The patient experience goes beyond what happens when they are inside of your practice.
The way you interact and care for patients online - the impression you make - has just as much impact as what you do offline.
Yet many practices still continue to neglect the digital space.
Why your website matters
Teeth are an important asset for many - a smile can seriously affect a person’s confidence.
Which is why choosing a dentist is such a big decision.
Patients want to know that they can trust you. They need to know that you are going to properly care for them and their teeth. And typically, this means research.
Even if you have been recommended by a close friend, potential patients want to see what you’re all about. What professional experience do you have? What do you have to offer? What do others have to say about you and what results have you delivered already?
And they’re looking for it to be in one place…
“Patients want immediate information - they want to know what their options are, what treatment pathways are available, and to find the best specialists.” - Andrew Stothert, CEO and Co-founder of Brand Vista
Let’s cut to the point, lacklustre websites frustrate users. If your website doesn't do the job it needs, if it’s vague, confusing or misleading this will prevent users from returning.
Which means one thing, you’re risking missing out on new business.
And this is why building and optimising your dental practice website is so important.
As well as allowing you to deliver a consistent experience offline and online, a great website will offer you an opportunity to market your practice and build credibility.
To help you on your way to building a brilliant website, here are 5 key components you should look to feature…
1. About You
An ‘About Us’ page is one of the most important aspects of a dental practice website - or any website for that matter. This is where you bare your identity and share it with the world.
It’s important to spend some real time on this page. It’s where new website visitors can find out exactly what you’re about. Your story, your proposition, your core values.
Anything less than outstanding and you risk harming your relationship with the customer before it’s even started. People need to be inspired by what you have to say on this page, understand exactly what it is you can do for them and really feel your personality coming through.
It’s a personal and intimidating thing having someone so close to your mouth, and trust is a big part of any successful patient-dentist relationship.
By creating an About Us page, you’re giving people insight into your world.
Tell Your Story
- Why are you doing this? What are your core values?
- What makes you different to other dental practices? Why should patients choose you?
- What can patients expect from their experience with you?
Introduce your team
- Include imagery of key team members
- Ensure each team member has a headshot and a brief bio covering their qualifications, experience, and specialism
- You could also add a personal story or anecdote to help build a rapport.
2. Treatments, Products and Services
A services page is beneficial on two fronts:
1. Providing patients with valuable information
Whether patients want to improve the colour of their teeth, straighten their smile or repair damage, they will have a rough idea of the type of treatment they need.
And even if they don’t know what treatment they need, you can use these pages to help them…
- Dedicate a section of the page to each treatment or product so you can go into the service in more detail and focus on one set of relevant keywords.
- Demonstrate your experience in this area of dentistry and why your services are superior to the dentist practice down the road.
- Link or feature relevant testimonials and reviews that help promote the relevant treatment.
- Make sure each page explains what the service is and the treatment it involves, who needs it and why, what the benefits are how they can enquire.
2. Improving visibility on search engines
Many businesses strive to be on the first page of search engines.
And there’s no guessing why.
Appearing on the first page improves visibility in front of a targeted and engaged audience base, looking for practices just like yours - and will help boost website traffic…
When people search for something online, search engines like Google provide a list of websites and content that are deemed most relevant and helpful to that search. They do this by crawling your site and using algorithms to match your content with keywords and phrases.
Be aware that you’re unlikely to ‘rank’ in search engines for short (aka short-tail) keywords such as “tooth whitening” or “cosmetic dentist”. We recommend you focus on more specific long-tail keywords like ‘tooth whitening for sensitive teeth in London’.
Now you’ve got your search terms, you need to start providing website visitors with valuable, content that covers these topics and includes variations of your keyword(s) throughout.
And this is where service pages come in…
Dedicating an entire page to a particular treatment gives you an opportunity to create rich, educational content that is valuable to those reading it.
Naturally, if the page is helpful and answers the reader’s search query in detail, people will be more inclined to stay on your site and, in-turn, browse the rest of your pages.
