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The Importance of Marketing During a Recession

The Importance of Marketing During a Recession

By PETE JOHNSON

It’s no secret that the spread of COVID-19 has already had a grave impact on the economy.  While markets crash and consumers put away their wallets, businesses may be wondering how to react.

During a recession, a common instinct is to cut marketing spend. The notion that consumers are buying less makes way for the theory that marketing may be a futile waste of money. In reality, the opposite is true.

In fact, advertising during a recession is more critical than ever. In a precarious economy, your brand positioning and marketing moves are vital to your success for a number of reasons.

Cutting Your Marketing Budget Will Only Save You Money in The Short Term

When your profit begins to dwindle, it may feel natural to decrease spending on certain investments. Marketing is often cut because its benefits are often realized in the long term rather than the short term. Out of sight and out of mind, many businesses cut off vital marketing services and then pay for it down the line.

A reactionary decrease on ad spend may look good in the books at first, but it does not bode well for the longevity of your brand. Marketing is your lifeline to your consumer. It connects your brand to the people and without it you’re bound to fall out of relevance.

Instead of slashing your budget, a recession offers a chance to reassess your strategy and reallocate your spend. It’s a time to tap into how your consumers are absorbing information during a downturn and then appeal to that mode of communication.

It may feel like a relief to cut spending during difficult times, but that comfort is temporary. Use this time to invest in your strategy so you can experience long term success.

Gathering Data is Critical During a Recession 

On average, recessions have occurred every four years since 1900. Unfortunately, economic downturns are inevitable and therefore should be planned for.

The best way to learn is through experience, right? Therefore, it’s important to maintain your marketing budget to analyze your strategies during this time. Well-executed digital marketing campaigns are designed to be monitored and tracked. With quantifiable results, businesses can utilize this information for future use.

If this is your first time experiencing a recession as a business owner, it’s critical that you monitor and document your workflow, changes, and results. Whether you’re tracking SEO, paid search, social media, or any other form of advertising, be sure to monitor their success during this unique time.

The next time the economy takes a turn for the worse, you will have strategies and processes in place to refer to. Each economic downturn is different and calls for diverse action. Despite this, having a foundation to pull from is extremely helpful.

It Will Help You Understand Your Target Consumer’s Behavior

Consumer behavior can drastically change during a recession — but not always in an obvious way. Most businesses focus on making services and products more affordable while others still offer luxury to those who can still afford it. It’s important to assess where your target audience sits on this spectrum during this time and then market to them appropriately.

For example, if you provide a luxury service, such as high-end cosmetic dentistry, you may be considering lowering your prices at this time to adapt to less consumer spending. Before you do this, you should consider your target audience. If they are unaffected by a recession and continue to spend at the same rate, they may feel your services are no longer tailored to them. They may sense a financial struggle on your end and question your ability to maintain quality service. Consequently, they will seek out other luxury services that still align with their normal spend.

If your target audience is affected and therefore becoming more frugal with their spending, it’s important to adapt. Consider bundling services, offering discounts, and making it known that your services are affordable. Consumers will be relieved they don’t have to sacrifice essential services such as dental treatments during this time. They will feel heard and understood with these changes, resulting in a loyalty that will last way beyond economic hardship.

Marketing and analytical tracking helps determine who your target audience is and the behavior they exhibit during recessions. With this information, you can either adapt or maintain your strategy to keep them interested.

It Will Keep Loyal Consumers Happy

The most important set of people to consider during a recession is your loyal customers. At a dental practice, returning patients are your most reliable source of income. This is especially true during a recession.

Marketing allows communication with your consumers. Social media and email marketing are two of the most common ways to check in with loyal customers. This target demographic is used to hearing from you and finds comfort in your presence through these forms of communication. Cutting your budget may also cut practices like these, alienating those who are most loyal to you.

Instead of cutting marketing spend and communication, consider amping up your efforts. Especially in today’s climate, your patients want to know you’re still there for them. Therefore, provide updates on social media, send emails, and make sure your marketing collateral is up-to-date and relevant. There are a number of ways to appeal to patients  during the Coronavirus crisis. Utilize these strategies so your returning clients remain active and ready to visit your office when they can.

