Your website, for many is likely the first interaction prospective patients have with your practice. It is the central point of your online presence. Yes, you may have social media channels and online listings and reviews in many places online but all roads lead to your website.
Consider your website like a team member that is on your payroll. The objective is for your website to do “work” for you. To get people interested in you. To get them to take the next step with you. To get them to become your next new patient. That’s a tough job from something that can’t talk or see or hear. Your website is merely words and pictures on a page or that’s how it is for most dental websites.
Prospective patients are researching online everyday for a dentist in your area. They’re looking for that one “guy” that they resonate with. Just because you built a website does not mean they will come — sorry, Kevin Costner.
Your website needs a strategy. It needs to tell a story. We are drawn to stories. We love to watch movies and read books. We may watch or read the news. Everything is based on story. Stories capture our attention and make us want to know more.
Most dental websites are full of canned content (boring!) and stock photos (who are these people anyway?) with no real story at all. It might look pretty from a design standpoint but what is engaging and compelling in any of this? A whole lot of nothing, and the reason your website might not be bringing the new patients you want.
Not to knock web designers and developers. We have them in our business. They are a huge asset to our services and they understand what it takes to build a great website. But most web designers and web companies don’t get it.
This is not good for you. The problem is you do dentistry, not websites. You think by hiring a company that does websites, you’re all set. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a look at the dental websites that are out there. Most of them are just like I described. And they’re not doing anything to “earn” their keep.
With your website being the central point of your online presence, it needs to be speaking to the exact ideal patients you want to attract.
It needs to be able to quickly evoke emotion, empathy and trust by drawing them into the story. What are the challenges and problems your patients face that you solve every day? Why are you different than any other dental practice in town?
It needs to have clear and concise messaging. Patients need to understand that you “get” them and can take care of both their needs and wants and create a happy transformation for them.
This is typically not the job of a web designer or developer. This is a journey and process that once developed will lay the foundation for your practice and guide the way you market your practice into the future.
Besides your website telling a story there are three other important elements that your website needs to have so it is doing its “job” in attracting more patients.
1. Your website needs to be SEO’d from the start. All too often we see dental practices with new websites where no search engine optimization was performed. This then becomes an add-on feature that is paid for later.
That’s no way to start a new website. Your goal is to be found. Search engine optimization plays a key role in this.
Keyword research should be done to help you determine popular search terms. Having this keyword knowledge allows you to develop the proper structure or site plan before the prettiness comes in.
2. Your website needs to have great content. All your website really is, is content, with some pretty graphics and colors, of course. Content is what gets indexed by the search engines to help you get found. Content is also your story. You want your story to be compelling. It needs to create interest. It needs to be useful. It needs to educate. It needs to show empathy. It needs to build trust. It needs to convert. Content is the workhorse of the website. It needs to be done right.
3. Your website needs to convert. By conversion, I mean take an action. Your site needs to stimulate whatever behavior you want your visitors to take. These conversions can be small like staying on the site a bit longer to get educated on a particular procedure or coming back for a subsequent visit to read more about how you helped a patient who had the same problem they do. Conversions are also calling, emailing, scheduling an appointment, or downloading a special report. Usually conversions are mini-steps in the ultimate direction of getting them to make a commitment to become a new patient.
By having Google Analytics installed on your website, you are able to measure your sites activity; number of visitors, pages clicked, time on site, where the clicks came from online and geographically, what type of device they are using, etc. This is a great way to understand what’s working on the website and what may need more tweaking from a conversion standpoint.
You really can’t afford to consider your website like you may have in the past. It should be so much more than an online brochure. It needs to be created with your overall marketing strategy in mind. That begins by working with the right marketing professional who understands how to develop your strategy and convert it into a story ideal patients want to engage with.
Kathy Jiamboi is the Founder & President of Creativedge Marketing, and a StoryBrand Certified Guide. Looking to improve your website? Get a FREE Guide, “The 5 Secret Weapons of Great Dental Websites”. Go to creativedgemarketing.com/webguide