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How to Build an Effective Web Presence for Your Practice

The growth of your dental practice relies heavily on the effectiveness and depth of your comprehensive marketing plan. To top the competition and attract new patients to your practice, you must begin with a professionally designed website, centering it among all your varied marketing strategies. Building a website is only the initial step towards generating new patient flow. In order to maximize your website performance, you should also take advantage of online marketing strategies including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, local search optimization, and social networking.

Build an Online Presence for Your Practice

In an industry that is saturated with local competition, a successful dental practice must stand out among its competitors and expand its reach in order to generate new patients. Begin by building a comprehensive website for your practice. It may be beneficial to enlist the services of a professional dental web design company that can work with you to develop a high-performing site that reflects the values and quality of your practice. An effective website must include essential tools and information that patients look for when searching online for a dentist (eg, staff bios, hours of operation, maps, phone numbers, and services). Enhance the performance of your site by providing patients with an extensive patient education library as well as compelling videos, photos, and testimonials that highlight your work and influence conversions. Most importantly, present patients with a strong call-to-action, enticing your online visitors to contact your practice for further information or to make an appointment. 

Current patients search online for dental care. If your practice has not established a web presence, you are missing out on valuable patient leads. A website will enable you to compete with dentists who are already gaining visibility online, and as an added benefit, you will be promoting your practice around the clock, reaching out to patients even when your office is closed.

Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Your website is only effective if a patient is able to find it in a search engine’s results.  While there are several strategies for driving targeted traffic to your site, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most fundamental and effective tactics. Search engine optimization involves fine-tuning the internal and external components of your website to improve its ranking in the search engines, including content optimization, strong keyword identification, and link building. When patients visit major search engines (eg, Google and Yahoo!) to search for local dentists, they visit the dental websites that appear in the top positions. The higher your site appears for your targeted keywords, such as “your town” and “dentist,” the more credibility and visibility your practice will earn.

Get Immediate Clicks With PPC

A focused pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign is another key component of online search marketing, allowing you to expand your marketing reach to patients within a 5-, 10-, or 50-mile radius of your practice. Select specific target keywords (eg, “dental implants” or “tooth whitening”), and choose the precise geographic region you want your campaign to be focused on.  Pay only when a patient clicks on your ad, and easily measure your return on investment using integrated reporting offered by advertisement placement providers. A local PPC strategy can significantly increase qualified traffic to your website in a short period of time. When implemented properly and combined with SEO, your site could reach patients beyond your local town to surrounding communities, turning clicks into revenue and maximizing the performance of your website.

Enhanced Awareness and Reputation

Social networking is quickly becoming one of the most effective means of online communication and information sharing available today. Social media sites (eg, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) have fueled the growth of word-of-mouth referrals, an extremely efficient way to build awareness for your practice and generate patient leads. Gain additional exposure, connect with current and potential patients, and have the ability to broadcast messages to your entire online network by establishing a presence for your practice on major social media sites. Continually improve your online reputation by ensuring that you maintain consistent and quality content. To ensure visibility and enhance the reputation of your practice online, you should integrate your website into the relatively new and rapidly growing worlds of social networks.

Reach Local With Local Search Marketing

The Internet has become the premier source when searching for local goods and services. After all, why would a patient waste precious time turning through countless pages of a phone book, when they could quickly and easily conduct a search using one of the major online search engines. Google and Yahoo! have acknowledged this trend in local searching and have developed local search directories that list businesses in a map interface, which appears prominently above the natural search results. When a patient searches for dentists, these online search engines can match the searchers IP address to a geographic location, providing the most relevant searches in the maps results. Earning a spot on the map requires that you optimize your location. Claim your local listing, submit your practice information to leading local directories, and encourage positive patient reviews for increased exposure in the local maps results.

Expand Your Reach With a Blog

Finally, consider creating a blog for your practice website. When managed properly, a blog can be an extremely effective avenue for highlighting your expertise in the dental industry, as well as a valuable means for developing a rapport with your potential and existing patients. The greatest benefit of establishing a blog is the higher ranking it earns your website in the search results. Since each blog page is a separate web page for your site, frequent posts provide numerous pages for search engines to index. As long as you keep your blog consistently up-to-date with fresh and valuable content, you will notice an increase in your page rank; dramatically increasing your online presence and attracting new patients to your site. 

As more and more people rely on the Internet to find information, goods, and services, it has become increasingly important for dental practices to create an online presence in order to maintain a competitive edge. You can build a website for your practice, but it is easy to get lost among the millions of other sites on the Web without the proper marketing tools. If you want to thrive in today’s dental industry, you need to position your practice on the Internet. The benefits of a professional website combined with results-oriented online marketing strategies can bring you a higher return on your investment than any other form of marketing available today. 

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