From Website To Dynamic Web Presence

A website is one of the most important marketing tools dentists can invest in today.

By Glenn Lombardi

A website is one of the most important marketing tools dentists can invest in today. But with other dentists competing for prime positions online, a website by itself is not enough to rise above competitors and connect with future patients.

Dentists need an entire Internet presence. This means extending a practice’s digital footprint beyond the website and into other online opportunities to attract new patients and retain the existing ones.

Patients are using a variety of online resources, such as search engines, directories, reviews, and social media to seek information about dental providers and services. While your website will always remain one of these resources, it might not be the first place prospects go to find you.

Here are a few tips for harnessing additional online spaces to ensure that no matter where patients look, they will always find the most accurate, motivating, and helpful information about your practice.

Get Recognized In The Major Search Engines

Major search engines such as Google are where your patients will find detailed information about you and your services. Your site can have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s not showing up on the first few pages of the search results, then don’t expect a steady flow of new traffic.

You need to create a website that enables future patients to find you, and then be sufficiently motivated to become patients. Search strategies, such as search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, are some of the best techniques for amplifying your website’s visibility in the search results and putting you in front of future patients.

Build And Maintain Referrals

People have always relied on their friends for recommendations. From where to go to what to buy, these conversations are now happening on social media sites, such as Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter. Believe it or not, even a dentist can benefit from a social media presence.

Social media allows your practice to build deep patient relationships, connect with future patients, garner word-of-mouth recommendations, and increase awareness for your practice. Integrate your social platforms with your website for seamless maintenance and maximum online exposure.

Enhance Your Reputation

Reputation is everything because, let’s face it, a patient’s opinion about your practice can carry a lot of weight in terms of whether or not you get referrals. Hundreds of online directories and review sites aggregate reviews about local businesses for the public to view. Your current patients are likely discussing your services online, and future patients are visiting these sites to see what others are saying about you before they make an appointment.

Good reviews can be highly effective in generating leads for your office, but negative remarks can damage your reputation. By being proactive about your online image, validating your listings in the important directories (such as Yelp), and asking patients for reviews, you can build a solid identity for your practice online that will have a lasting, positive influence on patient prospects.

Be Available

Not too long ago, you just needed to make sure that your website was built for desktops and laptop computers. But today almost everyone owns a smartphone, and web-based information that was once accessible only from your home computer can now be accessed from virtually any place and at any time, thanks to increasingly sophisticated mobile technology.

A mobile-friendly website will feature the important functions that prompt mobile users to easily and quickly make decisions and take action from the small screens of their smartphones and tablets. This includes click-to-call, one-touch appointment requesting, and instant office directions.

Refresh And Refine

Although your website is a fundamental piece of your marketing strategy, it’s not the only way to grow your practice. Start focusing efforts on establishing a comprehensive presence online that includes building an engaging Facebook page, optimizing your website for search, claiming your online listings on review sites, and re-creating your traditional website for smartphones and tablets. Seek assistance from a skilled dental online marketing provider, continually monitor your plan as you go, and be ready to revise based on current successes and failures.

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.

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