Websites for Dentists: [Best Practice Guide]
Private dental offices are facing increasing competition from large corporate dental clinics. They have to contend with an uneven playing field, given that most of these larger dental facilities have more money to spend on marketing and more staff to serve patients.
This may make it possible for them to charge lower prices than private dental offices can charge.
Private dental clinics – particularly the high-end ones – find themselves in a bit of a jam. They can’t afford to do the same things the bigger fish can do.
Just like that of any other business, a dental practice website is not just there for formality’s sake. It should be a lead generation machine for your practice.
This article will go into detail about what makes a dental office website work from our experience and available statistic:
Original Photos and Videos
Stock photographs are fine if you are using them occasionally for blog posts, but don’t be tempted to use stock photographs on your website front page. It may be tempting, but it ends up looking rather fake.
Take original photos. If you must, hire a photographer to take the photographs but don’t use stock photos.
Stock photos may be attractive, high quality, and easy to obtain but they are also not exclusive to your business and more importantly, they likely won’t represent who you are accurately.
Remember that you want to come off as authentic more than anything. The other problem with stock photographs is that they are not customized for your website. This does not mean that dental offices should never use stock photos ever. It only means that they should limit their use.
Videos too should also be original where appropriate. Highlight the things that make you special and that appeal to your target market. Perhaps you do some pro bono work. Perhaps you have won an award for your work. Maybe there is something unique about your certifications. All this should be highlighted on your website.
Think about all the questions that your patients typically ask and ensure that all that information is available on your website, written in a simple, easy-to-understand language, preferably an FAQ section.
Finally, the website should be attractive, with simple, clean lines and not too many colors.
Highlight your Achievements
Here is your chance to toot your own horn. Don’t be too shy to talk about your achievements. Do you have more experience than the typical dentist in your area? Is there something unique about your education, the certifications you have gained? Any awards you may have won? Mention them.
How about PPO and insurance plans? What insurance plans do you participate in? Put that out there.
If your dental practice has been running for 20 years, that needs to be mentioned as a focal point because patients do care about your years of experience. Some people want to know if there is childcare or a playroom to keep their children busy while they are in receiving treatment – that all needs to be included.
Give it a Personal Touch
People are interested in other people. If you can put some names, faces, and bios of the actual dentists, hygienists, receptionist etc., it goes a long way to make people open up to seeking your services. Include only the information that is important to customers and maybe some fun facts about your staff members.
Include the name of the dentist, as well as other details like their training, experience, specialization, and any other information that might be of interest to a potential patient. Alternatively, you can have a team photo with everyone on staff instead of individual photographs of each staff member.
Respond to Market Needs
The content on your website should answer the questions that your typical patient wants answered. If patients are more interested in cosmetic procedures, then your website needs to have more information on that.
Some dental practices have their website in both English and Spanish. This shows that they have a significant Spanish speaking population among their customers and within their community.
People want to know about payment options, so it is best to put that information out front. What kind of insurance do you accept? Do you accept Medicaid? That information needs to be on your website. Do you handle uninsured patients? This is important information for patients to know.
Your unique value proposition should make it clear what your specialty is, this makes it easy for a prospect to make a decision to commit.
Make it Easy for Patients to Sign Up
People are reluctant to take action online. So if there are too many questions on your sign up sheet, many of them will not bother filling the whole form. Don’t ask for more information than you need. Only a name, a phone number, and an email are necessary at the beginning. You can get more information at their first appointments.
Focus on your Strong Points
What do your patients compliment you for? What aspects of customer service do you excel at. If you are liked for being sociable or good with kids you can highlight that. Create a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) that reflects just who you are.
Your strongest point has to be your selling point. Read through your Yelp reviews to find out what people like best about you, and highlight it. Alternatively, look at what patients most commonly ask for when they walk through your door, and make that your selling point. This is one of the best ways of standing out when you happen to be in a crowded market, and specialization is one of them.
