The potential risk of a coronavirus pandemic is gripping the country (and the world). Grocery stores are rationing or running out of supplies like face masks and cleaning agents. The media is providing constant updates to the public about the latest number of infections and deaths from the novel strain of the virus and those numbers are climbing.
While the actual severity of the COVID-19 virus is still to be determined, there is no doubt that the fear of this unknown pathogen is impacting prospective patient motivation and willingness to explore elective procedures. You need to be prepared for how this fear may affect your practice and what you can do about it.
Here are a few tips for the coming weeks and months as we better understand how coronavirus will play out:
1. Understand the mindset. People are afraid of the threat of a pandemic. As of the time of this article, the media is painting a worst-case scenario for the public, stirring up anxiety and fear. This is affecting the mindset of your potential patients. Anticipate lower show rates at public gatherings, like seminars, and a greater sense of concern in general.
2. Consider a shift from seminars/workshops to a direct-to-office campaign. We have already witnessed prospective patients cancel attendance at a seminar for fear of the coronavirus. I expect this will continue until we better understand and contain the coronavirus outbreak. If possible, transition to a direct-to-office campaign, either individual appointments or small groups. This can either be in addition to, or instead of, seminars/workshops.
3. Produce digital content. Prospective patients are still seeking solutions to their health concerns, regardless of whether coronavirus is out there or not. Now is a perfect time to educate them through digital content. There are many formats you can use – short 60 second videos on a particular aspect of a condition or treatment up to full-length webinars. While digital content online can’t replace the relationship built up through face-to-face discussions, they can be quite effective at educating prior to an office visit and building trust in the practice. Also, from an advertising perspective, video ads are 2 or 3 times more effective at driving patient engagement, click-through-rates, and conversions.
4. Practice the team’s sales skills. Since there may be fewer patients coming into the office for elective procedures over the coming months, it’ll be critical to make every opportunity count. Practice your skills, especially scheduling/confirmation over the phone and building emotional buy-in during the consultation. Those are the two areas where we see most practices have room for improvement. Our Executive Sales Coach, Lisa Berthelsen, can provide particular insights on how to become experts in those areas, if you are interested in talking with her.
Will the coronavirus end up as impactful as it may initially seem? No one knows for sure yet. But by taking some proactive steps towards ensuring the steady stream of motivated patients into the practice, it’s possible to thrive even in the face of this uncertainty.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your practice connect with motivated patients (coronavirus or not), let’s connect. We’d be glad to walk you through our cutting-edge marketing strategies and how they deliver results for our clients. Our newest approaches has been yielded the best results we’ve had in years!
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