Sesame Insider Insights
By Naomi Cooper – President, Minoa Marketing & Chief Marketing Consultant, Pride Institute
Patients today are looking to connect with the practice before they ever walk through the front door. A strategically designed website will properly introduce new patients to the practice, and when implemented correctly, the site can be a powerful driver of new patient flow. However, if your practice’s current website was designed even 2-3 years ago, it may be time for an update.
The dental practice website continues to be an incredibly valuable component of the practice’s overall marketing plan, but today it must be considered in conjunction with other important tactics. In order to maximize a website’s potential return on investment, it must not only incorporate the practice’s logo and overall branding strategy and provide accurate information about the practice and services offered, but also utilize modern marketing tactics, including an onsite blog, videos about the practice and common procedures, as well as links to positive online reviews and active social media profiles. When creating a new site, or redesigning an existing one, these are some of the key elements to keep in mind.
A dental practice website must incorporate and be designed around the practice’s unique visual identity. A generic template just isn’t good enough anymore; if there’s a logo and color scheme used on the practice’s business cards, letterhead and other print marketing materials, they also should be the basis of the practice’s website design.
If the practice does not have a professionally designed logo, then logo development must begin prior to starting a major website overhaul. The site must take on the same look and feel as all other materials and should be part of a unified branding and communications strategy—rather than a disjointed tactic.
Consistently updating the practice website with new, fresh content is essential for the modern dental practice website. One of the most important considerations that 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 on an ongoing basis. 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—as Google prefers.
Social media and online reputation management
According to a recent Sesame Communications whitepaper on social media marketing by Dr. Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, and Diana P. Friedman, MA, MBA, respondents to a national survey of 88 dental and orthodontic practices confirmed that social media continues to provide a strong driver for practice website traffic. In fact, more than 91% of dentists surveyed agreed that social media helps drive traffic to the practice website.
Incorporating links on the website to the dental practice blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel also provide more ways for patients to connect with the practice—and learn about the services available that might help them achieve their ideal smile. Social media is also playing an increasingly important role in Google’s search algorithm; those profiles are even more valuable as they now potentially help boost the credibility of your practice website.
Responsive Design & Mobile-enabled practice websites
In 2012, Pew Internet research found that 31% of Americans used their cell phones to look for health and medical information online. In fact, not having the practice website customized for the mobile experience translates into countless missed opportunities to bring new patients through the door!
Sesame offers Responsive Design Websites to assist dentists in keeping their websites ahead of the curve and optimized for computers, smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices. With the wide appeal of smartphones among dental patients—and prospective patients—it is increasingly important for dentists’ websites to be optimized for every type of gadget that can be used to browse the internet, whether that device is desktop, laptop or glued to the palms of their patients’ hands.
For more information about building an effective website, view this On-Demand Sesame Webinar: Top 10 Mistakes in Building a Dental Website – And How To Avoid Them
Naomi Cooper is President & Founder of Minoa Marketing and serves as Chief Marketing Consultant for Pride Institute. She is a respected dental marketing consultant, published author, speaker and industry opinion leader who co-teaches Pride’s groundbreaking marketing course, “The New Rules of Dental Marketing”. Naomi consults on behalf of leading dental companies as well as individual dental practices that are looking to develop a cohesive marketing approach and momentum for their marketing strategy. Naomi can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she blogs regularly at www.minoamarketing.com. For regular updates from Naomi, including social media & online marketing tips & tricks, follow her on Twitter (@naomi_cooper) or “Like” Minoa Marketing on Facebook at www.fb.com/minoamarketing. For information about upcoming course dates, call Pride Institute at 800-925-2600 or visit www.prideinstitute.com.