10 secrets to an effective online presence

December 10, 2012
Issue 12

Many of the marketing articles over the past year focused on ways to use online options to boost brand awareness. Drawing from those highly-read features, here are some simple tips for creating an effective Web presence. 

Many of the marketing articles over the past year focused on ways to use online options to boost brand awareness. Drawing from those highly-read features, here are some simple tips for creating an effective Web presence. 

#1 Know the purpose of your website
It’s important to remember that your practice is more than just a billboard. You also should consider prospect generation (bringing in new patients), customer support (helping current patients better understand treatment and interact with your practice), and education (allowing all visitors to learn the value of dentistry).

#2 Content matters
You have two groups to consider: patients and search engines. For patients, keep content relevant and easy to understand. For Google, high quality, regularly updated content helps your search status.  

#3 Invest in search engine marketing
SEM is all about gaining visibility on search engines. There are free SEO efforts all docs can take advantage of, but the other way is through paid search advertising. Resources at websites such as searchengineland.com define best practices for those eager to learn.

#4 Don’t be passive
Don’t just wait for people to find your website! Be creative about ways to get your community’s attention.

#5 Incorporate SEO practices
Bianca Male of Business Insider sums up SEO in 10 tips. The first 5: Place appropriate keywords throughout the site - titles, content, URLs and image names. Link back to yourself within the site. Create a sitemap. Keep your URLs search-friendly. Track your progress.

#6 Set your social media strategy
Who will be accountable for executing this strategy-is your office manager looking to step up? Then think about where you need to be: Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Commit to channels where you can be consistent.

[Related: The Office Manager’s role in social media marketing]

#7 Take advantage of online analytics
There are a variety of free or low cost options you can access to find out how your website is performing and, more importantly, where your traffic is coming from.

#8 Embrace new viewing channels
As more people incorporate smart phones and tablets into their media consumption, make sure your site is mobile optimized.

#9 What patients see matters
It is important to have a back-end to your site that is easy for you or your team to manage. However, remember that the user experience is key. Your Web designer should be conversant in Patient 101.

#10 Encourage patient reviews
Word-of-mouth matters, so don’t be shy about asking patients to weigh in. Have a plan in place for the potential negative review - how will you make them reconsider?