Responsive Design vs Mobile First – What’s the Difference?

by Naomi Cooper September 5, 2017

dental practice website design strategies

After working as a dental consultant for over a decade, I know first-hand how busy dentists are. I know that when your day is consumed with patient care and office management, there is little time left to think about things like online marketing and SEO.

However, to keep the practice doors open and the office operating, some thought needs to be given to these issues. For 99% of dentists, outsourcing website design and SEO is not only a smart decision, but the only option. And while the average dentist doesn’t need to fully understand what responsive design is or what a mobile-first strategy looks like, it is important to be aware of the basics so that you can communicate easily with your website designer.

First of all, both terms refer to how a website is designed, but they differ in the process that goes into building the site.

Responsive design – the concept of building a website to adapt to specific devices and screen sizes, typically done by designing for a desktop computer first, and then paring it down to fit tablets and mobile

The problem with this is that, today, more Google searches are done on a smartphone than on a desktop, and the growing reliance on our phones to access the internet has sparked the rise of the mobile first strategy.

Mobile first – designing a website for mobile first, think of it as starting small and then adding additional functions for larger devices

And Here’s Why It Matters…

Google has revealed that it plans, at some point in time – potentially at the end of this year, roll out their mobile-first index, which will become their primary index.

Currently, Google indexes a website based on the desktop version, but when this new roll out occurs, they will begin to do the opposite. Google will start to index the mobile version of a website to then determine where in the SERP (search engine results page) the desktop site will rank.

Long story short, any dentist who has not updated his/her website within the past 18 months or so likely owes their web designer a phone call. And for those with a new(ish) site designed within the past year and a half or so, and who knows it was built using responsive design standards, don’t panic. A responsive designed website is likely not going to hurt you or your online traffic too dramatically; just keep the mobile first strategy in mind for the next update.


How to Ask Your Dental Patients for Referrals – Without Actually Asking!

by Naomi Cooper August 2, 2017

There’s no doubt that asking for patient referrals is a simple and cost-effective way of sparking word of mouth for dental marketing consultant naomi cooperthe practice, but this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy.

Many dentists feel as though asking for referrals makes them look desperate for new patients, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s all about how you approach the conversation. Here’s how to make asking for referrals less awkward and more effective:

Get comfortable with it!

Make sure the entire dental team, including the doctors, has the verbal skills necessary to comfortably and confidently talk with patients.

Start by asking patients how their visit was.

More than likely they will pay you a compliment, providing the perfect opportunity to get a referral.

Respond with gratitude.

Explain to them that their good experience wasn’t a fluke – it’s something that you and your team work hard to accomplish every day, with every patient.

Now engage the patient.

Remind the patient that, if he or she knows of any friends and family who would appreciate the same commitment to care, your practice is accepting new patients and welcome referrals.

This helps patients understand that you are in fact accepting new patients, which isn’t always obvious to patients. And it demonstrates that you would welcome the opportunity to care for their friends and family. Ending the conversation on such a high note will help motivate patients to spread positive word of mouth and demonstrate your continued commitment to providing top-notch oral care.

Check out my video on how to ask your dental patients for referrals for more one-on-one advice!


How to Take Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

by Naomi Cooper June 7, 2017

Dental Website? Check. Facebook Page? Check. All marketing duties complete? Not so marketing for dentists

For dentists looking to grow their practices, there is simply no escaping online marketing. When looking for a new dentist, patients will most likely visit your website, look you up on social media and read reviews on sites like Yelp and Healthgrades.

The question is – what impression are you giving them?

A website that isn’t properly maintained won’t appeal to modern patients. Social media isn’t effective if it isn’t used consistently. Make sure the key components of your online profile are up to date and in working order:

  • If it’s been a while since you’ve taken stock of your website, get in contact with your web designer to see what updates may be necessary.
  • If you have a Facebook page that hasn’t gotten regular attention, now’s the time to re-engage and even create a social media calendar to help keep it fresh and relevant – and of interest to patients.

For more insights into what you can do today to boost your online marketing – and discover the one component you may be overlooking! – check out my recent article in Dental Products Report.


Meeting the Needs of the Millennials in Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper May 3, 2017

It’s as though the marketing world has become obsessed with the Millennial generation, often writing and speaking dental marketing to millennialsabout the group as though it is comprised of a bunch of aliens or foreign entities.

It’s puzzling, really, because while they’ve grown up in a digital era that none of the older generations can even fathom, when it comes down to it, Millennials are really no different than any other consumers – or dental patients.

This younger generation is still looking for the same inherent qualities in a dentist that older patients look for – a doctor who can provide world-class care. It is true, however, that they are more comfortable with technology, so if you are looking to reach Millennial patients, here are a few ways to do so:

  • Incorporate real time text messaging capabilities at your front desk to make communicating with the office as simple as possible
  • Add online appointing features to your website so patients can schedule a visit while on the go
  • Build a robust social media presence beyond Facebook as younger patients are more likely to use Instagram or Snapchat
  • Make sure you have plenty of positive testimonials on third party review sites like Yelp and Healthgrades as Millennial patients like to research the practice online before ever making that first appointment
  • Consider expanding your clinical offerings to include state-of-the-art services like CAD-CAM, laser dentistry and sleep apnea treatment in order to perform a wider variety of procedures in-house and to give a more modern and full-service impression
  • Offer free Wi-Fi throughout the office – especially in the waiting room

Just remember, all the software in the world cannot replace stellar customer service, and that is something that always appeals to patients of all ages.


Secrets Revealed: 4 Simple Steps to Online Success

by Naomi Cooper March 8, 2017

Yes, you’re a dentist. But you’re also a business owner, and in that role, you are responsible to your patients and your online marketing for dentistsstaff to run a successful practice. To keep the doors open and your chairs filled, you need a strategy for attracting new patients and maintaining your existing base.

Dentists can no longer afford to ignore the power of online marketing. It helps you reach more prospective patients and keeps them engaged in between appointments. If the digital space has been a struggle for you, you’re not alone! Many dentists face the same challenges as you do, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In my recent article published in Dental Products Report, I’m letting you in on four key secrets for simplifying and streamlining your online marketing, and they all revolve around these key components:

  • Reaching your key audience
  • Updating your office processes
  • Adopting a flexible mindset
  • Recognizing the power of outsourcing

So if you’ve been feeling more exasperated than excited about your online marketing, check out my article here. Your new patients are out there – you just need to help them find you!


What Does Your Dental Website Say About You?

by Naomi Cooper January 5, 2017

Did you know? 97% of patients prefer to visit a dentist’s website than to call the office for practice website design

This means your practice website is often a prospective patient’s first impression, so you need to make sure it’s a great one. However, if it has been awhile (read: 18 months or more) since you last updated your website, that first interaction could be saying you are slow, frustrating and out of touch…not exactly the impression you want to be giving.

To ensure your website is providing an accurate reflection of your practice, make it sure it incorporates these critical components:

  • Keep the site updated with mobile-friendly design so that anyone can easily navigate the site regardless of the device they may be using (desktop, mobile or tablet)
  • Make it easy for patients to get in touch with the office by having the contact information prominently displayed on all pages
  • Feature links to social media and online review sites to showcase everything your practice has to offer
  • Utilize blogs and video to make the site more engaging and informative

The most important thing is to remember that your website should be designed with the user in mind. For more ideas on what you can do to optimize your website – and 5 tricks to absolutely avoid – check out my article in Dental Economics.