10 Steps to Converting Your Dental Website Visitors Into New Patients
Before the advent of the Internet, the first impression a customer had of a business was based on walking in the front door. By providing a clean and inviting atmosphere, offering a heartfelt greeting, and giving prospective patients the opportunity to ask questions and get to know their service providers, dental practices had the opportunity to connect on a personal level.
Unfortunately, this type of interaction is rarely the first one visitors to your practice have these days, due to the fact that they seek out dentist websites long before they ever set foot inside your dental office.
For this reason, you need to make sure that the virtual representation of your business – in other words, your dental website – is designed to do all of the things that you and your staff would do if someone walked into your real-world practice.
You want a prospective patient’s first experience with your practice, be it virtual or otherwise, to be positive. You want them to feel comfortable and confident that you’re capable of delivering the best possible care.
And of course, your end game is probably to compel them to make appointments and become loyal patients for year to come. There are steps you can take to make this happen. Here are ten ways to increase the odds that visitors to your dental website will become new patients.
1. Simple layout and design
A dental website design that is loud, cramped, and overly complex is not going to appeal to visitors as much as one that is streamlined and visually appealing. So you need to make sure that your design is simple and straightforward.
This doesn’t mean that it has to be boring, but your concept should include a limited color palette, easy-to-read fonts (sans serif), and a layout that includes standard placement for headers, buttons, bars, and so on.
You’ll also want to avoid cramming pages with copy. This could come across as bulky and intimidating. If you’re having trouble corralling your ideas, hire an experienced professional web designer to help you create an inviting and visually appealing website.
2. Easy navigation
While most prospective patients seek out websites for dentists because they’re in need of dental care, chances are they’re looking for specific information that they’re not going to find on your homepage.
You need to make sure that they don’t have to look too hard to find a page detailing the services you offer, a page for pricing, or a page about your practice and practitioners, just for example. Try to see your website from a patient’s perspective and make it easy for them to locate the information they seek. This way, making an appointment will be easy.
3. Multiple forms of contact
One major problem with dental websites is that they feature limited options for contact. But the more avenues you open for discourse, the better chance you’ll have to hook interested parties.
You should start with a header on every page that includes your real-world contact information, such as your address and phone number. You should also include a “contact” button or page that allows for email communications.
But you might also want to implement a live chat option monitored by your office staff so that prospective patients can connect with your practice instantly and have their questions answered without having to pick up a phone.
One major problem with dental websites is that they feature limited options for contact.
4. Social media links
Everyone and their grandmother is on social media these days, and even if you can’t get prospective patients to make an appointment immediately, convincing them to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets means you still have time to convert them into loyal customers.
So don’t hesitate to make it easy for them to follow you by providing easy access to your social media profiles on your website.
If visitors have to contact you in order to get answers to simple questions like your hours of operation, directions to your location, or what types of laser whitening you offer, they may not even bother.
But with an FAQ page readily available to answer some of the most frequently asked questions you receive, you might give prospective patients all of the information they need to move forward and make an appointment.
6. Hidden SEO
If you want your website to be found by people searching for your services, then it's necessary to make your website visible with proper website coding, and build up your reputation online through search engine optimization.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to stuff keywords all over your site. You can find ways to seamlessly work keywords into your copy so that readers won’t even notice them. When keywords stick out like a sore thumb, they can be pretty annoying.
And of course, you can use metadata like tags and titles to give your content a better chance to be found on relevant searches. Just make sure that search queries lead to the appropriate landing page instead of your homepage.
All of these minor efforts will help your website get found without taking away from the user experience.
7. On-site blog
Your blog is more than just a platform for optimization opportunities (although it is also extremely useful in this regard).
In addition to making SEO for dentists a whole lot easier, blogs can make dental websites more attractive to visitors. They can also increase targeted traffic and opportunities for conversions. And the value you add through education, entertainment, and an ongoing virtual conversation could be just enough to endear visitors to your dental practice.
8. Add pictures and videos
Bulky blocks of text are not only unattractive, but they can also be a real bore, too. Visitors could take one look at your site and navigate away.
In order to increase visual interest, think about adding photos, graphics, infographics, and videos as a way to break up the copy and make your dentist website more inviting.
9. Membership prompt before visitors leave
Should you offer an 'opt in' right when people land on your site? That's tough to say, definitely worth testing. If you are going to do this via a pop up, be sure that you are offering something relevant and of value.
But you might be better off supplying a membership prompt at the end of the visit, giving viewers time to get an impression of your practice so that you can give them a good reason to sign up.
Would you buy a lottery ticket potentially worth $100 million and then never check to see if you won? Probably not. The same idea applies to metrics.
Okay, these tools and reports won’t win you millions of dollars, per se, but tracking the results of your efforts so that you can analyze them and hone your online strategy for the future can certainly be valuable for your dental practice. So make sure that you’re using metrics to follow visits and visitors to your website.
There is no single, surefire way to convert visitors to your website into patients at your dental practice. But when you pay attention to several factors, including layout, design, navigation, content, contact options, SEO, metrics, and more, you can definitely hedge your bets.
Remember that your online efforts are a conduit for prospective patients to find you. When viewed this way, you can take the steps necessary to increase your odds of impressing visitors. When all is said and done, you may even convince them to give your dental practice a try.