take time to invest in your online reputation and influence by doing these 14 sensational dental marketing ideas and other tasks:
Keep working from home during the novel coronavirus ordeal. You won’t be placing crowns and tightening braces, but there are many effective tasks you can perform until your office phone starts ringing again.
1) Engage daily on your dental practice’s Facebook page.
Share in pictures what you and your family are doing during the shelter-in-place orders. Pictures are awesome; videos are even better.
You can also focus on dental care topics. For example, write a series of blogs about “keeping it clean” that don’t directly have to do with the novel coronavirus — like how to disinfect toothbrushes and when to purchase new ones.
“Clean” can also pertain to sharing good flossing tips, your personal preference of oral care brands. Do you, a dentist, use a tongue scraper? I’ll bet most people can’t even identify a tongue scraper! That’s a good image to share on social media, for sure.
Here are some more ideas for social media posts along the thread of “keeping it clean”:
- Clean eating recipes (people love to share recipes – be sure to post to your or your spouse’s Pinterest page)
- Cleaning the house and car – how to make it a family affair; a video of you and the kids doing this; your personal favorite products and pet peeves
- Spring cleaning – lists of what to check and ideas for deep cleaning (how to get the scum off the top of the fridge, etc.)
- Home recipes for cleaning products that are earth-friendly and effective
- Ideas or pictures of your favorite tips for organizing kids’ rooms, the office, closets, pantries, and cabinets
My point here is, you can take any concept and flesh it out into an entire campaign. I mean, what else do you have to do right now? You can even get your family AND your staff’s family on board with this! Maybe patients, too!
2) Write blogs or outline blog ideas.
Content marketing can and should continue! You can blog about current issues, like what to do if there’s no toothpaste at the grocery store. (Remind patients they can use baking soda. Do you recommend oil pulling? Take a video of you trying it out at home.)
Or write in-depth blogs that you’ve always wanted to compose, but you’ve never had the time.
Patients are people like you. They get tired of reading the same stuff over and over. Put your own spin on things, share your opinions, and get creative! Put yourself into your posts.
Outline an entire year’s editorial calendar of blog topics. You can write the posts yourself now, and when your schedule fills up later in the year, turn the calendar over to my team at Identiwrite. We’ll take over where you leave off — and we can even go back and optimize what you previously published.
TIP: Don’t know how to use your blog? Google it! Don’t have a blog? Create one! GoDaddy makes it super simple.
BONUS TIP: If you’re paying your dental team members while the office is closed, require that they engage on your social media page! Tell them to submit blogs or blog outlines. Assign the task of learning how to use WordPress to your office manager.
3) Email your patients.
Stay in touch with those you claim to have as “part of your dental family!” Offer words of encouragement and hope, or images and videos that uplift people.
The truth is, we can let this crisis become a depressing time. It’s your choice to do nothing or SPREAD JOY!
DAILY post and share pictures, videos, and quotes that inspire. Word of mouth, or word of mouse to be more precise, can happen now, even though your dental office is shut down. Become a leader in your online community. Be the person your patients and community want to follow.
You might already have an email delivery system for your patients, but if not, I recommend MyEmma. I’ve used this service for years and prefer it over MailChimp and Constant Contact.
4) Work on your 2020 dental marketing strategies.
Here’s a general marketing plan template. You can also simply google “dental marketing plan” and you’ll find a ton of resources.
5) Brainstorm the best ideas for your dental practice marketing strategies!
You remember how to brainstorm, right? Set a timer for ten minutes. Get a pen and paper. When you start the clock, list ideas for videos, blog topics, marketing plans for the rest of the year, mission statement updates. No idea is too outlandish. Just GO! (Classical music can trigger both sides of the brain, so turn it up!)
6) Create your dental practice’s dream board.
Design a picture board (digitally or on canvas, poster board, whiteboard) with ideas for your ideal dental office. What does that practice look like? What equipment does it have? What services do you offer? How are your team members dressed? What do they say and do?
