How to Manage Your Online Presence During the Recession
The landscape of the dental industry is evolving. The pandemic and recession have forced dental professionals to rethink the way they provide services and operate their dental practices. Although this evolution is still ongoing and there are a lot of changes that we are yet to see, it is important to suit up and have a plan in place to manage your online presence and engagement.
Uncertain times have a way of prompting us to make the most of the moments and resources we have. The current recession and economic downturn is an opportunity for you to make pivotal decisions about the future of your dental practice. In the world of dentistry, we are currently seeing industry-wide changes involving teledentistry, mode of service deliveries, safety practices and methods of communication. You need to actively engage in practices that will position your dental practice to thrive over the next couple of years as the world deals with the aftermath of the pandemic and recession.
One way you can start getting a handle of things is by managing your practice’s online presence and positioning yourself to communicate with and reassure your current and prospective patients. The focus here is on patients. The safety of your patients should be your priority as you reopen your practice and try to navigate these uncertain times. By managing your online presence, you can let your patients know how much effort you are putting in so they can safely enjoy your service.
What is Online Presence?
Online presence is an umbrella term for your dental practice’s online activities and brand reputation. Managing your online presence means monitoring and optimizing the process through which internet users learn about and engage with your dental practice online. It is a combination of reputation management and content marketing. As several patients continue to stay indoors or within borders, they will be looking to the internet about dentists and dental practices around them. Your online presence is your opportunity to showcase your dental practice as a viable option or dental service provider for prospective patients in your community.
In this article, we will discuss how you can manage your online presence during this current recession and reap the benefits of doing so. These steps involve just about every aspect of your dental practice’s online brand reputation management.
How to Manage Your Online Presence
- Update Your Website
Your dental practice’s website is the digital storefront of your business. It is your responsibility to ensure your website is easy to access and navigate. If you don’t have a website for your dental practice, you can contact us at Connect the Doc to learn how to get started with one. If you have a website, you should review and update the information on your website.
The information should include updates about your opening hours and safety precautions you are taking to keep your current or prospective patients safe when they visit your practice. If you have a pre-screening process for your appointment, you can clearly state this information on your website along with links to more details or resources regarding social distancing orders and PPE usage.
If your service options and mode of deliveries have changed, you should also update that information on your website. Let patients know if you are only taking non-elective surgeries or emergency appointments. More so, you should use your website as a means to gather data about your patients. You can do this by having a form that collects their contact details - such as their name and email address - so you can share important updates with them in the future.
- Revisit Your SEO Strategy
Next, you need to review your SEO and content marketing strategy. If you are currently using keywords, Search Engine Optimization tools, blogs or other forms of content in your content marketing strategy, you should review your strategy. When doing this, you should take into account the current changes in consumer behaviours and how the pandemic and recession is affecting your patients.
Change and introduce new relevant keywords, decide on relevant topic ideas for your blog, review the statistics in your SEO tool and Google Analytics. If you haven’t done so, claim your Google My Business panel so you can boost the chances of your dental practice being found online by prospective patients. We recently shared an article about the key things to look out for when setting up or updating your Google My Business panel. You should read that article so you can ensure your panel is optimized to generate more leads for your dental practice.
As some travel restrictions still in place, now is a good time to focus your SEO strategy on local searches. More people are searching for dentists and dental services in their local communities. ‘Dentist near me’ is one of the top search queries on Google’s search engine. It is beneficial for you to target current and prospective patients who are in your neighbourhood or local community.
- Use Live Chats On Your Website
Right now, patients want to have easy access to their dental service providers. They want to know if or when they can schedule appointments and surgeries, the safety measures that are in place when they come into your dental practice, the home remedies or treatments they can hold on to while they wait for their appointments and many other inquiries. You need to have a system in place through which they can easily access you or your staff - and live chats could be the solution for you.
