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Just a few short years ago, using a simple, inexpensive website template as the basis for the lab’s online presence was good enough for the average lab owner. But today, with the rise of search engine optimization and social media, and the ever-increasing importance of online engagement, a dental lab website needs to be more than just a static online brochure.
Just a few short years ago, using a simple, inexpensive website template as the basis for the lab’s online presence was good enough for the average lab owner. But today, with the rise of search engine optimization and social media, and the ever-increasing importance of online engagement, a dental lab website needs to be more than just a static online brochure. Today, taking advantage of what are now generally recognized Web design best practices is critical, and with the right vendors as well as a well thought out, robust and tailored approach, lab owners can ensure their website helps achieve their marketing goals. In the end, a website must not only be able to help lab owners continually connect with their customers, but it also must serve to ensure the lab is easily found-and chosen-by dentists who are looking for a new lab.
In creating a new site or updating an existing one, there are a few key elements that must be considered.
A dental lab website must incorporate and be designed around the lab’s unique visual identity. A generic template just isn’t good enough anymore; if there’s a logo and color scheme used on the lab’s business cards, letterhead and other print marketing materials, they also should be the basis of the lab’s website design. If the lab does not have a professionally designed logo, then logo development must begin prior to starting a major website overhaul. The site must take on the same look and feel as all other materials and should be part of a unified branding and communications strategy-rather than a disjointed tactic.
Upon arriving at the lab’s homepage, both existing and prospective customers immediately should be able to see how to get in touch with the lab, whether to get more information or to make an appointment.
Because the upper top ¼ of the screen is the most valuable real estate on any website, this space should be reserved for identifying and contact information so site visitors can easily discern how to get in touch with the lab. The lab’s name and logo should be in the left hand corner, and the lab’s phone number should be prominently displayed in the upper right hand corner, with the physical address and email address shown just below. Social media icons also should be located in this section.
Establishing a YouTube channel, or profile, for the lab and embedding and cross-linking videos on the website that complement the written content benefits the lab in two ways.
First, videos help build rapport with existing and prospective clients. Second, Google owns YouTube, and as a result, in determining search results, Google’s algorithm now gives an incredible amount of weight to websites that feature and cross-reference rich media content such as video.
From dentist testimonials to a tour of the lab, adding some quick, one-minute videos to your website can be a major boost to your lab’s online presence.
Consistently updating your website with new, fresh content is essential for the modern dental lab website. One of the most important considerations that Google takes into account when deciding how to rank a website in search engine results is how much new, fresh content the site has to offer. An onsite blog that has weekly or even monthly entries ensures that new and original content is added to the website on an ongoing basis-as Google prefers.
One of the most crucial things a dental lab website needs is third-party validation from around the Web to give it additional credibility. When dentists “Google” a lab, they will not only find that lab’s website, but also all the other websites in those search results that feature information about that lab.
From social media profiles to YouTube videos to online reviews, the information contained on third-party sites carries at least as much, if not more, weight than the information on the lab’s own site because it’s ostensibly from a neutral source. This type of “social proof” from other places around the Web serve to corroborate the information provided on your website.
And incorporating links on the website to a blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel also provide more ways for dentists to connect with the lab and learn about the services available.
Your dental lab website needs to be engaging and informative, a place where current and prospective clients can go to find out what they need to know about your lab and the services you offer. Follow these guidelines and you’ll not only have a great website that’s easy to navigate, you’ll have another marketing tool to reach existing customers-and to get more dentists interested in and aware of your lab.
Naomi Cooper is President & Founder of Minoa Marketing and Chief Marketing Consultant for Pride Institute. She is a respected dental marketing consultant, author, speaker and industry opinion leader who co-teaches Pride’s marketing course, The New Rules of Dental Marketing. Naomi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and blogs at minoamarketing.com.
This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Dental Lab Products. To read more great articles like this every month, click here to subscribe.