Three Surprising Things About Coronavirus that Can Help Your Business
Every article and news flash about COVID-19 suggests gloom and doom for elective health care and other businesses for the foreseeable future. Offices are closed across many of the states and many consumers are at home, either working remotely or on temporary layoffs.
At Ceatus, we closely monitor consumer response to many events, and this is a big one. Below are three things that can actually help your practice during this unique time.
Increased Online Shopping
Because consumers are at home with not as much to do, they have turned to searching the Internet for news and to do research into things they want to buy or would like to do. The good news for you is that you have a captive audience. The Ceatus PPC strategy teams have noticed over the last two weeks, that as more employees are told to stay home, the conversion rates for PPC campaigns are going up (and up). And further, this is true across the board. Combining data across a number of our clients, in various regions and with different specialties, we find the same PPC trend. Conversions are up 40 to 50%.
What does this mean to YOU? It means that now is NOT the time to pull back on marketing. Now is the time to intensely focus on building your brand and ensuring your future patient flow, while your competitors fall behind. At Ceatus, we are committed to helping our clients thrive during this difficult time in many ways, more about that later.
Specific Action Steps
- Expand your current PPC campaign or start one. Reach out to those “shoppers” who now have the time to spend all day cruising online.
- Expand content on your website to highlight more of your services so that these “shoppers” see everything you offer. Or update your current content with the latest information.
- Take time to solicit reviews from your happy patients and customers. It’s harder to get reviews when people are involved with their busy lives. While they are sitting at home, they now have plenty of time to write reviews. (We monitor new reviews for our clients and we have seen an uptick in review generation for active practices.)
- If you have started a project to update your website, or are thinking about upgrading your image, now is the time. Take advantage of your downtime, which will be followed by a huge uptick in business as the pandemic subsides (particularly if you follow these recommendations).
Once prospective patients and customers have contacted you, then schedule a consultation, taking advantage of the new telemedicine rules. More about that later.
Ensure You have The Most Responsive Digital Marketing Company
Use this time away from your practice or business to evaluate the services from your digital marketing company. Evaluate whether your digital marketing agency is 100% behind you during this difficult time.
One of the major concerns that patients and customers have is to be assured that you care about their well-being and safety. In times like this, they want to learn more about what you are doing specifically to keep them safe. At Ceatus, we have strategic response plans in the event that many of our clients require updates to their websites at once, to advise their patients and customers about breaking news. These plans protect our clients’ businesses at all times, but especially in situations such as we have now. Over the last few days, we have received dozens and dozens of client requests to update their websites with COVID-19 announcements. We immediately increased the capacity of our web dev teams so that they were, and are, ready for the challenge. All of the requested updates have gone live within 24 hours to 36 Hours of the request! Is your digital marketing company that responsive?
It is interesting to note that more than 95% of our competitors adopt the “Health Club Model” for digital marketing – they sign up as many people as they can into long-term contracts, knowing they can’t possibly provide services to all of them. They just hope their customers sign up and forget about it. If you feel you are trapped in a “Health Club Model” for your Digital Marketing Services, contact us and find out what we can do to help.
Virtual Consultations Just Became a lot Easier
Another result of the Coronavirus is that HIPAA restrictions related to telemedicine have been lifted. Please see the details in the following article. The bottom line is, you can, and should, take advantage of consumers being at home and shopping online by offering virtual consults. You should implement this immediately. With dramatically increasing online conversion rates and the ability to schedule the consult while they sit at home, a unique opportunity has surfaced not to be wasted. Give us a call to find out how to get started.
Virtual Consults: Don’t be Left Behind
An unexpected result of the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent “shelter in place” orders is a HIPAA release from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Typically, HIPAA patient privacy requirements do not allow doctors to discuss private patient information through unsecured networks. The notification from HHS specifies that in order to allow doctors to serve their patients who are sequestered at home, it will waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that communicate with patients through everyday communications technologies. This waiver applies to FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger video chat and other off-the-shelf means of communication.
Further, this waiver is not limited to consultations related to COVID-19. In fact, health care providers may provide telehealth services to assess or treat any other medical condition, including elective procedures offered by dentists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons and other specialists.
What does this mean for you? It means that practitioners currently have a huge opportunity to take advantage of this unprecedented “collective down time.” As noted in the article above, online advertising conversion rates are way up. Now, even if your prospective patients and customers are working from home, they have no commute time, no children’s activities, etc. They spend this extra time researching online about services they have been too busy to research previously. Clearly, this is the optimal time to gear up and offer prospective patients the opportunity to have a consult with you, from the privacy of their own homes.
If you don’t act and reach out to patients to promote these virtual consultations, by the time the world rights itself, these prospective patients may have finished their research, had a virtual consult with a competitor and made their decision already. As soon as the doors reopen, they will have their procedures done by someone else and your competitors will reap the benefits of current and pent up demand: NOT YOU! Give us a call to discuss getting your telehealth action plan in place today.
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