COVID-19 has imposed never before seen trials and difficulties unto our society and economy. Medical professionals all over the world are working relentlessly to minimize the effects of the virus and aid those who have fallen ill. In a time ridden by apparent instability and ambiguity, it is crucial that dental and medical institutions are putting their best foot forward to combat the effects COVID-19 has had on their clients, employees, and office reputation.

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Medical Marketing Strategies to Protect Your Dental Office’s Reputation During and After COVID-19

Most people seem to have lost track of the number of days since the COVID-19 outbreak and no one can definitively say how long the effects of this pandemic could last. The pandemic has disrupted not only the financial stability of many leading dental companies but it has also caused economic instability worldwide. These changes have also taken a toll on many of the typical marketing methods used by family dentistry business owners so they must think and act proactively when it comes to indoctrinating new dental marketing strategies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Protecting your dental business during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic entails much more than making sure your equipment has been disinfected. It is crucial that your dental organization creates a medical marketing plan with various safeguards to protect their employees in addition to the company's reputation and wellbeing. The first step to protecting your company and employees during a pandemic is implementing an emergency preparedness plan. A dental emergency plan should outline the steps you are taking to protect your employees, the necessary means of communicating effectively with both employees and clients, and how to conduct your dental practice during an outbreak. Unfortunately, the dental industry requires far too much face-to-face contact between clients and dental employees to establish a straightforward work from home policy. Nonetheless, there are various ways dental teams can efficiently communicate updates with employees.

Firstly, emails are one of the most efficient means of communicating important information that receivers may need to refer back to. During this pandemic, a dental office could send out weekly emails or memos to employees with updates. These updates could include COVID-19 updates regarding the work from home order, any important local updates affecting their business or ability to work, and the overall well being of the business. It is also crucial that dental business owners check in on the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees during this time. The way businesses, in general, are treating their employees during the COVID-19 crisis speaks volumes for how much employers value their workers. Both employees and dental clients will notice how a dental employer is handling this situation and will respond accordingly. If your clients or employees do not feel as though their dental provider or employer is concerned about their health and safety, they will most likely not be returning to that office once the effects of COVID-19 have blown over. An employer should attempt to make themselves available during this self-isolation period as this lack of social interaction and overall uncertainty circulating through our society can be quite taxing on an employee.

While emails are great for providing a means of communicating lots of information that may need to be recalled at a later time, video chats are great for live conversations and important discussions between dental employers and employees. Modern technology has provided us with various outlets for virtual communication. A dental employer could use one of these video chat outlets to conduct face-to-face conversations with employees. These could be company-wide conversations regarding important dental company updates or one on one conversations between employer and employee. It is of the utmost importance that heads of family dental businesses make sure their employees are taken care of during the unpredictable time of COVID-19.

How to Market and Communicate Efficiently With Clients During COVID-19

Social distancing does not mean that a family dental company should go silent during this time. Online engagement is surging as people are spending more time at home on their devices and social media networks. The demand for alternative forms of communication caused by the Coronavirus crisis requires family dentistry business owners to explore new and innovative ways to communicate with clients. While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to dental businesses unlike anything before, it is also a great opportunity for family dental owners to reach out to their clients and provide them interaction, information, reassurance, and valuable resources.

The first step in developing a successful medical or dental marketing campaign is to know your audience. One unique aspect to the family dental community when it comes to marketing and communication techniques is that family dental companies already know who a large percentage of their target audience is: their clients and their client's friends and family. As dental business’s prospective clients are spending more time online, they should attempt to reach their audience through various social media outlets. Regardless of where your clients are, they are able to access social media. A dental marketing campaign focused on creating a strong dental Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn presence during COVID-19 is both efficient and affordable. Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, peoples’ time spent on various social media platforms has increased 30%. Family dental companies can benefit from this increased usage by promoting their services and increasing brand exposure and recognition. In a time where clients are unable to come into the office, it is crucial that the dental company’s 2020 COVID marketing campaign stresses the need for an online presence.

A second strategy when communicating effectively with current and potential new dental clients is a form of automated dental marketing. It is vital that a family dental business not only attempt to attract the attention of new clients despite the world’s current situation but also hold the attention and loyalty of their current dental clients. The use of personalized text messages or emails to dental and medical clients can help your business generate revenue and appointments despite the effects of COVID-19. These text messages or emails could include personalized product suggestions, virtual consult offers, or the ability to make an appointment for when the stay-at-home order is lifted. Clients want to feel like they are valued and cared for so a dental practice must do everything in its power to make sure their clients are as satisfied as possible. COVID-19 is a very confusing time for us all, but this too shall pass and family dental practices must continue to communicate efficiently and regularly for the future betterment of their practice.

How various social media outlets can mediate the effects of COVID-19 on your dental practice

The increasing versatility and breadth of various technological outlets over the past two decades has created an extremely interconnected media system. The ability to communicate with one another during COVID-19 has minimized the negative effects this outbreak has had on people’s physical and mental health. From staying connected on various social platforms to video chat calls, social media has helped people of every socioeconomic demographic mediate the effects of this pandemic.

The same is to be said for dental practices aiming to curtail the inherent changes and disruptions brought on by COVID-19. While dental offices are not able to conduct themselves in their typical manner, there are various ways to help maintain and grow your dental practice even during a time of social distancing. One of the pinnacle dental marketing strategies used both today and in the past is increasing brand recognition. It is of the utmost importance that dental practices continue to promote their business on their dental social media platforms. Brand recognition is more important now than ever before because it influences dental clients’ decisions when comparing competing dental practices. According to a 2019 poll, over 80% of the United States population has at least one social media account and the number of people on social media and overall time spent on media platforms has increased due to the stay at home order.