Less Competition Means More Room To Shine

 As previously stated, it’s common for businesses to cut marketing spend during a recession. This trend provides an opportunity to stand out and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Companies everywhere are investing less money into digital marketing, which leaves room for yours to shine. Here are a few areas where you should amp up your efforts when others aren’t.

Search Engine Optimization:

While other websites are using outdated keywords and are generally ignoring their strategies for organic search, you should be doubling down on your efforts. With a strong SEO strategy, you can climb higher in search results when others aren’t making that effort. On top of this, user behavior changes during recessions, and therefore your strategy should. If you tap into this now, you’re way more likely to find yourself as one of the top search results.

Paid Ads/PPC:

Searches may be declining for certain services during a recession, but that also means that those who provide them may be scaling back on marketing.

With less people vying for spots with paid advertising, your PPC ads may receive more visibility and clicks at this time.

Social Media:

Many companies consider social media advertising to be an accessory to their marketing campaigns or a fun add-on that may not be necessary. Therefore, when faced with challenging times, it’s one of the first marketing verticals to be cut. Less noise on popular social media channels allows room for yours to shine.

Strong Marketing Exhibits Strength

In uncertain times like these, the status of many businesses is questionable. All around us we’re seeing layoffs, budget cuts, and companies shutting their doors. It’s unsettling for consumers and businesses alike to witness a faltering economy.

If you’re able to stay afloat during tough times, it’s important to let your customers know that you’re doing okay. A strong marketing campaign displays the health of your company and employees and lets consumers know you’re still available to them. When making purchasing decisions, users are going to search for a brand that they know still functions. If you make this unclear with a lack of marketing material, there’s a chance your target audience will move on to someone who is more visibly reliable at this time.

For those who are struggling to pay employees and overhead costs, we understand a large marketing budget is not in the cards. While this is true, there are many economical ways to let the world know you’re still active and happy to provide your services. Something as simple as a social media presence will do wonders for your brand at this time. Inserting strong keywords into your copy costs nothing and will position you to remain visible within search engines. There are many steps you can take to continue marketing without sacrificing your business. If you stay active, present, and understanding of what your customer needs, you will be well-equipped to weather the storm.

If you need assistance navigating this new marketing landscape or are wondering where to reallocate your spend, Get Practice Growth is here to help. Reach out to us today and we would be happy to chat.

Dental Marketing During COVID-19: TeleDentistry & Other Strategies To Implement

Dental Marketing Amidst The Coronavirus Crisis: Teledentistry & Other Strategies To Implement

By PETE JOHNSON

In the wake of COVID-19, our way of life has dramatically shifted. Businesses are shuttered, homes are filled, and human-to-human contact has decreased significantly. In unprecedented times like these, a new rule book must be made when adapting to new restrictions and consumer mindsets.

There are many steps dental practices can make to adjust to patient needs and maintain services without compromising safety. From virtual appointments to increased communication, numerous actions can combat sleepier times in the dental industry.

Here are a few to consider:

Promote TeleDentistry

Telehealth has been a buzzworthy topic for some time. Now more than ever, patients are amenable to the concept of having healthcare come to them via online services. Common forms of telehealth include live video chat, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health. Recently, teledentistry has entered the public consciousness, offering a wealth of benefits to patients virtually.

Teledentistry, the act of remotely servicing patients with their oral health, is beneficial for a number of reasons. One of its main draws is the fact that it offers a more affordable visit. Additionally, it’s much more convenient for patients and dentists alike, omitting travel time for visitors and simplifying visits for practitioners. While not all visits can be virtual, appointments like follow-ups and consultations can easily be done on video. Types of visits may include follow-ups where dentists prescribe an e-script for an antibiotic or a non-narcotic pain medication if needed. There are tooth brushing monitoring programs made possible with a QR code that aim to better your technique and prevent sepsis. Dental Second Opinions is a service where patients can consult with professionals on a certain dental treatment. Finally, for a bit of fun, Smile Survey will score your smile from 1-10. TeleDentists then provide feedback and advice on improving your score if needed. There are a number of ways to utilize TeleDentistry. Many of these forms are preventative, bettering the health of patients so they avoid expensive procedures down the line.

