The relaunch of PracticeBox to provide the Do-It-Yourself website solution for both dental practices and individuals seems to have sparked a new wave of website newbies asking the 10 year old question: “Do I need a dental website?”
With the rise of the internet and the birth of the “internet generation”, most patients will now look online when trying to find a dental practice, rather than the “old” ways of using the phone book or searching magazines.
Given the massive change the internet has brought about in our world, it’s fair to say if you want to market your practice successfully, you really do need to have a practice website. This is because to the savvy dental marketer, a website offers a whole world of possibilities – not only for “putting your practice on the map”, but the Google map.
At its heart, one of the main advantages of a practice website is the value it provides. Websites are without doubt the 21st century’s single most cost-effective means of dental marketing, and offer much better value than printing brochures, hiring PR agencies, or placing ads in the local press. Websites also then have the added advantage that they don’t limit you to a specific potential market. Rather, a good website gives you a practical and effective way to communicate with the widest possible audience, while at the same time targeting groups specific to your own requirements.
Remember, 90% of patients now have computer access. The internet has become the main form of communication for the 21st century. As such a practice website can be a fantastic means for you to communicate with your patients, providing them with the information they need at a time convenient to them. And of course this doesn’t have to be within the normal 9–5:30 office hours most businesses work to. A website can be accessed from almost anywhere – 24/7 – so will always be working for you, even when you’re not!
One of the great strides that has been made in internet marketing over the last few years has been the use of online media to build a rapport with customers (or in dentistry’s case, patients). A practice blog for example can be an excellent way to initiate dialogue about interesting and relevant issues. By stimulating conversation with patients, not only will you encourage patients to engage with important oral health issues, but you will also in turn help to build your practice “brand” as a compassionate and caring service, keen to do the very best for the patients you serve.
From a technical perspective of course, an active and engaging blog can also be a great way of improving natural search results. Regular, quality content is an essential part of generating traffic to your site, and as more people visit your site for longer, you will in turn find your website moving up the search engine rankings.
If you still don’t find yourself persuaded of the benefits of a practice website then consider this: your main dental competitor either has, or will soon have one. Every dental practice across the UK and beyond who has a website or is building one, will gain a clear advantage and point of difference over a practice without one. Remember, a website is a “shop window” for your practice and the services you provide. If a patient with toothache sits at home one evening and searches for their nearest dentist, will they find you? If you don’t have a website, you can be sure the patient will call your competitor first thing in the morning.
Of course while it may be one thing to have a simple website as a “business card” for your practice, the best websites will be rich in content designed to attract potential patients and convert them to your practice. Options you might like to consider for example include testimonial pages that can be in either text of video format. You might also consider space for special offers, as well as a practice blog, information on oral hygiene, contact information, and details on members of the dental team.
In this respect, your website can be anything you want it to be. The possibilities are almost endless, and the quality of the design is only really limited by the experience and expertise of the designers. To help your practice website really stand out ahead of the competition, employing the services of a dedicated website design company can really make a massive difference to the success of your online marketing. Companies such as Dental Focus® Web Design for example can provide you with an exclusive website design that is fully search engine optimised, and compatible with portable browsing devices such as smart phones and tablets.
With so many possibilities, the internet offers a tremendous opportunity to those willing to turn it to their advantage. As a means of marketing to patients, there really is no better option. With a personalised website, designed to fully embody your practice and your “vision”, you can be sure your practice will become an online success.
Adrian Adler is “the Wizard” at Dental Focus Web Design.
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