So you have a website for your dental practice, but are you getting enough hits or generating leads? More importantly, are you effectively converting those leads to draw new patients to your dental practice? Just a few short years ago, having a basic website for the practice’s online presence was good enough for the average dentist. But today, with the rise of search engine optimization and social media, and the ever-increasing importance of online patient engagement, a dental practice website needs to be more than just a static online brochure.
Patients today are looking to connect with and experience the practice before they ever walk through the front door. A website must not only be able to help dentists continually connect with their active patient base, but it also must serve to ensure the practice is easily found—and chosen—by prospective patients who are searching for a dentist online. Given below are some key design elements and best practice that must be considered to make your website an incredibly valuable component of your practice’s overall marketing plan.
Start with your home page
Everything starts at home. A dental practice website must incorporate the practice’s unique visual or brand identity. This could be a logo, a picture or color scheme that is consistent with all other aspects of the business. Upon arriving at the practice’s homepage, both existing and prospective patients immediately should be able to see how to get in touch with the practice, whether to get more information or to make an appointment. Add an easily locatable number on your home page so that people can contact you whenever they need. Think about what your visitors need. Avail multiple ways to contact you and keep the preferred details in bold writing.
Unleash the power of videos
Establishing a YouTube channel, or profile, for the practice and embedding and cross-linking videos on the practice website that complement the written content benefits the practice in two ways. First, videos of the doctor and team build rapport with prospective patients before they ever make their first appointment. Second, search engine algorithm now gives an incredible amount of weight to websites that feature and cross-reference rich media content such as video. From patient testimonials to a practice welcome video and tour to short descriptions of common procedures and after-care instructions, adding some quick, one-minute videos filmed on your smartphone to your website can be a major boost to your online presence.
Make it mobile friendly
In 2012, Pew Internet research found that 31% of Americans used their cell phones to look for health and medical information online. With the wide appeal of smartphones among dental patients—and prospective patients—it is increasingly important for dentists’ websites to be optimized for use on smartphones. What makes a website mobile-friendly? The mobile user is looking for specific information, and wants to find it quickly. Market data indicates that 61% of mobile users will leave your practice website and switch somewhere else, if it’s not mobile-friendly. This translates into countless missed opportunities to bring new patients through the door if the practice website isn’t customized for the mobile experience.
Keep it fresh
Consistently updating the practice website with new, fresh content is essential for the modern dental practice website. One of the most important considerations that search engines like Google takes into account when deciding how to rank a website in search engine results is how much new, fresh content the site has to offer. An onsite practice blog that has weekly or even monthly entries ensures that new and original content is added to the practice website on an ongoing basis—and that is preferred.
Engage more on social media
So your practice has a facebook and twitter page and you are posting interesting articles from time to time and doing your part on being social. But is that simply enough? One of the incorrect assumptions about social media sites is that they don’t drive quality visitors. On the contrary, it is proven that leads generated through social channels or connections has a much higher closing rate than any other outbound marketing. Incorporate multiple channels, and adapt your content to each individual channel. Have clients write testimonials or guest posts for your blog. Cross-promote your channels through re-posting, re-tweeting etc.