When it comes to marketing your dental practice, a well-designed website can play a dominant role. In this age of internet technology, prospective patients are increasingly searching for dental providers online, and in the case of a dental practice, mere business listings are simply not enough. With the amount of money invested in dental procedures and the potential for disastrous outcomes, patients are understandably tentative about selecting a new provider. Your website needs to be informative, welcoming and reassuring, and showcase your skills and services. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when creating a website for your dental practice.
Create a Welcoming Home Page
First impressions are lasting ones, and your home page is the first thing prospective patients will see when they get to your site. Create an overall welcoming feeling with cheerful images, soothing colors, a professional looking logo and a well-organized layout. Don’t clutter it up by trying to get everything onto one page; remember, this is just a jumping off point to all of your other pages. Be sure, however, to place your phone number and other contact information in a prominent location.
Make it Easy to Navigate
Make sure your site is easy to navigate, with a logical progression from one section to the next. Before you even begin, sit down and create a site diagram of all of your pages and sub-pages. Sites that are confusing or difficult to navigate will not only frustrate potential patients, they may hurt your search rankings on Google and other search engines.
Include People in your Images
The biggest mistake dental practices make when developing a website is to load it up with pictures of their waiting room, their exam room, dental surgery, etc. It’s okay to take pride in the investment you’ve made in state-of-the-art dental equipment, but chances are only another dentist will be impressed. For patients, a picture of an empty surgery full of sterile equipment can actually be off-putting. While they do want to know that you’re not operating out of a basement somewhere, they’ll like your photos better if you feature smiling, happy people (staff members) in the dental chair, in the waiting room, behind the counter. Not only will it make your practice look much more people-friendly, but patients will recognize your staff members when they come in and feel much more comfortable.
It’s Your Website — Starring You
Patients want to be able to know and trust their dentist, so be sure to include a page featuring your accolades and accomplishments, significant awards, schools attended, etc., along with a smiling, friendly photograph. This is no time to be shy. No one wants to trust their dental work to an anonymous provider.
Include Online Forms and Appointment Page
People are busy, and so are you. Make it easier for patients to get an appointment with an online appointment form or service. This will allow your receptionist to spend more time interacting with patients and less time answering phone calls. For first time patients, provide a patient history form that can be either filled out online or printed off and filled out in advance to cut down on waiting room time. Don’t forget to include a query form so that prospective patients can ask questions about your services, and follow up promptly to take advantage of potential leads.
Promote Your Services
Many people are unaware of the advances in technology that have opened up a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to improving their smiles. Take the time to create a page for each of these services, describing the basic procedure, amount of time/number of treatments required, overall success rate and general cost, and include plenty of before and after pictures. If you’re just starting out or new to the procedure, you can always provide a link to the manufacturer’s website, such as Invisalign.
Include Patient Testimonials
Rather than just asking for testimonials, give your patients a survey card, and ask them what they like best about your services. That way instead of just saying “great” they’ll be prompted to expand upon what made the experience better than previous ones, and these are likely differentiators that will appeal to other prospective patients. Post the most persuasive comments in a prominent spot on your home page, and the rest in a section dedicated to testimonials.
Make Sure your Site is Optimized for Mobile
More and more, your patients are trading in their PCs for smart phones and tablets. Ensure that your site is optimized for mobile, so that when someone opens your page on a mobile device it’s not too small to read. Check out your site on a variety of mobile devices and make sure it looks good on all of them.
As a dental practitioner you’re undoubtedly aware that a large percentage of the population is reluctant to visit the dentist. Like your dental office, your website needs to be friendly and welcoming. The overall design needs to strike a studied balance between familiarity and professionalism.