Uncertainty might be an understatement considering the current situation worldwide. Coronavirus has really overtaken this year. Everyone is at a pause. Some call it the ‘big break’ we all needed. But what this pandemic does not do is define us. What will define us is how we come out of it.  Businesses are getting severely affected, but if your plan is to ‘ride this storm out’ then you might find yourself on a deserted island once all this is over. This is not just the time to reflect and relax – it is the time to plan and prepare. So rather than going into hibernation, you need to dust yourself off and adapt your practice and your marketing strategies to this new turn of events. Not sure why or how you need to manage your marketing when you are literally closed for business, possibly indefinitely? Here’s everything you need to know:

 

Have a Consistent Plan

Not just during uncertainty, but in normal circumstances many businesses fail to plan their marketing strategy. Their strategy usually takes a rollercoaster ride depending on how the business is doing. So, when those less than ideal patients start to walk through the door, they start marketing heavily, and when they get to their desired patient numbers, it is like the business vanishes, the marketing stops, until the patients begin to drop. This is called helicopter marketing. Helicopters burn most fuel during take-off and landing, and not much while up in the sky.  Marketing strategies are the same, it takes a hefty capital to start a marketing campaign from scratch, but maintaining a consistent strategy isn’t as costly; but is more effective. The first thing you need to do is to use this time to create a consistent marketing plan for during this time of uncertainty as well as when it is business as usual.

 

Adapt to the Situation

Does this mean you start talking about the importance of self-isolation and washing your hands? No you don’t – enough people are doing that already. What you need to do is focus on how you can interact with your potential and existing patients in a way that they feel connected with you. Let them know that while you might not be open as normal, you are available for a chat and on call in case of emergencies.  Or you could talk about the importance of dental hygiene, or tips and tactics to prevent toothache or other dental issues. You could also get very creative with your marketing by offering tips and tactics for using dental floss or toothbrushes for cleaning or organising the house. The options are endless and offer great potential for reaching out to your target audience. You may not be able to make a sale right now, but you can make sure that you are the only dentist they remember when the uncertainty clears.

 

Don’t Copy What Others are Doing

By doing what others are doing, you just help strengthen their message. For instance, if another practice in your region offers boutique services with free-Wi-Fi and you too start conveying a similar message, then all you’ll end up doing is reminding potential patients about ‘the practice that offers free-Wi-Fi’ because they have already tapped into it. Now, there is a fair chance more than 60% of dental practices already offer free Wi-Fi, but if that one practice is the only one doing it, then steer away from it. The only exception is if you could beat their offer. You know that infamous story of two hairdressers where one offered haircuts for $50 and the other offered it for $10. The first one could have lowered their price, but instead they relied on effective marketing and advertised their business as ‘the one that fixes the $10 haircuts.’  Try to be unique and true to your own brand and vision.

 

Internal Marketing

This is your pot of gold right there! The worst thing you could do is lose your position as ‘the go-to dentist.’ People like to create this sense of ownership around the people that they do business with. So, a hairdresser isn’t just a hairdresser, she becomes ‘my hairdresser’, ‘my mechanic’, ‘my dentist.’ And as the professional on the other end, you need to continuously remind them of this connection. Remind patients that you know them better than anyone else.  In times of uncertainty, this sense of ownership should become all the more important. Reach out to patients and let them know that you are still around. It could be just a text message reassuring them that you will soon be open. It may be something like ‘we can’t wait to show you our shiny new practice’, or ‘we have been working hard in our practice and can’t wait to introduce you our new offerings, or new teeth whitening service, or new ortho service’.  Your regular patients are your most valuable assets and you need to work at retaining that ‘my dentist’ status!

 

Tips for Making This Time Productive

Apart from proactively marketing your practice, following are a few tips and tactics to make the best use of this time:

  • Check your current marketing strategies and see how they have been fairing recently
  • Marketing metrics can be really helpful in strategising and improving your marketing game. For online marketing, use Google metrics and other resources to stay up to date.
  • Newsletters give you access to your target audiences’ virtual living rooms. Even if 20% read it, don’t let it dishearten you! At least the other 80% haven’t unsubscribed yet.
  • Use this time to go back to your subscription list to fix any incorrect data. You’d be surprised by the number of addresses that have comas instead full stops or email addresses are wrong.
  • Further educate yourself on marketing techniques. Listen to podcasts, read books and learn new skills to help enhance your marketing strategies.

Fact is, this is a temporary situation; it will soon be over. But what will define you and your dental business is how you bounce back from this pandemic. The better prepared you are and how wisely you use this time could immediately put you ahead of your competition.

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:

1. Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”

The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here

2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too

It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here

3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event

Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details!  – Click here

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here

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