The challenge for a dental practice today is the modern patient. Today’s patients expect to interact with their dental practice in a number of ways. Patients are well-informed and communications savvy, so your practice must offer prospective and current patients a seamless experience across all touchpoints, or risk losing those new and returning patients. Recent advances in technology and the dental market are changing the way small practices attract and keep new patients. Therefore you need to start marketing your practice or enhance your practice’s marketing plan today to stay competitive.
The internet is where patients go to research and select a doctor; a top-ranking website and strong online presence will help make the choice an easy one. Did you know that Google is constantly making changes to improve its search engine and the web-user experience? With recent changes to improve Internet security and accessibility, your dental practice’s website and how it ranks in search engine results may be affected. To help current patients and potential patients find and interact with your practice online, make these three updates to your website for 2019: be secure, be mobile-responsive, and be accessible.
It is important for your website to be secure. In the past year, Google started labeling all websites that do not use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) as “not secure” in their search results for the Chrome Browser. HTTPS encrypts and transfers information across the web in a way that prevents third-party interference. The Chrome web browser has a large market share across all devices. Part of your marketing plan should be to increase your Google ranking and drive potential and current patients to the practice website. Secure websites often rank higher in search results with over 70% of page one Google rankings having websites that use HTTPS. Many patients will not want to enter their information into online digital patient forms or even load a website that Google marks as not secure. Ensuring your website has HTTPS enabled on all pages will help potential patients feel confident in your practice and will result in a safer experience for both the practice and the patient.
By the beginning of 2019, more than half of all Internet traffic has transitioned to go through a mobile device. A mobile-responsive website will allow your practice to present itself in the best format, whether the patient is using a smartphone, tablet, or desktop device. There are several advantages to a mobile-responsive website. Unlike a mobile version of your website, which often takes longer to load, a mobile-responsive design does not require you to maintain separate versions of your website. Having only one version of your website can save your practice time, money, and make it more likely that you will maintain the website. With part of your marketing plan directed at increasing your presence on the web, it is important to recognize that Google gives mobile-responsive sites priority in search results, helping potential patients find you.
Having a website that is accessible demonstrates a commitment by your practice to serving every patient, regardless of their abilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures people are not discriminated against due to their disabilities. While this law does not require your website to accommodate visitors with disabilities, as it does with real-world public locations, it is a good idea to be as ADA-compliant as possible in 2019. It is important to talk to your website hosting company about meeting the suggested ADA accessibility guidelines for websites.
Henry Schein ONE has service options to help you create a multi-channel marketing approach to recruiting and retaining patients. Ensure you are investing your marketing dollars wisely; find out how to improve your website and attract new patients online by taking our free practice marketing assessment. It only takes a few minutes to see how well your current marketing plan is working.
Andrea Gallimore has over 19 years of experience with Dentrix and the dental industry. She has worked as an office manager for a multi-doctor practice and also as a certified Dentrix trainer. Andrea currently works for Henry Schein Practice Solutions as the Associate Manager, Software Training – eServices, presents weekly webinars on various eServices products, and presents educational dental seminars across the country. With her extensive software knowledge and real-world office management expertise, Andrea can help practices maximize efficiency and profitability using Dentrix and eServices.