Tackling Your Marketing Projects During COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand the instinct to hunker down when it feels like your hands might be tied or that there are situations outside of your control. The Wonderist team has been hard at work putting together a comprehensive guide to help you tackle those projects that have been on the back burner and proactively creating impactful content that will boost your practice as you reopen your doors.
This is a scary and uncertain time to be a business owner, and we understand the instinct to hunker down when it feels like your hands might be tied or that there are situations outside of your control. Here at Wonderist, some of our agency’s core values are positivity and the ability to adapt and grow.
As a society, we are being asked to take a break, a cultural timeout if you will. We are all spending time looking at our habits, our relationships, and our goals in a new light. It would be a missed opportunity if we don’t do the same for our businesses.
The Wonderist team has been hard at work putting together a comprehensive guide to help you tackle those projects that have been on the back burner and proactively creating impactful content that will boost your practice as you reopen your doors.
It may be tempting to binge our favorite Netflix shows and worry about the news. Our team is here to make sure we all make the most of this unique opportunity to tackle that long list of projects that you never seem to have time for.
Let’s get started!
Authentic Content & Assets
Before and After Photos
Objective: Before and after photos can inspire patients by helping them to visualize what’s possible, instill further confidence and trust in your expertise, and motivate them to finally schedule that appointment with you to start treatment.
Pictures are often more powerful than words when used to show the value or impact of treatment, especially higher-value cases through cosmetic or restorative dentistry. You likely already have a repertoire of before and after photos in your practice management system, so let them do the heavy lifting for you on your website’s smile gallery or service pages.
Your action items: Curate your most impactful before and after photos, then send them to your account manager (or to your current website provider if it’s not hosted with Wonderist).
- Send the before and after photos separately.
- Name the before photo with the problem.
- Name the after photo with the solution.
- Provide the case story if you have written permission from the patient.
- Even if you have consent from the patient, our best practice is to only use their first name.
Recommendations and resources: Download this as a PDF!
- Context: Be sure to provide some context for photos and procedures, and indicate if patients’ faces need to be cropped for privacy.
- Consistency: Try to choose before/after photos in the same lighting, from the same angles, and from the same distance to best showcase results.
- Variety: Choose a variety of treatments, especially if there are specific services you want to focus on.
- Smiles: Spreaders can sometimes be scary to the average patient! When possible, show before/after photos with natural smiles and angles.
- Permission: Be sure to have your patients sign a Photo and Video Release Form prior to showcasing their treatment before/after photos.
If you don’t already have a Photo and Video Release Form, here’s a template document you can download and modify for your practice. Now’s a good time to reach out to any specific patients via phone and email to let them know you’d like to show off their beautiful new smiles, and ask them to complete the release form!
Objective: Not only do videos keep people on your website longer and engage them with your content, which can benefit your website’s SEO performance, videos also help to humanize your practice in the eyes of your patients — people work with people, and video helps potential patients get to know, like, and trust you!
Your action items: We’re challenging you to record at least one video for each of the topics below, then send them to your account manager (or to your current website provider if it’s not hosted with Wonderist).
- Services FAQs: What are the questions your patients frequently ask you about your specific services? Walk viewers through how a treatment works, who is a good candidate, what its benefits or results are, etc. Here’s a great example from Living Oaks Dental.
- Introduction Video: An introduction video can be used on your website and social media, and gives potential patients the opportunity to “meet” you before their first visit and understand more about your practice offers. Speak about your point of differentiation, services, and amenities; be sure to let everyone know how they can contact you (online or via phone). Use this formula to plan your script!
- Office Tour: Giving potential patients a tour of your office before they first step in through your doors helps them visualize themselves in your practice and what they can expect from their first visit. If you have an office theme or the latest and greatest in dental technology, a tour video helps to show off what makes your practice unique and strengthens your brand. Here’s a great example from Knight Pediatric Dentistry!
Recommendations and resources:
- Record in landscape/horizontal orientation. Computer monitors, televisions, websites, and rotated cell phones all have landscape-oriented displays, so recording in a landscape/ horizontal orientation maximizes a video’s usability for marketing.
- Use a tripod for stability. Avoid shakiness or blurriness that can distract the viewer; a smartphone tripod is an inexpensive investment in your marketing and can be used time and time again for future photos or videos.
- Natural lighting looks great in almost every instance. Face toward a window for great natural light. Avoid having the window behind you, or else you’ll be left with a silhouette!
Recording your videos in a quiet place indoors to help isolate audio — avoid distracting background noise such as traffic, wind, radio/music, etc.
