5 easy ways to make your online presence a solid source for new patients

Jan. 23, 2012
If you want to grow your practice and reach more new patients in 2012, you must have a plan ... and it must revolve around the Web. Glenn Lombardi discusses five questions you need to address regarding the current status of your online presence that will help guide your marketing plan.
By Glenn LombardiIt’s a new year, and that means new personal and professional resolutions, new practice marketing tactics, and hopefully new patients through your office door. The beginning of 2012 is a perfect time to evaluate last year’s strengths and weaknesses, and reflect on your practice’s marketing goals for the coming year. To guide your marketing plan for 2012, ask yourself these five questions regarding the current status of your online presence ...1. Do you have a website and is it up-to-date?If you still haven’t launched a professional site for your practice, heed my advice and don’t wait any longer. It’s the single most important marketing tool your practice can have today, and the No. 1 way new and referred patients will find you. If you do have a site, your work isn’t finished either. Whether you built your site five years ago or in the last year, like any marketing tactic, you continually need to measure and fine-tune its capabilities if you want to maximize its effectiveness. Your website is often your practice’s first impression, but it could be your last if the message patients get is, We’re a step behind the times.2. Is your website easy to view and navigate on a mobile phone? Today, having a mobile website is no longer a luxury, but an absolute necessity. By 2013, more people will be accessing the Internet on mobile phones than PCs. To reach patients anywhere anytime, you must ensure your existing website works hand-in-hand functionally and visually on smartphones and tablets. 3. What are you doing to safeguard your practice from harmful patient reviews?You can’t control what is said about your practice online, but you can take steps to encourage positive reviews for your practice on major review directories, such as Yelp, Citysearch, and Google. With the right approach, you can quickly and easily garner reviews from your most loyal patients from their mobile phones before they even leave your office. 4. Are you using Facebook to generate referrals?Social-savvy or not, popular social media sites are an important piece of the marketing puzzle, even for dentists. It’s one of the leading ways people today are choosing to communicate and share information about the brands and topics they care about. Your Facebook page and blog can be personalized and integrated with your website for seamless maintenance, keeping your practice connected to a growing generation of patients who are using social media daily. 5. What is your current search engine ranking?A website without a search marketing strategy is as useful as a car without an engine. You can’t build a website and expect new visitors if patients can’t find it online. Work with a dental online marketing expert to implement a search marketing solution that optimizes your site for your most important local keywords. You’ll see an improvement in your search ranking and an increase in visitors to your website. Bottom line: If you want to grow your practice and reach more new patients in 2012, you must have a plan, and it must revolve around the Web. Now is the perfect time to evaluate your existing solutions, optimize your Web presence, and make the most of your online marketing plan to generate new patients this year.Author bioGlenn 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.