Patients and the Pinch – How high inflation can impact marketing

16th March 2022 | | Uncategorised

We’ve all seen the headlines. Inflation is set to be at its highest level since the current measuring system began. Latest figures put it at 5.4% for the 12 months to January 2022 with further increases very probable. With wage growth simply not keeping pace there’s likely to be a significant impact on the spending power of the average consumer. If patients are having to cut back, what does this mean for dental practices?

On the face of it the problem seems fairly cut and dry. If patients have less money to spend then they will spend less money on their dental health. Whilst this is somewhat true that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing anyone can do to mitigate the issue. The important thing to do is plan ahead, act decisively and not lose sight of the bigger picture. From a digital marketing perspective, the gut instinct might be to cut back on spend. After all, if there’s less money being spent by patients then surely you should be spending less on marketing? The pandemic showed us that this was very much a flawed premise. Dental practices that kept their SEO, PPC and social media campaigns running reaped the benefits when the doors reopened. They had consistently high patient numbers off the back of improved rankings and better visibility, often after their competitors put things on hold. The same stance can be taken now and will likely yield similar results.

In fact, canny practices can take advantage of the competition reducing marketing spends to get ahead. It means Google Adwords cost-per-click is lower. It means faster results on SEO. It means higher proliferation for social campaigns. Further investment in these areas at times where others may be cutting back can create clear separation. Whilst there may be fewer patients overall that are willing to spend the sort of sums that Invisalign or implant work demands, that won’t matter if the majority of those that remain are being directed to your practice. Furthermore, it may be worth updating your marketing to ensure that it aligns with current trends. Patients are much more likely to be price conscious so your advertising should reflect that. Finance options, spreading the cost, 0% finance and the like should all be prominent. Free consultations, where possible, should be offered. Value for money should be emphasised.

Fast-rising inflation is a prospect that we haven’t seen in this country for around 30 years. The key to riding it out is not to stick your head in the sand and assume everything will work out in the end without changing anything. Intelligent marketing that recognises this change, adapts and perseveres will leave the practice in a much better position in the future. After all, there will always be a percentage of the population with a good level of disposable income that are seeking private treatments. Making sure that you are still reaching these potential patients is paramount.

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