At the risk of sounding cliche, 2020 was a year like no other. As the world changed around us (sometimes day-by-day), many were wondering what the costs of the pandemic were going to look like in 2021 and beyond.
The dental industry is not exempt from these changes, and despite the economic impact dental practices are facing, there are opportunities opening up in new and exciting places. We’re here to help you put patients in your chairs, and to do that, we’re going to take a dive into some of the biggest marketing and communication trends dentists can take advantage of in 2021!
Invest in Content Creation
Relevant, trustworthy, and engaging content is the name of the digital game. No matter the type of business you own, you can benefit from providing regular quality content for your patients.
Content creation isn’t just about driving clicks, however. It’s about developing a brand that your patients can turn to for accurate, expert advice on their oral health. A good way to make sure you’re providing quality content for your patients is to follow the acronym E.A.T:
- Expertise: Present yourself as an expert in the field by delivering content your patients want to see and will help them best.
- Authoritativeness: Back up your claims by providing authoritative sources as links or citations. You may be an expert, but even experts have to have proof.
- Trustworthiness: Give your audience an opportunity to respond to your content, provide a location where they can book appointments, and simply present yourself as a real person.
There are a number of ways to create content that drives patients to your practice, and you should spend some time thinking about and experimenting with different mediums to see what you feel comfortable with. You can start a blog, create videos, or simply be active on social media!
Use Social Media Properly
Speaking of social media, did you know that 75% of consumers will choose a product or a service based on what they find on social media. And out of all the different platforms you can use, your absolute priority should be Facebook.
Facebook is a catch-all for every bit of information you need to share with your patients. Everything from simple updates about your practice (i.e., staff changes, new operating hours, etc.) to sharing blogs and videos can be done on Facebook, and you can even dedicate a budget towards promoting this information to potential patients in your area!
However, there are some best practices you should keep in mind when you’re posting to social media:
- Be compliant with your marketing regulatory boards.
- Share only valuable content with your audience (researched articles are great, but what you’re eating for dinner is not!)
- Adding a little personality doesn’t hurt, especially if it helps your patients understand you and your brand a little better.
If you have the permission of your patients, you may be able to share some personal experiences on social media, too! However, always be aware of what regulations you might have to follow when posting information about your patients.
Drive Online Reviews
Speaking of personal experiences, you should always be encouraging your patients to leave online reviews of your practice after their appointments. 90% of consumers will choose a service or product simply because positive online reviews influenced them.
Reviews will also provide you with an opportunity to engage with your patients outside their appointments. Thank your patients for leaving positive reviews, or get in touch with those who left something negative. Even if your patient leaves a negative review, you have a chance here to publicly address their concerns and make it right for them.
Adapting to COVID-19
There’s no doubt that your marketing and communication has been affected in some way by the pandemic. Because it may be harder to get patients through the door, you want to adapt how you do your work inside your practice as well as provide opportunities for alternative types of appointments for your patients.
Telemedicine is one such way dentists all over the world are still getting face time with their patients without having to worry them about coming in for an appointment. Now, not every patient will be suited for a telemedicine appointment, but this is one way you can open more room for patients who may need to have mandatory procedures without overcrowding or overbooking your waiting room.
Another way to streamline the process for your patients is to introduce contactless ways of paying for their appointment or providing them with an app or a web database that makes it easy for them to find all of their important medical and billing information. If you only are allowed so many patients in your practice, for the time being, it’s vital to maximize the efficiency of both your work and the paperwork so you can see more patients in less time. Not only will your patients appreciate the convenience, but they will likely also be more responsive to recall emails, texts, and phone calls.