OK, you’ve got a website and you’re online, so you’re doing something right. However, in this day and age websites are a necessity for any business, rather than an advantage. In fact, you need to be asking yourself whether your virtual shop window is really working for you.
Imagine if you had a High Street shop. What would you be doing to make it stand out from the other shops and entice customers through the door? After all, you probably aren’t the only butcher, baker, or candlestick maker trying to sell their wares in the area.
The answer is that you’d be looking to make a great first impression with a shop window that says “wow”. Think of Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, or Selfridges, especially around Christmas time. By creating the mother of all shopping windows, then provided people are walking by, it’s only a matter of time before they come through your door. Once they’re inside then it’s down to you to connect and give ’em what they want!
Adopt the same principle for your website
This is exactly how you should be thinking of your website – as a shop window to your business. As such, it’s vital that visitors landing on your site are rewarded with a great first impression. The trouble is that all so often this simply isn’t the case.
In our professional capacity as dental writers we’ve visited hundreds of dental sites, and come across some that are simply outstanding. Unfortunately we’ve also encountered numerous sites which to be totally frank, are bad beyond belief.
So what makes a great website?
One that is:
- Clear and concise
- Professional in a non-stuffy way, and
- Informative in a patient friendly manner
and here’s why…..
When people land on your site there’s every chance that they’re looking for information about a particular procedure or, alternatively, they want to find out more about you, your dental practice, and the dental team. So in the words of Harry Cohn, the Head of Columbia Pictures
“Give them what they want and they’ll come”
In essence, it’s all about gaining trust. As patients we’re a little apprehensive about visiting you guys. It’s nothing personal, just the whole dentist/patient relationship thing.
There’s no point in trying to sell the sizzle if we don’t trust the quality of your steak!
For this reason a professional looking website with patient friendly, easy to understand informative content goes a long way to building the foundation blocks of that trust.
Let’s take a detailed look at what pages should have on your website:
This is your chance to welcome prospective new patients to your site while at the same time creating a good first impression. That said, it’s important to keep it concise. Why? Because it’s been proven that a visitor takes just 7 seconds to decide whether they should stay or go. So keep it friendly, keep it concise, and say what you need to say quickly.
Why choose us
This is the bit where you to explain just what your dental clinic can offer patients. Remember it’s not about you but what you can do for your patients.
A good idea is to break this section down into smaller sub-sections. Keep it friendly by adding some pictures of your team and some interesting blurb about them. To engage with readers it could be fun to add a quirky fact about yourself and the team too.
Include a practice gallery section where you can post some elegant photos of your reception and treatment areas so that potential patients know what to expect when they walk through the door for the first time. You could add a virtual tour if you really want to show off your facilities
This is key on a dental website but you’d be surprised at the number of dental clinics which don’t include this page (they’re really missing a trick). It’s an opportunity to explain in patient friendly terms about all of the treatments that your clinic provides, almost as if you were speaking face to face. For ease of navigation you could split the page into various areas of dentistry such as general, preventative, restorative, and cosmetic.
Each treatment should include an easy to understand explanation, possibly a video, some before and after pictures, and even patient testimonials from someone who has undergone treatment. You could also include some FAQ’s relative to the treatment.
A word about patient friendly content……..
Remember I mentioned above about patient friendly content? Well that means language that is easy to understand by a layman and not written with an abundance of confusing technical jargon. Adopting the “keep it stupidly simple” (KISS) approach is always the best option otherwise you risk leaving alienating visitors by leaving them confused.
It will come as no surprise to know that patients like to have an idea of the price of a treatment before committing to it. Again, by displaying prices it shows that you’re honest and transparent – a sure fire way of building customer trust.
Some prices such as consultations, X-rays, and hygienist appointments will be a set price but other treatment prices may vary depending on what is involved for the individual. Dental implants is a prime example. In instances such as these then display a price from figure so that patients have an idea of the minimum cost that’s likely to be involved. You can also suggest they call for further information and coerce them into booking a consultation.
This really is a necessity as prospective patients like to see what other patients thought of the standard of service. You might want to include a written or video format, or even a combination of both. If it’s in a written format, then why not include a photo of the patient or even scan a letter of thanks that they might have sent you. Remember it’s all about building trust.
Pretty self explanatory really. This should tell the customer where they can find you, how they can contact you, and most importantly how they can also make an online appointment. Make sure the contact details show up clearly on every single page as you’ll be surprised at how many people fail to notice the ‘contact us’ heading in the top menu.
I’ll go into this in more detail in my next blog but basically you need to be blogging, and blogging on a regular basis too.
Although it may seem there is a lot of information and plenty of hard work to do, getting these elements right is what sets your website and business apart from your competitors. Get this part right and you’re half way there. The rest is up to you!