(I’ve always wanted hand-shaped chairs and a lip-shaped sofa. Those would be on my list.)
7) Make your dreams practical.
Then think about this: What’s feasible to do now to move you closer to those fantasies on your dream board? What can be done in a year? Five years?
- Prioritize what you want most
- List creative ways to achieve those goals (brainstorm again)
- Create a timeline
TIP: Revisit the dream board and timeline every year. Your ideas and desires will change. Remove things, add things, and remember, these are dreams. There are no limits!
8) Thoroughly evaluate your website.
I do this a lot when I analyze clients’ sites. Here’s what I suggest:
- Look at your competitors’ sites. If you don’t know their URLs, just google your city “+ dentist” and they’ll be staring you in the face.
- Write down what you like and dislike about those sites. Look through all the pages, not just the homepage. Are there interactive features, images, charts you really like, or is there phrasing that appeals to you?
- Now go to your website.
- Page By Page, make a list of what to change – images, layout, elements of motion, forms, videos, words, charts, testimonials, blog feeds, etc. Do you have some before and afters to add?
- Consider what’s missing. Have you brought in new services or technology? New employees? Do you have more testimonials on Google Business or Facebook that need to go on the website?
Keep this list handy because now or when your dental office reopens, you’ll want to revisit it with me so we can update your site.
DID YOU KNOW? Regularly updating your website makes it more valuable to Google, thus it could rank higher and wider (for more terms). It’s a great tool to add to any dental practice marketing strategy.
9) Again on your website, run a broken link checker.
Broken links hang up Google’s robots, so they’re bad jou-jou for your website.
Now, decide whether to fix the links or redirect them to a different page on your website. I like to create a spreadsheet with these columns:
- Broken link
- Page it’s on
- Correct or redirect destination
NOTE: If you don’t use Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Drive, there’s no time like today to start. They’re free and never get outdated. Best of all, you can share them by link or direct access. And you can give others access to make changes.
10) Revisit and revise all job descriptions for your dental practice.
This one has nothing to do with dental practice marketing, and it could be kind of boring, but to run a tight ship, it must be done, Cap’n.
If you do not have job descriptions, again turn to the wisest one of all, Google. You’ll find templates and ideas to help you get started.
Over the life of a practice, job duties shift, become obsolete, and new ones should be added. Consider these relatively new job duties as you make revisions:
- Answer emails from website
- Respond to all online reviews (Google Business, Facebook, Yelp)
- Engage in social media, share, like, add new posts
- Create and maintain a log of where new patient calls originate (website, social media, referral, drive-by, ads, etc.)
- Update website every 3-6 months
- Manage patient recall emails
- Manage patient appointment reminder emails
- Send thank-you notes or emails to patients
- Create and manage patient surveys
- Post office news to blog, social media
- Take pictures and post to Google Business, social media
11) Set up a video station at home.
When you’re at the office, you have little time to make videos, so while you’re at home during these COVID-19 shelter in place regulations, set up a video recording area in your home. That’s right, you should do some of your dental practice marketing from home!
I can’t state this strongly enough: YOU DO NOT NEED SPECIAL CAMERAS OR STAGING for the type of videos I’m talking about. No one expects it these days. In fact, using pro videography can make the results look staged. I mean, they will be staged, so… You should shoot for a casually professional look and feel (ie: dress biz casual from the waist up ;-)).
My video station is evolving. It’s not just as I want it yet, but I’m pressing forward anyway. See below.
Tips for creating your video recording station at home:
- Quiet place – you have to find an area where kids, dogs, cats, ferrets, parrots, road traffic, and background noise are at a minimum.
- Tidy background – I prefer having a table behind or beside the speaker, with a modest piece of decor that relates to the business and maybe a picture on the wall.
- Good lighting – you can use lamps or clamp lights (like you’d use in a garage), and adjust the blinds on windows. You’ll have to do a few test shots; the goal is no glare but enough light to produce a bright and cheery result.
