Like them or loathe them there can be no escaping the fact that mobile phones are everywhere. In fact, last year Cisco reported that the amount of mobile phones on the planet would surpass the number of people. And with the technology behind mobile phones improving and getting cheaper year on year, it’s fair to say that the mobile phone phenomena won’t be going away any time soon.
This has important implications for dentistry and dental marketing, as patients are increasingly using their mobile phones to access the internet and search for dental practices online. It’s therefore no longer good enough just to have a basic dental website advertising your services to the world. If a patients comes across your website on their mobile device and your website isn’t designed to be rendered on a mobile phone, then they will quite simply just look elsewhere.
Here at Dental Focus ® we are in the fairly unique position of being able to study visitor trends across the many hundreds of dental websites that we have helped to create over the years, and so are able to build a picture of how the market is changing. By studying our own Google Analytics we have found that on average up to 1 in 3 of visitors to dental practice websites are now using a mobile device to do so. We predict this number to rise towards 1 in 2 within 12 months.
These figures really reinforce the need to ensure your dental marketing is working for you and not against you. For example, our research would suggest that if a mobile user is not happy with your website, there is a 40% chance they will go visit a competitor. Furthermore, if a mobile user has a poor experience on your website, they are 57% less likely to recommend your business to others.
What this tells us then is that there is a really pressing need for all forward-thinking practice owners and managers to consider the practice website for what it is – a valuable marketing resource that needs to be exploited and put to best use. If you already have a practice website then that’s great – you’re making a good start – but ask yourself this: are you proud of your website? Does your website ‘sell’ your practice in the best possible way? And crucially, how does your practice website appear to mobile visitors?
Given the stark statistic that around half of your web traffic will come from mobile devices within the next 12 months, there is a greater need than ever to ensure that your practice website is completely compatible with mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. These mobile optimised sites should allow users to browse your site quickly and easily, and so find key pages with minimal effort. These pages should include an appointment form, a treatment menu, a testimonials page, and a page describing the dentists and the team, as well as your fees and perhaps also a page of testimonials. Importantly, your website should also include all the necessary contact details (with a ‘click to call’ feature), along with opening hours and addresses linking to Google maps for directions. Remember, if a prospective patient can’t find the information they are looking for quickly and easily, there is every chance they will decide to search elsewhere. With competition between practices so rife these days, the chances are they will end up at your nearest competitor and you will have just lost out on a new patient.
Now is the time to have both a “classic website” which is mobile and tablet friendly as well as a separate fast-action “mobile website” that downloads hot pages within 3 seconds when patients are “on-the-go” so you can attract as many patient enquiries as possible.
Make no mistake, dental marketing is tough, and is bound to get even tougher as more and more practices discover the benefits that an effective online presence brings. This is why it’s absolutely crucial that you make best use of the tools and resources available to you, that you establish a high quality website that you are proud of, and that you market your website to your patients. By combining online marketing strategies with other tactics that include internal and external tactics, slowly but surely your practice will climb the Google ladder and you will really make your practice stand out ahead of the competition.
So… if you haven’t got a practice website already, then you really do need to make sure you get one. You are potentially missing out on hundreds of potential new patients by not being online, and your competitors will only gain as a result. Similarly, if you are already online, is your website mobile friendly? Does it adequately reflect your practice? Imagine your website as a shop window. Does it make any sense for only half the passing customers to be able to see into that shop window?
With technology and social trend changing rapidly, it pays to use the services of an experience online dental marketing team you can trust. The award winning team at Dental Focus ® “Websites for your profit” have over 500 dental practices websites to their name, and thousands of Google Page 1 results for natural (organic) search. To make your practice an online success, contact the experts today.
For more information call 020 7183 8388, or visit www.dental-focus.com
‘More mobiles than humans in 2012, says Cisco’, BBC News, 15 February 2012 <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17047406>.