Don’t Hold Out
Make it easier for people to make a decision by putting all the important information out on page one. Your headline, some testimonials, signup sheet for appointments, and even some snippets from your blog. One dental practice website had an article about why student athletes should wear braces. Any special offers or rewards also need to be featured right there. Some people will not bother clicking on yet another link to get to what they want. That is why it is best to put everything important out front.
A visitor going through your website should find consistency in the design and branding. Changing the layout of the webpage from one page to another will confuse the visitor and they won’t find the experience pleasant.
The good news is that even though you can’t offer the cheapest prices, you can find other ways to stand out. You can do this because there are several other things that patients care about just as much as they care about prices. All you have to do is identify the right patient pain point.
There are some elements that should be present on every single page of your website. Your patients prefer to contact the clinic by phone, display your phone number on every page and make it clickable.
Having a similar design and navigation progress goes a long way in creating a consistent look and feel throughout your website.
One of the most essential parts of a modern website is reviews. People rarely choose to go to a dental office without getting feedback from other people who have patronized the same dental clinic.
So how do you incorporate word-of-mouth marketing to your website? You do it by using online reviews which are almost as good as in-person recommendations – stick to Google and Yelp.
An effective review is brief and specific. It has to specify what exactly the patient liked. ‘Excellent service,’ is not a good review. The review needs to specify exactly what was excellent.
For this to work, you have to do more than simply hoping and praying that your patients will recommend you. Take a more proactive approach by creating a simple referral system for your patients, or pulling reviews from Yelp or Google My Business and featuring them on your website.
But soliciting reviews is not the end of things. Take time to respond to each review. A lot of businesses are terribly scared of getting bad reviews, but negative reviews will not necessarily affect your business in a negative manner. In some cases, a negative review can actually work for you – only if you have more positive reviews than negative reviews and you respond with confidence, humility, and a good sense of humor.
Visitors to your website may not spend a long time lingering or poring every web page. They will be moving on to something else pretty fast. It is important to take advantage of those few seconds of attention to get them to sign up.
Maybe you want people to book appointments. In that case you might just create a form or a call button to facilitate that. But if you want to get a mailing list, create a lead magnet designed to attract the kind of patient you want.
It might be a video, an eBook, or just a simple infographic that people want to download. When people sign up to receive the free lead magnet, they give you their email addresses or telephone numbers.
To get more people to sign up, make it easy. Don’t create a long form for them to fill. Most people don’t have the patience to fill in too much information. They will tire quickly and move on. Create a form with no more than three fields. This way you have a better chance of getting to know them better as patients.
Provide and Promote Valuable Content
No one can ignore the fact that we are in the age of the internet. People are searching for information and services online.
Increasingly, businesses are putting good content in the hands of their target market in an effort to be considered a leader in their fields.
Your patients want content that is useful, informative, and entertaining. Good content will be found by search engines like Google and shared by people on social media.
When you consistently publish and promote valuable, relevant, and entertaining content on your website, you will be able to attract your ideal leads and drive them to convert into your patients.
Beef up your website with interesting and informative blog posts and articles. Videos are increasingly popular, thanks to platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook Watch. When you are trying to present complex data and information, use infographics. This is numerical data presented in visual format.
Having multimedia content i.e. articles, videos, and infographics on your website makes it much more likely that it will show up prominently on a Google search result.
Traditionally, blog and article content alone were enough to rank well on Google, but now it has to be complemented by videos and images.
To do this, try including a blog on your dental office’ website, and embedding videos on YouTube. You don’t need to do tons of videos. A few highly relevant videos are enough. Embed them on YouTube so that they don’t slow down your website and apply the right tags. Visitors to your blog can comment on your posts and share it.
When you have a consistent presence online, you gain authority. This means that people see you as someone whose knowledge and expertise can be trusted, and they are more likely to pay a higher price for your services. Not to mention, this will help tremendously with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
When you understand your patients well, it is easy to come up with content ideas. You know the kinds of questions they frequently ask and you just need to answer them in the form of a blog post. You can use websites like AnswerThePublic.com which gathers questions people ask.
In conclusion, the foundation of having an effective web design is understanding yourself and your potential patients. The better you answer their pressing questions, the better you can design your website to appeal to them specifically.
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