Attracting new patients is one of the greatest challenges for most dental practices. It’s a competitive world out there and consumers are more fickle than they have ever been. What’s more, they are increasingly making decisions in a shorter space of time, based more on a gut feeling than an analysis and assessment of the facts.
Now, let’s imagine a couple of scenarios.
Firstly, someone new to your town wants to find a dentist for themselves and their family, what’s the first thing they are going to do?
More often than not, they will take to their phone or tablet and search for ‘dentist in my town’ – they’ll then be presented by a page full of competing practices, which they will surf until one takes their eye and speaks to them at a gut level.
Someone asks a friend if they can recommend a dental practice in the town, which they do. What’s the next thing they are going to do?
They are unlikely to make a call or visit until they’ve checked out your practice website. Does it back up the recommendation they’ve been given? Does it make them feel confident that they’re in the right place, or turn them off?
So, whatever way you look at it, in a marketing sense, all roads lead to your website.
Which means…in this highly competitive environment:
- If you don’t have a website – you’re out of the game
- If your website doesn’t come up on the first page of results – you’re out of the game
- If your website is poorly designed and unfocused – you’re out of the game
- If your website is full of dental jargon, has way too much text, has a picture of your front door, features a picture of the principal dentist looking like something out of Nightmare on Elm Street, looks like every other dental website on the planet – you’re out of the game!
So, how do you get back in the game?
Firstly, and most importantly, you have to understand that your website is not for you or about you – it’s for the prospective patient and therefore, should be about them. Think about what is important to the types of people landing on your website and tailor your messages accordingly. Think about the benefits you deliver and the affects these have on your patients’ lives and their happiness.
Talk in plain language, keep it simple and work on the premise that ‘less is more’ – no-one is going to read reams of copy, no matter how good it is.
Other things that have been proven to improve the performance of your website:
- Include a (nice) picture of the principal dentist in your Google result profile (it helps people connect at a very early stage)
- Consider paying for listings, it guarantees you’ll be on the first page
- Invest in search engine optimisation (SEO) – that’s seeding your website with the right phrases and content to move you up the Google search rankings (talk to your web providers about helping you with this)
- Keep it fresh – Google demotes practices that are static – your website should be a living, breathing environment with fresh content added at regular intervals
- Use video testimonials – we live in the video age – live action speaks louder than written word
- Make sure your website is also responsive so that it works as well on a mobile device as it does on a laptop or desktop computer
- Invest in your website design and upkeep – it’s worth it
- Make sure you’re connected to Google Analytics – which means you can monitor the activity on your website and develop a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t – it’s free!
- And…just to reiterate, concentrate at all times on patient needs and drivers and the patient experience. The website is for them, not you.
All roads lead to your website…the question is, is the destination worth the trip?
Over to you.
About Les Jones
Not only is Les Creative Director at Practice Plan but he is also a professional designer, photographer and business speaker with over 30 years’ experience in branding and marketing. He has been working specifically within the dental industry since 2010, helping dentists increase their profits and sales through the development of powerful collateral and the implementation of simple and effective marketing techniques. Les is also the host of all episodes of Bodcast around how to market your dental practice.