If your business is caught up in the Covid-19 hysteria, and who’s isn’t, then you need to read this.
Personally and professionally we have expected and prepared for a big downturn in the economy for several years.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I bought a small farm and before that turned our gardens into a permaculture food forest. So not only do we have our own food security, we also eat 100% organic, super fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, free range chicken and eggs (and the occasional goose egg!).
Blend was built up out of ashes of the last recession back in 2008. Back then, I was living in London running a production company. I transitioned that business model to an online video service and eventually a SEO and local search marketing agency.
All our team work remotely across three continents and we have tried and true systems (Standard Operating Procedures) in place to operate efficiently as always. It’s business as usually in that respect for us.
I wrote 3 articles here on my business blog over the last year, that may provide some nuggets you can take away from them:
Although we anticipated ‘the everything bubble’ to pop, what we didn’t have the scope or vision to see was the black swan event happening that turned out to be a coronavirus named Covid-19.
We’ve watched the Covid-19 spread almost in slow motion from early January in Wuhan, China and now to the rest of the world.
We are now seeing many of our orthodontic clients in the US approach 2 weeks of shelter-in-place orders or complete lock down. The situation may change from mid-April to the end of the month, but at this stage of events, no one knows for sure.
So, there’s a lot of uncertainty around at the moment so naturally business owners find it hard to plan ahead.
We have never been so busy. We take a holistic approach to digital marketing so we have been proactive helping our clients get the communications on point.
In times of uncertainty, it’s vital that you as a business owner, lead from the front, allay those fears and bring calm and clarity to all those around you. That includes your team members and patients or customers.
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;!”
– Rudyard Kipling, If: A Father’s Advice to His Son
I personally think there is a lot of hysteria around this virus, after all that’s how the media makes it’s money. Only when this is all blown over we be able to look at the real data and see. Maybe then more people we start to question how half the world got to be locked down and we lost many of our civil liberties. But it doesn’t matter what I think either way. Let’s focus with the problems at hand.
What is it Going to Take to Get Through This?
Keeping a level head. If you are in a state of fear, anxiety or exhaustion. Now is not a time to be making rash decisions while in these states of mind.
Now is the time to get a level head and focus on the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t.
At the end of last year I read Mark Manson’s book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K”, (recommended reading). As it turned out, that set me up perfectly for this moment in time and to only focus on the things I can control. You should also try to relax, focus on the things you can control, be the calming influence for your employees and patients alike.
Delegate and use your time wisely. You should have a highly skilled team, allow them to shine ‘we’re all in this together’, give them responsibility and most importantly ensure everyone is trained to convey your brand and culture at every opportunity, by phone, email, SMS, SmileSnap, zoom, and even in the line for loo roll.
Every interaction must convey how your business is going above and beyond to ensure your patients are in a clean, sterile and safe environment every time they walk through the door.
Don’t just talk the talk… walk the walk. How?
We have never been so interconnected. You may not use social media personally but now is the time you really should.
Everyone is, or should be social distancing. This gives you the opportunity to shoot video messages and be seen on Instagram, YouTube and your Facebook page.
“But I don’t like being in front of camera”. Tough! Neither do I, but I shoot video and then never watch it myself. (Pro tip, lol)
Video is a powerful medium that allows you to show yourself being a leader in your business and community. It allows you to back up your words with actions.
Do not underestimate how powerful a simple video shot on your phone can be or the positive, long lasting effects it can have on your business. Do not delegate this task, it’s your time to shine!
Creating video content right now, will elevate you above the competition while they ‘Netflix ‘n’ chill’.
The videos you create right now will obviously be based around the coronavirus. The best kinds of videos are question and answer. Start with a question and then go on to answer it.
Here are a few video titles to get your creative juices flowing:
- When can I get my braces off?
- What happens if I brake a wire during the lock down?
- Will I get Invisalign trays delivered?
- I lost my retainer, what can I do?
- Do you offer virtual consultations?
- When will you reopen?
You should also make an explainer video to tell your audience what you are doing in your business to ensure patients are your priority, safe and progressing with treatment.
Introduce virtual consultations, tutorials about how to take teeth photos, etc. I’m sure you can brainstorm more ideas and produce great content. Just do it!
Share your videos across all your social networks and embed them on your blog.
How Can You Minimise Contact and Practise Social Distancing?
Some simple changes to your office procedures could include:
- Pick up or delivery of braces
- Patients can sit in their car instead of your waiting room and receive a SMS when you are ready for them
- Install a Virtual Consultation app on your website and use for treatments
- Use Zoom to video chat with your patients (it’s HIPAA compliant)
- Send your patients an Intra Oral Camera
Stay positive and be prepared to pivot. Even when covid-19 has passed, peoples habits and suspicions have been severely challenged and will not revert back to ‘normal’ for a long time.
Trim the Fat
Savings can’t always be made by cutting back, especially on essential services but now is the time to look at employing more automation or outsourcing.
Some questions to start asking yourself:
- Can you outsource your scheduling of appointments to an outside agency?
- Can you outsource your bookkeeping to a outside agency or integrate a SaaS (Software as a Service).
- Can you provide virtual consultations?
- Can you do home or school visits?
Right now is a particularly stressful time for all business owners but those of use who can adapt quickly or pivot on a dime will be stronger on the other side.
Time to Pivot Your Website?
Now would be a good time to pivot your website messaging, redesign your website and switch-up your SEO whilst your competition hold back to completely dominate as we exit the other side. If you need help, reach out to us for a complimentary consultation to see if we are a good fit.
Here are some further details about some of the resources mentioned in this post:
Facebook Ad Grants
We would recommend running Facebook ads continually at the moment, even for just $2 a day targeting your email list, and interactions on social media. This ensures that you’re at the forefront of people’s minds when they emerge out of their self-quarantine.
Facebook adds have dropped off recently, so your adds will have greater visibility.
Register your email with Facebook to receive $100 ad grant here:
SmileSnap is a great app for smile assessments and virtual consultations. I wrote a blog post on it here. If you decide to implement it for your business, use our referral code ‘Blend20’ and save $299 on the setup and onboarding fee.
As increased use of technology has begun to facilitate access to general health care, the dynamics of dental care and treatment have changed as well. People can now access oral health care professionals through tele-dentistry, which incorporates a combination of telecommunication, digital imaging, and video chat.
Talk about pivoting your business, this app also facilitates mobile dentistry. For more information about Dentulu, click here.
Zoom is a video, chat, conferencing and webinar app that is fully HIPAA compliant with telehealth technology and workflows.
Are you’re working from home and don’t want to show a messy background? Want to make a great first impression? Create a branded, virtual background on Canva (they have Zoom templates) and upload it to your Zoom account or simply choose from one of the made-for-you backgrounds pre-loaded in Zoom.
You can use photos and short video clips to create your unique virtual background that will set the stage for your next Zoom consultation.
Discover more at the Zoom website here.
There are a lot of digital learning parties being held at the moment. So take advantage of the free time to educate yourself and your team on how to use Instagram stories for your business, learn how to write engaging captions for your Instagram posts and stories. or shoot better videos and a whole lot more so you are in poll position post covid-19.
I hope you found this post valuable and you took away at least one or two actionable steps you can start today and reap the rewards tomorrow.
If you need help or have questions about your website design, SEO or digital marketing, reach out to me for a no obligation call. I’ll be happy to listen and discuss your needs.
Now go wash your hands, that keyboard of yours looks pretty filthy!
Covid-19 – Your Business Survival Guide