Objective: Like an office tour video, photos of your office gives potential patients a glimpse into your office before they first step in through your doors. Practice photos help them visualize themselves in your office and what they can expect from their first visit. Not only can these photos be used for your website, they can also be added to your Google My Business listing to help boost your SEO performance!
Your action items: The next time you’re in the office, set aside 30-45 minutes to snap a photo of each area and room. Take photos of the building exterior, front door, front desk, waiting area, administrative areas, and each operatory from different angles. If you have separate spaces for any technology (i.e. CBCT scanner, CEREC machine, etc.), be sure to include those too.
Take at least 30 photos and send the full-size, highest-resolution images to your account manager (or to your current website provider if it’s not hosted with Wonderist).
Recommendations and resources:
- Photos are most impactful when they include people — empty chairs can make an office feel sterile, but authentic photos are always better than stock photos or no photos at all! If it’s possible to recruit your family members as models, we strongly encourage you to do so. An alternative is to have you — the doctor! — as the subject of your photos.
- You can take your own photos with a smartphone and readily-available image editing software or apps. If you want to get a little fancier, you can invest in a basic digital camera or an entry-level DSLR to get more resolution, lens, filtering, and zoom options, or other advanced features.
- Check out these comprehensive guides for smartphone photography:
iPhone Photography School
Apple iPhone Tips and Techniques
96 Tips from ExpertPhotography.com
- Check out these practices for great examples of impactful office photos:
Patient and community relationships
A heartfelt message on social media
Objective: Posting a video message on your social media is more powerful than any post. Sharing a heartfelt message about how difficult this time is for you and your team humanizes your practice, which strengthens your connection with your patients and community.
Your action items: If you haven’t already done this, record a video to address your patients and community about updates to your office — in the case of the emergencies, will your practice be available or is there a trusted specialist you’ll be referring to? Record a 30-second to 1-minute long message for your patients and community. This can allow you to address the state of your practice, walk through the cleaning/sterilization procedures you use, and highlight the importance of oral health in whole-body health.
When your video is complete, send to your account manager (or directly post it on your social media if it’s not managed by Wonderist).
Content and campaigns
Objective: Now is the time to double down on consistent and authentic content for your social media posts. Your patients are online now more than ever, and social media provides your practice with a platform to provide updates about your practice, but more importantly, to nurture your relationships and start or continue conversations online.
Your action items: Commit yourself and your team to creating social media content to share with your patients and followers. Use these prompts below to curate a collection of authentic content — video has proven to be more effective than just images alone, so we’re challenging you to have a mix of both! — then send them to your account manager (or directly post it on your social media if it’s not managed by Wonderist).
Recommended topics and prompts to discuss:
- Are you offering virtual consults? If so, let your patients know that virtual consults can be used to discuss treatment with your practice in a safe way, and to help patients understand what cases are elective vs. non-elective.
- Are you looking for shows to binge while stuck at home? Share your top 5 favorite Netflix movies and shows and invite your patients to write their favorites in the comments, too!
- Avoiding places with large groups is important, but the outdoors is all yours! Ask your patients if they have any favorite nature walks or hikes in the area that you’re hitting up for some light exercise and fresh air!
- Schedule a virtual coffee chat or happy hour with a family member, friend, or coworker, and snap a photo or take a screenshot! You can post this and encourage your patients to prevent feelings of isolation or loneliness by scheduling quality time with their loved ones on Zoom or Skype too. Remember to ask your patients to share their photos and tag their friends in the comments as well!
- Travel the world from your computer or cell phone and take a virtual tour — snap a photo or take a screenshot! You can post this photo, encourage your patients to do the same, and then ask them to share their favorite stop on their tour. Remember to ask your patients to share their photos and tag their friends in the comments as well!
Weekly social media challenges (for you and/or for your followers): Download this as a PDF and put it on your desk or refrigerator to remind yourself each week!
- Week 1: Show how the pros do it! — Record a 2-minute video of your own brushing and flossing technique. Make it fun and engaging by utilizing your camera’s timelapse feature; make it a little silly! Most people have heard that they should wash their hands for the length of the “Happy Birthday” song — what are the songs they should brush their teeth to?
- Week 2: Create a floss challenge — Encourage patients to commit to building a healthy habit! Draw some inspiration from Cocofloss’ flossing challenge and host a branded giveaway that patients can enter for a chance to win a prize, or select the most devoted flosser to spotlight as your patient of the week/month.
- Week 3: Host a how-to — Start a fun series of how-tos that aren’t necessarily related to dentistry. What do you know how to do really well? Engage your audience and community in a fun, casual way, and show your audiences more about yourself as a person, and not just a doctor! People are reaching out for connection, experiences, and opportunities to learn while they might be cooped up at home.
- Week 4: Host a virtual party — Host a Facebook Live watch party around FAQs or what you and your team are doing outside the office. Are you playing with puppies, reading with your kids, or baking cookies made with love? Invite your patients to participate!
What does social media success look like?
Successful posts are simple! Some of the most highly engaging content are photos or videos taken from a dentist or their team, creatively capturing the spirit of fun in their office and reaching out to patients in their community. Check out these stand out posts that have generated tons of engagement:
- Everyone loves a happy patient. Take a look at Miles of Little Smiles and Third Coast Family Dental’s posts for some inspiration.
- Participate in fun trends or challenges. We absolutely loved Big Picture Pediatric Dentistry’s take on the Bottle Cap challenge!
- Show off a rockstar member of your team. Lakeside Dental did a great job snapping a photo of their Hygienist and sending our team a few fun facts about herself. Check out all that engagement!
- People love pets! Dr. Saleki from Oak Creek Dental Care likes to show off his adorable French bulldog Zeeba, and his patients can’t get enough!
- It’s all about community. Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry donated medical supplies to local hospitals, took a simple photo, which, within a few hours, racked up over 300 likes!
Objective: Reviews have the ability to increase your practice’s credibility and serve as social proof that your practice offers quality services. Having good reviews on your profiles can help persuade potential patients to book an appointment. It is also suspected that having a good rating on Google My Business can help your SEO rankings, which is why we typically recommend focusing on Google reviews.
While many state dental boards mandate that you cannot incentivize patients to leave reviews, you can remind them how quick and easy it is to leave a review. We also encourage you to reply and respond to every review that you receive. Replying to positive reviews can help you build a better relationship with your patients by making them feel seen and heard.
Your action items: As of Friday, March 27, new Google My Business reviews are going through an abnormally long pending period as Google’s team responds to COVID-19. During this time, focus your efforts on generating more Facebook reviews, which are also highly visible to current and potential patients!
Recommendations and resources: Here’s a few tips for generating more reviews —
- Lean into any tools and resources that help automate review generation via emails or texts, whether it’s SwellCX, Podium, BirdEye, or a feature native to your patient management system.
- Start a review campaign with your team. Set a goal for the number of reviews you want to receive, and then incentivize your team to meet that goal with a reward or prize, such as gift cards for each team member, etc.
- Ask! One of the easiest ways to get a review is to ask, and asking for reviews is often the most direct way to ensure satisfied patients receive your request. If you’re already communicating with a happy patient, ask them to write a review. If you’re reaching out via email or another form of messaging, be sure to:
Thank your patients for choosing you.
Tell your patients you read and appreciate all their feedback.
Tell your patients why their feedback is important (“We want to help more patients like you!”).
Here’s a brief script to help you make the ask:
“We love hearing from you about your experience. Our entire team reads reviews when we get them and it means a lot to us. If you’ve already left us a review thank you. If not we’d like to ask you to take a minute and tell us why you're a patient of our practice. Click the link below to get started!”
- In Person:
“Did you have a good visit today? … Well, thank you, we love hearing that! One of the things our office is focused on is getting more reviews. It means a lot to us when patients leave one and our whole team reads them. I know you’re busy but after you leave, you’ll be getting a email/text with a link in it. If you can take a few minutes to leave us a review, I know it would make our week!”
Personal hand-written notes or letters
Objective: Nurture your current relationships and maximize patient retention by letting your patients know you’re thinking of them! A personalized or hand-written note/letter goes a long way in showing you care, and sets yourself apart from other businesses.
Your action items: If you don’t already have a supply of branded letterhead or greeting cards, order some blank cards, along with a big roll of stamps. Write a short and simple note to each of your patients — the example below may help get you started, but make it your own so that it’s truly personalized to you and your patient! Seal it up in an envelope, stamp it, and then either schedule a postal carrier pick-up or drop off at a mailbox near you.
Recommendations and resources:
- Use this example to inspire your note — feel free to make it your own!
“Dear Laura, I am thinking of you! I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well, and I just wanted to say how grateful we are to have you as a patient and friend of Wonderist Family Dental. I look forward to catching up with you soon!”
- If you have a very large patient base and you’re overwhelmed about where to start, try segmenting your list of patients (i.e. long-time patients who have seen you for over 5 years, patients who have had the highest-production treatments, those who have referred the most new patients to your practice, etc.), recruiting your front office team to help, and/or setting a goal for yourself to finish x number of cards per day.
