Your practice website is a billboard in the middle of the ocean until you begin driving web traffic to it. To take this analogy even further, your website is a billboard with a bunch of birds sitting on it until you convert visitors into new patients.
Here are 5 ways to improve your website so that it is a conversion machine:
1. Keep it simple. A 15-page website is really all you need for a one- to two-dentist private practice. Website visitors are creatures of habit, so function trumps form. In other words, a simple website is more compelling to the visitor than a fancy one. No more than eight pages across the main navigation and no more than five on each drop-down, please; anything more than that overwhelms the visitor. An overwhelmed visitor will leave your website in a jiffy. With that in mind, format short (around 100-word) bits of text together to keep the eye moving and the reader engaged. See an example of this on one of our client’s websites, here.
2. Call visitors to action. Be sure that the website provides an “action opportunity” on every page. Call for an appointment. Fill out this form to learn more. Follow the practice on Facebook. Enter an email address and get a free care guide. Each person who arrives to the website will have different preferences, so provide a number of options. The more options, the more likely web visitors are to act and thereby stay engaged with the practice. Here is a good example of this. The website should be designed to intrigue visitors and encourage action. Be sure that the website copy and imagery is promotional, not just informational.
3. Offer 24/7 online scheduling. The moment that a visitor makes the decision to schedule an appointment is a pivotal one. Research shows that the shorter the time is between that moment and the moment that the patient is scheduled, the more likely the visitor is to actually become a patient. Whether we like it or not, patients are “shopping” for their dental care, often comparing one provider to the next in quick snap judgments as they surf the net. Dentrix and ZocDoc offer solid 24/7 scheduling systems. See one in motion on another of our client’s sites, here. (Click “Make an Appointment.”) Offer access to this feature on every page of the website, and you dramatically increase your odds of converting visitors into patients.
4. Make the most of the three A’s. The three A’s of websites that drive results are: affability, ability and availability. A powerful website makes the practice look affable, or likeable. Visitors should see warm and inviting photos of the office, doctors and staff. They should get the feeling, “I might like them. They could earn my trust.” A great website makes it clear that the dental team is highly able. Any of the dentists’ awards and accolades and any compelling before-and-after cases they have completed should be clear in the first few seconds of looking at the home page. Visitors should get the feeling, “They seem capable. They would take good care of me.” Last, a terrific website articulates that the dentist is available. Office hours, address and directions should appear on every page. This conveys the feeling, “It would be easy for me to at least check them out. I could make it happen.” Here is a great example of all three A’s well executed.
5. Include compelling forms. When you increase the chances of potential patients completing your online forms, you increase the odds of generating new patients from your website. Include a form on every page. Here is a great example of this on one of our client’s sites. Notice how the “Request an Appointment” box appears on every page. A compelling, aesthetically pleasing headline that appropriately compliments the rest of the content on the page is a must. Every form should contain a button that stands out and draws attention. Adding a short patient testimonial right next to your online form builds trust with your potential patient.
Follow these guidelines and your dental practice website will be a new-patient-making machine!