This is something search engines monitor and call ‘bounce rate’.
If people come to a page and leave immediately, search engines will deduce that your page isn’t delivering on its promise - making it less likely for the page to rank highly on search engines.
3. Testimonials and Reviews
You might be able to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
Whilst education and experience are valuable assets to showcase, testimonials and reviews from people who have been in their position can be far more relatable and persuasive.
“A happy customer is the greatest advertisement.” - Andy Sernovitz, Author of Word of Mouth Marketing
Your website exists to help guide the customer journey and nurture a mutual relationship. But if you’re the only one telling people how great your practice is, there’s plenty of reasons to doubt your credentials.
People are more inclined to trust their peers than they are to trust your marketing messages. They want to hear it (or read in this case) straight from the horse’s mouth. From your past and current customers who have been to your practice, experienced it, got the tshirt and have no reason to be biased in their review.
If testimonials align with the way you’ve positioned your practice, this will only add further credibility to your messages and help to build valuable trust.
Testimonials are are also a great way to show off your results. Ask previous patients if you can share before and after pictures. Visuals really help to showcase your offering.
Create a section on your website that is dedicated to testimonials, using high-quality imagery wherever possible. You can enhance this further by providing a little bit of background - tell the story behind each of the reviews to bring added context:
- Provide the age of the patient
- Explain the initial problem and why they visited your practice
- Outline the treatment plan and the dentistry you performed
- Demonstrate the results
4. Frequently asked questions
Your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page should house answers to all common queries that have come from past and existing customers.
This page serves as an easy access hub which anticipates the questions you’ll be asked by your visitors and quickly resolves them with concise, articulate answers.
Making answers readily available will save both their time and your own.
By including an FAQs page on your website site you will help to streamline the user experience and reduce the number of repeat general enquiries coming in via phone and email from patients with the same or similar questions.
And as we discussed earlier in this post, when people use search engines, they tend to be looking for answers. So, from the moment they land on your website, if you aren’t making these answers as accessible as possible they’re likely to bounce off your page and go elsewhere.
Create a simply designed page. Keep it clean, use clear language and remember to vett which questions are actually worth including.
You don’t need to answer every question you’ve ever been asked, just the most common ones.
Encouraging people to get in touch or interact in some shape or form is best practice for any business. And it’s no different for dental practices…
If potential patients can’t get in touch with you easily, they aren’t going to do it at all.
Make it seamless.
You don’t have to offer anything too sophisticated in the first instance:
- Include key contact information in the footer of every page. This includes email address, contact number and social media pages.
- Create a contact page where patients can get in touch, ask questions or request a call back. This page should also provide details of your practice, like your opening hours, location and directions and payment options.
You could also go one step further and set up a contact form.
This should be made accessible to anyone who visits your website - existing patient or not - to make a general enquiry, request further information or subscribe to practice updates/email newsletters .
As well as making the experience one step easier for patients, it also frees up some time for your reception team!
BONUS: Calls to action
Calls to action (CTAs) are used in marketing to help encourage people to take an action.
This could be to buy a product, sign up for a newsletter or download a guide, for example. And they are extremely effective at helping you to capitalise on your website traffic.
Establishing what CTAs you want to use comes down to your goals…
What do you want to achieve?
Is it attracting new patients? Is it selling more services to existing patients? Is it increasing the amount of appointments people book with the hygienist?
Whatever it is you want to achieve, keep it in mind when deciding what CTAs you are going to offer. And then create eye-catching buttons and banners to use across the site on relevant pages.
For example, if you want to attract new patients, you could offer a free consultation. Adding a banner to each service page offering this free consultation will not only attract their attention, but also encourages them to take action and get in touch.
To enhance the performance of your CTAs, try making them time-sensitive…
- ‘For a limited time only’
- ‘Only available in September’
- ‘Christmas special’
Improving your digital experience
So there you have it - a quick and easy run down of the key elements needed to build a successful and patient friendly website.