As a cosmetic dentist, I have many patients who are actors, models and media personalities. I work in an industry in which physical appearance and image are vital to professional success.
Understandably, more than a few of my patients spend time on their cell phones during their time in the office. After any dental procedure, whether it be a quick whitening to a full smile makeover, their first instinct is to snap a quick selfie. Sometimes the patients even ask me or members of the team to pose with them! It seems inevitable that the immediate reaction after having the appearance of their smile enhanced is to show it off to the world, usually through social media. Clearly, they are proud of the work I have done to improve their smile.
From selfies to branding
The frequency with which my patients were taking and sharing selfies led me to a major realization about branding my practice. Since the majority of my patients are always on their phones, and are proud of their dental work, I wanted to find a way to build a website that matched my patients’ lifestyles. I knew I could create a win-win with my patients, but that the website would have to be slick, professional, visually appealing and compelling. They would then have an easy place to show off their new smiles, and since many of their friends are also in image-related industries I could tap into their network of contacts to further grow my practice. Until I had this realization, I relied primarily on business cards and brochures. I still believe that these are great tools, but in today’s always-connected world, they are simply no longer enough.
I quickly learned, though, that it’s not enough to just build a dazzling website. I had to build a brand. I knew the application needed to be user-friendly, well designed and provide a clear look at the services I provide on a daily basis. In this day and age, it must be compatible with all mobile devices, as well as, be able to link to the social media network for easy sharing.
How to brand a dental website
I knew what I wanted to do, but I did not know enough about building websites to actually make it happen. So, I reached out to Dentalfone, a company that provides full-service website design and marketing specifically for dentists.
Working with Dentalfone has taught me a lot about branding a dental website to a particular audience. The team asked me questions that encouraged me to consider my values, ideas and prospective goals for my practice. A few of the questions they asked included: What aspects of dentistry do I most enjoy? Which services are my biggest "moneymakers"? In what direction do I want my practice to grow, and how can I attract the patients who are the best fit for my specific focus?
A huge advantage of building a branded website is that you get to pick and choose the first impression you present. First impressions are everything, especially in dentistry. If you have a pediatric dental practice, your website might be filled with photos of smiling children and helpful articles for moms and dads wanting information about common childhood dental concerns. Think about what aspects of your practice you want to grow, and how you can use technology to help you get there.
The more compelling and visually attractive you make your website, the more likely your patients are to share it with their friends. “Social proof” is a marketing term for the human tendency to go along with the crowd. If you see the same thing shared repeatedly on social media, you will naturally begin to assume that it must be high-quality. If it is shared by people you know and trust, you are even more likely to give it a chance.
Up next: The importance of SEO
The role of SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the key to getting organic traffic from search engines. When someone types a search phrase into Google or another search engine, he or she will receive a list of web pages that provide relevant information.
At one time, companies could get away with “keyword stuffing,” or just loading up articles with common keyword phrases, to boost their search rankings. Today, though, there are highly sophisticated algorithms that help to ensure that only credible, high-authority websites with well-written, useful content make it to the top of the list.
SEO is a critical component of an overall dental marketing plan, and it’s also quite complicated, so I recommend that you work with a professional such as Dentalfone rather than attempting to figure out SEO on your own.
The importance of mobile optimization
Optimizing your website for mobile usage is absolutely essential today. Mobile technology allows your patients to share their selfies in the moment, rather than trying to remember to share them when they get home. Your mobile-friendly website can let patients look up important aftercare instructions following a procedure. Your mobile website can also allow prospective patients to get an overview of your practice without having to make their way to a computer.
In addition, if you choose to go with Dentalfone for your website, the company has added some excellent features to its mobile sites and apps. For example, there is an easy spot for patients to leave reviews, which can boost your site’s credibility and improve your search rankings. There is also an Email a Friend feature that automatically CC’s your office, allowing you to follow up with the potential patient.
Even if you have a great website, you MUST have a great mobile site. Take a look at your website from your phone and see if it conveys your branding and your practice in a way that you are proud of and that helps you build your practice and meet your goals.
Click here to see Dr. Anthony J. Vocaturo's website in action!