In today’s fast-paced information era, your patients and potential patients constantly ply the Internet, instantaneously buying, selling, and searching for their wants and needs to be fulfilled. If your site doesn’t meet those expectations, they will keep searching until they find one that does.
A third of patients say that their choice of dentists is greatly influenced by their website, and more than 60% of searches are now done on a smartphone. Those are some numbers that can’t be ignored.
From a digital perspective, nothing lasts forever, and that applies to your website. What may be the “in” thing today can just as easily become “out” tomorrow, and your patients know it.
When you realize that computers are obsolete not long after they are purchased and the software shortly after that, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that your website probably will be dated in only 3 or 4 years. This is exactly what happened when even 5 years ago websites weren’t designed to be viewed properly from tablets and cellphones.
If you purchased a site from one of the larger dental marketing companies who had you up and running in about 2 days, so did thousands of other dentists. As a dentist, you probably picked from a menu of dental-related themes to customize your site. So did thousands of other dentists. The manufacturer’s goal is quantity, not quality. Without realizing it, you just became a small fish in a big pond with nothing to differentiate you from the competition.
Your patients are probably more tech-savvy than you, particularly the younger ones. They recognize boilerplate language and canned content. Search engines like Google can detect when the same information appears on multiple sites in the same format, and they don’t take kindly to repeat information.
This is your chance to break out of that box and be different. Since a lot of your new patients will look you up on the Internet before making an appointment, even after a referral from a satisfied friend or family member, take the opportunity to make your site unique.
Build a responsive, user-friendly site that can be accessed easily by all computers, tablets, and phones. Don’t know if your website is responsive? Test it! Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing a separate mobile site that lacks access to your site’s full functionality. Since most people in this country use their cell phones to search for information, why overlook this powerful market? Make yours a mobile friendly site and give your visitors the total experience!
Once visitors are on your site, it’s important to keep their attention. Just as writers have to get and maintain their readers’ attention line after line, you have a maximum of about 20 seconds to provide the right content on your site to keep them from clicking off and moving on. Engagement and entertainment will be the keys to success.
What not to do is just as important as what to do. Dentists spend years learning the meanings of many dental terms, but your website is not the place to demonstrate that proficiency. Technical topics are boring for average patients and will drive them away from your site in an instant. Instead, be creative. Provide content that is both interesting and easy to read. Represent the personality of your practice and your patients. Keep it light and informative.
Your call to action (CTA) is another very important feature. Your CTAs include your phone number, a button to request an appointment, or maybe even a link to sign up for your email newsletter. These features facilitate the actions you want your prospective patient to take, so they should be easy to access. The simpler they are, the more likely they will be used.
If your site explains what you want your patients to do, they will do it. Never assume that they already know how to do it. Be sure that your call to action is prominently displayed and clearly identified. Anticipate patient frustration with your site and implement easy-to-use solutions. Go the extra mile, and both your patients and your practice will thank you for it.
With over a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Jackie Ulasewich decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target patients, and grow their practice through effective marketing campaigns. When she isn’t helping dental practices reach their full potential, she can be found at the beach with her three dogs or immersed in everything food-related with her large Italian family. For more information, call (800) 689-6434.