The Consumer Move To Mobile- What Do You Need To Do?

In 2015 Google announced that the number of searches from mobile devices (excluding tablets) had surpassed the number of searches from desktop devices.Dental Website Visits by Device

While that was true overall, it wasn’t the case for the dental industry, yet. Mobile searches for dental terms still lagged behind desktop searches even through 2016.

2017 – The Dental Year of the Smartphone
That changed in 2017. From March to June the winner of the search traffic bounced back and forth between desktop and mobile.

Once July came, mobile searches never looked back. By December 2017, mobile devices were used in 56% of dental searches and desktops were only 38%. The remaining 6% of dental searches were performed on tablets.

If you haven’t yet paid close attention to your mobile website presence, now is the time!

Changes in the Google Indexes
Recognizing this shift, Google created a new search index specifically for mobile devices. If you searched on a desktop, Google would use its desktop index to find the websites most closely matching your search. If you searched on a phone, Google would use its mobile index to find results.

This mobile index considered additional aspects beyond what the desktop index used, such as the user experience with this website on a small screen, the speed of the website, and the available content.

In November 2016, Google announced that they were moving towards a single, mobile-first index. This mobile-first index means that even if you were searching on a desktop, the results would be based on what Google found on their mobile index. This mobile-first index should be fully implemented sometime in 2018.

So What Do You Do as a Dental Practice?
Do a little sleuthing on your own website. Here are five things you can look at to see if your website is ready for mobile consumers.

1. Your website must provide a great user experience on mobile devices.
Just a few, short years ago it was good to have a separate mobile website with stripped down content and few images. That was when mobile phones and data plans were slow.

Now both the phones and the data plans have improved dramatically. People expect to see graphics on their phones and to easily be able to find what they are looking for. A website developed with responsive design is a preferred way to have just one website that automatically adjusts to the screen size of the visitor.Mobile Site

Pull out your phone and look at your website. Is it engaging? Would it be to someone who isn’t a dentist but is looking for one? Can they easily navigate through the site and even search for content? Can they easily contact you and find where your office is located?

2. Visitors to your website need to easily contact you by their preferred method.
Smartphones add additional features to websites. If the website is coded correctly, a visitor can simply touch the phone number to start the call. Or they can simply touch your address to be taken to a map to provide directions.
With our new Click to Text tool, you can now even allow people to text you from your website! You can receive and respond to texts through a screen on your desktop and continue texting with the potential patient.

As you are on your website on your phone, try touching your phone number or address or even texting from your website. Is it easy? If it isn’t, your potential patients will likely leave your site without contacting you.

3. Your website needs enough content to be found and understood by both real people and the search engines.
There is a constant battle between website designers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialists. Designers want graphics and very little content. SEO Specialists know that if a website doesn’t have content (especially the home page), the search engines won’t know what your website is about and therefore cannot rank it well in the index.

Starting with your home page, look at each page of your website on your phone. Is there enough content that a person could understand what you are about and what you can offer them? Can people easily scan the content to find what they are looking for? Are paragraphs short enough that a reader typically won’t have to scroll to get through them?

4. Your website needs to be fast!
Part of the user experience is having the website load very quickly. In 2016 Google said that “53% of mobile sites are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.”Think With Google

Site speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010. In January 2018 Google announced that mobile page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches. If your site is slow it will have a harder time ranking well for any searches.

How fast is your mobile site? Or even your desktop site? Test it out at https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/ and https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.

5. You need to appear at the top of the search results.
With a smaller screen, fewer search results from the search engines are visible on the screen. Typically, the listings at the very top of the page are Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads. Depending on the size of the screen, only 1 or 2 results are visible on the screen and they are ads.Save As Picture

If you are not using PPC ads for your practice, people will have to scroll down the search results to find your practice on their mobile device. After the ads come the map results in Google. Then come the organic, or natural, rankings.

Ranking in the 1st organic position is good, but not as good as it used to be. It now means that 1st position ranking is really the 6th or 7th listing (and a few scrolls) on the page.

Have questions or want help?
Specializing in sourcing new patients for dental practices online using internet search, ProspectaMarketing has developed a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To learn more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email at landerson@prospectamarketing.com, or online at www.ProspectaMarketing.com.

Want to Advertise Online? Why Search Ads Make More Sense Than Facebook

Before you decide to shell out big bucks to advertise your business on Facebook, consider taking a cue from GM. The third largest advertiser in the U.S., GM pulled $10 Million in ads from Facebook last week as a result of their ineffectiveness. How is it that the largest social networking website can be such a disappointment for advertisers?

Business Insider looked at what makes Facebook ads less effective than Google search ads. The key to successful advertising online is to understand user intent when you are choosing where to advertise.

With Google search, consumers are looking for a particular service and want to learn about the product they are researching.  With Facebook, users visit the site for entertainment purposes (for example, tagging their friends in photos from a concert or checking on whether or not their ex is dating someone new yet). Advertising here needs to be much more attention-grabbing because consumers are not using this website to research products.

Business Insider offers this insight:  “Search advertising—the kind Google provides—tends to be more effective on customers who are actively doing pre-purchase research. Facebook, on the other hand, is more of an entertainment medium; no one is shopping for cars on Facebook—a fact GM seems to have now learned.”

Another fact to consider- while it seems that nearly everyone is on Facebook, it actually reaches only 51% of all internet users, paling in comparison to Google’s colossal reach: 90% of all internet users.

If you are considering internet dental marketing, your success will depend on knowing what your user intent is and which medium would work best in order to reach those users.

Choosing the Right Media for Your Message

When evaluating media alternatives, there are a number of considerations.  One question that arises from time to time is the effectiveness of TV advertising for a dental practice.  Doctors we have worked with have had success and disappointment with TV.  Having worked in a media department of an ad agency and as a marketing manager earlier in my career, there are three things worth considering when evaluating TV or any other media for advertising.

1. What is your objective and message:  Depending on what you want to accomplish, TV may or may not be the best way to deliver the message.  TV can be good practice name and positioning reinforcement.  It can also be a great way to showcase the benefits of your work with the live video.  However, will the ad format give you enough time to deliver the message you need to send?

2, Evaluate what you are really buying with the TV schedule:    When are they running the spots and what is the expected audience for the ad schedule.  The three common measures for a media buy are     * Reach (percentage of audience reached during the schedule), Frequency (avg. number of times someone is likely to see the ad) and CPM (cost per thousand viewers reached). This should all be measured against the type of patient demographic you are trying to reach (ex. women and men ages 25-64).  It is a good idea to also  look at the geography of the TV coverage and determine how much of it is your market area (where patients will realistically drive from to reach your office).  There is a level of waste in TV and any marketing.  Consider then how much of that coverage will be helpful to you.  If you are wasting 80% of the coverage on people too far away to drive to your practice or on viewers who are not your target demographic, there may be better options that are more targeted to your practice.  Much of the effectiveness will also depend on how good the ad is.  Then look at the cost per thousand, and you can more easily consider the cost against the costs of other marketing options such as internet marketing or direct mail.

3. Consider the value of the TV spot production:   Just the production of a quality TV spot can often carry a large price tag.  If you have access to the ad video (which you should be able to do) you could use it on your website (becoming increasingly important on websites now) and also post it on YouTube for additional visibility online. So, there may be some value in the production itself to consider.

If you are still unsure, conduct a test and track the results.  Make sure you run it long enough to fairly evaluate the results but contain your commitment until you have a better idea how it will perform for your practice.