By JONATHAN FINE
We all know the importance of an effective website in terms of generating new patients for your practice.
At Breathe we are responsible for new patient traffic for more than 50 UK and Irish dental sites, and we generally produce new patient traffic growth of 30 to 55 per cent depending on treatment type and practice profile. Two years ago it was less than half that.
The digital world is changing rapidly both in terms of applied technologies and user behaviour. We know this because all of us (children, teenagers and adults) are actively part of that change as consumers. Two years ago typically less than 20 per cent of new patient visitors searched for a dentist on a mobile device. Now it’s 45 per cent or more.
The look and feel of websites has changed dramatically; gone are the copy heavy ‘mechanical’ sites as consumers have become more and more impatient and lazy. We want information delivered quickly, ideally through photography and video.
The hierarchy of messaging on the site is critical too so you don’t lose new patient visitors you’ve paid hard cash to attract.
As a marketeer, probably the most compelling aspect of digital marketing, apart from the speed from action to outcome, is the ability to track performance in real time and have highly visible return on investment (ROI) reporting. This provides evidence of success and failure, enabling you to respond and ultimately grow your practice much quicker.
Performance reporting = actionable information
Every four weeks you should be looking at a report with detail like these typical examples:
- Adult ortho enquiry costs £210 and 54 per cent of enquiries transact
- Implant enquiry costs £110 and 73 per cent of enquiries transact
- Phobic patient enquiry costs £63 and 87 per cent of enquiries transact
- General dental patient enquiries cost £76 and 90 per cent convert
In May 2015 there are three essential elements to building an effective new patient-generating digital channel
- Traffic – Building the right kind of traffic for your site. There’s no point having 2,000 visitors a month if 80 per cent of them think you are a health club or spa! Driving traffic to the website is largely done through SEO/PPC/retargeting/social media. In addition we use multi-channel advertising and PR programs to sell specific treatment types.
- Conversion – Converting new patient website visitors to enquirers. It’s called various things – we call it the CTA (call to action) rate. It is the per cent of new or unique visitors that either pick up the phone (typically two thirds of CTAs ring) or fill in a form requesting more information or an appointment. If you had 1,000 unique visitors to your site we would expect a six per cent CTA rate, or 60 contacts. To achieve a six per cent you need website that is also responsive (meaning it automatically reformats for mobile devices). More than 45 per cent of visitors now arrive via a mobile device. Performance is impacted by the layout, hierarchy of messaging, photography and video content. Google analytics will not give you your CTA rate – we recommend that you use automated inbound tracking, which will provide you with visitor conversion information by search term.
- Failed website visitors – Engaging with new patient visitors who fail to become enquirers. Typically, on a good website where 60 out of 1,000 new patent visitors get in touch, the other 940 just fade away! Best practice is to endeavour to capture their contact details and invite them to ‘opt in’. Between 15 and 20 per cent will do this and you can then make them subject to an automated marketing process focused on the treatment type they expressed an interest in, ideally in the form of patient video testimonials sent out over the following five weeks at one per week. This can generate an additional CTA rate of half to one per cent – five to 10 out of the original 1,000 new patient traffic.
If new patients are key to your practice’s future profitability and value, you need a web presence that reflects these three components. And if you already have them in place don’t relax, because as sure as God made little green apples what is right in May 2015 will have moved on again by May 2017.
If you would like an appraisal of your current digital presence please give me a call.