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cheap dental marketing

Is Your Website Working in These 5 Key Performance Areas? [PART 1]

Are you looking for the quickest most cost-effective way to attract the right type of new patients in to your practice?

Perhaps you want more people to take action from your website, rather than just read it and bounce away again?

Making your website work for you is a simple way to ensure you have a marketing machine that works 24-hours a day, even whilst you are asleep and on holiday.

The 5 Key Performance Areas of a Dental Website

There are five key performance areas of a website, each of them need to be working in order to get the best result:

FINDABILITY

How easy is it for people and search engines to find your website? Is it search engine optimised adequately?

USABILITY

How easy is it for people to navigate your site, read the content, engage with the content and find what they want?

SHAREABILITY

The easier your website is to share the more people will do so and recommend it to others, this is the power of online referral marketing, are you making it easy?

EFFECTIIVENESS

How effective is your website at informing, educating and getting people to take action and come to the practice as a patient? Is it conversion optimised adequately?

LONGEVITY

A poor website allows people to bounce away, how good is your site at capturing attention and engaging over the longer term? Absolutely vital in the arena of relationship marketing.

Overt the next few blog posts I will be going through each of these areas individually, this time it is findability  that I will focus on.

how to make a website findableHow to make your website more FINDABLE

Meta data on your website

The simplest place to start is with the meta data on your website.  At the most basic level of optimisation you need to ensure that these elements include geographical locations and specific treatments e.g. teeth whitening London.

The specific meta data that needs to include these terms are:

  •  <title> –  This is the main browser title that will be shown when each individual web page opens, each page will more than likely have the same geographical location but have a different treatment.
  • <description> –  This is what Google will probably use to describe your website in the search results.
  • <h1,2,3> headers –  These are the headings and subheadings within the main content of your page.
  • <alt> image alternate tags –  These describe each image in a couple of words, they will be used on a website if the image is unable to be shown for any reason.

Main Body Text

You will also need to ensure that the main body text of each individual page includes words and phrases that patients will use to search, you should think about different geographical locations and also different ways that patients may phrase treatment.

Some examples of how patients may phrase different treatments, using orthodontics as an example.

  1. The cost of teeth braces
  2. invisible braces near me
  3. tooth braces at home
  4. cheap braces

If you are to be found for these various search phrases then you need to ensure that they are included on your website somewhere.

You can also use bullet points, numbered lists and bold text to highlight phrases that you want the search engines to pick out.  (Scanned through this blog post to see which words I have made bold  or used in bullet points or numbered lists)

 Other factors which ensure your website ranks highly

Links

We all know the importance of referrals for a dental practice. You know that if a patient refers  a friend to you then that is a good recommendation. Google also knows this, if someone talks about you online then Google views this as a referral or vote, in search engine optimisation speak we call this an ‘inbound link’.

The more votes/inbound links you have (people talking about you) the more likely your website is to rank highly as Google will view it as a good website. After all, it must be good as people are talking about it!

But as you know, not all referrals are good. You may have a patient that sends very bad friends to you that don’t pay or don’t respect your fees… Not all referrals are created equally and in the same respect not all votes are created equally.

Google recognises that different votes have different qualities, in summary, Google will look for:

  • Total number of inbound links (votes) –  You ideally want the maximum number of links from good quality sources. Just having quantity is not good enough, they must be quality also.
  • Links follow/no follow –  In the code of a link it is possible to tell Google not to follow the link to another website, as a human you will simply see a link, but behind that link is a little bit of code. If that code has rel=”nofollow”  then Google will disregard that vote. Many low quality websites use no follow links.
  • Link authority –  If the website that links to you has high  authority, such as the BBC or a recognised university then that link/vote will be worth more than if it comes from an unknown or less respected website. One link from the BBC could be worth 1000 links from poor quality websites.
  • Varied anchor text on links –  The anchor text on a link are the words that the link is constructed from.  If all of your links say “Dentist in London”  then it is clear to Google that this is not natural and that you are trying to fool the system. If people are genuinely talking about you then these anchor texts will be varied.

Referencing

As you will know, good quality articles and academic pieces will be well referenced. This demonstrates that you have researched your subject and also makes the page more informative if you have linked to other articles.

Each page on your website should be a source of information to answer people’s problems, part of answering their problems will be referencing back to your own website (perhaps to previous articles you have written on your blog) and to other external websites which provide useful resources.

Take a look back through this blog post, you will see that I have linked to external websites to provide information which backs up what I am saying. I have also provided links to other useful articles that I have written in previous blog posts and to useful resources within my main website.

More help and advice on making your website more findable

Lowe cost dental marketing logoWebsite audit

How well does your online marketing and website work and could it be improved? This comprehensive website audit will give each of the five key areas of performance a rank so that you can take action.

What’s included in the audit?

