February 1, 2017
by Donya Ferris
Most practicing medical professionals recognize that if they do good work for patients and build a well-known reputation, their practice will thrive. However, in this highly digital era, that is only growing with time, your website is another key factor in the success of your practice or clinic. Now more than ever, potential patients are using search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find a dental office that best suits them in terms of proximity, services provided, insurance acceptance, and quality of care. If these potential patients are looking up the best dental practice to visit and your website is lackluster or difficult to navigate through, chances are they’re going to bounce (or leave your website).
Understanding Patients as Consumers
If you want to ensure that your dental practice has a website that is user-friendly and able to generate patient bookings, there a few aspects of buying behavior you must consider:
1. Problem Solving
2. Information & Insight
3. Exploring Alternatives
1. Problem Solving Stage
When users are using search engines they are typically looking for answers to their questions or problems. In the case of potential patients searching for the right dentist, this is the same case, only it is in regard to dental issues they may be facing. You must realize when a potential patient is visiting your site, chances are they are having a dental problem and need an easy way to navigate through your website in order to find the right answers. Typically, they want to understand what services you provide and if you are able to facilitate the treatment they potentially need.
2. Information & Insight Stage
Having a website that is easy to navigate through is a must, however, you should also have the right information to back it up. By providing useful information about varying dental services you offer, you are able to help answer their search query and how you can accommodate them. There are also users who are generally searching for information about dental concerns which aren’t immediate. If you provide information in the form of a blog that can help identify a problem they could have and other unique information pertaining to dental health, you are helping your website become an information station for users. You should also bear in mind, when Google registers your website as relevant to users in terms of information provided, you are also able to rank your website higher on Google. This helps patients find you more easily.
Exploring Alternatives Stage
The purchasing behavior of users is always a process of evaluating your options and eliminating the ones that are least effective before making a final decision. If your website is branded well or if it is depicted in a way that is visually pleasing and easy to navigate you are likely to have a leg up over your competitors. When a potential patient explores other options, they will likely refer back to you before making a decision on which practice to book with because you were able to make an impression on them during their search.
After a potential patient evaluates the different options they may have regarding a dentist, they will likely narrow it down to a few. This is where the “calls to action” on your website will come into play. These are aspects of your website that call for immediate attention or action from the user. Something that will induce or attract them to act according to the messaging. If your website allows patients to download information (such as a patient form), request appointments online, or showcases varying promotions, you are likely to gain that user as patient. Sometimes the difference between booking a new patient and losing one is largely due to the convenience your website provides.
Remember: Your Website Represents You! Understanding the process of buying for a consumer will help ensure your website is able to capture both the attention and engagement of potential patients searching for your services. Not every user who visits your site is necessarily looking to book an appointment just yet, therefore, you must provide useful information so that when they are ready to book, they know exactly who to revisit!
About the Author
Donya Ferris is the Marketing Director for Adit, a full-service online marketing company based in Houston, Texas www.adit.co.
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