How to market your practice during COVID-19
COVID-19 marketing resources
It’s no secret patient volume dropped for many allergy practices due to COVID-19. In the College’s May COVID-19 member survey, 64% of respondents said total patient volume was down more than 50% over the prior year. And in a May survey by SAGE Growth Partners, 33% of patients said they do not feel safe in their doctor’s office.1
Allergists will need to think outside the box to rebuild their practices during COVID-19. There are huge regional differences for practices, and depending on your location, marketing your practice may require educating patients and referring providers in new ways. The College has several resources to help you market in the era of COVID-19.
Communicate to build trust and keep patients
Reach out to patients and explain why it’s important for them to continue their allergy and asthma treatment. And go the extra mile to let them know it’s safe to come in to see you.
- Patients expect transparency in communicating what your practice is doing to keep them safe. Provide detailed safety protocols, including mask requirements, temperature checks, waiting room modifications, cleaning/sanitation process, etc.
- Overcommunicate: regularly update patients about changes that will impact them. Provide changes to office hours, mask policy, telehealth’s impact on existing appointments, etc. Patients get frustrated when they aren’t told about changes that impact or inconvenience them.
The College has developed a Checklist for Communicating with Patients About Resuming Visits During COVID-19 that practices can use to create patient communication pieces.
Other resources you might find helpful when developing patient communication are:
- MGMA’s sample letter for reopening a practice
- AFMC’s telehealth and in-office scripts to encourage patient visits
Marketing strategies during COVID-19
For marketing strategies during the pandemic, view our free June 11 webinar Strategic Marketing to Rebuild Your Practice Amid COVID-19. Our allergy marketing experts discuss low-cost marketing options, how to use communication to build trust, ways to use social media effectively and more. Plus you’ll see examples of successful marketing and communication pieces from three allergy practices.
Make the most of your website
Your website has taken on added importance as a patient communication tool during COVID-19. Some top tips for maximizing your website include:
- Keep it current. Make sure you provide up-to-date information about hours and services provided, as well as any changes in protocols. Can patients check in remotely? Make a telemedicine appointment? Wait in their car after their allergy shot? Make sure your website has the latest info.
- Make important content easy to find. If you offer telemedicine visits, provide info and a link on your homepage. Similarly, provide COVID-19 education and/or a link to practice safety protocols on your homepage.
- Provide patient education FAQs and fact sheets. Patients are increasingly looking for non-touch ways to get patient education. You can help by providing educational materials they can download straight from your website. The College has a wealth of educational materials you can repurpose in our Marketing and Patient Materials toolkit.
- Include downloadable registration forms and policies (HIPAA privacy statement, financial policy, health history form, etc.). Patients will appreciate being able to complete and submit forms remotely, as well as accessing practice policies online. If they can check in remotely, that’s an added bonus.
For ideas you can use on your website, check out examples from a few allergy practices that do a good job of connecting with patients and explaining their COVID-19 policies:
For general marketing information and resources, the College’s Marketing and Patient Materials toolkit has an abundance of downloadable and customizable resources you can use in your practice right away. And the College’s COVID-19 resource page is full of clinical, coding, telemedicine and practice management information, as well as patient resources.
1 Sage Growth Partners / Blackbook Research, May 2020. Research performed 4/28-4/29 with a sample size of 591.