Google recently made a change to how it displays its “COVID-19 safety info”. Google does not display this information for all search engine results, but any dental search since the beginning of the pandemic leads to a results page that is capped at the top with a warning about COVID-19. Google did what they could to help people know about the virus and what they should do to avoid contracting it. They shared CDC recommendations on what to do if they thought they might have it or have been exposed to it. It was an admirable step in the early days of the pandemic. It seems that now, Google believes that most people have the gist on how to cope with a world where COVID-19 is everywhere. Google has collapsed that information into a new button above the results, indicating that all internet users may need from Google now is a shortcut to get a reminder.
Less Distraction is a Win for Dental Leads
Like Google, your dental practice probably did what it could to advise and protect the people who trust your office. You probably posted a notice on your website and social media about how you were handling the pandemic. You wanted people to know that you were ready to handle the virus and that you have measures in place to keep patients as well as your team safe. Those are all good things and in the early days of the pandemic, it made sense to display that message as prominently as possible.
We assisted all of our clients in doing that back in March, displaying it where we would typically only show the most important links for a dental website to show: how to contact your practice. The COVID-19 messages never took the place of a “Schedule Your Consultation” link or button, but it may have covered it up or existed just above or below that call to action.
Your practice is doing what it can to attract new patients right now. You are hopefully investing in marketing and advertising again at pre-COVID levels or at least close to it. If so, it’s time to follow Google’s lead. COVID-19 is still around and the steps you follow to avoid being party to a coronavirus infection or the spread of any disease are still important to share with patients. However, you no longer need to open the conversation with new patients by stating your protocols for protecting the patient and your team.
Patients are bombarded by all kinds of distractions right now. Even without a pandemic and outside of a presidential election year, patients are hit with so many messages that distract them from even thinking about dentistry much less whether or not they should contact your office.
So when you are lucky enough to attract a prospective patient to your office, do everything you can to stay out of the patient’s way and guide them to the goal you want them to achieve. You need a clear message and limited options for the patient’s next step. When they land at your website, the patient needs to: