We are now living in the time of the coronavirus crisis also called COVID-19 whose ease of spreading has caused the borders of entire countries to shut. It’s a sad time with many people losing their lives, their jobs and the ability to provide for their families.
Life in the United States and across the world has become a stuck at home living a groundhog day life. We’ve come to learn more about more sanitary practices like washing our hands more regularly, working remotely, social distancing, self-quarantining and never to take hand sanitizer or toilet paper for granted again.
What is Social Distancing?
Cancelling events that are likely to draw crowds is an example of social distancing. Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.
Other examples of social distancing that allow you to avoid larger crowds or crowded spaces are:
- Working from home instead of at the office
- Closing schools or switching to online classes
- Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
- Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings
What is Self-Quarantining?
People who have been exposed to the new coronavirus and who are at risk for coming down with COVID-19 might practice self-quarantine. Health experts recommend that self-quarantine lasts 14 days. Two weeks provides enough time for them to know whether or not they will become ill and be contagious to other people.
- Using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently
- Not sharing things like towels and utensils
- Staying at home
- Not having visitors
- Staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household
– Source John Hopkins
The Initial Effects of COVID-19 on Dental Practices
With more and more restrictions small businesses everywhere are feeling the pressure as they are forced to close their doors amidst the coronavirus.
Except for essential services, your dental practice too has now closed its doors. In fact in Florida it was mandated to close all dental offices until May 8th!!!
All hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, office surgery centers, dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices and other health care practitioners’ offices are directed to immediately cease performing elective services until May 8, 2020.
Through issuance of Executive Order 20-72, Gov. Ron DeSantis has mandated the prohibition of any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery in the state of Florida. Dentists would still be required to see emergency patients. All non-essential elective medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures, are included in order to conserve medical supplies and resources, preserve essential resources and control the potential spread of COVID-19. (Source Florida Dental Association)
There’s a good chance you have had to lay off staff or get creative with time-off. Times are challenging due to the coronavirus and many businesses will not make it through.
With doors closed it is only natural that you will be assessing all your dental office’s business expenses. This ofcourse includes marketing, however, slashing marketing out of the mix could be a huge mistake long term if you plan to reopen your practice once the coronavirus is no longer a threat.
4 Dental Marketing Strategies to Consider in COVID-19 Times
Increase Your Exposure on Local Search
Search engine optimization is great, but for dentists, the real key is local SEO. Local SEO takes a bit of time to achieve top rankings but those top spots produce the traffic that your dental office wants and needs.
In fact, 92% of people searching for local businesses will select one from the first page of results. That means if you’re not on page 1 then this is a good time to squeeze the gas and not pump the brakes and get your practice ranking more competitively.
Instead of cutting back on SEO during coronavirus take advantage of this as an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors who may have cut back on their SEO or are neglecting it altogether.
If you are willing and have the time to learn a bit of SEO and make it a DIY project then there are lots of resources online that teach you how to create and optimize your GMB listing as well as other strategies to guide you through some of the essentials.
Not much of a Do-it-yourself-er then working with an SEO company for dentists may be ideal. Just be careful when choosing one, some promise the world and cant deliver on it.
Investing in strategies like local SEO is a a longer term play that allows your business the chance of attaining top rankings. Once achieved, local searches in Google for dental services will produce an inflow of traffic that is ready to convert for a fraction of the cost of other tactics.
Stay Connected via Social Media
Out of sight, out of mind. Maintaining that connection with your current social media communities is a good idea. While we work towards eventually bouncing back from coronavirus as in crisis communication is essential.
You want your following to know that your practice owners and practice are a part of the community. Post regularly, post consistently and interact with commenters.
I recently saw a YouTube post from a practice owner where she spoke about how they found out about the impacts of the virus and basically a small timeline that led to them having to close their office. Videos like that help remind us of the people behind the dental offices and how this is affecting them also. I enjoyed the video and think it was a good way to connect.
If you are having a hard time coming up with things to share check out this resources for post types for all social networks or just this one for a list of dental office Instagram post ideas you can integrate into your schedule.
Create New Content and Create New Ranking Opportunities
Purposefully creating content for your website increases the variety of keywords it can rank for and it also helps to strengthen your SEO. This is one of those strategies you may even want do double down on if you want to increase your search engine exposure
Content comes in a variety of forms on the internet. Here are 113 different content types that you can create. Re-purposing your content, which is using the same information to create two different types of content, can also make the process more cost-effective.
Update and Upgrade Your Website
This quiet time for your practice is an excellent time to take a comprehensive look at your website and gain a clear understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.
Its strengths should be enhanced and its weaknesses remedied and turned into strengths as much as possible.
Some areas to review are:
- Website Speed
You can visit here to test and analyze your website’s speed. The greater the speed of your dental site is the better the experience your users will have. Better experiences results in positive shifts in Googles search engine rankings.
- Content Management System
Another area is the CMS your website is built on. Here are a few questions to determine if the CMS your dental website runs on now is worth keeping:
- Are you able to add, edit and remove content from any part of your website whenever you want?
- Does your website represent your business well when viewed on mobile devices?
- Is it kept up-to-date with regular functionality and security updates?
- Is it your website to keep, regardless of if you stop using your current marketing company?
We recommend WordPress to all our clients and offer free website migration to WordPress.
When looking at your site, thinking ahead will help you to identify areas where development is needed for it to work better for you.