Please do your best to follow this rather tenuous link to the 5th November. Like Guy, I am broaching this subject with much enthusiasm and dedication – as always. Unlike Guy, there will be no assassination attempt, just an attempt to light some awesome inspiration and fuel inject some cool features into dental practice websites.
Your site has a lot to contend with. User’s fickle nature, search engine algorithms and the on-going competition of other practices’ online presence. Here are 5 features we have found that work to differentiate and stand out among the crowd – leaving visitors oohing and ahhing… (too far?)
A written feed of current testimonials looks great, and certainly there are ways of making the feature appear as legitimate as it was when the words were written by the patient. Using a scanned image of the testimonial or at least finishing with a name helps. But a video testimonial goes even further in providing visitors to your site an opportunity to read the unconscious signals as a glowing report of a certain treatment or service you have recently provided is presented.
Of course you need patients who are willing to do this and its worthwhile taking your time to provide them with all the information they need at the start, keep them in the loop about where and how it will appear on the site and involve them in the editing process.
So you’ve invested in the resources needed to get the social media strategy sorted, or at least someone on the practice or yourself is uploading a few practice related images/days out and staff news onto the Facebook page. That’s great. We recommend that as long as you are uploading at least once a week, then a feed on the site is a great feature for patients. It looks modern, is great for building relationships with your patients and more than useful for SEO. Using your site and your social presence together works best as they all interact giving visitors multiple touch points.
Contact forms, appointment forms, and referral forms all work as a call to action to your visitors, encouraging engagement and providing you with a lead for treatments from new patients and a valued service for existing patients. As well as these, providing the ability for a user to upload a picture of their smile can be just the thing that gets someone interested – particularly if they are unsure as to what they need to be asking. It is much easier for someone to point and say ‘I don’t like this bit’ rather than try to describe in the written word the exact offending angle of a tooth or the stain on an incisor they aren’t keen on. Human beings are vain by nature and in the day and age of the image (think Instagram, Facebook image uploads and Pinterest fame), uploading an image is no longer a technical barrier.
There are various applications that can be used on a site that offer online booking. They all vary in functionality and are best fitted to how you want to use it. They range from full integrating with your existing diary in the practice to a simple WordPress widget that can be added to the site. These are especially useful to fill last minute available times for appointments, such as those cancelled. People are really, really busy nowadays (or at least we all seem to be), so sometimes picking up the phone and organising an appointment conflicts with the busy schedule. Others want to be able to book something at their work desk without drawing too much attention by doing it over the phone.
Anything that gets people visiting your website is useful. Whilst most local businesses dream of every new online lead coming from a search and a unique visit to the site, it’s the regular visiting that tells search engines ( and thus favorably affecting your rankings) your site is healthy and providing relevant data for users who feel the need to return. By offering a promo code – redeemable for a reduction in treatment or a free consultation – you are using your website to work for you. New patients can be directed to the site from off-line marketing channels (radio, press) and your regular visitors can be rewarded. Again it’s a feature that taps into our need to feel special, and what makes someone feel more special than an offer only available to them.
So this November 5th (and longer term hopefully), it is worth considering your sites ‘WOW’ factor and user journey. By setting yourself apart from the crowd online and providing your site with much needed spark, your visitors are much more likely to become lifelong patients. And remember to always wear gloves.
To find out more about Dental website design, designing with your patients in mind and dental website SEO call Dental Design on 01202 677277.