The Truth About Getting New Patients On The Internet:

Friday, July 8, 2011

We have a unique advantage because through our work in the field visiting well over 200 dental offices we can really see what’s going on out there. What’s working and what isn’t. We know that getting more new patients is of great interest to most of our clients. So you can bet we keep our eyes and ears open about the sources of new patients.

Over the past two years the Internet has really come on and in many areas is superceding other sources of new patients such as Yellow Pages and direct mail. Clearly this is where the marketplace is going but there is also a lot of hype. Every week we hear of a new scheme involving special promotions*, social media, etc. Usually the bigger the promise, the more the bull. There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to increasing new patients. Believe me, if there were, we would know about it. However, it is a sure thing that if you don’t do anything, you won’t see more new patients.

Over 60% of area dentists now have websites. Most dentists go with the major outfits such as Officite, Prosites, PBHS, IDA, Sesame and The Online Practice. All of these companies have their strengths and weaknesses. Many dentists also hire an acquaintance, patient or relative that “knows websites.”

The common denominator is this. When most dentists get their website up, they more or less ignore it. It just sits there. Getting more new patients from the Internet isn’t just about your website. And no, it isn’t all about Facebook either. It’s a combination of factors of which, leading the pack are your presence on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Most importantly, the Google “Place Page.” There are many other directories (such as Yelp & Insider Pages) that attention needs to be paid to also.

Since 70% of all web searches take place through Google, the Google Place Page is the “front porch” of your website. You have to have the lights on and make sure that there are positive reviews to entice people to proceed on to visiting and scheduling on your website. Once they get into your website, they shouldn’t have to wait a while for flash or fancy graphics though. Web searches today want quick access to pertinent information. There should be very concrete information about your practice and appropriate copy and design to lead people to act…that is, make an appointment!

Website enhancements can include a “video brochure”, video testimonials, offers, photos and biographies. If you were looking for a healthcare professional, what would you want to see on a website? You wouldn’t want a lot of filler or platitudes, “Fine quality care, comfortable surroundings, blah, blah, blah.” You want to know about that Doctor, the staff, the hours, the services and what to expect. You want to see that they are a nice looking, clean cut group of people in an atmosphere where you will feel safe.

Further enhancements can include Twitter, Facebook and blogs but most of you can get well ahead of the competition by paying attention to your Google Place Page and having a website that truly reflects you…and that can be done even with one of the generic companies such as Officite or Prosites if you work at it.

How many positive reviews do you have up on Google? Do you know? If you don’t, you probably don’t have as many as you should! Yes, you can use “Demand Force” and other companies to help you in gathering reviews and testimonials (reviews are on the website and testimonials are within your website). However, don’t just rely on those.

We’re all very busy and it’s hard to have a lot of time to putter around with your website. There is also a lot of jive out there. We all probably get just as confused by the web peoples’ jargon as patients get confused by dental jargon. So, on the requests of many of my clients, I have lined up top rate Internet marketing help. We can help you tune up your Web Presence all the way through; Whatever website company you are with, wherever you practice. You see, if you are paying attention to and tune up your website, your presence in the directories, etc., you’ll be ahead of the competition in your area. You’ll have a stronger presence on the Internet and you will get more new patients.

The bottom line is this; getting your website to the top of page one on Google and optimizing it to attract potential patients is like aiming at a moving target. Be leery of anyone who tells you otherwise. What you can count on from my team is that we have our ears to the ground and are staying on top of the ever-changing Internet landscape to keep you on the path and a step ahead. The Internet is increasingly where people go to select a Dentist and we’ll help you make sure they select you.


*For example, we have seen some spectacular numbers with Groupon and Groupon Clones but patient retention has been a challenge. We are learning how to improve this.

Posted by Bill Rossi at 5:13 PM
Labels: Advanced Practice Management, Bill Rossi, Economic news for midwest dentists, New patients via the internet, Practice Management