Websites for dental practices and dental brands have never been more important. In this article, we’ll explore ways to massively enhance your website and get your brand message across to your target market.
Thank you to smartphones, the average person in the UK now checks a mobile phone every 12 minutes and is online for 24 hours a week, according to Ofcom. With that much time and experience on the internet, either consciously or unconsciously, people know what modern websites should look like and how they should function.
Especially Millennials who grew up with the internet.
Oh, and people are brutal if websites don’t meet their standards, but aren’t we all though? When was the last time you bought something from a website that looked untrustworthy?
Websites are constantly changing because the internet keeps changing along with its connected devices. This means websites go out-of-date.
If your website is out-of-date in design, functionality, brand and content, people naturally assume your services and dental practice are out-of-date.
Your website reflects your brand, which means it reflects how your dental practice and business operates. In many cases, your website will be the first impression to your potential patients.
That’s right, you can’t just be a “dentist” with a reception and some treatment rooms. You need to have a brand that differentiates you against all the other dentists. That is, unless you’re the only dentist in your area.
Your brand must shine through on your website. Having a brand is a whole different topic, so for the purposes of this article on web design and development, we’ll assume your dentist has a unique brand and personality. We’ll talk about this later.
Even if you maintain your website and keep it up-to-date, your website still might be out-of-date in terms of design and functionality. If you had your website built before 2013, but you’ve kept it up-to-date with information about your dental practice.
While the information is up-to-date there’s a possibility your website isn’t suitable for mobile phones or tablets. That means people won’t even read your information despite it being up-to-date.
In this article, we’re going to give you all the information to ensure your dental practice website is up-to-date, on brand and functionally capable. The topic of website design and development is complex, so I’ll keep things simple. I’ve broken down the subjects into bite-size manageable sections.
Before we dive in, please note that in the UK dentist websites should follow the General Dentist Council Guidance on Advertising.
We live in amazing times, with smartphones, tablets and Kindle devices. We’re more connected to the internet than ever. However, these different devices have different screen sizes, and your website is being viewed on these different devices.
This is important because a one size all website that was built for desktop and laptop computers, won’t work well on a smartphone or tablet.
But what does that mean? If your website is built for desktop and laptop computers and is viewed on a mobile phone. The text, menu, contact number and all website features will be too small, hard to read and very difficult to operate. Your potential patient (customer) will simply leave to find another dentist.
It is much quicker to find another dentist than it is to navigate a poorly designed website. In 2018, 52 per cent of all website traffic was through smartphones, according to Statista. With year on year growth.
You don’t need to build separate websites for separate devices. There is a much better way. You can make your website responsive, so it adapts to the device it is being viewed on.
Website speed is important, actually, it’s very important. Your website needs to be fast. There’s not much to say on this subject other than it needs to be fast on all devices.
There are a few things that affect your website speed:
- Content, file types and sizes
- Website plugins
- Website template
- Server/website host
You or your website manager needs to ensure your website is optimised for speed.
To test your website, Google has a free website speed test called PageSpeed Insights.
A professional website audit is always a good idea if you’re serious about growing your dental practice and brand. A website audit is like a professional dentist check-up. It checks the health of your website.
However, to start with, you might not need a technical audit. In most cases, you can identify if your website is fundamentally wrong without a professional website audit.
Here’s what you can do.
Check your dental practice website from different devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablet computers. Load your website on different browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari.
Compare your website against other websites you are currently use whether that’s for news, shopping or whatever. It doesn’t matter if it’s a different industry, all websites should be easy to use, informative, brand-aligned and fast.
Ask your colleagues what they think of your website. Ask them does your website reflect your brand and dental practice? Depending on your company culture and the skill set of your colleagues. They might not be so open to giving a critical review or qualified enough in the subject.
You can ask one of your colleagues who are well trusted to collect the views of colleagues or set up an anonymous submission process.
If you’re short on time and want a quick overview, try this free online too: https://website.grader.com.
At this point, you’re just trying to get a high-level overview of the design and functionality without emotional interference.
