At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, one of marketing expert Evan Lazarus’s clients said something that really stuck with him. He said, “Look, Evan, I’ve already come to the reality that I am going to get the virus. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. Once my colleagues and my peers swallow that pill, going to work is going to be a lot easier for them.”
Even taking precautions, Evan’s client believes that contracting the virus is inevitable because of how close-up dentistry is. However, many have been surprised by how few dental practitioners have actually come down with the illness and theorize that this trend is due to the protective procedures and equipment already in place. Whichever side your beliefs align with, we can all agree that eventually, our practices need to open.
Personally, my practice has remained open during the pandemic to take in serious cases to keep patients out of the emergency room. If you are focusing on emergency cases or have already opened your doors to some elective cases, it’s important to strengthen your messaging.
To begin, look at how your practice appears online. Evan added a simple banner to UPenn’s Dental School site, highlighting their availability for emergency cases only. If your practice is only taking similar cases, he notes that it’s important to define what an “emergency” is to patients.
Also, if you’ve already marked your Google Business Listing as “closed” or “temporarily closed,” Evan encourages you to change status. If you have any staff available to take future appointments or address emergencies, mark your business as open so that patients looking for emergency treatment or future appointments will not be deterred from calling.
In terms of calling, Evan also recommends that instead of sending blast emails to tired eyes, have your team call your clients in a more personal fashion to check in on their health and ensure that they know that any potential dental emergencies will be taken care of. This little bit of human contact can go a long way.
According to Evan, doctors who rely solely on digital marketing to drive people to the door often forget about picking up the phone and just being human. The doctors who will thrive coming out of this will have used this time to built their brands as individuals— becoming focal points of their communities.
For example, one of Evan’s client’s, a medical doctor, started doing Q&A’s for his community as the “town doctor” via Facebook Live. It started small, but through his transparency, his live stream began spreading to a larger audience. Essentially, your business base lives within five miles of your office, so setting your intentions to provide value and answer your community’s questions during this time will draw positive attention to your practice.
If you are working to improve your safety practices, make sure to communicate that effectively to your audience or your work will have little impact. Humanize your story by going the extra mile by making a video of these new cleaning procedures etc., instead of just sending an email about them.
Evan also notes that the “bread and butter” dentists need to think about kids. Embracing this age group will bring new families to your door because while many adults may be reducing their dental visits due to COVID-19, their children’s dental health will likely still remain a priority.
In general, Evan works in marketing, but he believes that most of his work lies in teaching his clients resilience and to keep their heads up. He believes that if we focus on getting things done instead of just our new challenges, it will help us succeed in the long run.
Learn more about:
- How to communicate with your patients more effectively than email blasters
- How to create a stronger brand through virtual community outreach
- More effectively addressing COVID-19 on your Google Listing
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