Your website's role in promoting your services online

A recent survey reports that 80% of Internet users look online for health information. Glenn Lombardi explains how three different marketing tools can work for you to educate and garner interest from patients who are actively searching for ways to improve their smile online.

By Glenn Lombardi

Where do patients look when they have a question about their dental health? How do patients learn about new oral health treatments and procedures? Since the advent of the Internet, dentistry and the ways in which patients discover how to improve their oral health has shifted.

A recent survey tells us that 80% of Internet users look online for health information. As patients increasingly flock to the Web for information concerning their teeth, dentists have two options: do nothing and miss out on new patients, or leverage the resources available to educate and garner interest from patients who are already actively searching for ways to improve their smile online. Online patient education resources, blogging, and pay-per-click advertising are three powerful ways to market your services to patients on the Internet.

Web-based patient education

Your website can play a pivotal role in educating patients and introducing them to the services your practice offers. With your website’s educational materials, such as a dental library or animations, available to patients 24/7, you can save yourself valuable time otherwise spent in repeated explanation about basic information. Well-informed patients are also generally more compliant with treatment protocol, which leads to improved successful outcomes and increased referrals to your practice. By providing patients with direct links to your website, you ensure that they are receiving accurate and relevant information, and can refer to it as frequently as necessary.

Blogging

Blogging is a great way to establish your own voice as a dental expert by authoring your own learning materials. Post office updates, reveal your personal achievements, promote new treatments, and offer dental health tips to your blog once or twice a week to keep readers engaged, informed, and coming back for more on a regular basis. Unlike the educational library or videos on your site, your blog should showcase the human side of your practice, while also encouraging conversations with your patients.

Paid advertising

With targeted, pay-per-click advertising, you have the ability to promote your elective services to searching patients in your local area. A patient living in the next town over may be interested in Invisalign. She searches for the treatment on Google, and Google uses its geotargeting technology to display the ads of Invisalign providers — you — in the patient’s local area. Your Invisalign ad is displayed to searchers at the exact time they are looking for your services and are precisely written to motivate a response from the patient, such as visiting your website for additional information or contacting your office for an appointment.

A decline in appointments to your office may be the result of insufficient patient education resources and a poor search engine presence. When choosing a website provider, consider a few important factors such as the quality and reliability of patient education materials available for your site. You should also seek a provider who can effectively market your practice and services on major search engines for increased visibility and leads. As patients become more aware of your expertise and the treatments available, you will notice an increase in appointments to your practice.

Author bio
Glenn Lombardi is president of Officite, LLC, the No. 1 provider of websites and Internet presence management strategies for the dental community. Officite has built more than 6,000 websites that have generated hundreds of thousands of appointment requests since 2002. To learn more, visit www.officite.com or call (800) 908-2483.

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