Please, note that there is no substitute for a professional website audit that will get behind the technical aspects of your website. However, you can at the very least get some perspective using the methods above.
You will have picked your car, your supermarket, your clothes and most of the things you purchase because of the brand. Yes, you may have liked the features of the product or service, but the brand was a major influence on your decision. This is typical consumer behaviour and a very well researched subject.
The next time you go to purchase an item from an unknown brand, watch how you do extra research to ensure that it’ll work, won’t break in a week and that you can send it back with ease.
The same applies to services. If you were booking a holiday and you found one you liked through an online company that had no brand reputation. You would take extra precautions by looking for reviews and anything to give you security. Failure to find those key security features will highly likely result in you moving on and not booking.
Your dentist business website in many cases will be your potential patient’s first impression of your dental practice, in other words, your brand.
Every other dentist does fillings, teeth whitening, extractions, etc., so why should someone looking for a dentist want you as their dentist? What’s different about your practice?
Even if you’re offering specialised services, you will still have a competitor.
How about pricing? Prices only play a part in a patient’s decision-making process. Lowering prices to be more competitive means two things happen. One, you get patients who aren’t loyal and only care about price. These customers are notoriously difficult to please and can be very demanding. Two, the type of customer you want might be put off by low prices. People perceive prices as a reflection of quality. In terms of health and teeth, many people would rather pay more for a better-quality service rather than take a risk and end up worse or needed to go elsewhere and pay for corrections.
Yes, pricing does reflect your brand, but it shouldn’t be a leading patient acquisition strategy. So, what does set you apart?
No two dentists are the same, they may offer similar services, but the whole patient journey can be hugely different. EasyJet and Emirates both offer airline services to customers, but they’re delivered in very different ways.
A dentist is no different from any other business. People are paying for a service and they want a service that matches the brand.
Your website needs to demonstrate your brand and why you’re different. Your brand is so much more than your logo and colour scheme. Your brand is what you stand for and how you treat your employees and patients. In summary, it’s how every single employee behaves to each other and to external people.
- How do you treat your patients before they’ve joined?
- How do you treat your patients from the moment they walk into your dental practice?
- How do you treat your patients during the treatment?
- How do you treat your patients afterwards?
- How do you communicate with your patients between appointments?
- Do you give your patients extra time or are your services fast?
- What does your dental practice look like? Is it modern, quirky, etc.?
- How do you treat your employees?
- How do employees treat each other?
It’s these things. The behaviour of you and your staff, along with the practice environment that makes up your brand.
How do you get your brand across on your website?
If you read The Star newspaper and you read The Times, they’re totally different in terms of how they write, the style, the layout and the images they use. One newspaper might use more emotional language while the other might use more formal language with statistical information.
These same principles are used to get your brand across on your dentist website, so in summary:
- Style of writing and font
- Style of images and photography
- Your prices or not showing prices
- Use of videos
- The functionality of the website
- Colour scheme, font and logo
- Rating and reviews
- Case studies
- Social media
I’ll explain some of these in more detail below.
Style of Writing and Font
Writing is one of the most influential forms of communication. It can inspire nations and it can cause recessions. It’s used to influence our behaviour, whether that’s to vote for a political party or buy a product.
A great relevant example is the Brexit Bus which had the slogan: “We send the EU £350m a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.”
We’re not going to get into the details of Brexit or the accuracies of the statement. Regardless of your political views, the slogan had an impact and Britain voted to leave. While it wasn’t solely down to the bus and its message, it had an influence and that’s the power of words.
To get to the point, the style of your writing on your website has a huge impact on your patient’s decision-making process.
There are two main things you want to focus on with your writing, and that’s ‘influence’ and ‘brand personality’.
You’re writing to influence people to book an appointment with you, but it also needs to be in the style of your brand. For example, if you’re a dentist with a focus on children and your whole brand is pirate themed (just go with it). Then the font style should be pirate themed and the language should be pirate themed. Make sense me, me Hearties?!