Dental practices should consider posting special offers on their various social media platforms. A dental Facebook page may advertise the opportunity for webinars or informative podcasts to keep their dental clients up to date on the status of their dental office and hygiene. Clients are unable to come into a dental office right now for obvious reasons, but that does not mean that they do not have questions or concerns regarding their dental health or progress. Webinars are an effective medical marketing tool during COVID-19 because they demonstrate the dental office’s care and concern for the diverse needs of their clients. Furthermore, they require a great deal of knowledge and can increase brand recognition and improve your dental business’s reputation. This public service style marketing demonstrates the dental office’s commitment to raising awareness of certain issues and influencing the way the public perceives your dental practice. A dental office’s following on social media will likely share these webinars with their followers, furthering increasing your dental company’s brand recognition and leverage. That being said, informative webinars are a fantastic way to keep in touch with current dental clients, be found by new clients, all the while increasing your dental practice’s prestige and influence. There is no denying that the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted almost every aspect of our society, but this has made room for new and improved dental COVID marketing and communication strategies.

Why a patient portal is crucial during COVID-19 and for your dental practice’s future growth

A strong dental website is an innate characteristic to a successful dental practice and dental marketing campaign. A high-quality dental website allows both current and new clients to acquaint themselves with everything your dental organization has to offer. A dental website is often one of the first impressions dental patients have on your practice, so it is crucial that a dental website reflects the nature, attitudes, and expertise of the office. While a dental site should include information about the office and the dental services offered, there is one component that can help facilitate communication between dentists and new or current clients. As dental companies make adjustments to their conventional 2020 dental marketing strategies as a result of COVID-19, the implementation of a patient portal or improvement of their already existent portal is highly effective. The addition or renovation of a patient portal on a dental website can augment a dental company’s client intake and growth in numerous ways. One of the key goals of any dental marketing strategy is to retain their current patients while acquiring new ones. Patient portals aim to provide the user with relevant and informative content, instead of them having to navigate aimlessly through your dental site. This allows patients to quickly and effectively find the information or resources they need. There are many ways patient portals facilitate various aspects of communication between the dental patient and dentist.

There are a few specific aspects to a patient portal that make it highly effective. Firstly, each client of the dental practice would have their own personalized portal but to take things further and potentially intake more patients, a dental site could allow new patients to create a portal before they ever step foot in your dental office. Each dental client would have the ability to log onto their custom portal to access important documents, dental and medical records, book appointments, contact their dental provider, and much more. The ability to book and confirm appointments online will greatly increase a dental office’s productivity by reducing the number of phone calls and messages exchanged between patient and dentist. To further facilitate communication between patient and dentist, the patient portal could feature a chat section where the patient could send messages to their dental provider on the website, instead of exchanging various missed messages and calls between dentist and patient. This way, both new and returning patients could get their questions answered about their dental and medical needs quickly and have all of their necessary resources within close proximity. Lastly, a patient portal is a great way to increase dental practice’s profit while exceeding the expectations of patients. Each personalized patient portal could feature a section with product suggestions for the patient's needs. Whether it has been sensitive gums or whitening products, the patients would have the ability to order products based on their dental provider’s recommendations and expertise. This feature could prove to be extremely effective during COVID-19 dental marketing as it allows patients to treat their dental needs from the comfort of their own home. The versatility and personalization of patient portals make them effective for both COVID dental marketing strategies and the future growth of your dental practice, no matter the office’s specialization.

How SEO can combat COVID-19’s effects on your dental office

Search engine optimization, SEO for short, is the strategic process of growing the quality of traffic to your dental site by using specific keyword seeding throughout the dental site. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo have three primary functions. The first is to scour the internet for relevant information and then store and organize the various sites to be displayed on the result page. Lastly, the search engine orders the various sites from most to least relevant based on the users keyword search.

While there are over 30 different search engines potential dental clients could use to search for information, Google is by far the most perverse server used to access the internet. SEO is not only concerned with making your dental website appear as top results on search engines, but that good and strategic SEO practices can improve the user’s experience with your dental site.  Search engine optimization and keyword seedings are two vital aspects of a successful dental marketing campaign and easily accessible dental site.

2020 COVID marketing strategies are unique for obvious reasons, but traditional dental marketing tactics like SEO are still fruitful when applied correctly and efficiently to your dental practice’s needs. Digital marketing has been on the rise for the past decade and as a result of spending more time at home, people are spending more time online creating new patient opportunities. For these potential patients to find your dental practice, SEO helps match these users with the most relevant dental finds and sites according to their specific search. Furthermore, the COVID-19 outbreak may have caused a new patient's previous dental practice to go under, so strategic SEO seeding on a dental site will make your dental site one of the top results for their search which will, in turn, increase traffic to your website and help new patients find the information they need. This can potentially help dental practices mediate the effects COVID-19 is having on their business by increasing the number of bookings for future appointments and acquiring new dental patients.

If family dental practices want to narrow their dental marketing agenda to find local new clients, they could do so by incorporating local SEO into their dental site and dental Google ads. Local SEO aims to optimize your dental practices mobile aspects while tailoring them to the needs and preferences of a specific vicinity or location. There are various ways to improve your dental practice’s website, content, and online presence. To attract the attention of local patients, dental sites may embed professional and consumer reviews to increase traffic to their site. Dental patients tend to do their research when deciding on a family dental practice because they are preparing to make a large investment so SEO can help give your dental practice the best digital-first impression possible despite the inconveniences and burdens presented by COVID-19 to dental practices all over the country.