It’s time to hire a digital marketing agency to build your practice a slick, new website! The doctor(s) and staff can’t wait for the revitalized online presence to bring in a flood of new patients. You’re going to have your chairs full in no time, right?
Big promises are made by the agency, and they do talk a good talk. But, can they really walk the walk? Are their promises going to deliver you to the promised land of new patients? For many clinicians and front office staff, it’s tough to know for sure.
It’s no secret that dental front office members constantly get inundated by a vast number of marketing firms, soliciting them for their business over the phone, via email, and even with direct mail. It’s a time consuming task to distinguish legitimate companies from ones that fly-by-night, charge too much, or over promise and under deliver.
Within the Resources section of our website, we will highlight many dental website and digital marketing best practices, ideas on how to properly vet a digital marketing firm, and much more. Our aim is to provide useful knowledge and actions you can take, in conjunction with your newly vetted digital marketing agency, to increase your new patient leads online.
For most dental offices, it’s reasonable to assume that the purpose of having a robust online presence is to acquire new patient leads, which ultimately turn into patients who generate income for the practice. New patients are the lifeblood of any dental office, and without a constant flow of new patients, a practice is going to have a harder time growing and thriving.
Since people are doing just about everything online these days, it makes complete sense that a search engine optimized (SEO) website that generates a consistent flow of patient leads has one of the best ROIs of any marketing vehicle for most businesses.
Tip #1: Keep It (Your Dental Website) Simple, Stupid
“The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.”
This time-tested principle holds up in just about every facet of our life, and in website development, it’s no different.
A dental website with a lot of bells, whistles, fancy-schmancy layouts and imagery is great, but if it’s not generating new patient calls, appointment request form submissions, newsletter sign ups, etc. then what is it actually doing to better the practice? Was it built for your existing patients, so they can simply find your phone number? We think not.
The more unconventional and complex a website is, the more difficult it will be for a visitor to use and navigate. And if the ultimate goal of your website is to convert a website visitor into a new patient lead, adding complexity to the site will only add unnecessary hurdles to what should be a very streamlined process. The end result is a lower website conversion rate, fewer patient leads, and possibly lower rankings in major search engines like Google. Even the number of fields you have on your contact form can dramatically impact the likelihood that someone fills it out (converts).
Hint: Fewer fields on a contact form leads to higher conversion.
Therefore, it is statistically fair to say that simple websites perform better than complex ones for a variety of reasons. This is especially true for those website users and potential patients who are not very technologically advanced, have an impairment or disability, etc.
So, be forewarned, some website development agencies want to reinvent the wheel and utilize an unconventional layout or non-traditional design scheme. Sure, it may look cute and different, but it’s very likely that many website users will have issues interacting with it, and not be able to find the information they are seeking. This confusion can easily lead to frustration, and if the visitor has a bad user experience while navigating your site, it is pretty unlikely that potential patient will abide by your call to action and submit an appointment request or call your office.
What’s worse, Google actually tracks the amount of time someone dwells on your site. If your site is unconventional and confusing, chances are that the user will leave the site quickly which can potentially hurt your search engine rankings (yikes!).
Highlights for Simple, Clean Website Design
Use conventional website layouts and design.
Incorporate white space on the site.
Have a clear and concise navigation structure.
Use plain language and commonly known terminology.
Highlight the main features or core dental services on homepage.
Use imagery and video to help illustrate text and convey information.
Have vital contact information prominently displayed on every page, especially phone number.
Have a contact form prominently positioned on every page, above the fold if possible.
Don’t use a jarring color scheme, keep it clean.
Answer commonly asked questions within the content of your website.
Make sure the website uses accessibility best practices.
Keep font size large enough to read easily.
Organize content into pages and sections that have clear titles or headings.
Make sure your website is responsive and resizes the elements based on the device being used.