A website is the most valuable marketing tool for a dental practice. It makes the business’s first digital footprint on the World Wide Web and opens the door to many other marketing opportunities. However, if you really want your practice to grow, bring on new patients and retain the current ones, a website alone is not enough. You need to create a dynamic online presence for your dental practice.
Today, the internet provides a lot of information and choices for patients. Patients are also using a variety of online resources to look for dental practices including search engines, online directories, review sites and social media. While your website will always remain one of these resources, you need to go way beyond that to extend your digital footprint into a dynamic online presence.
Here are some valuable secrets to create an online presence for your dental practice.
- Make sure search engines can find you
If a prospective patient types up your name in a search engine and can’t find you, it means you’re falling behind. Search engines like Google are where most patients are looking for dental practices. Your website can have all the bells and whistles but if your patients can’t find you on the first few pages of the search results, you’re missing out on hoards of opportunities. Search Engine Optimization techniques and pay-per-click advertisement are the best methods for amplifying your visibility in the search engines and putting you in front of your prospective patients.
- Keep an updated website that attracts new patients
Your website isn’t a billboard advertisement – it is a resource for prospective patients to find information about you and then be sufficiently motivated to be your future patients. You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles – but the one thing that is proven to work is regularly updated content. Content rich websites pull in prospects like a magnet. Your website should provide links to other sites, educational resources and materials, and any press releases to improve credibility. And finally, make sure it’s updated – an outdated website makes your entire practice look outdated.
Another thing you should make sure is that your website is mobile optimized. More people are using tablets and smartphones for surfing the web today. Hence, a responsive website makes a huge difference by giving a positive experience to mobile users.
- Get listed in online directories
Listings in local online directories provide easy links to your website and information about your practice. Since these directories are frequently updated, they often show up on the first few spots of search results. So if you’re listed there, chances are your prospective patients can find you through the directory, if not through your own website.
- Build your online reputation on review sites
The worst case scenario is when people search for your practice and find negative or inaccurate information. To avoid this, claim your listings on review sites and make sure you’re being represented positively and accurately. Don’t be shy to ask patients to leave reviews. And always keep a plan of action ready for negative remarks.
- Engage with your patient base on social media
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to easily harness the power of word-of-mouth advertisements. Whether it’s about where to buy or what to buy, people rely on recommendations from friends and relatives. These conversations are now happening on social media. And so, being active on social media gives you an opportunity to build relationships with your patients, garner word-of-mouth recommendations, share news about your practice and connect with future patients.
- Use analytics to keep track of your performance
You can use a variety of different internet marketing techniques to make your website rank in search engines and attract new prospects but if you don’t have any way of telling how well your efforts are working, you won’t know when and how to improve. There are many online analytic software options that can help you figure out how well your website is doing and, most importantly, where your traffic is coming from. For example, if your practice is located in Long Beach, California and most of the traffic you’re getting is from Santa Monica, it means you need to improve your marketing and SEO campaign so you get the traffic that matters to you.
Following the above tips, you can go from having a website to creating a dynamic online presence.