dental marketing

This past year has been turbulent, to say the least. Companies in all sectors of business have had to adapt greatly in order to meet the needs of their clients in the ‘new normal.’ The field of dentistry faced several unique challenges, as this medical practice most often requires in-person consultations and procedures. Although it was not officially deemed an essential service, dentistry had to adapt quickly in order to service clients in need. Patients still had dental emergencies during the lockdown and they still required dental care. 

As a dentist, it is your job to communicate with your patients to help them understand your COVID safety measures, operating hours, and requirements needed in order to run your clinic. Your communications should also involve letting your patients know if you offer emergency services and reaching out to those that have had appointments rescheduled due to COVID. But it can be difficult to know where to start, especially in these changing times. 

 

A Path to Dental Marketing Success

At ElementIQ, we know a patient’s need for dental care does not pause even if dental clinics do. Life must still go on, which is why – even during COVID – marketing must remain an essential part of your clinic’s success. The patients are still there and looking for a trusted, safe and reliable dentist; it is just a matter of getting in front of them at the right time. The best way to do this is through dental marketing. Marketing is the one key way to drive sales and gain new clients, even during a global pandemic.

VCCID and LA Dental Clinic, both marketing clients with ElementIQ, each saw excellent results from continued marketing during COVID.

Like many other clinics throughout the United States, LA Dental Clinic had to shut down during quarantine. They could still take emergency patients, but they nevertheless saw their average revenue numbers dip throughout April and May. During this time, our team put in extra effort to ensure patients were well informed about the clinic’s hours, online booking details and COVID policy.

Beyond that, LA Dental Clinic did not cut back on marketing. Instead, they doubled down on the aspects of marketing that would make the biggest impact on prospective and current clients. In June, the clinic’s revenue numbers began to recover and they maintained those numbers throughout for a strong July and August as well. By changing their strategy to adapt to the times, LA Dental Clinic was able to maintain their relationships with existing patients and immediately re-gain average pre-COVID revenue levels upon fully reopening.

VCCID, a dental clinic based out of Burnaby, BC, experienced similarly positive results. Their lead numbers dipped in April and May during the lockdown, to about half of the leads the clinic was used to. As a result of continued marketing, however, their lead totals shot back up to pre-COVID levels in June, July and August once health restrictions were loosened. 

These clinics got excellent results by marketing consistently during COVID, and we want to share how they were able to get there so that your clinic can experience the same results. 

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the best thing you can do as a dentist or clinic owner is to continue marketing to your patients. Try innovative new ways to reach your patients online, where they’re spending most of their time. 

Here are some of the ways we recommend that dentists continue to market themselves to their patients during the ongoing global pandemic.

 

1. Increase Your Engagement on Social Media

COVID created a massive influx of social media accounts and users. With the quarantine, people have been using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to connect with family and friends, while also distracting themselves from the harsh reality of these times.

If you are a clinic that was hesitant to go on social media before, now is your chance to adapt and really get involved with creating your online presence. Many dentists object to this because sometimes it can be difficult to create an account and advertise online while actively running a clinic. But now, with COVID going on, you as a dentist may have time to get more involved. 

Use your social media platforms to communicate with your patients. Post about your office hours, updates or any changes in your schedule. Post images of the clinic itself in order to reiterate that it is a clean and safe space for those that do come in for emergency care. 

Social media opens up a plethora of possibilities for dentists to interact with clients in a new way. According to Holly Neilsen, CMO at Renew Dental: “46% of consumers are using social media more vs a week ago, so more people are going onto Facebook or wherever…so social is something we should consider talking about.” (Holly Nielsen, CMO at Renew

Your clients are online now, they have not left, and when it comes time for them to visit a dentist, you will be at the top of their minds if you are front and center in their newsfeed. 

 

2. Communicate Updates With Emails 

Keep in touch and top of mind by sending your patients updates directly to their inbox. It’s an excellent way to let clients know about changes to your hours and the safety measures you have in place. Chances are, you already have a mailing list for your patients where you send promotions and reminders of upcoming appointments. 

But with COVID going on, increasing your level of communication with your clients is a good idea. Email them and let them know about your new social media accounts, and invite them to follow you for updates. If you are running remote clinical sessions via video, use your mailing system to let your clients know how to access you by video. 

Email may seem like an outdated form of communication but “email marketing drives more conversions (66%) than any other channel” (Campaign Monitor) – even in 2020. With patients working from home, they are still avidly checking their email. It is time to let them know that you are there for them. 

