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online marketing for dentists

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What a Dentist’s Website Needs to Have in 2018

by Naomi Cooper December 6, 2017

Have you ever tried to access a website that is slow to load? Or have you ever been on your smartphone and pulled up dental practice website designa web page that’s hard to read because half the text is shifted off the screen? Chances are, you quickly clicked off that site. This is a prime example of a website that hasn’t been updated recently.

You likely invested a decent sum of money when initially building your dental website. Don’t let that money go to waste! A website needs to be regularly updated to ensure that it is reaching the right patients and functioning correctly. After all, this site is your digital representation online.

Here are 5 key components your website needs to have in 2018 in order for it to be as effective as it should be:

Responsive Design/Mobile First

The site needs to be designed to function across all devices, which is especially important as smartphones recently surpassed traditional desktop computers in terms of users accessing the Internet.

Branding

If you’re still using a tooth in your logo, it’s definitely time for a branding update. And even if you’ve worked with a graphic designer on a more modern and professional strategy, double check that the branding, logo, tagline and practice name are consistent across all online profiles: the website, social media and third party directories.

Contact Information

Make it as simple as possible for patients to get in touch with the office. Keep the phone number and address in the header and footer on every page. Having a click-to-call or online appointing features go even further in helping patients contact the office.

Links to Social Media and Third Party Sites

Offering links to sites like Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and Healthgrades helps establish social proof for prospective patients. While having positive testimonials on your website is a good idea, patients also give credibility to reviews left on third party sites like Google, Yelp and Healthgrades. And social media sites help to personalize the dental office and keep patients engaged with the practice in between appointments.

Visual Appeal

There’s no doubt that patients are still fearful of the dentist, so having a visually appealing website help to give a more friendly vibe. Pictures of the dental team and videos of the dentist addressing common patient concerns, for example, can go a long way in helping to build trust in the practice. And designing the website with aesthetics in mind – having enough white space and even adding a textured background to the theme – can help provide a modern, clean and welcoming impression to all patients.

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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.

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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 fast.online 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.

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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!

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4 Ways to Keep Dental Patients Happy in the New Consumer Culture

by Naomi Cooper October 7, 2015

Happy dental patientTo paraphrase Chaucer, if “time waits for no man,” then it also stands to reason that time waits for no dental practice, either. Thanks to tech-savvy consumers and consumer rating sites like Yelp, Healthgrades and Angie’s List, patients now have a plethora of information about your practice, all just a click away.

Make sure what patients are saying online about your practice is positive, and it all starts with patient satisfaction. Since keeping consumers happy is often a game of “what have you done for me lately?”, make sure you’re continuously doing things that show patients that they’re your top priority.

Dr. Marvin W. Berlin discusses this “new consumer culture in dentistry” in great detail in the August issue of Dental Economics. Dr. Berlin dives deep into the “consumerism shift,” discussing its causes and many effects. There are many ways to successfully navigate the intersection of dentistry and today’s online world, but the following tips are at the top of the list.

  1. Be willing to do what others won’t. This may be obvious, but it is essential for your practice to try things that make you stand out from your competition online. Whether that means having a flawless, user-friendly website, shooting videos or generating chatter via social media contests, you always want to be sure that your practice is one step ahead of the rest by doing things that other practices in your area aren’t.
  1. Provide patient education. “Shopper culture,” as Dr. Berlin puts it, has given rise to more comparison shopping: consumers are always looking for the most cost-effective, time-saving option. Now that everyone has instant access to a world of information online, it’s important for your website, social media and online profiles to be a patient’s best resource for dental information. Not only should your content be informative and accurate, but it should detail the services you provide and why they’re important to short- and long-term health. Also, by utilizing online tools such as streaming video and slideshows, you can show patients exactly how you can benefit them, and not just tell them.
  1. Stay active online. Other than dispensing valuable information in a crisp, good-looking package, your website and social media pages should act as hubs for your dental community to interact. Spice up your online presence by sharing interesting articles, facts or even dental-related jokes. Simple posts like these don’t take much time and can help generate conversation and make your patients take an active interest in your practice.
  1. Provide modern accommodations. For many, a trip to the dentist’s office is considered a chore. Anything you can do to make your patients feel better about the whole experience the second they walk in the door is greatly appreciated. Providing free access to WiFi and charging stations for smartphones and tablets can go a long way toward making your patients feel at home and cared for.

With so many opportunities available to leverage technology to help grow your dental practice and keep your patients happy, there’s no excuse not to use them. Being unique, user-friendly and accessible online takes a bit of work, but it will all be worth it just to see the smiles on your patients’ faces – emoji or otherwise.

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The Secret to Attracting More Baby Boomers to Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper September 21, 2015

What's your online marketing strategy?Did you know that the fastest growing demographic on social media is adults ages 55-64? While you might believe that online marketing is just for the younger population, it turns out that online tactics can be an effective method for attracting patients at or near retirement.

The first step to using social media for reaching the baby boomer population is to determine what site(s) you wish to use. Facebook is an obvious place to start, with more than half of all online adults 65 and older using the social networking site, representing almost 1/3 of all seniors.

Next, keep your profile updated with interesting content and informative posts that cater to the baby boomer population. You could write a blog with tips on preserving their smile, or post an article from an industry expert on the oral-systemic link. And it doesn’t have to be all about dentistry. Including non-industry content will help keep patients engaged while providing a well-rounded social media profile.

For more additional tips on how to use social media to reach patients of all ages, check out my recent Dental Products Report article.

Even if traditional tactics like telephone book ads are still apart of your Baby Boomer marketing plan, don’t be short sighted. After all, as the population ages, your strategy will eventually need to shift online. Getting started now will keep you ahead of the game in the coming years.