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The importance of search engines for your dental practice: New patients start here

January 30, 2017

Before people select a health-care provider, hospital, or facility for their medical needs, they often begin their decision journey online. Studies by the Pew Research Center found that eight in 10 online health inquiries start at a search engine.
Your dental practice’s website serves many purposes. It provides your patients with education about overall dental health and dental sleep treatment, it increases awareness about the services you offer, and it helps improve inefficiencies in the office by reducing call volume.
Are you making the most out of your valuable site traffic?
Above all, your website’s primary objective should be to convert website visitors into loyal patients. When visitors arrive at your site, you have just a few seconds to make a great first impression and gain trust. By employing tools that can help people make the best decision about your practice, you not only educate them, you also empower them with information about their health care choices.
Here are a few tips for turning those web visitors into patients:

Content is king
Your website is not and should not be used as an online brochure. Your website should be a place where your prospects and patients can visit to be educated not only about your medical practice but also about health concerns and trends. Your content should not be stagnant but dynamic and engaging. Several good things can come from this – your patients will be more interested in your site, rankings for your keywords should increase to make you easier to find in a Google search, and you will have the opportunity to convert more prospects into patients.

Just as important as great content is your call-to-action. Use call-to-action buttons to draw attention to particular pages within your site to guide visitors through requesting an appointment or contacting your office for more information. Give visitors a clear offer, incentive, or action to take when they arrive at your site, such as “Schedule a Free Dental Sleep Consultation” or “Click Here to Book an Appointment.”
Make sure to write your site content for local SEO. You want to have keywords on your site that potential patients are using on search engines. This will not only drive traffic to your site but will drive the right traffic to your site. If you’re a sleep dentist in Denver, having information on your site sleep apnea treatment and your local community will attract local prospects and build on word-of-mouth marketing in your community.
User experience
Your site’s design alone can sway a potential patient’s decision to either stay on your home page or instantly bounce out of your site. Your website should be professional and attractive, up-to-date, reflective of your practice, and differentiate you from your competition. A site that is hard on the eyes and outdated may give the message that your practice isn’t current.
Smooth operations – marketing automation
You can learn so much about your prospects and patients by implementing a marketing automation system that tracks their online behaviors when they’re away from your office. HubSpot and Infusionsoft are examples of marketing automation solutions that can help you develop an extensive inbound dental sleep medicine marketing program to attract new patients and delight existing patients. You can use it to tailor emails with information your patients are interested in, implement and monitor your social media campaigns, build landing pages with forms, blog to your prospects and patients, and capture information that can help you better understand how to communicate with your patients.
So what?
What if your old marketing techniques are working? What if your patient referral program is going strong? My advice? You should still have a few new tool sets up your sleeve. If you wait until the referrals dry up, then you’ll have to scramble to get new tools in place as your patient load dwindles. New tactics can only make your dental sleep marketing programs more robust.
Your website is a critical part of your marketing mix. Don’t miss a great opportunity to drive new patients who are seeking your services online. Examine your current site, and put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. When potential patients visit, you want to give them a positive impression of what your practice is all about, and the confidence to choose you as their sleep dentist.
One opportunity for Internet marketing is to highlight the special services your practice offers. In my position with SomnoMed, I help dental practices market their sleep medicine programs. Want to improve your dental sleep marketing strategy, but not sure where to start? This kit will equip you with the tools you need to get started. You’ll find tips and guidance in the form of video, ebooks, and more! Access the Dental Sleep Marketing Kit here.
Stacy Pinkerton joined SomnoMed in July 2014 as the Digital Marketing Manager and is responsible for providing digital marketing for SomnoMed North America via social, web, content, SEO, and various other platforms. Stacy has accumulated nearly 10 years as a marketing leader within regional, national and global business-to-business and business-to-consumer facing brands.



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