Having a live chat feature on your website allows your patients to communicate instantly with you or your staff immediately they visit your website. When a patient visits your dental practice’s website, chances are they have a query. Sometimes, the answers to patients’ queries are already on your website but there are moments when patients have unique questions that require further attention. A live chat feature on your website can help you meet the needs of your patients or website visitors at any time.
Connect the Doc’s live chat feature - Walter - can act as your 24/7 digital receptionist and helps your practice cater to your patients’ needs. It allows you to stay connected with your patients even when your office is closed. This intelligent tool can pre-qualify and screen patients, address their concerns, provide answers to their questions and generate more leads for your practice. If you want to successfully manage your online presence during these uncertain times, you should consider getting Walter, our live chat feature, on your website. Contact us today to learn how we can help you stay connected with your patients when it matters - as soon as they land on your website.
- Invest In Pay-per-Click Advertisements
Pay-Per-Click advertisements (PPC ads) are a model of online paid advertisements in which you pay only when an internet user clicks your advertisement. In 2019, about 45% of business owners generated more leads for their businesses by using PPC ads. Search ads - a type of PPC ads - are reported to have an ROI of 200%. PPC ads should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy.
That said, there are even more benefits to investing in PPC ads during the recession. Due to the economic downturn, the cost of PPC ads has reduced drastically but online engagements and ad conversion rates are increasing. This means that you can drive more traffic to your dental practice’s website and generate more leads for your business at a lower price. Now is the time to invest in PPC ads.
Our team at Connect the Doc wants to help you to reach more prospective patients right now. Through expert strategy and analysis, we will create and manage PPC ad campaigns that will get more eyes on your dental practice’s website and convert more leads for your business. We have a proven track record of getting results with marketing budgets of all sizes. Get a dedicated Connect the Doc account manager for your dental practice today who work with you and keep a pulse on your PPC ad campaigns.
- Leverage Social Media
As we mentioned earlier, online engagements are on the rise right now. More people are spending their time online - seeking information and updates, making purchases, searching for local businesses and service providers, and scheduling appointments. Social media platforms are great for engaging with your current and prospective patients. Engagements on social media posts have increased across most industries.
If you aren’t already doing so, you should include social media marketing in your marketing strategy during these times. When using social media, your goal should be to provide helpful and informational content for your followers and patients. Create and share posts that address common questions patients might have right now, provide updates about your dental practice’s reopening hours and safety precautions. You can share pictures of the signs and measures you have put in place to guarantee your patients’ safety while they are at your practice. Leverage social media to share testimonials and reviews from your patients.
With social media, you can connect directly with current and prospective patients. Patients want to stay connected with you and your dental practice. Social media allows you to do this in a way that showcases your dental practice’s unique brand. For more information on how you can get the most out of social media during these uncertain times, contact our social media experts at Connect the Doc.
- Assess your Communication Channels
From the points we have discussed, you may have noticed that the frequency and quality of communication with your patients is key to managing your online presence. Before the pandemic and recession, you may have established communication channels for connecting with your patients. Emails and text messages are two common communication channels amongst dentists and dental practices. If you don’t have these channels set up for your practice, contact us to set them up for you right away. If you have channels already set up for your practice, now is a great time to reassess them.
You should review the content you’re sharing with your patients and ensure the information you’re passing across are relevant and valuable to your patients. Understand that patients are also going through difficulties due to the pandemic and recession. The tone you use in your communications should be sensitive to this fact. This is a time to encourage, inspire and reassure your patients. Through your communications channel, let your patients know that you are there for them and your practice is still fully capable of providing the essential dental services they need.
The way you go about communicating with your patients matters. Connect the Doc can assess and analyze your communication channels based on your patients’ needs. Our experts can advise you on the industry-standard communication practices and tools you to stay connected and engaged with your patients in these uncertain times.
As you go about reopening and managing your dental practice amid the global public health and financial crisis, know that Connect the Doc is here to support your marketing efforts and help you navigate the ongoing challenges and industry-wide changes. You are welcome to contact us with your inquiries.