As we start to reemerge from our homes and get back to normal life, many of us are left asking—wait, what is normal? Can we just jump right back into what we previously considered normal? On both questions, it seems that the jury is still out. There is no “back to business” postpandemic playbook.
What we can do, though, is look around us. What are others doing? What seems to be working? What changes have made us personally feel more assured?
My company, PostcardMania, handles marketing for a number of dental practices—6,503 of them since 1998, to be precise. On average, we acquire 60-80 new dental clients every month, and our consultants speak with many more than that.
I decided to draw upon my unique position in the industry to examine dentists’ marketing strategies nationwide to see what they’re doing to make prospective patients feel comfortable booking appointments. Here are four postpandemic marketing strategies that stood out.
Prioritizing dental emergenciesWhen coronavirus precautions were at an all-time high, dentists around the nation were forced to put their practices on hold and
One dental office booked 11 emergency procedures as a direct result of postcards they sent promoting emergency appointments. This amounted to $20,000 in treatment, which has covered their marketing campaign and then some. While the owner says that the practice is still down about 35% this year, he expects to end the year back in the normal range.
Highlighting new and enhanced safety precautions
To address this, many dentists are adding new safety features and procedures to their marketing pieces. Highlighting proper PPE, enhanced sanitization practices, patient screening, and minimized waiting room crowds were popular among the campaigns I examined (figure 2).
Emphasizing teledentistry as a viable optionAt the height of the pandemic, most people were forced to stay home. People transitioned to handling many things virtually out of necessity, and many found that they preferred the newfound virtual option to the in-person alternative.
Not only is teledentistry fairly simple and straightforward to implement, it’s also affordable and in-demand at the moment. The potential is huge.
Figure 3 shows how a number of dentists were positioning their teledentistry services.
Targeting prospective patients
I won’t lie to you—this tactic was the biggest surprise to me. I would have thought that reactivating current patients would be the quickest way to fill appointment books again, but virtually every campaign I looked at was targeting new patients. It’s encouraging to see dentists focusing on the future and being proactive rather than reactive.
Most campaigns are targeting prospects using mailing list demographics like these:
• Residences only (excluding businesses and PO boxes)
• Households along mailing routes with a median income of $50,000–$60,000 or more
• People living within a certain radius of the practice
Dentists might be taking this opportunity to grab more market share, or they may simply realize that people are spending more time at home and are therefore paying more attention to their physical mail. The dentist I mentioned above whose campaign generated $20,000 in a few weeks mentioned this in an email to his PostcardMania consultant: “I have never seen these postcards be more effective.”
Hopefully, as more time passes and we begin to put the pandemic behind us, these campaigns will produce more results and case studies I can share with you.Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania. Using just postcards, a phone, and a computer, Gendusa built