When to start dental PPC and Facebook Ads again?

Re-starting paid ad campaigns post Covid-19 – when and how?

When formal lock-down started 6 weeks ago I’d hoped that by this stage we’d have some idea of when dentists would likely be open for business again. However, as I write, there is little clarityFacebook logo regarding this and we have to wait for the Government to give us a better idea of when it might be. The scale of the pandemic has certainly been dramatic and perhaps much worse than many had imagined or, arguably, prepared for.

The result is that the dental business, along with most other businesses in the UK, is effectively in stasis, certainly as far as face-to-face treatments are concerned. Hopefully we are all doing excellent work while we wait, providing advice to patients, staying in regular contact with them and even carrying out video consultations where appropriate. Much of this I’ve covered in recent blogs. At the “team” level, I know that many practices are also using their time wisely to review training objectives and other development requirements where practical. The key to all of this of course, is to come out fit and ready to do business once again on the other side of the crisis.

Five weeks ago I launched a series of blogs covering various marketing activities and questions which needed attention during the lock-down phase, ranging from video consultation through to patient e-newsletters. The last in the current series covers pay-per-click advertising, namely Google and Facebook, and we’ll take a closer look at these aspects in today’s blog; in particular when should you re-launch.

The great Ad pause!

Right at the start of lock-down, we recommended that clients should pause their Facebook and Google Ads simply because of the practicalities of following up on leads and also that the public sentiment, by-and-large, wouldn’t be receptive. Other than a few dentists who continued with Invisalign ads to try to counter the ‘DIY braces at home’ brigade, everyone paused their Google and Facebook ads on mass. As a business, we went from managing many thousands of pounds of ad spend for clients per month, to virtually zero, with the economic effects of the pandemic reaching all of us.

This has been the case now for several weeks but with an eye on the future, it now makes sense to start looking at your ad campaigns and preparing them so you are ready to act quickly once the lock-down restrictions are eased.

Why you need to prepare

There is urgency across the UK to re-start business and of course dentistry is no exception; practices are suffering with some getting close to the brink of ceasing to trade. So when treatments resume, even if staged and based on “risk”, then there will be a clamour to start getting new dental patients back through the door. Clearly there will be an influx of patients who need “routine” treatment and continuation of existing plans; however there will also be a pressing need to re-start the more lucrative procedures too. So we expect competition to be fierce and fast.

Given that digital marketers need a reasonable lead-time to produce ads and have them approved, it really does make sense to prepare well in advance. Indeed we are already working on numerous new campaigns for our clients in readiness. These campaigns can be held in a “paused” state in Google and Facebook accounts and launched instantly when the time is right. Of course, timing when to launch will be important, so let’s take a look at some of the options around that now.

Timing your new ad campaigns – the great Ad re-launch!

Extending AdWordsGiven that we have no guidance from the Government yet, unfortunately there is no definite answer to when we can re-launch. However we can still make some recommendations and discuss a few options.

For example, one option is to launch very soon but with the plan to direct leads to a video consultation services. We have several clients already using video extremely successfully. Whilst you won’t be able to book patients in for physical examinations, you will be able to start them on their journey and hopefully get in ahead of your competitors. The risk is that there could still be some dead time between now and opening when the leads could go cold. But better to have those leads than nothing at all.

If you aren’t keen on developing the video consultation route, you should be looking at launching ads a few weeks before the formal return-to-work date. You can advertise general treatments and also consultations for more comprehensive treatments, even if you can’t start performing them yet. As a minimum you need to let your audience know that you are well-prepared and ready to start getting their oral health and smile aesthetics back on track, safely and as soon as it’s practical to do so.

Make no mistake. Similarly to the great ad pause, there will also be a great ad re-launch as dentistry goes back to work. So you need to be prepared to avoid missing the boat.

Summarising

Right now the world of paid dental advertising is on hold other than in a very few select niches, and for very good reasons. Hopefully dental businesses will be able to re-open soon, even if in somewhat restricted format; so it’s essential to be ready for a fast start. This is also true for your PPC ad campaigns, whether on Facebook, Google or both. Just as dental ads came to an abrupt halt, so they will start again equally quickly.

As we’ve covered elsewhere on our blog, effective paid advertising is not really a DIY activity and lots of cash can be wasted getting it wrong. This is certainly not the time to contemplate that. So if you need help to prepare your ad campaigns ready for the big re-launch, the team at Dental Media is on hand and ready to help. Please get in touch on 01332 672548 and we’ll get you set up, ready to go.