BY Glenn Lombardi
At the coffee shop. In the grocery store. Walking down the street. People use their smartphones while they're on the go to connect with others anyplace and anytime. But mobile devices are not just for making phone calls anymore. More than ever, people are using their iPhones, Androids, and iPads to search the web, locate businesses, and even make appointments with their dentists!
It won't be long before everyone is accessing the Internet via mobile devices. According to GoMo, the new Google mobile initiative, mobile use is on the rise. It is already four times higher than it was in 2010, and is expected to rise further. By 2013, web access via smartphones and tablets is projected to overtake PCs.
As more people rely on their smartphones, an increasing amount of traffic to your practice's website will also come from mobile devices. But what will patients see when they visit your site from their phones?
If your current site has not been optimized for mobile, there's a good chance visitors will be turned off by its complicated layout, and they'll move over to a competitor's mobile-ready site to find the dental information they're seeking.
Why your patients are going mobile
When smartphone users access your website on the go, they're hoping for an entirely different experience than when they're on their home or work computers. They expect the sites they visit to load quickly, be easily navigable, and offer many functions that are pertinent to mobile users. These include instant mapping functions, one-touch appointment requesting, and click-to-call.
The problem is that traditional websites not formatted for mobile platforms can be difficult to view and navigate on smartphones because the layout gets distorted. It requires too much scrolling, zooming, and clicking. In addition, it contains excess information that is not relevant for mobile users.
There are many benefits to having a mobile-ready website, including:
Mobile users are on the move. This means they typically don't have time to browse. They access your website because they're looking for specific, actionable information. They want to find this information quickly and easily. Your mobile site should offer the features they require immediately, such as service details, contact information, or directions. This will put them in touch with your office instantly while allowing for easier browsing and improved user satisfaction.
Research conducted by Morgan Stanley shows that 91% of smartphone users have their phones within arm's reach 24/7. With the help of a mobile-optimized website, your practice can essentially be accessed from every type of web-access device, anyplace, anytime. Even when your office is closed, your mobile-enhanced website will continue to work for the practice and communicate important information to existing and potential patients.
Enhanced social sharing
In the last year, social media has been widely adopted by mobile phone users. According to a study by comScore, more than 75 million people access social media sites from their mobile phones. Mobile has enhanced the way we connect with one another. With an optimized mobile site, visitors can enjoy even easier navigation to your Facebook, blog, and Twitter pages.
As a result, dentists can expect their social media traffic and followers to grow quickly.
Making your move to mobile
If you're like many dentists, you have a website, but you probably do not have a mobile website. While this was not an issue a few years ago, it's quickly becoming extremely important to have a functional mobile version of your website ready for patients.
Talk to your website provider about creating a mobile version of your website, or find a new company that can launch a mobile-enhanced site that works seamlessly with your existing site. A website optimized for smartphones and tablets will help you meet the demands of a growing number of patients who are moving away from desktop computers and looking for instant answers on the small screens of their mobile devices.
Glenn Lombardi is president of Officite, LLC, a provider of dental websites and Internet marketing strategies, including social media, search marketing, reputation management, and mobile websites. Officite has built thousands of websites that have generated more than a half million new patient appointment requests since 2002. For more information, visit www.officite.com or call (800) 908-2483.