 

3. Share Informative Content 

Even during COVID, it is very important that you keep your website up to date with relevant information for your patients. Create content that applies to the current circumstances, such as advice about at-home dental care routines, or a post on the signs of a dental emergency. Content is a great way to position yourself as knowledgeable and helpful. Give your clients useful information that can help them maintain their oral health during these times. 

This is also an excellent time to start creating video content for your clinic. Videos are a way to connect ‘face to face’ with your clients and establish that sense of personal interaction and connection so that they see you as a trusted source of information. 

 

4. Update Your Website 

Whether your doors are open and you’re already seeing patients, or you’re still waiting for the green light from your local health authority, COVID should be spurring you to update your website and turn it into a foundational part of your clinic’s operations. Make it user friendly with your COVID statement front and center. Now is the time to bring your website into 2020. If you have changed your hours due to COVID, make sure that information is there on your contact page.

If you offer new virtual services or other forms of dental treatments such as emergency care, ensure that is on the website as well. Add a place for potential clients to subscribe to your mailing list, and add links to your social media channels if they are new. Now is the perfect time to establish better communication and overall upkeep, and the best place to start is your on website, which acts as a digital storefront for your visitors. 

 

5. Consider Teledentistry 

Many doctors and professionals in the medical field have started holding patient consultations online for non-emergency visits. Whether it is a prescription refill or general check-in, this convenient digital way of meeting with clients has expanded into the dental industry as well. Teledentistry is perfect for non-emergency consultations, and it makes it possible to video chat with your patients and discuss their oral health needs, concerns and questions. 

As there is no sign that  COVID will be resolved in the near future, teledentistry is a great way to maintain that connection with any of your existing patients who aren’t comfortable visiting your clinic. Show them that you care and that you are still there for them, even in these uncertain times.

Moving forward, when we do finally see an end to COVID, it is possible teledentistry will remain popular with patients. This is because it is legitimately useful, patients find it convenient, comfortable and accessible. They no longer have to take time off work or make time on the weekend to visit your clinic for a general check-up. They can connect with you anywhere, without detracting from their busy schedule. 

As stated by Dr. Anna Singh, VP of Clinical Training and Development at Heartland Dental, “This secure platform, integrated with proven processes of traditional dental care, provides our supported doctors the ability to quickly and easily interact with their patients to assess oral health, discuss concerns, and plan a course of action regarding treatment. Fully integrating this technology will significantly improve our existing model of care for the future.”

Teledentistry may have become popular due to COVID, but it is not going away any time soon. Patients will soon expect this as an option and it is a good idea to get ahead of the curb and begin to offer this new form of consultation now.

 

6. Create Targeted Ads

If you do not run targeted ads for your dental clinics, such as ads on Google, Facebook or Bing, now is an excellent time to start. If you are currently running ads for your office, it may be a good idea to re-think the search terms that you are paying for. 

According to Holly Nielsen at Renew Dental: “The one other thing that’s interesting is the search terms have also changed. So, increased traffic on two search terms: dental emergency services and online dental consultations. Those are both just interesting how that increase in traffic is going to keywords that we didn’t have before, that didn’t exist before. (Holly Nielsen, CMO at Renew)

Paid ads allow you to get right in front of a potential client who is searching for dental clinics. By looking at user intent and bidding on certain words, such as “dental emergency” you know that the person searching for that term is likely experiencing a dental emergency and is in need of a dentist. 

As tempting as it may be to reign in your advertising budget during COVID, the prudent move is to reallocate funds so that they’re being spent on the search terms that are getting traffic as a result of COVID. Patients may be searching for clinics that are open, clinics that offer teledentistry or in the case of an emergency, “dentist near me.” As a business, you want to be there when potential patients are looking for dental services, now more than ever.

 

7. Monitor Your Online Presence 

You may have heard of Yelp and Google My Business, but are you aware of your business’ image on these platforms? These customer-centric review platforms are where your potential clients will look to read reviews, see images, find your location and determine whether or not you seem like a good fit for them. Clients can upload images of your clinic and write reviews of their experience, so it’s important that you put your best foot forward and address any questions and concerns that come up.

While you can’t remove reviews and user-uploaded information, you – as the owner of the business – can edit information on these platforms by claiming your business’ profiles. From there, you can freely upload images, reply to reviews, share your office hours, and links to your website and social media channels. 

However, according to a national study by DMscore, “Nationwide, 71% of dentists have a Yelp profile, but 20% of these profiles are “unclaimed” by the practice itself. Businesses that claim their own profiles can exert more control over the way their business is perceived.” (DMscore

Right now, it is more important than ever to have a positive online presence. You want to use these platforms to update your clinic’s information, provide accurate opening hours, and upload clean and welcoming images of your clinic. If you’re based in the United States and are interested in checking your current online reputation and the effects of your current marketing efforts, DMscore is a great place to start. It works like a FICO score, but for dental clinics. With a database of over 54,000 dental practices in the US, it can help to show you where you stand in comparison (Check your DMscore here).

