Web marketing to existing patients

Recent statistics indicate that 14.3 million households use the Internet and 69 per cent have a broadband connection. 78 per cent of London households with Internet access actually have broadband, which is approximately half of all households in the London region.

A website is essential for any private dentist that is serious in marketing to their existing patients, especially in London. The website should convey professionalism in both its design and content. Patients should be immediately impressed at first sight and want to recommend your website to family, friends and colleagues. Flash animation should be considered to bring the site to life especially as most households have broadband.

The website should be mentioned on all stationery, signage and reminders. Each patient should be shown the website by the dentist on a surgery computer before starting treatment. By personally going through the website with your patients, not only do you have an opportunity to personally inform them of the various aesthetic treatments you offer but you are also teaching them how to demonstrate the website to others; an important training session for your free “Ëœword of mouth’ marketers.

Once the website design and animation has captured the patient’s immediate attention, the usefulness of the site’s content is extremely important. Content needs to be educational but not boring. Professional photographs of the building, reception, waiting room and surgeries should be available, especially to show off new or refurbished practices. Brief descriptive text should be complemented by well cropped before and after photographs. Morphing the before and after photographs in a gentle flash animation provides an exciting, visual impact to the patient’s understanding of the treatment.

Attracting prospective patients

The general public is now used to watching smile makeover programmes on television and reading various articles on cosmetic dentistry in newspapers and magazines. Everyday, people turn to the most popular search engine, www.google.co.uk, and search for a dentist in their location, either near their home or work.

On Google there is the free, natural listing and the paid sponsored listing. Whether your website is the main free listing or in the pay-per-click listing, it is essential that it is visible at the top of the 1st page of Google.co.uk for the key phrases related to you.

The benefits of Pay-Per-Click advertising are that high rankings can be achieved immediately and the wording for the link description is fully customisable. On Google AdWords Pay-Per-Click advertising, you create an advert with your chosen wording and link, specifying the keywords you wish to target. You set a maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) e.g. 20p per click or £2 per click and adverts are then ranked like an auction. Other factors besides CPC can affect your ranking on the sponsored listing but generally you need to set a higher CPC than your competitors to be ranked higher than them. You set a daily budget and your advert is shown until the budget has been used up with the equivalent number of clicks.

Contact by prospective patients

A professional and user friendly website that can be found on the 1st page of Google.co.uk is essential for any facial aesthetic dentist that is serious in attracting new patients. The website’s home page should instantly

The Dental website needs to provide clear details on how to find, telephone and email you. Your telephone number and address is best placed on every page to make it extremely easy for both existing and prospective patients to contact you. Visitors should be able to email you especially if they are surfing whilst at work or at night when you are closed. The main email address should be professional and go hand-in-hand with the web address, i.e. a web address dental.co.uk should promote the email address info @dental.co.uk. It is important not to use a personal or free email address such as @hotmail.com or @btinternet.com. This simple consistency is important for credibility.

Five tips to remember your website should:
“¢ be attractive, educational and impressive, not boring
“¢ be easily found on Google.co.uk through the natural or pay-per-click listings
“¢ increase credibility using dentist profiles and testimonials
“¢ allow you to be contacted easily, especially by email
“¢ have advanced web statistics

Visit the Author's website: http://www.dental-focus.com/marketing/magazine-articles/part-1-of-4-introduction-to-the-web/