Many economists and banks predict a recession in 2023, and most agree that if there is one, it’ll be a light one. Still, the thought of a recession can be scary for many business owners. Dentists wonder if there is to be a recession, what costs can they cut? Well, that’s not an easy question to answer, but we know one thing for sure. Removing money from your marketing budget won’t help.

Here’s why you should continue marketing during a recession and what you can do to grow your practice, including using local SEO for dentists:

Stopping Marketing Could Hurt Your Brand

Thinking you may not be a “brand?” Think again. Your brand is who you are as a dental practice. And you’ve been working hard to let people know who you are to gain trust, authority, and expertise in your area. Brand awareness, recognition, and recall are investments in your practice itself; they’re not just marketing jargon.

The CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, Bob Liodice, said on the Champions of Growth podcast, “The reality is, is that highly branded organizations perform substantially better than the S&P 500. And if marketers pull back now, they undercut and undermine the value of those brand investments.”

Pulling back or stopping your marketing efforts now undermines the work you’ve already done and will compound the negative impact the recession could have on your practice. Dentists who stay the course with their marketing will be rewarded with new patients despite the possible economic downturn. 

Recessions Don’t Last Forever

As a dental practice owner, you need to be flexible and able to pivot business strategies to stay in the public eye. But don’t take this as a sign to make snap decisions. Recessions don’t last forever. Those who continue to market their practice will see less of an impact and may even grow during a time of economic hardship. 

The banks and economists we mentioned earlier have thoughts on the recession’s severity and length. Most predict a light recession that won’t last through the year. Stopping or lessening your marketing efforts for a temporary state will only hinder the growth of your practice. 

Your Competition isn’t Backing Down

Gaining a leg up on your competition is hard enough when so many businesses compete for your target market’s attention. On top of that, potential patients have to see or hear your advertisement seven times to feel comfortable taking action on it. Other dentists know this, and they’re not backing down. Ceasing marketing while others stay the course compounds the impact the predicted recession will have on your practice. 

digital illustration of people lifting up the stock market graph themselves

How to Market During a Recession

Now that you know how important it is to keep marketing during a recession, let’s look at some ways you can advertise so that instead of seeing fewer new patients, you can actually grow your practice. 

Emphasize the Value in Your Services

Patients are less likely to spend money on things they’re unsure of, especially regarding perceived value vs. cost. Emphasize the value of your services so you can put those worries to bed. Here are some ways you can increase or emphasize your services’ value. 

  1. Make it easier for patients to schedule appointments with online scheduling, easier on-phone scheduling processes, and online patient forms.
  2. Patients like to go to dental offices where they feel like they fit in and are making a positive impact on the community. Show your personality on social media, support a local event, or donate to a local charity. 
  3. Provide a positive experience by investing in training for your front desk staff.
  4. Emphasize the quality services you perform in website copy and social media. 
  5. Educate your patients on the value you provide through social media, website copy, and blogging.

Nurture Relationships with Current Patients (so they can refer others)

Your current patients already love you, your team, and your services. Nurture the relationships you already have and ask for those patients to refer their friends and family to you. Here’s how you can nurture relationships with current patients. 

  1. Be social on social media! Respond to and like patient comments.
  2. Send monthly nurture emails with helpful oral health care tips. 
  3. Manage your reputation online by responding to reviews and asking patients for new reviews. 
  4. Go the extra mile for current patients when they’re in your office. 
  5. Ask for referrals. 

Rely on Data Instead of a Gut Feeling

Is there an aspect of your marketing, advertising, or business that you feel isn’t pulling its own weight? Don’t rely on a gut feeling. Look into data that can give you a glimpse into your ROI and make decisions based on that data. Maybe you have Google ads for emergency dental services. Look into the data on that campaign and if you don’t see a great return, turn that ad into one that shows more promise. 

Do you need help with your dental PPC? Schedule a free strategy call with Pro Impressions Marketing. 

Increase Your Organic Social Media Presence 

Posting more on social media doesn’t cost you a dime. Make a schedule and show up in potential and current patients’ feeds more often. You can go live, record a short video, share photos and videos to your story, or share a reel; the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Post about a dental holiday to get people thinking about their oral health. 
  • Go live with a short behind-the-scenes of your dental office (or your in-office dental lab).
  • Create a reel showing a day in the life of your dentists or hygienists. 

Do you want more social media post ideas, tips, and tricks? Subscribe to #StaySocial, where our dental marketing experts share weekly post ideas and tips on how you can gain more new patients through social media. 

Shift Your Message to Health Needs 

In an economic downturn, your patients are less likely to spend money on services they view as a “want” vs. a “need.” But we all know that dental care is a need, so it won’t take much to shift your marketing messages to talk about how oral health is essential to wellness. You can still emphasize the services you’d like to perform the most, but share why your patients may need them.

For example, someone who wants a smile makeover is also likely to have other issues with their teeth, such as chips, cracks, or crookedness, that can impact their health. Patients experiencing jaw pain are likely experiencing other symptoms they may not know are related, such as migraines. Talk about how you can lessen their pain with TMJ treatment to benefit their health. 

Local SEO for Dentists: Target Based on the Economic Climate

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it helps prospective patients find you online. 68% of online experiences start with a search, so it’s beneficial for you to use SEO to target local dental patients. Shift your local SEO strategy to target keywords and phrases that people are searching for that have to do with the economic climate. Perhaps people are wondering how they can afford to get all-on-4 dental implants. Write a blog post or update your website to answer that question with information on your financing options.

Local SEO for dentists doesn’t have to be complicated. Using free resources, you can discover what people want to know about dental services and the specific phrases they use to find answers on Google. Use this information to update your website with these phrases and answers. 

Co-Marketing with Local Events

Have you heard of co-marketing? Basically, it’s partnering with another business to share a common message. One form of co-marketing that could work for you is sponsoring a local event. Tons of people in your target market will see your practice name and some of your marketing. They’ll notice your generosity in sponsorship and think of you when they need dental care. This type of co-marketing can build trust and authority in your local community.

Do You Need a Dental Marketing Company?

Pro Impressions Marketing is a dental marketing firm that can help you gain more new patients. Schedule your free strategy call today!