Give back and/or support local business
Objective: Community outreach and local partnerships are some of the lowest-cost marketing efforts you can utilize to create the highest levels of impact and engagement. Like your practice, other local businesses are impacted by COVID-19 and you can give back or support them to add value to your community. Bolster your impact by sharing your efforts with your followers and patients on social media, and engage them by encouraging them to participate too.
Your action items: Build new relationships or nurture existing connections by identifying a local business or charity to partner with. Start the conversation by reaching out to learn about opportunities to support them. Then act on it and share your efforts on social media!
Recommendations and resources: Some ideas to start your brainstorming —
- If your practice is temporarily unable to see patients, consider donating your gloves and/or masks to local hospitals or other medical facilities that may be in need of supplies. Remember to take a photo or make a video to post on social when you do!
- Help those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 but are struggling to find safe ways to reach out — you, your team, and/or your patients can call a local nursing home and ask to write letters to the elderly. They could use a smile at a time like this!
- Draw some inspiration from Lakeside Dental’s social media giveaway — Dr. Blalock challenged his practice’s followers to like a post, tag a friend, and like the page of a local small business. In return, participants would be entered for a chance to win a free gift card for select local businesses.
Objective: Having a blog isn’t in and of itself a ranking factor for your website’s SEO performance, but blogging with fresh, unique content is a valuable strategy because it keeps your website updated regularly and provides your website with more opportunities to rank in search engines. Whether or not your SEO services already include monthly content, this is a great time to write a few blog posts for your website in an effort to help boost your own rankings!
Next steps: Write at least 3 blog posts that are each centered around one specific topic for your website — below are 5 topics and best practices to help you get started. When you’re done, send them to your account manager (or to your current provider if your SEO and/or website hosting aren’t with Wonderist).
Recommendations and resources: Download this as a PDF!
- Service FAQs: What are the questions your patients frequently ask you about your specific services? Walk viewers through how a treatment works, who is a good candidate, what they can expect pre- and post-procedure, what its benefits or results are, etc.
- Dental Tips: What are your top tips for specific areas of dental care? Blog titles like “5 Tips …” or “How To…” can help these blog pages rank — try some of the following examples!
“Top 5 Tips to Avoid Tooth Decay”
"How To Floss Your Teeth” or “How To Floss Your Child's Teeth"
“How to Stay Calm in a Dental Emergency”
"Why Should You Brush Twice a Day?"
- Surprising Facts or Dental Myths: What are some fun or uncommon facts that you can share about dentistry? Are there any dental myths you could debunk? For example, most patients know that sugary soft drinks can lead to cavities, but are they aware that the acids also lead to enamel erosion? Or, do people know how tooth fairy folklore came about?
- How It’s Made: Dental technology is always advancing, so tell your patients what goes on behind the scenes! For example, how do digital intraoral scanners work? Or, what goes on inside a CEREC machine? Or, how are clear aligner trays made? To boost the potential impact and engagement of a “How It’s Made” blog post, include a video! For example, a slow-motion CEREC video or timelapsed SmileDesign video are great visuals that can accompany a social media post promoting your blog post.
- Top-Performing Topics: Over the years, Wonderist has collected data on the blog topics that have performed the strongest across for our SEO clients, driving website traffic from search engines and ranking for keywords. We’ll let you in on our secret!
“Sinus Problems After a Root Canal”
“Toothache on an Airplane?”
“The Comprehensive Dental Implant Timeline”
“Invisalign vs Braces: Cost, Results & Treatment Time”
Best practices for SEO value:
- Aim to write at least 500 words of unique content. Your word count is what provides search engines the content to “hook” into. We recommend 500 words at minimum, but the more, the merrier. Duplicate content (plagiarized content that is too similar or copied/pasted from other websites) will hurt your SEO so now’s the time to brush up on your writing skills!
- Include headings for separate sections and to introduce related paragraphs. These headings give your blog posts structure and context, and should be scannable phrases that introduce new subjects in your content. We recommend looking up common questions that potential patients may have when it comes to a particular service and using these as your headings. You can also use a keyword tracking tool, like Google’s Keyword Planner, to figure out what people are searching the most and craft your headers and content around that.
Though you might not be sure about when it is exactly, your doors will reopen and your practice will get back to business. When that time comes, we want you to set your practice up for celebration — rather than a moment to say "😪 phew," your doors opening should be a moment for your team, your patients, and YOU to yell “woohoo! 🎉”
We understand that budgets might be tight once you reopen, but spending a little can go a long way in reengaging your current patients and reaching potential new patients. Give your community a reason to get out of the house and into your practice!