Your website font and your language must match what your dental practice uses offline such as in your leaflets, any letters you send out, text messages, emails, etc. Your whole brand needs to be consistent.
Please note that in the UK dentist websites should follow the General Dentist Council Guidance on Advertising when writing for your website.
Style of images and photographs
Writing is influential, but images are even more influential. Here are three of the most influential images of all time:
- Tank Man – http://100photos.time.com/photos/jeff-widener-tank-man
- The Terror of War – http://100photos.time.com/photos/nick-ut-terror-war
- Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston – http://100photos.time.com/photos/neil-leifer-muhammad-ali-sonny-liston
How did they make you feel? Unless you’re a robot, they probably made you feel something, right?
Take a moment to look at the images on your website. What do they say about your services and brand? How do you think they’ll make your potential patient feel? Will they get a good feel for what your dentist is about and how you treat patients?
If you’re using stock images, which means bought corporate photographs of fake receptionists, fake patients, fake dentists and fake happy people. To be blunt, you’re stuck in the 1900’s and noughties. No website today should be using mostly or any stock photographs.
Instead, you want to use high-quality photographs of you, your staff and your actual dental practice. Potential patients want to see what your practice is like. They want to see who the staff are and what the dentists look like.
People judge and if your photographs look inviting and inspire trust. Then potential patients are going to pick up the phone and call the receptionist they’ve just looked at and read about. We all know dentists are scary places for many people, so they also need to know they’re in safe and professional hands. Good photography can help reduce a patient’s anxiety and remove barriers to book an appointment with your dental practice.
Images don’t always need to be actual photographs. As an example, if your dental practice focuses on treating children, you could make some of your imagery cartoons or illustrations, even your profile pictures could be converted to illustrations. Giving your dental practice a unique and child-friendly look.
A good image strategy will demonstrate your brand and dental practice, which will help potential patients feel more confident in your services.
Use of Videos
If I said to you “The Singing Dentist” you’ll probably remember that dentist (Dr Milad Shadrooh) who went viral on social media for singing parody songs from singers such as Ed Sheeran. As a result, he’s been on Good Morning Britain, This Morning and Lorraine.
I’m not suggesting for one moment that you start singing on your videos, but The Singing Dentist is an example of how powerful videos can be. Especially if think videos for a dental brand won’t work.
You don’t need to be singing or doing anything dramatic in your videos. However, you should be creating high-quality videos in line with your brand that gives potential patients a glimpse into your dental practice. They have a huge impact by allowing patients to get a feel for who you are as both a dentist and a dental practice.
There are several ways you can approach videos. One way is to have one-time static videos on your website. This style of video can be a welcome video, a dental practice brand video or messages from each individual dentist.
Another option, but requires a lot more work is to produce a video series or constant videos. This is what we do here at Ambitious-Media. For the same reason that it allows you to see who we are as people. This style is more of a marketing strategy than website improvement. You don’t need to do this level of video work, but we do highly recommend some high quality and up-to-date videos on your website.
Rating and Reviews
If you do much shopping online, such as on Amazon. Then you’ll know how much reviews play a massive part in your buying decision.
There’s a bit of a formula, though, but at a basic level:
Star Rating + Number of Reviews + Review Content = Review Level
The higher your star rating, plus the higher the number of reviews and more in-depth the reviews are, is going to have a higher impact on influencing potential patients.
An example, a dentist with 120 in-depth reviews with a 4.5 rating is going to be far more attractive than a dentist with a 5-star rating and 3 one-line reviews.
Potential patients are only going to believe independent reviews from independent organisations such as Google, Facebook or Trustpilot. You can’t simply type these on to your website as it won’t look like they’ve come from an original source. Instead, you’ll need a plugin or code to display these independent reviews on your website.
An alternative method is to screenshot the reviews and upload them as an image.
You can even combine the power of video with reviews. That is to record patients talking about their results and experience with your dentist. This is extremely powerful.
If you implement the above recommendations, you’ll see a massive difference in your conversion rate.
If you don’t have the time to implement them and want a professional company to work with you, then you can work with us. Just click the button below.