If your online marketing efforts haven’t been meeting your practice’s goals or if you have yet to build an online presence for your practice and want to be able to reach new patients, then here are the most important parts of an online presence that your practice must implement to stand out.
PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE DESIGN AND SERVICES
As the web has evolved, so have patients’ expectations. They now expect a professional design that functions seamlessly on any device. Visitors will usually form an opinion of a practice (or any business) based on their website within 15 seconds of visiting it. After that, they will decide to stay or go elsewhere.
Your website should have…
- EASY TO READ FONTS – The fonts you select for your website should be simple and easy to read. Fonts like Arial and Verdana are available on almost any computer by default and commonly recommended for readability on screens.
- COLOR AND DESIGN – Choose colors that are easy on the eyes. Save bright colors for your call to action buttons. Don’t worry about blank or white space; it makes the website easier to read and navigate.
- IMAGES THAT IMPACT – Include images of your practice, dentists, and office staff. Imagery can often grab a visitor’s attention more effectively than text alone.
- CLEAR CALL TO ACTION – If visitors can’t tell what the next step is, they’ll quickly leave your website. Prompt them to fill out a contact form, schedule an appointment, or read helpful content.
- MOBILE RESPONSIVE – Over half of all web traffic takes place over mobile devices, like a smartphone or tablet. A website that’s not built for these devices will be difficult or impossible to use.
Mobile responsive design is a website that is built to adjust itself to any screen size and any device. This gives you a single version of your website that loads quickly, is easy to maintain, and stands out in Google Search results.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Even if you have the best website out there, Google still needs to be able to find it. So how do you show up on Google and move towards the top of search results? There are hundreds of factors that get you there, but these are the most important ones:
- QUALITY CONTENT – Content must be relevant to the lives of visitors or else they will realize that what they are looking for can’t be found on your website and will go elsewhere. As you get to know your patients more, fine-tune your content to better suit their needs.
- REPEAT TRAFFIC – Visitors are likely to come back to your website regularly and share your content with others if it contains valuable, relevant content. This is especially true when your website includes patient education. Google also considers repeat traffic to be a good sign that your website is helping its visitors and is more likely to reward this kind of website in search rankings.
- ON-PAGE SEO – The words that you type into the Google search bar are called keywords. On-page SEO optimizes the content of your website to more closely match the keywords that people use to search for a provider or more information about your services, making it more likely for them to find your website first.
- DWELL TIME – This is the average amount of time that visitors spend on your website. When they spend more time on your website, Google assumes that they are engaged with your website and found it to be more valuable.
PAY-PER-CLICK (PPC) SEARCH MARKETING
The above are examples of organic search engine optimization. Organic SEO generally takes four to six months to fully gain traction in search results.
Pay-per-click ads are advertisements that you only pay for when a visitor clicks on them. These ads often lead directly to your website or a landing page. Because they can appear at the top of search results the same day you create them, PPC ads can drive traffic to your website right away.
By using a combination of SEO and PPC ads, you can significantly increase traffic to your practice’s website in a reduced timeframe and get better results for your practice.
Tech-savvy practices understand a patients’ desire to use the internet as a source of information and meet that desire by including authoritative patient education on their website. This turns your website into a go-to resource for reliable information. But online patient education also:
- MAKES YOUR WEBSITE MORE ENGAGING – When a patient finds information to their questions, they’re more likely to schedule an appointment with your practice. Patients may also share your educational content with family or friends. Once they decide it’s time to see make an appointment, your contact information will be close by.
- CAN IMPROVE GOOGLE SEARCH RANKINGS – Online patient education generates more content for your website, which generates traction in search engine results for your website. With a greater supply of curated content, search engines are more likely to direct patients who are searching for healthcare information to your practice’s website.
- BETTER HEALTH OUTCOMES – Easy access to patient education results in increased confidence in your recommended treatments, improved self-care, reduced anxiety, better health outcomes, adherence to treatment, and reduced emergencies.
ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Online reviews are the new word of mouth recommendations. Patients will always be able to leave reviews of your practice on existing review channels, but online reputation solutions make leaving reviews easier by giving clients the option of leaving reviews directly from your website or by allowing you to use automated tools that remind patients to leave a review.
Online reputation management solutions also often allow you to protect your practice against fraudulent or malicious reviews before they can cause damage to your reputation.
BUSINESS AND HEALTHCARE LISTINGS
Your practice website is your online “home base,” but many patients will first come into contact with you outside of your website. Search engines, social media networks, mobile applications, and healthcare directories all also drive prospective new patients to your practice.
Listings management services increase the effectiveness of these channels by allowing you to manage all of the information about your practice from one central source. By having a centralized source of information, you prevent inaccuracies and duplicate information causing penalties in search engine rankings.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Social media networks like Facebook represent a vast referral network of patients for your practice. Establishing a social media presence for your practice allows you to reach new patients and stay connected with existing patients.
You can build a large network of potential referrals by sharing updates about your practice, distributing helpful content, updates on COVID-19 procedures, and more.
Additionally, many prospective patients use their social media accounts to search for a local practice or ask their friends and family for a recommendation.
What is the key takeaway? That a lot goes into your online presence. Do you know how your practice stacks up? Take the 5-minute Practice Marketing Assessment to get a personalized report of how effective your online practice marketing efforts are.