The current crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has turned the world upside down. Lockdown has been in place for over 3 weeks, completely changing our lifestyle. This has had an unprecedented impact on the dental industry, forcing most dental practices to close their doors to face to face appointments.
Its clear Coronavirus has changed day to day life for the time being. But how has this period of lockdown impacted our online behaviour?
Let’s take a look at the changes in search levels of popular dental-related searches carried out from the 23rd Feb (one month before the lockdown was announced) to now:
While there is a clear drop in the number of searches around the 23rd March, they haven’t completely stopped, and the trend is steadily increasing as time goes on.
The above shows the change in the search volume of three of the most common ortho-related terms. Since the 23rd March, there has been a small drop in the term ‘Invisalign’ searches, while ‘Teeth Straightening’ and ‘Adult Braces’ have remained stable.
These figures are somewhat surprising. Considering the current situation is stopping any appointments going ahead, and the public is aware of this, the stats are showing interest in these treatments is still there.
Perhaps most relevant is the search volumes relating to Emergency dental treatment:
Searches for ‘Emergency Dentist’ have seen an ongoing daily increase since the 23rd March. People across the UK are still experiencing dental emergencies and looking for dental advice, well aware that they may not be able to get the treatment required.
So, we can see that the population of the UK is still interested in cosmetic and restorative dental treatments such as Implants and Orthodontics. And, an increasing number are actively seeking emergency dental care. While you may not be able to meet the needs of these searchers in the usual way via a face to face consultation, or emergency dental appointment, there are other ways to help and your website and online marketing is one of these.
Times are tough and we all know that budgets are stretched. However, completely pausing your online marketing will have a negative impact now, and in the future when life returns back to normal. Potential patients are still interested in treatment, so dropping down the rankings will make your practice harder to find, leading to fewer patients. Maintaining SEO and continuing to work on your Ads is recommended as you can still help your patients online. If keeping the same level of investment you had prior to COVID-19 isn’t possible, think about reducing spend rather than stopping altogether.
Video consultations are an excellent way to help and connect with potential and existing patients. You can provide information on treatments face-to-face, building the relationship and increasing the chances of the patient coming to you when they are able to. For those seeking help for dental emergencies, actually speaking to a dentist over a video call will offer reassurance and in-depth guidance that just can’t be provided over email.
If you’d like to set up an e-consultation service for your patients, we can help. Read more about dental e-consultations here, or contact us to chat things through.
Make sure your website content is optimised and adjusted for the current situation. Change your copy to promote booking e-consultations rather than appointments, and give as much information about how your team can help during lockdown. It may be a good idea to create a waitlist for patients to join so you can get in touch once this blows over and get them booked in for treatment.
For emergencies and general dentistry, including tips and advice on how to manage dental pain at home. Offer advice on how to maintain oral health at home. By providing this content, you will meet the searcher’s needs and hopefully build trust with new and existing patients. We have useful resources available that can help – contact us to disucss this further.
Include a page on your site with details on how you are managing the current situation and reassuring patients that you are still there to help.
If you need help with your online marketing just get in touch and we will be able to help.