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Can You Handle Web-Savvy Patients?

  • Date: March 7, 2014
  • Author: eDentalImage
  • Comments: 0

 

Web marketing is effective, there’s no doubt about it, and eDentalImage has plenty of patients who vouch for its effectiveness. Once your dental website is launched, SEO is getting results, and you’re seeing good web traffic, the next step is to get more patients right?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, but you need to understand the type of patient that the web brings you. Potential patients that find you through the web have a different set of needs and expectations than someone who was referred by a friend, but how often does that really happen?

Let’s run through a few of the most common types of potential patients from the web:

  • Organic searcher: Congrats! You just converted a patient from your website! This is a main component of web marketing, and a sign that your SEO is doing its job. This potential patient most likely searched for dental practices like yours in their local area, or services that you offer, and your website compelled them to pay you a visit.

It’s important to bridge the personal gap with these patients. They’re taking a leap of faith by bringing their business to a clinic that they don’t know and need to be assured that your website was an accurate prediction of the dental services they can expect at your office.

  • Pay Per Click-er: These potential patients are shopping around for a service more than any other. They’re looking for a service to get the job done well, and at a fair price.

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  • Review Site Reader: While more and more people are r eading sites like Yelp and AngiesList these days, most Review Site Readers are especially savvy. They’ve come to your clinic because you’ve got a great rating and that’s what they trust. Much like a Word of Mouth referral, many these potential patients are ready to give you business. Make sure you don’t let them down- the consequences can be ugly!
  • The Groupon buyer: Watch out for these potential patients. While sites like Groupon and LivingSocial have come under fire lately from many businesses, many small business owners still resort to using them. Groupon buyers are only in for a good deal, and not very many stick around as regular patients.

Now, how do you handle these new breeds of dental patients? Pay close attention to these tips:

  1. Consistency is key. Your first point of contact with potential patients from the web is most likely going to be on the phone when they call to ask about a service or set up an appointment. Some simply drop by in person, but it’s less common. Make sure that you, and your staff, have a method to answering the phone and receiving visitors to the clinic. Let everyone in your clinic know about the types of calls they might get, and what kind of questions they might have to answer, so you can be prepared to make the best possible impression on web-savvy patients.
  2. Keep your staff in the know. If you’re running a promotion, be sure to tell your employees about it. You’d be surprised how many people forget this one! Nothing frustrates a patient more than trying to use a promotion and being told it’s not valid, or that an employee doesn’t know about it or how to use it. That will cost you a patient. Brief employees on each and every promotion you run, how they should handle calls about it, and how to apply it when it comes time to pay.
  3. Hold up your end of the bargain. Remember what we said about people taking that leap of faith? Well, it’s your job as a dental office owner on the web to treat them well and give them the service they came for. If you post an dental service promotion on your website without an expiration date or forget to remove promotions you’ve stopped running, and a patient expects to use them- you need to honor it regardless. If you’re not able to honor that specific promotion, make sure you figure out another way to make it up to them.
  4. Stay up to date on website appointments. Lots of small business websites opt to use an appointment-setting feature on their website where users can schedule an appointment, if not request one. If you choose to feature this on your site, make sure you and your staff check it regularly and always follow-up with potential patients who set appointments, request one or use the “Contact Us” form on your website.
  5. Use different tactics for different channels. If you’re running campaigns across multiple marketing channels, such as Pay Per Click, a Groupon deal, and coupons on your website, you need to be strategic about it. Realize that just because all of these people use the web, doesn’t mean they have the same expectations or needs, so they’ll respond to different promotions.
  6. Offer web-exclusive coupons. Your website is a great place to offer deals and promotions, but to experiment with effectiveness, you can try advertising specific promotions only on your website. Another way to do this is to make an alteration to an existing deal and put it on your site. Being able to tell the difference between promotions used on different your website (between those on radio, direct mail, or Groupon) shows you which channels are converting the most patients.
  7. Use call-tracking. Call-tracking is a popular feature used in PPC, but there are lots of applications for other areas of marketing. Promotions using call-tracking each get a unique phone number that automatically forwards to your clinic. When a potential patient calls that number, you can see who they are and what promotion they saw just by looking at the caller ID. This is another effective way to get an idea of which campaigns and promotions are the most successful.
  8. Be strategic and aggressive with Pay Per Click. Pay Per Click campaigns are guaranteed ways to boost traffic, but they’re also highly effective at getting more of the dental services you want. Using landing pages, call-tracking and special offers in combination with PPC is a safe bet to success.
  9. Always ask new patients how they heard about you. You’ll never know ‘til you ask! (Unless you use Call Tracking, that is.)
  10. Understand that times change. As technology becomes more ever-present in our lives, we need to realize that it’s going to change people’s mindsets and how they interact with the world. It’s important not to get frustrated with patients that the web brings to your clinic, especially if it feels like they’re much different than what you’re used to. Our society is changing, and like it or not, web-savvy patients are here to stay.

Don’t forget to follow eDentalImage on Facebook and Twitter!

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