- Sturdy foundation for your computer or phone camera – a shaky table or holding the camera in your hand won’t work well. There are auto-correct settings for the shakiness, but don’t depend on them. Best results come from having a solid foundation.
- Good distance between your seat/standing location and the camera – you need to take up about ⅓ of the viewing area. The camera should be up, looking down on you just slightly, never looking up at you from below.
- Download a teleprompter app – whether you use a computer or phone, these apps range from free to costing a little bit. Start with a free one and see how it works for you.
- Write your script or talking points and upload to the app – you want to sound natural, but oftentimes that results in a lot of “ums” and “ers”. Speaking points in a logical progression will help you minimize the “thinking sounds”. (They can be awkward.) Without talking points, we often restate ideas and can become boring.
- When speaking, look at the camera – having a teleprompter app really helps with this. I tend to look up and to the right when trying to find words, and it looks weird on camera.
- Test it out – do a test run and watch it. Make notes on everything that needs to change (go down this list again).
- Put videos on your schedule and make them happen! If you’re like most people, you will not regularly make videos if you don’t set aside time to do so.
- If you don’t like how you look on camera, change your look – wear different clothes, wear glasses (or don’t), alter your hairstyle, use a dab of foundation on facial blemishes. Then get over it.
REMEMBER: People see you every day. (Well, they used to.) You look the same on camera as off, so just get over it. If you don’t you’ll get left behind. Marketing experts predict that video will overtake everything else online. It’s a necessity, and you have time to learn the ropes right now. Do it!
12) Repurpose popular blogs as video scripts.
This is pretty obvious. Your blogs that get the most traffic, which you (or I) can identify through Google Search Console, will be even more effective with a video. Upload your script to the teleprompter app and ACTION!
13) Think about the things in your office that patients don’t really know about.
Create blogs, email blasts, and social media posts about them. INCLUDE ORIGINAL PICTURES OR VIDEOS (this is perhaps the most important point).
Here are some of the things I’m referring to:
- Fluoride treatment – how it works, what kind you prefer to use in the office and who’s right for this treatment.
- Digital radiographs – patients know that radiation is scary, but they may not know that you use digital radiography and how it benefits them.
- Other technologies – few of your patients have actually seen Invisalign data on a screen, a CEREC milling machine, or how you make custom mouth guards. These things seem commonplace to you, but they’re NEWS to your patients.
These make fantastic email blasts, as well!
14) Reach out to local business owners for guest blogs.
Even though you aren’t at your office, your small business exists in a community. Who are your business’ neighbors? Do they have a website, blog, or social media page that you could cross-market on during these rough times? Why not?
You are a community leader! Reach out to other business owners. Together, you form a stronger army, right?
Don’t just email, but call up the business, introduce yourself if you’ve never met, and explain that you’re taking time to work on some online marketing strategies. Talk about how your businesses can connect and how your clients/patients overlap.
For instance, I work with a client who’s a chiropractor. His office is next to a dental practice and a bike shop. The clientele of these businesses definitely overlap! Clients/patients live in the same area and are interested in healthy living. Boom!
Next, discuss creative ways to cross-market:
- Hold a Zoom call (don’t forget to hit record) and talk about how residents of your area can stay healthy and fit during the COVID-19 times and shelter-in-place regulations. Just have an informative conversation. Participating business owners can post to social media, websites, and blogs.
- Swap blog guest posts and be sure to link back to your website.
- Add one another’s business info (or guest post link) in an email blast to patients.
You see how this could be great?
At Times Like These, Greatness Happens (Even in Dental Practice Marketing)
As we go through these tumultuous days, KEEP WORKING. Encourage your team to participate. Rarely do we have time to sit back and think, plan, and sculpt our marketing efforts and business strategies.
The time you put in now to market your dental office and brush up the business plans will pay off in shiploads when your dental office re-opens. (Oh glorious day!)
Be an encourager. Put in the effort. Keep moving forward. And remember to smile.