TeleDentistry offers even more benefits in light of COVID-19. The majority of the country is currently practicing social distancing, therefore less bodies can be found in dental chairs. Teledentistry lets patients continue to consult with their dentists without putting either party at risk. One of the best ways to utilize Teledentistry at this time is to host consultations to see if it’s necessary for someone to schedule an appointment. Many issues and complications can be scheduled for the future while some need immediate attention. A video call allows dentists to assess the urgency of a situation. If an immediate in-office appointment can be avoided, they will provide advice on treating the issue and schedule an appointment for the future. If there is an emergency, they can schedule an appointment and be prepared upon their arrival.

If Teledentistry is an option for your practice, don’t hesitate to let patients know it’s available to them. Be sure to offer it on your website, on social media, and within email campaigns. Contact patients who are overdue for a cleaning or have recently cancelled an appointment directly to inform them of their options. While Teledentristy is necessary in this current climate, many patients may use it for years to come after trialing it now.

Heighten Communication & Remain Transparent on Safety Precautions

When it comes to the art of communication, a lack of it is the most unsettling to consumers. Therefore, make sure you are as present as possible at this time. While appointments may be decreasing and traffic to the office is dwindling, your voice should remain active.

Transparency is key when communicating with your patients. It’s important to address COVID-19 with understanding and clarity and relay your response to it. Whether you’re offering Teledentristy or emergency appointments, provide adequate details on your services. On top of this, assure your patients that you are following proper guidelines in regards to sanitation and safety. Get specific with your measures, so they can rest assured a visit to your office is a safe one. Steps many offices are taking include letting patients sign in verbally, staggering appointments to decrease volume, spacing chairs out in waiting rooms, and providing hand sanitizer. Announce your precautions on your website and in social media so patients will feel comfortable before they arrive.

Adapt Your Message & Tone

The reach of Coronavirus and its prevalence in the news cycle means it’s on everyone’s mind. Therefore, not addressing it, especially in the healthcare field, may come off as tone deaf. Now is the time to change your messaging to adapt to the public consciousness.

For example, if any of your marketing materials ask patients to “come in at their earliest convenience” or to “visit your office sooner than later”, remove it from your copy for the time being. We also recommend ramping up your social media presence to offer updates, reminders, and any change to your services at this time.

Patients may be less interested in dental visits, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about their oral health. Now is a great time to kickstart a blog on your website to provide tips and tricks for optimal health. A blog can help educate users, position dentists as experts in the field, and inspire patients to seek out treatments that may help them. During COVID-19, blog visitors will feel comforted that good dental advice is within close reach. Plus, blog posts will live on your site forever, so users can utilize the information for years to come.

Monitor Reviews 

In times of uncertainty in business, unusual reviews and feedback may rise. For example, if a patient is displeased because they can’t receive a non-essential treatment at this time, they may leave a review voicing their frustration. In scenarios like this, it’s important to follow proper guidelines for handling reviews. When responding, let them know that you understand their frustration. Then, calmly relay your reasoning for the change in your services and highlight the need for safety. Not only will this appease the reviewer but it will also inform readers of the responsible measures you’re taking to keep everyone safe.

Be a Positive Influence

There may be a lot of unfortunate news in the public stratosphere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sprinkle in some positivity here and there. Therefore, when implementing all of these strategies, be sure to do so with an uplifting energy. While transparency and acknowledgement of the crisis is key, so is a sense of togetherness. Therefore, assure your patients that while you may not physically be there, you are still present and connected. Remain active on social media, on email, and on review sites.

In these challenging times, the team at Get Practice Growth is prepped and ready to assist with anything you may need. Please don’t hesitate to call or reach out if you have any questions or concerns.