Be Patient, Focus on Long Term Results

So much of your dental clinic’s success post-COVID depends on what you do now. It is very important to take a long term approach to your COVID dental marketing strategy and be proactive with your planning and marketing efforts. 

COVID has changed how businesses market themselves, but it hasn’t made marketing any less important than it was before. When patients are looking for a dental clinic online, you want to be sure you have made your presence known. 

At ElementIQ our team has helped several dentists with continued marketing efforts during this pandemic. As restrictions began to be lifted, all of our dental clients saw an increase in business, so much so that many of their clients are now on waitlists due to the volume of clients. 

Life does not stop during times of crisis, it simply must adapt. Similarly, your patients’ oral health problems do not stop simply because we are in a global pandemic. They will still need a reliable, trustworthy dentist to visit during an emergency or for a checkup once this is over. You want to stay relevant to patients who matter most and use this as an opportunity to grow and update your digital presence online. 

If you are looking for advice or marketing management, ElementIQ is a digital marketing agency that specializes in marketing for dental clinics. Our team has the experience and understanding needed to help your business thrive in these changing times. We provide website design, content creation, graphic design, social media and online reputation management. We have a firm grasp of the dental industry and are ready to act as your digital marketing team during COVID and into the future. Contact us or call for a consultation at (604) 909-3750.

Whether you are a business owner, freelancer or you work in the fields of marketing and advertising you know how important it is to portray the right image for your brand. There are countless graphic design tools that can create beautiful images and logos, however, not everyone has the time, budget or technical skill to feel comfortable in software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. In 2020 there are many tools available for graphic design and finding the right tool can seem daunting. 

Luckily, our team of talented designers and marketers have compiled a selection of their favourite, free design tools. Now you can quickly and easily make quality graphics, and stay inspired by the many featured layouts and templates available in these platforms. There are several different factors that went into our rankings and you can bet our team put these tools to the test. 

Each platform is ranked based on what it offers, its ease of use, flexibility and design options, storage space and existing, pre-designed templates available. These free tools create equal and even greater results than some of the best, high-quality design systems on the market today. So let’s dive in and explore the top 2 graphic design tools in 2020. 

How to Choose the Right Design Tool

There are so many design tools available today and it can be difficult to narrow them down. Therefore, it is important to define what you are looking to do to find a tool that meets your needs. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Are you creating display ads, social media posts, video thumbnails, blog post images or you’re looking for a multi-use tool? Once you have defined your goals, it should be easier to determine which tools are available to meet your needs. 

Secondly, it is very important that you find a tool that you are comfortable working with. If you are looking to create a quick social media post for your small business, for example, a tool like Photoshop may seem a bit daunting, but an alternative may have everything you need to create a quality post quickly. Do not settle for tools that interfere with your workflow, it’s important to use what’s best for you. 

In our research for the top graphic design tools of 2020, we identified 2 platforms that have a clean workflow, easy-to-use interface and quality results. Head to head Crello is our runner up, it is incredibly easy to use, but as far as flexibility is concerned, our winner Visme allows for way more customization. These two platforms tie for storage availability and as far as pre-made templates go, Visme is the winner there. Visme also appeared to have a larger asset library within the platform but both platforms allow you to upload your own image assets. Let’s examine these two tools more closely.

1. Crello

This was certainly a difficult decision as both of these platforms are filled with free tools, tips and templates. Crello is our winner. We found that Crello really excels for those looking to make templates with minor edits and visual adjustments. It is an excellent tool for those with little to no design experience and there are both free and paid versions of this program. Crello’s headline reads “Anyone is a designer with Crello” they have made high-quality templates for those who are just starting out in the world of design. The program is free and simply requires an email to sign up. 

free design tools: crello

What it Offers

Crello offers over 13,000 free, pre-defined templates for the most popular social media platforms in use today. These templates are pre-sized to fit Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. It also has a variety of digital assets such as pre-sets for infographics, e-books and presentations. Crello offers templates for print media as well such as coupons, posters and business cards. 

In addition to pre-sets, Crello allows for design editing as well. You can choose from a wide selection of stock images in their photo library, which is also free to use. You can select objects as well such as badges, shapes, illustrations, stickers, lines, masks and frames. Crello offers a wide variety of additional elements such as text style templates and upload options for custom fonts and backgrounds. 