46 individual elements of a successful website will be assessed and ranked in the following key performance areas:

  • Findability
  • Usability
  • Shareability
  • Effectiveness
  • Longevity

Within each of these Key Performance Areas I will rank 46 Individual Elements, each element will be given a score.

traffic light warning

These 46 individual elements will then come together to give you an overall score for each of the key performance areas.

You can then see which area of your website needs the most attention to ensure you get the maximum return on anything you spend.

What do you do with the audit?

Once the audit has been completed you can either make the changes yourself, send them to your web designer for their opinion or contact me and I can make the changes for you as part of my Light Package – I’ll then refund your £35 audit fee.

The audit forms the basis of the overall Light service. When you ensure these five key performance areas are performing to the maximum and you have an active, engaging and effective social media stream you will find that your marketing efforts begin to work 24/7/365.

CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED FOR £35

Mark Oborn light website audit

Why you should write a dental blog?

Many dental practices are now catching on to the idea that writing a blog post is good for their practice, but why is this? Why should a dental practice bother writing a blog?

There are two primary reasons for setting up and writing a blog:

  • It is the perfect way to demonstrate to the local people that you genuinely care about their dental health when you hand out useful, free and the relevant dental health advice on your blog.
  • Google loves blogs!

Let’s take each of these in turn.

Writing a blog for dental health.

With so many dental practices having a website you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Writing a good quality dental health blog, and having it easily visible on your website, demonstrates to your website visitors that your practice is actively helping the local people with the dental health… Something that everybody wants.

A blog helps your website to look lived in, it helps it to look fresh and keeps you up-to-date with relevant information for your visitors.

Here are a few examples of typical blogs which would make good reading:

  • How to spot oral cancer.
  • When to take your child to the dentist.
  • What to do if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth.
  • How to prevent halitosis.
  • How to clean your teeth properly.
  • How to floss.
  • How to prevent the buildup of plaque and why this is important.
  • Why bother going to the dental hygienist?
  • How to replace missing teeth.
  • The ways to straighten crooked teeth.
  • Why are crooked teeth healthy teeth?

As a dentist, you will be answering patients questions all day long, these kind of questions make excellent blog posts and demonstrate that you genuinely care about the local people… Because you do, don’t you?

Writing a blog to rank higher on Google.

This is where things get really interesting. Think about it, Google has its customers that visit its website, Google’s customers want high-quality websites – so what would denote a high-quality website?

  • A website with lots of activity on it demonstrates that it is an active part of the business.
  • A website that has people interacting with it demonstrates that people like it and that the content is relevant.

A blog fulfils both of these requirements perfectly. It is the perfect way to show Google that your website is active and up-to-date, Google wants to send people to websites that are up-to-date and blogs by their very nature fulfil this requirement. If you add sharing functionality to your blog, then people will share it which Google will also see as a vote. The more votes you have, the higher up the search results you will be.

Here’s an example of exactly what I’m talking about.

In October 2012. Facebook launched their emoticons, I wrote a simple blog post about Facebook emoticons and look what happened to my website traffic.

After I wrote this blog post. It took approximately 2 weeks for Google to begin to rank it. At the beginning of November, web traffic started to rise from a typical month of approximately 600 hits and by the end of December I was getting over 6000 hits per month to the website.

This was 6000 hits to a single blog post, and all because it was a hot topic at the time.

How to write a blog post that gets found.

I recommend that you keep your eyes and ears open for hot dental news, things like a recent systematic review which informed WHO guidelines, The Journal of Dental Research talked about the effects of restricting sugar intakes in various age groups – This kind of material makes an excellent blog post as people will be searching online for the amount of sugar in food.

Watch out for celebrities having dental treatment. As soon as it hits the headlines that someone from X factor has had teeth whitening, then people will be online and searching. When you see this happening, write a blog post about it.

Why would you want random people on your website?

Many dental practices get hung up about the keywords that people used to type into Google to get people to their website. They get obsessed with ranking number one for things like ‘dentist in <<location>>’ – Now I’m not saying that ranking for this isn’t important, it absolutely is. But focusing on this phrase alone misses out on many longtail keywords which can equally end up in searches and then result in patients coming into the practice.

If you have a local person searching for “Why do my teeth bleed when I brush them” and they find your excellent dental blog then you have managed to expose your brand to this person at a point where they are actively interested in their dental health.

If your website converts well, you will be able to get this person to engage with your site, possibly by connecting with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Google plus or perhaps by suggesting that they download a free guide and therefore give you their e-mail address. Think about adding sharing functionality with tools such as share this or addthis, both of these tools are free to use and so on no-brainers!

You could also consider using Google remarketing, Here is what Google say about remarketing (I’ve changed the words to be dentally related):

Remarketing lets you show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web.

When you use remarketing, you’ll tag pages of your site that correspond to certain categories you want to promote. For example, you could add a “dental implants” tag on all of the pages where you talk about implants. You can then create an AdWords campaign to show highly relevant messages (such as ads displaying a special offer on implants) to people who’ve visted these pages as they browse sites across the Google Display Network.

Here’s a little video which explains more remarketing.

