With many states opening up or loosening restrictions, it seems that there are some changes on the horizon for the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this is a step towards normalcy, it’s not fully certain that things will go back to 100% in the short term, so being proactive is key. If you’ve been active in maintaining your online presence, there are a number of things that you should be doing regardless of your state’s situation to keep your practice thriving!
Communicate Your Hours of Operation
If a potential patient contacts your office because your website states you’re open, but your voicemail states that you are closed, what are they to believe? Or, what if your website says you’re closed, so you lose out on dozens of patients seeking appointments? Both of these situations are disastrous, but very simple to resolve.
During the pandemic and as restrictions get lifted, make sure that your hours are correct on ALL of your web properties. This can mean your website, Google My Business (for providers and locations), social media, and third party listings (i.e, Healthgrades, Yelp, etc.) among others. You should also be thinking about potential email or text updates to your patients confirming your hours.
The MOST important thing is to make sure that this announcement is front and center. With so many messages being sent to your patients via email and text, or being blasted through their TVs, you want to stand out! Add a simple graphic to your site’s popup, make it a different text in a well, or create something creative to announce it on social. The opportunities to be creative here are endless!
Be Informative About Your Services
If your state is doing a ramp up period after COVID, you may not be offering all of your services for a span of time. If that’s the case, make sure that is presented prominently on your online properties. We have found that adding popups or banners with COVID information has been very useful, as it will hit all incoming visitors to the site. If you’re operating on a short staff, you probably do not have the resources to answer the phone constantly for questions, so adding this information can be helpful for your team as well.
Although COVID has taken its toll on practices, there are some that have seen a new service line added in the form of telehealth. It’s absolutely crucial that you promote and optimize this service heavily across the internet, as you now have something that many people will be seeking. Make sure to use platforms like social media and Google My Business to create unique announcements surrounding your telehealth offerings, and use your site to make it easy for the user to schedule their appointments. In fact, Practis Forms offers up a number of great solutions like a COVID self checker, online telehealth consent forms, and HIPAA compliant online appointment requesting! Learn more about all of these here.
Promote Your Safety Precautions
Sanitation has always been important in healthcare, but now it’s going to go into overdrive. Before patients get to your office, they’re going to want to know about your safety precautions.
Are you cleaning the lobby every hour? Are you utilizing different types of PPE? Are you only allowing one patient in at a time?
All of these are questions that your patients will want to proactively know. Take this time to make sure that this information is on your website, in your patients’ inboxes, and on all of your listings. You can even create a COVID resource center on your site with various information such as the above and utilize different technical SEO components to make them rank in your local area. If you think you’re putting too much information out there, just know that you’re not! Every little bit helps your patients, your staff, and your online presence.
Make Empathy a Top Factor
We’ve talked about the human element before, and this is an absolutely perfect example of when that comes in handy. While not everyone is responding to the pandemic the same way, they are looking for empathy. If you have a worried patient, make sure that you keep them calm and direct them to all of your resources about your safety precautions. If you have a patient who does not care to follow the rules, direct them to CDC or WHO standards and explain the situation. In every case there is a need for empathy.
Because most people are looking for ways to automate things during this time due to smaller staff or lack of funding, look for easy solutions within your automation tools. Use your portals to make it seem like you are speaking directly to patients. Ask for feedback or questions from patients that can be easily answered. Even publish a short video from yourself (it can be done through your phone) that states what you are doing during this challenging time. Again, any little bit of empathy is great here!
Look for New Marketing Streams
You may think now’s the time to cut back, but in reality, now’s the time to look for new marketing streams. You should be keeping SEO alive, and constantly working on your website, and perhaps now is a time to look into PPC or social media. Both are easy ways to communicate to your patients almost instantaneously about any changes or new things in your practice. Additionally, you may want to consider doing a bit more content development or reputation management. Both of these are simple ways to get your tone of voice and the “real you” out to the public.
Whatever it may be, keep your eyes peeled. Some of you may have competitors going full steam ahead with marketing, while others may find that their competitors have essentially stopped promotions. Regardless of either situation, focus on YOU, and determine what will work best. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’re here to help! Give Practis a call today at (704) 887-5300 or contact us online to make sure your practice stays thriving after COVID!