8 out of 10 people regularly conduct local searches online. Are you part of that majority? I’d bet that like most people, when you have a problem or are looking for something you pull up a search engine. And guess what—potential patients are, too. They’re looking for services (like dentists!) that they feel will meet their needs. So if you want to gain new patients and increase profit you need to meet patients where they’re at—online.
Isn’t it hard to attract patients online?
Surprisingly it’s not as complex as most dentists think. Unless you’re in a really big city with tons of other dentists, the odds are that your online competition actually isn’t very strong – meaning there’s a good chance you can stand out online and be found by potential patients.
What do I need to attract new patients online?
Believe it or not, in most geographic markets you need just three things:
A professional website.
A great online reputation.
A presence in third-party websites.
In future articles we’ll discuss the importance of online reputations and third-party websites. But today we’ll start with the foundation of any online presence – your website.
A Professional Website
So what do we mean by a “professional website”? Well, first think about your own online habits. If you go to a website and it looks like it was created in 1998, how do you perceive that business? Perhaps you think they’re out-of-date, and not up with the times. Maybe you think they don’t care much about their business. Or maybe you think they’re too old to help you. Fair or unfair, perception is reality, and if your website doesn’t look polished and modern, people are likely to think you’re not a very good dentist. Remember, your website is the foundation of your online presence. In many cases, it’s the first thing people experience with your practice, and if you want to attract patients, you have to have a website that makes you look like you run a professional dental practice.
In terms of website design elements, first keep the goal of your website in mind… to get people to call and book an appointment. To that end, simple and clean websites usually perform best. People are impatient online and they expect to quickly find the information they are looking for. So things like large images, simple menus, bullet points, and headings help people navigate your website. Similarly, with so many of us now using our phones to search online, your site must be mobile-friendly. Include simple contact forms, and click-to-call phone numbers that make it easy for people to call on their mobile devices. Simply put, you want to make it as easy as possible for prospective patients to hire you. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to attracting new patients.
A Simple Activity You Can Do Today
Again perception is reality, and it’s important to know what people think of your website. Luckily that’s easy to do. Below is a really cool, and FREE, tool that you can use to get unbiased feedback about your website. I would encourage you to take 30 seconds to submit your website for review. (By the way, I have no affiliation with the company, I just love their tool.) The website is peek.usertesting.com and all you do is enter your website and email address, and within a few hours you’ll get a link to a video where you can watch and listen to how people interact with your website. It’s that simple. You have nothing to lose by checking it out, and everything to gain. Maybe people will tell you that you have a great website that looks professional. That’s great. But maybe they’ll tell you that your website stinks. Either way, wouldn’t you like to know?
Thanks for reading. Hopefully you found it helpful, and be sure to check out our next installment covering the importance of your online reputation.
BIO: Hi I’m Josh Fulfer, and I help small businesses connect with local customers. My company is KVF Marketing, and I specialize in online marketing with an emphasis in high-value lead generation, website design, and search engine marketing. I work with businesses such as dentists and attorneys and help them leverage the internet to reach more customers.