The following article was published in 2007, Aesthetic Dentistry Today.
Standing Out: On Your Website
The World Wide Web has provided both existing and prospective patients with a shrewd tool to compare dentists without physically visiting the practice, meeting or talking to staff. It is essential for a private aesthetic dentist to demonstrate credibility through a reassuringly modern and up-to-date website in order to satisfy the expectations of existing patients and make it easy for them to choose to continue their custom, never mind recommend the practice to family and friends. Standing out amongst competitors on the Web is important for any dentist serious in attracting new aesthetic patients.
An easy way to stand out is to stand for something. A dental website should be targeted to a specific patient profile; every practice has unique patient demographics depending on the location, modernity and treatments of the practice so it is important to realise what type of patient the practice feels confident in successfully attracting and tailoring the website to do just this.
Some practices will find most of their patients are elderly whilst other practices will have younger patients; photos of smiling models should illustrate the desired patient profile.
If the dentist feels the treatments are most appreciated by the elderly then displaying photos of young families is not going to help the website stand out to an elderly audience.
On the homepage of Dr Basrai’s website, appealing photographs of smiling models are flash animated to both represent and make a connection with his target audience. The website also has “9 Reasons to Choose Dr Basrai” which identifies his USPs and addresses affordability.
Every cosmetic dental practice needs Unique Selling Points (USPs) and msost importantly needs their website to be able to convey their USPs quickly and clearly. The average website visitor may only stay for 5 or 6 pages and within that time the prospective patient needs to grasp a significant feature to be able to remember you.
Affordability is an essential message on the Web and a USP that every practice can adopt. The Web has become known as the place to find the best price. Experienced surfers expect to find out information about fees and be able to include payment information in their decision making process when comparing dental websites. A new website visitor is most likely going to compare at least two or three dental practices. It is a good idea to consider visible adverts indicating special offers unique to your website. Information on interest free credit and discounts will help make your website memorable.
An indication of treatment fees should be displayed. The benefits of showing a comprehensive list of fees includes building credibility in terms of transparent pricing and the ability to divert telephone enquiries to your website for payment information and charges, thus freeing up valuable reception time. The benefits of not revealing any fees is that the price-astute web visitor is unable to easily compare on the basis of price however this only stays a benefit as long as the practice is able to entice the visitor to attend a consultation to discuss individual treatment plans and affordable methods of payment. There is no point in shying away from stating fees on the website if all is revealed immediately over the phone.
Websites need to be kept up-to-date with opening hours, dentist and staff profiles, emergency information, and fees among other topics. Fees should be stated to be correct as at a specific date so that the dentist is not accused of misleading the patient if there happens to be different quotes within the practice without updating the website. Stating that prices should be used as a “guide only” and are “from” a specific amount allows flexibility and helps screen patients who can’t even afford the basic treatment costs. However, if transparent fixed prices are adopted then even more regular and timely updates must be made. An online cost calculator, which only works out the cost of the individual visitor’s treatment, is a useful means of providing transparent pricing without providing a fully accessible list of all fees; cost calculators can serve as a user friendly method as it provides the user only the information they require without overwhelming the page with information.
Dr Stephen Byfield www.stephenbyfield.co.uk provides a fee calculator for both patients and referring dentists to obtain a quote without being overwhelmed with a full table of prices, especially complicated when quotes are dependent on the number of implants required as well as the number of missing teeth.Keeping Up-to-Date
Dental Focus Web Design provides its clients with an annual hosting and maintenance package, which includes unlimited minor updates to text and images on existing web pages. Updating fees is treated as a priority.
Standing Out: On Other Websites
Appearing on Web directories and portals that are naturally high ranking on Google.co.uk for dental or location related keywords is an essential task for any cosmetic dentist that wishes to enjoy new patient enquiries from the Web. In the short-term, these priority listings and featured web pages, which advertise the practice, will simply increase your website’s visitors as a result of flow through traffic i.e. visitors search on Google, find the high ranking directory/portal and thus find the link to your dental website. In the long-term, these inbound links to your website from search engine optimised sites will improve your own ranking on Google for the location and dental related key phrases.
It is beneficial to follow the above strategies on all free and paid-for Web directories and portals for which your website has a priority listing or featured page. Dental Focus Web Design liaises on its dentist clients behalf to ensure that their details on 3rd party websites follow the same principals of identifying with the patient, marketing the winning aspects of the practice, addressing affordability and being kept up-to-date.
|Top Search Engine Ranking
The image above shows www.basrai.co.uk ranking no.1 on the natural, free listing of Google.co.uk for “cosmetic dentist essex”. Increasing the number of relevant in-bound links to Dr Basrai’s website from optimised featured pages on web portals and directories improves search engine ranking.
Online marketing budgets need to be created and in some situations a redistribution of funding may be the only way; shifting financial resources from the usual paper-based advertising (i.e. in Yellow Pages, local newspaper, etc) to online advertising (i.e. on Yell.com as well as other popular directories and portals, etc). Dental Focus Web Design secures special discounts for high-ranking directories and portals to provide real savings for its dentist clients and a Web marketing presence that works.
|Web Portal Content
The information displayed on a high ranking web portal to advertise www.basrai.co.uk clearly explains the USPs of the cosmetic dental practice, in Grays, Essex, what it can offer and addresses affordability.The effects of such a featured page with links to www.basrai.co.uk is (1) increased visitors and (2) improved search engine ranking for Dr Basrai’s website.
The web page on a different high-ranking web directory is also optimised for the Grays, Essex, location as well as dental key phrases and thus helps with Dr Basrai’s own website’s ranking.
|Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
The wording on PPC sponsored adverts on Google.co.uk should be thoughtfully chosen and, if possible, address affordability. Improving the wording on PPC adverts will improve the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) regardless of the actual ranking; a sponsored advert will attract more clicks if the wording is relevant to the search. “Quality & Affordable Dentistry” are the words used by www.densmile.co.uk to attract patients looking for a general “coventry dentist”.Dental Focus Web Design provides campaign management and training services for Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising.
The Neem Tree www.theneemtree.co.uk and Whippendell dental Clinic www.watforddental.co.uk provide visible adverts throughout their websites indicating special offers.information on interest free credit and discounts help make their websites
Large professional photographs are animated at the top of the website to provide a virtual tour of the practice.
Five tips to remember
Your website should:
- Target specific patient profiles and relate to them
- Convey your unique selling points quickly and clearly
- Appear affordable to the price-conscious web user
- Be kept up-to-date and state the date at which fees were last updated
- Duplicate these points on top directories, portals and pay-per-click advertising
Krishan Joshi is “the Master” at Dental Focus Web Design.
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