A heartfelt message
Objective: Like the heartfelt message you recorded about having to temporarily close your doors, you should have a heartfelt message about how emotionally difficult these past few weeks have been, and how jubilant you feel about your doors reopening. Posting a video message on your social media is more powerful in creating emotional connections than any post, and you should use this opportunity to share your excitement and build hype among your patients and community too!
Your action items: Record a 1-to-2-minute video for your patients and community. This allows you to share that your practice has reopened and drive viewers toward a call-to-action: to schedule their next appointment with you. Be sure to incentivize your viewers with a reopening special offer and invite them to your reopening party!
When your video is complete, send it to your account manager (or directly post it on your social media if it’s not managed by Wonderist). You should also plan to include your video in an email newsletter that’s sent to your entire patient base!
Recommendations and resources:
- Use this example to inspire your message, but make it your own and speak from the heart!
“As you may already know, Wonderist Family Dental has been the culmination of my life’s work — dentistry has always been my calling. For many years, building this practice in Point Loma and serving our community was just a dream I had during dental school and while working as an associate at other practices. 6 years ago, I began living my dream, thanks to patients like you — I’ve been honored not only to provide you a dental home in San Diego, but also to build friendships and accompany you throughout your life’s journeys, too.
4 weeks ago, Wonderist Family Dental made an incredibly difficult decision to temporarily close our doors in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Your health and safety has always been, and will always be, our top priority. Even though words can’t describe how hard it was for me to turn the key and lock the doors on my practice, I knew that it was the right thing to do for you and for my team members. We were all facing an unprecedented and uncertain time together — it broke my heart to even acknowledge the very real possibility that we’d never reopen those doors again, that we’d never see many of our patients and friends in the same capacity.
Today, words also cannot describe how relieved and grateful I am that we’ve weathered this storm together. Today, I’m so excited and proud to tell you that Wonderist Family Dental will be reopening on Monday, May 4. Today, I want to create an opportunity to celebrate with you, to catch up with you, to never take for granted the chance to laugh, smile, and talk together — face-to-face.
To celebrate our reopening, we’re having a Reopening Party on Friday, May 8. There will be food, drinks, and live music — we’ve just missed all of you so much and we want a reason to see you soon! Bring your friends and family, anyone you want — we’re giving away prizes and we’re offering free take-home whitening kits for any patients who complete an appointment in May. Our goal is simply to give everyone a reason to smile again, and I truly can’t wait to see you soon!”
Reopening special offer
Objective: A reopening special offer helps to incentivize both your current and potential patients to see you! Through a limited-time offer, you create a sense of urgency that drives patients to call or schedule with your practice. Like a new patient special, you want a foot-in-the-door offer that turns people who are new to your practice into patients for life, and like a patient appreciation offer, it maximizes retention and engagement with your current patients!
Your action items: Choose what your reopening special offer will be. Consider how it may be limited by date, or by the first x number of patients. Inform your account manager (or your marketing provider if your campaigns are not managed with Wonderist) so that it can be incorporated across your platforms and campaign messaging.
Recommendations and resources:
- Special offer suggestions:
Free Sonicare toothbrush or Waterpik flosser
Free take-home whitening kit
Gift card to a local business
- Where to promote:
Create a Facebook event
Share your event through posts on Facebook and Instagram
Email newsletter to patients
Handouts/flyers for local business neighbors
Friends & family
Objective: Similar to your special offer, give your current and potential patients a reason to physically step into your practice! Throw a party similar to a grand opening party or open house to celebrate your reopening, to engage with your current patients and partners, and to meet potential new ones!
Your action items: Choose a date to hold your party, then start the planning process and make sure you invite everyone you know! We know this is easier said than done, so we’ve included an event checklist and recommendations below.
Recommendations and resources:
- Print out this Reopening Party Checklist to start your planning.
- Have some fun with this! Reenact your practice’s original grand opening with a toilet paper “ribbon cutting” ceremony!
- Make it your own! If you’re on a budget, host a BBQ or cookout party — all you need is a grill and a quick run to Costco, Sam’s Club, or anywhere you can stock up on buns and patties.
You can count on Wonderist
We know this was a long list! Our goal is not to overwhelm you, but to empower you to start thinking proactively and positively toward the future of your practice. There are so many campaigns and assets that you can work on during this time, and we encourage you to begin now! We’ll help hold you accountable over the coming weeks by sending reminders and checking on your progress. Until then, Wonderist Agency is standing by to help assist you in any way.
If you have questions or want to run your ideas by your account manager, we’re happy to provide a free second opinion!