Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is bringing fear and uncertainty into our communities, and leaving many medical practices questioning what they should expect in the months ahead. As stadiums, movie theaters, and restaurants close, and public sentiment becomes more fearful, many businesses (including your medical practice) will be impacted.
Our experts came together to discuss some ideas that are meant to help and encourage you. Here are a few tips on what to do and think about to prepare for the future…
Maintain clear, consistent communication
Don’t underestimate the importance of communication at this time — both to your existing patient base and to your potential patients. Focusing your message on your commitment to the health and safety of your community will continue to reconfirm your value to them. Most of your patients may be rescheduling appointments now, but eventually, they’ll need to come back in. By communicating with patients about the specific steps you have in place to keep them safe, you will remind them of why they trust you to provide the best care.
Be prepared to make quick decisions
Sometimes quick decisions are not easy, but critical. Given that medical associations are strongly recommending that practices voluntarily suspend nonessential and non-urgent care at this time, consider pivoting your strategy to focus on emergency care searches if your schedule can accommodate it. Make sure your advertising and landing pages include medical emergency-related terms and keywords. Perhaps there is an immediate opportunity to improve your messaging on social platforms to speak to your emergency services.
Brand-awareness campaigns could be another opportunity to focus on versus special, limited-time offers or discounts. Patients may not be calling now to set up an appointment, but they will have more time to research future options. Make sure your business shows up in searches when a prospect is looking into the best options for their care. Continue creating content that addresses frequently asked questions and positions you as an expert.
Pivoting your marketing communication to respond to this unique climate can help keep you in front of patients who need immediate care, as well as those who will eventually pick up the phone to make an appointment to see you.
Plan for the long term
Most successful practice owners would agree — success is a long game. Setting reasonable 3-year and 5-year goals for your business can keep your attention on the right metrics for long-term success. But keep in mind that with time comes change — technology, consumer trends, and government regulation can change the way medical practices cost-effectively deliver care over the long haul. Is your practice open to innovating as times change? For example, this current outbreak is creating the biggest demand for telehealth that the world has ever seen.
Many of our clients and prospects are now offering telehealth solutions, and not requiring an office visit to maintain care to their patient base. Are you currently set up to offer remote care? If so, now is a great time to talk about it. Consider launching an advertising campaign on a popular digital channel like Google, Facebook, and YouTube, and make sure you’re building helpful content around it — educate patients about the value remote care can offer them, when you offer it, and how it is delivered. If your medical practice is not currently set up for telehealth, perhaps it should be integrated into your long-term plan.
Trust the advice of experts
You’re at your best when you’re caring for patients. Meanwhile, your professional business partners in areas like finance, accounting, and marketing are following the details of this virus and the impact on their respective disciplines. Trust their insights. Your marketing partner should be focused on the implications of coronavirus as it relates to your marketing campaigns and your ability to drive new business to your practice in the future. Make a point to connect with your marketing contact on a regular basis as they offer updates and potential solutions for your specific situation.
Continue to deliver value
Fewer patients coming in your doors now presents an opportunity to deliver an even better patient experience to those that do. Taking a few extra moments to answer questions or explain a procedure can help alleviate your patients’ fears, especially now. That added attention is time well spent and an investment in future opportunities for your practice.
Uncertain months like these can often lead to more questions than answers. As a marketing provider, we have seen successful businesses charter difficult times since 2001. We will continue our commitment to the overall growth and development of our clients, now and in the future. If you would like to talk through some of these tips with one of our medical marketing experts, feel free to contact us.
We look forward to helping medical practices get through this challenging season and prepare for better times ahead.