Flexibility, Storage and Other Assets

We tested each platform on their ease of use, flexibility, storage, templates, and assets offered. Here’s how Crello measured up. 

Ease of Use

Crello is a very user-friendly tool, their website has plenty of tutorials available to guide first-time designers through the platform. The templates and asset libraries are very clear and easy to use. The tools in Crello are useful for those with a beginner to intermediate skill level. Overall this platform is ideal for beginners.

Flexibility

The only downside to Crello from a designers standpoint is it slack of flexibility and options for customization, there is not much freedom in the free account. However, for those who are interested, there are a lot of integrated tools in the pro version, these include animations as well as videos. Crello has stock video templates, or you can upload your own. 

Storage

Crello allows for free, unlimited storage for upload and designs. It has an easy to use folder structure which is ideal for organizing your final visual assets. 

Assets

Besides offering thousands of templates, Crello offers additional, free content and image assets. Choose from a massive library of stock photos, as well as video animations. Adding your own video animations from a library requires a pro account, but Crello allows you to do so much without a membership.

Final Thoughts 

Crello is an excellent way to quickly and easily create eye-catching designs. Their template library is very well made and allows for a moderate amount of editing. It is perfect for people with little to no design experience, as well as those with intermediate design levels that are looking for inspiration as well as strong templates. The key takeaways are that Crello is great for those who are just getting started or those without any design experience. It’s simple and easy to use with the one downside being that it is slightly limiting in the level of customization available.

Perfect for social media posts and quick visuals.

2. Visme

Visme is our runner up and a very close contender, this powerful design tool has both free and paid options. The free account lets you choose from a pretty good selection of templates, use different tools and access a large library of visual assets. The tool is also very flexible and allows for customization, unlike Crello. With that being said, you may find yourself slightly limited with templates and storage on a free plan.

What it Offers 

Visme offers a wide range of templates including layouts for presentations, infographics, documents, print media, web graphics and social media posts. You can use these templates on their own or customize them using the platform’s editing software.

Visme offers more freedom and design customization than Crello, while still having pre-made templates and image assets available. They offer pre-made graphics such as icons, shapes and photos. You can also upload your own video and audio files in the free version of this platform. 

Visme is excellent for business presentations and they have suggested layouts and theme colours available. You can store and upload files into the system and access themes that you have recently used. Visme also has an excellent network of resources for those just learning how to use the platform. These include an in-depth blog section, video tutorials, webinars and e-books

Flexibility, Storage and Other Assets

Ease of Use 

The Visme asset library is very well organized. The platform has a lot to offer but due to a large number of options available, there is a bit of a learning curve to fully understand the capabilities. Visme comes across as much more business-oriented and it is excellent for those who are looking to put together a presentation for management or clients. One of the more unique features is the data option which is great for displaying infographics and other stats. 

Flexibility 

Visme is incredibly flexible and it allows beginners and designers alike,  plenty of freedom, even while using the free version of the tool. 

Storage 

You can save designs you are working on and choose from recently used templates in your account. The free version offers 100 MB of storage with more storage available in the various paid plans*The free plan limits you to 5 designs. If you are working on more than 5 designs at a time, you might want to consider a pro plan or a full fledged design tool such as Figma.

Assets 

Visme offers a large library of photos, icons and even illustrations. The assets are also customizable when placed in the working frame so you can build upon the existing content available. Visme has limited sizing when it comes to templates when using the free account.

Final Thoughts

Visme is excellent for beginners and professionals alike. It gives you the opportunity to be more hands-on in the design process with its many customizable templates. It gives intermediate and advanced users more control over their visual designs. The downside to Visme is that there are limited templates available in the free account.

Perfect for infographics and presentations.

Choose What’s Best For You 

Ultimately, choosing between these two platforms was difficult as they are intended for slightly different audiences. Crello was perfect for beginners with a straightforward user interface and easy to use pre-defined templates. Visme, on the other hand, provides much more flexibility and the free asset library outweighs anything Crello has to offer. It is ideal for those who are more advanced with some design experience, looking to customize the content available. If you have extra time to learn how to use Visme, you will be rewarded with the freedom and flexibility to create any visual asset you desire. However, if you are working within a tight timeframe and need inspiration or a beautifully designed visual asset, Crello is a fast and easy way to get the job done. 

Graphic Design Services at ElementIQ

If you are looking for graphic design services in Coquitlam, BC, the team at ElementIQ has the experience and skill to create something eye-catching for your business. Whether you are looking for a new logo, a brand guide or infographics and a site redesign, we have the knowledge it takes to turn your ideas into a reality. Contact us with any questions you may have about our graphic design services and we would be happy to meet and discuss your goals.