Is Your Website an Edsel or Tesla on the Digital Autobahn?
Savvy dentists understand the importance of staying current in their field. But faced with the pace of change in the industry, many find it difficult to keep current with another critical side of their practice, their online business presence.
Though they understand that cutting-edge technologies and best practices are what give them the edge, when it comes to their websites many dentists let website updates slide.
But with every Google update, your website goes out of date. If you don't perform regular maintenance, the engine that fuels your practice begins to sputter.
If you continue to put off maintenance, your website becomes the digital equivalent of an Edsel. You end up in the slow lane as Teslas pass you by.
Dentistry at the Speed of Digital
But we understand what is holding you back. The technology to grow your practice multiples at a dizzying pace, leaving you spinning your wheels and wondering which way to turn.
You are right to be wary. Online success is not about chasing the next bright, shiny thing. It's about selecting the right online tools and designing comprehensive strategies that ensure your website and marketing strategies work together to enhance your performance at every level.
Your website is an essential line of communication with today's plugged-in consumer. These digital denizens — your potential patients — are online in every community looking for healthcare information and healthcare providers.
Can they find you?
Even Referrals are Affected
Even practitioners who rely on referrals have seen a shift in consumer behavior. Patients are increasingly adopting a "trust but verify" mindset.
Armed with a referral, patients go online to vet your reputation. They probe your website. They investigate online reviews and, increasingly, check social media to learn more about you.
Knowing that, how does your online practice look when seen through a patient's eyes? Does your website reflect your sophisticated technology and your advanced training?
Tip: You need to "get under the hood" to know for sure that your website has the chops to compete in the online marketplace. If it falls behind, it can quickly become the digital equivalent of an Edsel.
You may be patting yourself on the back thinking you updated your website just a few years ago. But it's important to understand that your website can fall out of favor quickly, sometimes in just a few short months.
Take for example mobilegeddon last spring. That's when Google started dinging websites that were not compatible with the smaller screens found on smartphones and tablets. Is your website mobile responsive?
Are You Still Driving an Edsel?
Just like the technology you use every day in your practice, your website needs to stay on the path of continuous improvement so it can serve, day in and day out, as your online ambassador.
Signs you may be stuck in the past:
Your website features a static design that makes it hard for consumers on mobile devices to view or use your website. If you think that is insignificant, think again. More people search using a mobile device than a desktop computer nowadays.
If your website doesn't resize elements to be user friendly on smaller screens, consumers are more likely to click away. It's just a micro moment, but it cuts you out of the picture completely.
Your problems don't end there. If your website's mobile view is user hostile, Google gets into the act by reducing your website's visibility in mobile search, the dominate form of search today.
Is your website's technical search engine optimization (SEO) up-to-date? You would be surprised how often this cornerstone of a website's performance is mishandled. Get this wrong and it's like racing in the Indy 500 with a VW bug.
SEO as a topic is vast and needs constant monitoring to adopt to the latest iterations. For example, is your website still optimized for one- and two-word keyword phrases? Are you aware that semantic search, which employs "user intent," is the next wave in search? You should be preparing now.
Another telltale sign of outdated SEO: Duplicate content, which occurs when the same content is published in multiple places on the world wide web.
If you purchase content for your website, you need to verify it doesn't appear elsewhere because Google discounts duplicate content. To be competitive, your content needs to be unique, comprehensive, and high quality.
Do you leverage social media to broadcast your value to the digital universe? Social media is today's word of mouth referral. But there's more to it than just that. Social media expands your online presence beyond the lonely outpost that is your website.
Use social media correctly and you can become that familiar face in the online crowd that people turn to for advice.
Have you considered a brief, tactical move into pay per click (PPC) advertising? We don't recommend this as a long-term strategy, but a targeted PPC campaign is a good fit when you are introducing new services in a competitive market, such as implant dentistry.
And don't think PPC is just Google. These days digital advertising extends to social media platforms like Facebook.
If you have shunned social media because it feels like you are talking to an empty room, consider paid social media ads. These new forms of digital advertising let you pick the "just right" audience for your message. Unlike Google AdWords, these ads are not based on keyword searches, but on past behaviors and interests.
Want to target 50-somethings in Sioux City that are known to regularly read about oral health? Done. Want to target new people who have the same traits and interests as your current patients - their "lookalikes"? Done.
Even better: Social media advertising costs significantly less than Google AdWords.
Do you employ video to share your compassion and knowledge? Rich media, such as videos, resonate with prospective patients. Our brains are hardwired for visual information and when you use video, you create a memory that lingers.
Or put a virtual tour on your website and you'll no longer have to wait until a prospective patient walks in the door to make a great first impression.
The Important Takeaway
The virtual superhighway is going in new directions. Don't get stuck on the byways of yesteryear.
But you have to be smart.
As we noted before: Online success is not about chasing the next bright, shiny thing. It's about selecting the right online tools and designing comprehensive strategies that ensure your website and marketing strategies work together to enhance your performance at every level.
Is it time to update your online "GPS" to ensure you are on the right path?
Feel free to contact us. Leading healthcare professionals have been taking advantage of our expertise for 20 years.