I like to think I know a thing or two about websites. I have a whole bunch. And since 2008, I’ve developed strategies for building website traffic on all of them. This website, for example, received over 3,000 unique visitors (i.e. unique computers) this month (i.e. 27 days). I have another website that gets about 15,000 unique visitors every month. And in future blogs, I will explain how to build up your dental practice website traffic using search engine optimization techniques.
Now, with that said, in this blog, I’m going to skip the part about building up traffic and go straight to the part about converting your existing traffic into patients. I’m assuming that prospective patients are using a search engine like Google to find a dentist or educate themselves about a dental treatment, etc. and they stumbled across your website. Now is your chance to convert them into a patient. Get them to call or email for an appointment. That’s the end game, isn’t it?
So here are some techniques that I have found very cool and useful in helping you to convert traffic into patients:
#1: Focus on your offering
If you have tons of links and information about you, your practice, your team, etc. displayed on your website, is this very focused? No. What are your ideal patients looking for? They came to you because you are in a particular location, heard good things about you and your practice, learned that you are open certain hours to accommodate them, are looking for a pleasant experience, etc. Are you focusing on what brought them to your website? Your competitive advantage?
#2: Focus on the end game
No matter how they ended up on your website, you want them to call or e-mail. That’s the end game. So you need to make that front and centre. Have a simple registration form (e.g. first name, last name, email address, phone number, comment/question, etc.). On every page. Make it prominent in colours, size, and location. That’s what your goal is, isn’t it?
#3: Focus on the Funnel
The funnel is meant to lead website users down a path where they experience your brand, get to know it a little better and then end up calling or e-mailing your office to schedule an appointment. Think about the IKDEA funnel. Once you’re sucked in, you have to see EVERYTHING before you can leave. And it works for them.
So with that in mind, think about this: if someone visited your website, would they be inundated with links that took them to places that didn’t allow you to achieve your goals? So, I discovered, for example, that on this website, many users were looking at the “Professional Advisors” tab on the top navigation menu. But they didn’t care about other tabs or images displayed on the website (e.g. Helpful Links). So I might change that around. Also, you need to know how far on a page someone goes. Finally, you need to know where people are clicking. You can use a very cool tool that I use called CrazyEgg. It basically records your website (you have to install some script on your website – which is pretty easy to do) and notes where people are clicking, scrolling down, and how they are generally using/reacting to your website. And it shows you everything in a very easy-to-understand manner.
#4: Don’t Focus on these things…
If you find that users are not scrolling all the way down, registering, or calling… why not incentivize them? I’m not talking about giving away money/gifts/coupons, but information that is cool and which they can spread. Dentists have a plethora of information about oral health. And there are some good stories that go along with that information. Why not share it in a captivating way (e.g. 10 worst mouths you’ve ever seen). People are curious about what dentists do and see in their daily lives. And they are also curious about the patients and what kinds of issues they have and how they got there. Was it hereditary? Drinking too much coke? Poor oral hygiene? These types of ‘sexy’ topics will spread like a virus and help you attract a larger patient base. So share your knowledge!
#6 Using Videos
People like videos. Hence YouTube. Do you have a professional video that explains your offering? Remember to keep it less than 1 minute or you’ll lose people. There is software out there that tracks how many people are clicking on your video and how long they are watching it. Like I said, keep it short!
#7: E-mail Blasts
Are you keeping in constant contact with your patients? You have an opportunity to see your patient a few times a year. But why only that? Why not allow them to opt-in to your digital (cost-effective) email newsletter. This could be sent out monthly. It can tell them what’s new and exciting about what you’ve been up to (e.g. charitable events, changes at the office, the media you’ve been receiving, etc.). Everyone wants to go to a ‘cool’ dentist who is ‘out there, doing cool things’, don’t they?
#8: A / B Testing
Did you know that, if you’re uncertain of whether something is working, you can do a live test? But the best part is this: you don’t have to change everything. You can keep what you’ve got and then test something new on your website. What happens is that some visitors will see the original version and some visitors will see the new version. From here, you can test the results. This is called A / B or split testing. You can compare things like traffic, clicks, scrolling, conversions, etc. It’s pretty sophisticated stuff, and you might need some help in executing it. But it can increase conversions dramatically if you figure out what you should be doing right! Don’t just copy what you see others doing. It might not be working. You’ll need to plan / execute / test / adapt.
#9: Credible, Relevant and Adding Value
Every aspect of your website (from the look and feel to the text and pictures) should speak three things: credibility, relevance, and value-add. Many people don’t value going to the dentist. And they don’t trust their dentist. But you can change that. Give them free education. Make them comfortable browsing around on your website.
#10: Less is More
Think you need to have a very expansive website with tons of information? Nope. The information is meant to draw patients in. It should be targeted based on your offering. Once they’re in, you need to funnel them to the end goal. Don’t clutter your page with too many links, images, buttons, and other places to go. Reduce, reduce, reduce. Keep it as simple as possible and you will be amazed that prospective patients may have no place else to go but pick up the phone, e-mail or register on their own.