Get Your Dental Practice Website In Shape for 2017

February 8, 2017 by AACD Executive Office
By Smile Marketing

Every year, the marketing potential of the Internet escalates. Your online presence is more important than ever. And this remains the case even if you are a referral-based practice. After all, where does a referral go before scheduling an appointment? Your website. Word of mouth alone is no longer enough. Your online presence must validate the referral.
 

Word of mouth alone is no longer enough. Your online presence must validate the referral.

 
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, it’s important to stay on top of the trends. If you have a website provider, they should be doing the same. Below you’ll learn about the digital marketing trends we expect this year and why 2017 might be the year for a website redesign.

The Digital Marketing Outlook For 2017

Social media is first up, mainly because of its ever-increasing popularity as a marketing tool. There’s no cost for setting up a Facebook page, the setup process is simple, and the interface is intuitive.
 
In 2016, however, social media outlets have pushed a “pay to play” system (at least, more so than in previous years). By decreasing the amount of posts seen in followers’ newsfeeds, businesses have been forced to buy visibility.

Here are some other evolving digital marketing strategies that should be considered for 2017:
  • Link building: Backlinks to your site, which are still important (think quality over quantity), could be demoted by social signals and engagement.

  • Content: With increasing competition, interesting and professionally written content will be essential to convince prospective patients to choose you.

  • Pay-per-click advertising: Last year, Google eliminated the right sidebar ads in search results. As ad real estate decreases, optimization will become more critical.

  • User engagement: How users interact with your site (the time they spend on it, how many pages they visit, etc.) will likely become a stronger ranking signal.


The Foundation of Your Online Presence

Your website is the hub of all your online marketing efforts. Not your Google Business listing. Not your Facebook page. Your website is the place prospective patients go to learn more about you. Your online marketing initiatives (social media, email marketing, etc.) simply feed prospective patients to your site, which is where the magic happens.
 
It’s where prospective patients turn into reception room patients.

Of course, that means your website must be optimized for patient conversion. If it’s not, you could be sending potential patients straight to your competitors. Countless online ads and an unending list of search results have transformed the mindset of Internet users. They now decide whether or not they approve of a website the second they land on it.

Why the quick conclusion? Social media users are accustomed to scanning dozens of posts in their news feeds in one sitting. If someone’s post doesn’t capture their attention immediately, they keep scrolling.
 
This has translated over to how people interact on other websites, and it underscores the importance of a patient-converting website design. Some conversion-friendly components of a successful dental website are:

  • Unique and persuasive content

  • Browsable content (headings, bullets, and short paragraphs)

  • Professional photographs of the doctor, staff, and office

  • Calls to action that encourage prospective patients to schedule an appointment

Why Redesign Your Dental Website?

The shelf life of a website is only three to five years. The reason? Increasing competition, changing user behaviors, and new technology leave dated websites in the dust. And quickly.
 
Old web technology can prevent your website from being found on Google. We’ve seen this with the emergence of mobile technology. Nearly 60 percent of all web searches are now performed on a mobile device. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it may not appear in mobile search results.

And if it does appear, it’s likely the user experience will be poor as site visitors will have to zoom in and out to read the content or have a hard time navigating to other pages. They’re lost within a matter of seconds. Remember, the back button is only a click away.


How to Redesign Your Website

So how do you redesign your website? You have several options.
 
One, do it for “free.” Find a cheap online website builder and design it yourself. If you have experience designing patient-producing dental websites, this is an option. But your website shouldn’t just be a piece of “digital art” – unless you’re simply looking for a place to refer current patients.
 
Your next option is to hire a discount website provider. The drawback to discount providers is that, due to low margins, they’re unable to support ongoing service requests. Discount providers are great if you just want a decent-looking website for current patients to refer to. They’re not, however, great for generating new patients as that requires ongoing website maintenance and an integrated marketing plan.
 
Your final option is to hire a website service provider. While the monthly fee is higher, you’ll have ongoing website and marketing support. Features like blogging, reputation management, email marketing, and social media content are typically offered by these types of providers.
 

Make 2017 the Year of Your Website

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, keep your eyes open to stay ahead of the curve. Digital marketing is a revolving door that requires constant attention. Above all, make sure your website is up to today’s standards.
 
Looking to hire a new website provider? Download our eBook “7 Questions to Ask Your Dental Website Provider” to make sure you choose the provider that is right for you.

 

 
 


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