Summary.

So you see, is not just about having a blog and writing useless blog posts which talk about what you did at the weekend. It is about using a structured approach, to write blog posts which are relevant to what people want to know and then have systems in place to ensure that the capture details as much as possible, which will then work to convert this website visitor into a patient over the long-term.

Have you used a blog successfully? Let me know in your comments, perhaps post a link to it so we can discuss it…

Should you put prices on your dental practice website?

I’ve actually lost count of the number of times that I have been asked this question, so after finding an amazing post on Hubspot which tackles the point directly I thought I would do the same for the dental industry.

What struck me about Hubspot’s blog post was that they encounter exactly the same objections as I do every time I suggest prices are put on a client’s website, remember, these guys are not talking to dentists and look at the objections that their clients give… They sound all-too-familiar!

Reasons that Hubspot clients give for not putting prices on a website

1) “It’s not done in our industry”

2) “What happens if my competition sees it?”

3) “All our pricing is custom, nothing is standard”

And then simply:

4) “We would never do that”

WOW, so you thought that dentistry was unique, well it is, but so is every other industry!

I’m going to use the same format as the original post because I think the points are extremely relevant but I have a few additional things to add from my own dental experience.

Own the price conversation

As Ashley Latter says “Price is an issue but is rarely the issue” – and I completely agree with him on this particular point. We are all concerned about how much things are going to cost us and failing to put your prices on the website means you are missing out on the conversation, and without the conversation you have no ability to be involved in the pricing decision of anyone surfing the Internet.

By being upfront with your prices and clearly letting people know how they might have to pay from ( even if it is a basic guide) means that you have taken ownership of the pricing conversation at an early stage.

As you know it’s not about the price per se it’s about the context of your price within the service that you offer, otherwise known as value. Having prices on your website is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how good value you are even if your prices are higher than those of the competition. Your website is the perfect place to demonstrate your ability to deliver excellence which as you know comes with a fee. By not putting your fee you are not owning the pricing conversation.

One of the reasons that many people cite for not putting a price on the website is that they want the patient to call the practice so that they can have a conversation to convert the patient.

I accept this as a valid point but you need to get the patient on the phone in the first place. Most people, yes most people will not phone anywhere if they do not have prices on the website, embarrassment is often put forward as the reason, if they find out that you are far too expensive for them and they can’t afford you then they are embarrassed. To save themselves the embarrassment they don’t phone in the first place.

Without the patient on the phone you can’t do anything to convert them, and you just lost them from your website too!

What if people are scared off by your price?

If all you have is a fees page with a list of fees then they probably will be scared off, especially if you are more expensive than the competition. The key is to talk about what you add for that price so that the website visitor can see the value you bring. It’s all about managing expectations.

If you have a member of staff and you tell them they are going to get a £5000 pay rise but after you do the budgeting you realise you can only give them a £3000 pay rise they will be disappointed. But if you tell them you’re going to give them a £2000 pay rise and realise after the budgeting you can afford £3000 then they will be happier. The result is the same, all that has changed is the expectation.

So what can you do to demonstrate that your fee is worth it?

Social proof is enormously important and consists of things like:

  1. Written testimonials from patients.
  2. Video testimonials from patients.
  3. Results of surveys you have done which show that X% patients rate you as 10/10 etc
  4. Before and after photographs. (No check retractors please, teeth are not a thing of beauty to most people even though we think they should be!)

Your dental services are impossible to judge prior to experiencing them, so you need to give your website visitors the ability to judge you based on the results of other people. Always place testimonials, videos, before and after photographs around your pricing page so that people can see what they actually get for the fee.

 A little lift on Google.

Everyone want to be top of the search engines right? Well, you need to use the phrases that people are searching for and very often those phrases include the words ‘cost of…’. Cost of dental implants, cost of teeth whitening, orthodontics cost etc.

Placing your fees on your website is an excellent opportunity to attract Google and website visitors to the site. If your website is optimised for conversions also then there will be a mechanism by which these people are able to enter into your marketing funnel and you can work on them over a period of time to convert them into a patient.

This is where e-mail marketing and social media coming, they are mechanisms by which we can continue to build a relationship with any website visitor over a period of time so that eventually they convert into a patient.

Trust me, I’m a doctor

The 2 big marketing factors for a dental practice are:

  • Reduce Risk
  • Increase Trust

You are going to ask a patient to lie on their back in their most vulnerable position, you are highly likely to cause some amount of discomfort to them and to really help the communication process you’re going to cover half of your face with a mask!

If you want people to do this they have to trust you 100% and in my opinion hiding prices from your website damages trust. Not putting prices on your website demonstrates that you are an opaque organisation which does not hand out all of the information, this again, in my opinion damages trust.

Summary

I had believed for a long time that prices should be on dental practice websites, and it was good to stumble across this blog post on another website by another online marketer experiencing the same resistance that I have.

Read the Hubspot article here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you put prices on your website? Or if you don’t why not?