If you don’t have a practice website yet, chances are your competitor either has one already, or is in the process of making one. In this day and age, if you don’t have a website you are missing out on one of the most powerful, cost-effective ways of marketing yourself to the world.
But of course, just having a website in itself isn’t enough. Surf the web for local dental practices in your area and you will see that the standard of dental websites varies greatly across the profession, with websites ranging from the single page template that looks distinctly ‘last century’, to the all-singing, all-dancing websites run by some of dentistry’s leading figures.
It’s true to say that just as all dentists are not made equal, neither are dental websites. In order to take full advantage of the boundless potential the internet has to offer, your practice website really needs to stand out – it needs to be exclusive.
Stand out from the crowd!
One of the main areas many websites fall down is on their profile. Quite simply, the designer(s) – whether they be the Principal or an outside web design company – simply haven’t understood the vision of the practice. One problem that often crops up is that many practices try and cater too broadly for everyone, and in so doing don’t create a brand for themselves, and so don’t stand out ahead of their local competitors. The look, the feel, and the brand all need to convince your specific target patient that your practice is the right place for them. Your Unique Selling Points (USPs) should be clear, and the targeted visitor must feel compelled to stay on your website for more than five seconds.
Another point you need to pay particular attention to in your practice website design is in how you and your team appear to the public. Remember, your website is a 24/7 shop window that works for you even when you’re not working. As such it doesn’t just need to look good, but it also needs to convey the right ‘message’. Many dental practice websites neglect the fact that customer service is visually represented through the medium of the website. As such you need to convey your practice personality through the visual design and content that you display to the world. You need to look and read as the experts with the best level of customer service in the area.
To further enhance your practice profile, you should consider including patient testimonials as a key feature of your website. These don’t just have to be scanned in comment cards, but they can also include video testimonials that help to convey the human side to your practice. To support testimonials, it is also useful to display examples of your work. After all, how else can patients judge the quality of treatment you provide? Before and after photos are an excellent way of selling yourself to the world in this regard, and combined with testimonials and perhaps even some simple case studies, can really prove a powerful marketing tool.
Put yourself on the Google map
Another way you can make your practice, and your practice website stand out is to take advantage of tools such as Google My Business. Many dental practices are still not aware of the importance of registering their website on Google My Business to obtain a free local business listing. For the most effective marketing you will also need to make sure you control your account on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, so patients can ‘check in’ to your practice virtually, and provide you with some free advertising in the process.
To help you in your efforts remember it’s not just a case of putting your website address on your letterheads and stationery. You need to spend 10 seconds with each patient, turning towards your computer screen to ask them “Have you seen my website? If you’re happy with the treatment today, please visit our website and share us on Facebook.” Just spending a few extra seconds with your patients can prove extremely effective. After all, if you can get your patients to talk about you online, then that’s more free publicity for you!
Written by Adrian Adler
This article was first published in the February 2013 issue of Dental Tribune UK. Updated April 2018.