Why You Shouldn’t Cut Your Marketing Budget During Economic Downturn
It’s easy to look at your financials and wonder if your marketing budget is something you need when people aren’t spending the way they used to.
While cutting your marketing budget can seem like the quickest way to increase your cash flow during tough economic times, it may hinder your practice’s ability to recover faster when the economy recovers. As we know, recessions don’t last forever.
Think about it this way: whether the economy is up, down, left, or right, people still need dental care. Letting them know your practice is where they should go for that care comes down to effective marketing strategies.
Recession isn’t a word anyone enjoys reading and we’re not fans, either. We’ll use the word recession as we outline how to navigate your marketing budget during an economic turndown, but it’s not meant to scare you. We’re here to make sure you’re fully prepared and know how to keep your dental care business thriving during, and after, these daunting times.
Why Marketing Still Matters
During a recession, marketing should be one of your top priorities. Companies that have recovered quickly from recessions didn’t cut their marketing budgets and, in many cases, increased them.
Maintain a Relationship with Existing Patients
Attracting new patients can be 5x more expensive than retaining your existing patients.
Marketing can nurture the relationships you have with your current patients and keep them happy and loyal. Your marketing budget can fund emails, social posting, and patient retention campaigns to maintain your patient base and revenue.
Reach New Patients
Your marketing efforts should always have some focus on reaching new patients. Dental care is cyclical, so patients of every age will need your services at some point in their lives. Marketing to them, even during low economic times, can make your practice their first choice when they do decide they need a dental appointment.
Additionally, people are always looking for good deals (perhaps especially in a “bad economy”), even when it comes to dental care. Smart marketing can help you attract these patients.
Communicate with Your Audience
If you feel like your marketing is stale or stagnant, your audience likely feels the exact same way.
Putting care into your marketing efforts throughout the year, even when it doesn’t seem ideal, maintains your credibility and trust with your audience. Your patients will be left wondering about your practice’s stability and how much your care about patient retention. They may even forget about your practice entirely.
Here’s what could happen if you completely cut your marketing budget:
- Your competitors may overshadow you
- You can convey a lack of corporate stability
- New patients won’t come across your brand
- You’ll see a decrease in business overall
Marketing Strategies During a Recession
Big problems always lead to even bigger opportunities, and we’re not just trying to be overly optimistic. Rather than cutting your marketing budget, we recommend that you look for ways to refresh and improve the efficiency of your marketing.
Social media is a great place to start. Social media use and overall screen time are on the rise, largely due to the pandemic bringing the normalization of remote work and technology. Your patients have grown accustomed to spending more time on their devices and making larger purchases through mobile apps, and dental practices must adapt accordingly.
Email marketing is a great way to engage your existing patients with valuable information directly. Reaching out to these patients by adapting to their shifting priorities (including, and especially, sustainable business practices) has already shown to be effective in terms of generating engagement and cultivating a positive brand image.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is key to maximizing your digital presence and online impact. You can target specific keywords and regions to target patients (existing and new) and market your services, products, and promotions.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Examine your target market to ensure you’re reaching the right people
- Examine your current marketing channels to see if there are any that can be reduced or eliminated
- Make sure you are measuring your results to determine what is & isn’t working
- Invest in marketing automation or other tools to make your work easier
Make an unforgettable mark so that when survival becomes revival, your brand is the most memorable. Almost all purchase decisions are influenced and made at home.
Lockdown has simply focused attention on the location where we most frequently shop and browse. The at-home consumer has always been and continues to be an important audience.
Discuss Your Strategy with Our Team
It may be tempting to cut back on marketing, but there are ways to carry out your current strategy more efficiently to maximize sales. By being wise about where you spend your money, you can stay at the top of consumers’ minds without overspending.
Marketing budgets shouldn’t be cut on a whim or because it appears to be an easy target for necessary cuts. Staying true to your marketing plan, even during a recession, will result in a stronger rebound when the market corrects itself, as well as greater long-term success for your brand and its loyal patients.
Discuss all of your options with your marketing team before deciding on a budget. They will most likely work with you to achieve your objectives, even if budgetary changes are needed. Your relationship with your marketing team should be open and honest; they, too, want to see you succeed and will do everything in their power to help you do so.
Ready to get started? Check out our Marketing Budget Calculator and contact our team to determine the right marketing budget for your practice.