Many dentists find that what they have relied on in the past just isn’t generating the new patient flow they previously experienced. Additionally, there have been significant changes in Internet marketing during just the past year. Keeping up with the changes necessary to attract new patients from Internet search is a challenge.
Let’s look at what’s changed—and what’s stayed the same.
Your Website Needs to Be Mobile for Effective Internet Marketing
As always, you still need to have a well-structured website that is easy to navigate and loaded with relevant content. Your website must have fast page loading speed (not to be confused with site speed) for better ranking and conversion.
Practices need to ensure that their sites are easy to use on desktop and mobile devices. Responsive design allows your website to transition easily from a large layout for desktop users to an easy-to-navigate mobile-friendly layout for smartphones and tablets.
Recent statistics show:
- 80% of all online adults now own a Smartphone (Source = BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey 2016.)
- 47% own a tablet (Source = GlobalWebIndex’s 2015 Q3 report on trends for smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and wearables.)
- Google reports that more searches take place on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops
- 38% of mobile users search at least one time per month for a local business (Source = BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey 2016.)
Targeting specific ads to reach mobile users is another way to capitalize on this jump in mobile search, creating a more personalized and targeted search experience.
Your Reviews Must Be Monitored
Online reviews are another aspect of Internet search that continues to grow in importance. A major consumer shift has occurred, with consumers now seeking reviews for professional services with increasing frequency and basing decisions on those reviews.
It can be frustrating when online perception about your practice is largely in the hands of your patients. If you don’t proactively manage your reputation, however, you are at the mercy of those who choose to review your practice.
Even the best practices occasionally get a negative review—and they can be helpful. If you interact with your patients through both good and bad reviews, prospects will see that you are invested and involved. When positive reviews are the norm, an occasional negative review can provide credibility to the positive ones.
Online Reviews Influence Buying Decisions
BrightLocal’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey explored just how consumers read and use online reviews, and whether or not the reviews influenced their buying decisions.
In a nutshell, the results showed that of survey participants:
- 84% trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation
- 90% read fewer than 10 reviews before they form an opinion about a business
- 74% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 73% report that reviews that are three months or older are not as important as more current reviews
- 54% say that after reading positive reviews, their next step is to visit the business’s website
Read part II of this article to find out how SEO and local listings impact local Internet marketing.