Imagine that on an average day, 40 people walked into your practice looking for a dentist. However, your front desk staff was able to convince only one of these visitors to schedule an appointment. One appointment from 40 visitors is a 2.5% conversion rate. If this were happening in your office, you would probably get very serious about improving your staff performance.
This scenario plays out daily online. Most dental websites convert fewer than 1 in 40 visitors into a scheduled appointment. Just like a visitor walking through your front door, visitors to your website must be convinced to schedule an appointment.
Dental websites that successfully convert visitors into new patients have a few things in common.
They Make a Great First Impression
Wouldn’t it be nice to personally meet every prospective patient in your area before they chose a dentist? You’d have the opportunity to show them your office, introduce them to your team, and let them get to know you.
Although you can’t meet them in person, you can make introductions online—on your website. An abundance of research has shown that impressions are formed fast—usually within the first few seconds—so you cannot afford to make mistakes in how you introduce your practice to new online visitors. To make a good first impression, your website must:
- Load fast (ideally under 3 seconds)
- Be mobile friendly (as many as 80% of your visitors will be on their phone)
- Have a clean, modern look
- Be easy to navigate and find important information
- Have photos/videos of the doctor(s) on the home page
- Have office photos or an overview video on the home page
Their “Point of Difference” Is Clear
Dental patients have more choices now than ever before. Take a minute and think about your brand and your unique selling point. How are you different from that dentist around the corner? Why would a patient choose to drive past your competition to visit your practice? Your website needs to communicate why you’re the best option. If patients don’t see you as the better option, their choice will most likely be made based on price or location.
What is your value proposition? Are your hours more convenient? Do you offer the most advanced teeth-whitening methods? Perhaps you are an eco-friendly, “green” practice. Whatever makes you special, clearly and concisely state that on your home page.
They Speak Their Ideal Patient’s Language
Keep your ideal patient in mind. What is most important to them? Will your design, style, language, and message appeal to them? The more targeted the communication, the stronger the connection.
Put yourself in their shoes. If your ideal patient is a busy working mom trying to juggle the dental needs of her family, then early morning, evening, or weekend hours with family appointment blocks are high on her priority list. Make sure this value is front and center on your website.
They Connect on a Personal Level
Statistics show that after the home page, the second most frequently visited page on a dental website is the “Meet the Doctor” page. This is great news for the independent dentist. One great weakness of corporate dentistry is their revolving door of clinicians. Patients want to know, trust, and develop a relationship with their dentist.
People want to see and hear from the doctor before booking an appointment. Be personable. Get professional photography. Have a well written bio that relates more than just where you went to dental school. Ideally, have a short video introducing yourself and the practice. Explain the reasons why you chose dentistry and what your approach to patient care is, and share some details about your family life and your hobbies. Use the Meet the Doctor page as an opportunity for them to get to know you.
They Provide Social Proof
Today’s consumer has been conditioned to seek out and read reviews prior to making purchase decisions. A recent survey by Bright Local found that 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and 85% of them say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Psychologists call this “seeking social proof” or gaining reassurance that the choice we are about to make is the right one. Take advantage of this insight by prominently displaying positive patient reviews on your website. There is software available that will automatically feed your 4- and 5-star reviews to your website, making the process seamless.
If possible, obtain video testimonials from your patients. Hearing directly from the patient, seeing their facial expressions, and listening to their voice inflection is very persuasive. These testimonials reassure potential patients that you are the dentist for them.
They Have Professional Photography and/or Video
Have you noticed how many dental websites look alike? There are a handful of stock images that appear on hundreds of dental websites. This is a wasted opportunity. Stock images send a cold, impersonal message.
Professional photos make a huge impact; investing in professional photography is one of the first recommendations we make to our new clients. Patients want to see you, your staff, and the office.
A high-quality video overview of your practice is even more powerful in connecting with potential patients. Video on the home page has been shown to boost conversion rates by as much as 20%.
They Effectively Answer the Patient’s Questions
Effective websites anticipate questions and concerns of potential patients and address them so that they don’t become a barrier to conversion. Patients are asking:
- Will it be a comfortable experience?
- Do they offer the services I need?
- Who is the doctor? Can I trust him/her? Will I like him/her?
- Do they accept insurance or offer financing?
- What are their hours?
- Where are they located?
- How do I contact them?
Ensure that your website clearly addresses these questions.
They Are Clean and Easy to Navigate
People are impatient online, especially when they’re visiting a website on their smartphone. They want to be able to find what they’re looking for with a minimal amount of clicking or searching. If the font is too small or the site is too busy and confusing, you’ve likely lost them. They’ll quickly hit the back button and move on to the next practice’s site.
If you implement these tips into your next website design, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive impact they have on your new patient flow.