Most dentists realize that a website isn’t a fancy option anymore but rather a requirement for any type of business, dentistry included. Most of my clients come to me looking to move away from insurance participation and one suggestion I always make is to consider how effective the practice’s website is in terms of attracting new patients. Some practices feel that by being a Provider for an insurance company means that they will get new patients just by being on an insurance listing. Today’s patients are becoming more savvy. They no longer just pick a name, but rather go down the list of available Providers and research them online before making a choice. Of course, if you do not participate with insurance companies at all, having an effective website is even more important. If your website provides valuable and personal information about why your practice is different you stand a much better chance of increasing your new patient flow. A few suggestions to consider:
1. Ask your target audience their opinion of your site. If you practice in a retirement community then you may be trying to appeal to seniors with helpful information about dentures and implants or a senior citizens discount. If you practice in a suburban area with young families look for ways to be appealing to moms. Get feedback from decision makers in your area.
2. Spend some time on your content beyond just explaining that you provide crowns and have a laser. Patients want to know what services you offer, but they also want to know who you are as a person. They are looking for some reason to connect with you. They want to know what your style is and if their personality will fit with yours. Some patients will be focused on high tech equipment, some on convenient hours, some will want a laid back approach so make your website attractive to the kind of patients who will seek out the practice style you are offering.
3. Don’t just slap up a site and let it sit there. Use it in combination with other online resources that tie in well like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media to enhance your image online in different ways. Remember that even if you hate Facebook, the majority of your patients do not! For a good book on entering the world of social media I highly recommend Jason Lipscomb’s book called Social Media For Dentists http://www.socialmediadentist.com
4. Know what questions to ask your website designers and the people you hire for SEO. If you decide to design your site yourself then know how to get quality results. Check out dentist Mike Barr’s book covering everything you need to know about websites for dentists at http://www.revupmymarketing.com/ There is a huge range of web designers and costs so be sure you do your research before committing to large design fees or long term contracts. This book will help you make sure you hire well by asking the right questions.
5. Invest some time by linking your business website to relevant places wherever you can. Be sure you are registered with Google Maps and keep track of your online reviews from patients.
If you are trying to move away from insurance participation, an excellent website is one way to gain new patient flow without relying on insurance provider lists. Make sure you spend the time to make your image a good one on your website!