How to Communicate With Patients When Your Dental Office is Closed
If your dental office is closed due to COVID-19, there are still opportunities to communicate with your patients to keep them healthy and well-informed in this trying time. Here's how, and what information you should be sharing with your target audience.
What Should You Be Communicating to Your Patients During COVID-19?
If your practice is closed, or only open for emergencies, you may assume that there's no need to continue dental marketing to your patients. However, marketing with social media, your blog, and in other ways can help you get critical information out to your patients.
You should inform your patients about:
- Your emergency protocol. Is your dental practice open for emergency dental care? What counts as a dental emergency? Make sure you inform patients if you are taking emergency cases and if not, direct them to a facility that is.
- Your COVID-19 protocol. What is your dental office doing to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus? When your facility opens again, what additional steps will you take to reduce the risk of infectious diseases in your practice? Let patients know what your office is specifically doing in response to COVID-19.
- Reliable information about the coronavirus. Your patients want to know about COVID-19 and how it relates to their oral health. Link out to reliable resources like the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and reputable local health officials and governing bodies.
- Actionable oral health tips patients can use at home. Many of your patients are practicing social distancing or have quarantine or travel restrictions, meaning they're spending the majority of their time at home. Give your patients actionable advice they can use now, such as how to properly floss, common oral health myths debunked, and what to watch for as they monitor their own dental health at home.
How Should You Communicate?
Stay Up-to-Date with Social Media
Social media is a great place to start to communicate with your patients during the coronavirus outbreak. Photos, videos, podcasts, and other types of rich media tend to get more engagement, likes, and shares on social media.
Your organic reach is likely low and largely composed of your followers, but paid ads on platforms like Facebook are a fairly economical form of marketing. Consider taking out a small paid ad to increase your reach across your target demographic and to ensure that the majority of your patient base is able to see critical information published by your office.
Keep Up with Your Dental Blog
Your blog is another easy way to ensure that patients who visit your website are able to get the most relevant information about your practice and your services. Continue publishing a post on your blog at least weekly. Publish more frequently if you are keeping up with news and disseminating reliable resources to your readers.
Make sure your blogs are search engine optimized (SEO), so they continue to help your website rank, even though your office is likely experiencing some downtime right now. Google algorithms are still crawling websites, and keeping your blog alive and valuable to patients during this time can help your ranking efforts both now and in the long term.
Use AI Technology to Text or Call Patients
Many types of dental practice management software offer artificial intelligence (AI) or automated programs that allow you to send automated calls or texts to patients. Typically, this is used to confirm patient appointments. While your office is closed during the coronavirus outbreak, you can use this feature to stay in communication with your patients.
Send texts with links to critical resources that your patients can easily navigate to using their smartphones. Or, schedule an auto-recording to personally inform patients how your office is responding to COVID-19 and where they can go on your website or social media profiles to find more information.
With the right phone system, office managers who are working remotely can continue to make calls to cancel appointments and work to reschedule them for the future.
Start New Email Marketing Initiatives
Email marketing can allow you to send newsletters, resources, and other critical details directly to the inboxes of your patients. Consider developing an email marketing campaign that provides your patients with valuable tips and advice they can use now, while they're mostly staying at home and unable to access in-person oral health resources. Automating your emails as a “drip campaign” allows your patients to hear from you at regularly scheduled intervals while allowing you to work on your marketing whenever it’s most convenient.
Plan Ahead During COVID-19
We know that dental offices across New England are experiencing hardship and uncertainties with the spread of the coronavirus. We're dedicated to helping your practice thrive during this challenging time. Contact Integrity Systems & Solutions to learn about how with business planning, business continuity, technology support, and more.