In the 21st century, a digital presence is essential to reach success in marketing. A website allows you to introduce yourself, your brand, and your products or services. It enables you to connect with your audience in an authentic way that promotes trust and confidence in your business. Additionally, modern consumers are exceptionally tech savvy and trust the internet to aid in purchasing decisions each day—which leads us to ask, “Are consumers less likely to support a business without a website?”
The answer is yes. A 2017 survey showed that 56 percent of consumers don’t trust a company without a website. Because consumer trust makes or breaks a business, owners must take note or risk facing consequences in the future.
Interested in learning more about websites, including branding, strategy, and customer experience? Here’s the 101.
Define Your Brand
A good website strategy begins with a clear understanding of your brand, including your products, services, and purpose for existence. It is best practice to start with a story. Why? Studies show that stories are significantly more memorable than facts. Think about it: Human beings have been telling stories since the dawn of time. What are we if not natural storytellers? Using this strategy to communicate with your audience makes them much more likely to listen, understand, and find a connection with your brand.
Famed keynote speaker and best-selling author Jay Baer once said, “Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice versa.”
First, consider why you became a dentist. Are you passionate about patients? Restoration? What drives you to get out of bed every morning? Once you discover why you do what you do, you can shape a narrative around that fact. This personal angle will make you seem more accessible, personable, and desirable, not to mention it will allow you to build stronger bonds with your patients—both old and new.
Additionally, the logo, color scheme, style, and theme are all essential components of your brand. They aid in setting up the mood and tone of your story. Consider how you want your audience to feel about your brand and hone in on these elements. From there, remember to maintain consistency across all fronts, including your website, social media, and print marketing. This will enable your brand to develop a singular voice and promote recognition from everyday consumers.
One excellent example is Nike. Their signature swoosh, lively commercials, and “Just Do It” slogan are brand identifiers known by most individuals. In advertising, we call this brand recognition: a consumer’s ability to recognize a brand through visual or auditory clues. Consider this when crafting your website, and be sure to tie in the things that matter most to your brand.
Settle on a Strategy
Once your branding is clearly defined, it’s time to create a well-informed marketing strategy that is clear, realistic, and measurable. A solid marketing strategy affects every individual on your team, so it’s essential to set your expectations and be prepared to follow through.
To begin, ask yourself, “What are my business goals?” Now take a step back and identify the things you need to accomplish as part of your long-term strategy to achieve your goals. It’s essential to understand members of your audience, where they spend their time, how they prefer to receive information and stay connected, and other characteristics that may influence their decision-making.
Russel Glass, CEO of Ginger, once said, “Focus on the right message for the right people at the right time.” In other words, it’s all about creating the type of content that your audience wants to see and putting it into their hands in a way that’s convenient and accessible. Perhaps you can consider implementing a monthly newsletter on your website, incorporating a blog, or hosting podcasts and other engaging content.
Another element of a successful marketing strategy is to understand your competitors. Survey other dental professionals in your city, build relationships, and understand their practice, shortcomings, and achievements to stay relevant and competitive. It is also essential to measure your goals, track leads and analytics online, and strategize on improving your engagement and conversion rate on your website. For expert assistance, consider hiring an external marketing agency to assist you in these areas.
Prioritize Your Content
Content, both visual and written, is essential to any website. Landing pages should include clear calls to action (CTAs), a brief description, story, or mission statement, and general information about your products or services. This will ensure the consumer has all necessary information within reach and understands what next step they should take. Content should be engaging, relevant, and helpful. Again, it is essential to understand your audience—content written for medical professionals will sound much different than content written for business owners, students, etc. As a general rule of thumb, write in a professional and easy-to-understand manner.
In addition to traditional images, videos and infographics are an excellent way to get your audience engaged. According to a 2018 Hubspot poll, 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from companies they support. This is no surprise as video quickly becomes one of the most powerful marketing tools for agencies and brands. Videos allow for rapid storytelling and give the brand credibility and visibility, as video can easily be shared on social media.
Focus on SEO and Optimization
Jordan Teicher, senior editor at The Atlantic, once said this: “SEO isn’t about gaming the system anymore; It’s about learning how to play by the rules.” SEO and optimization mean researching the key phrases of real searchers and determining which keywords you’d like to target, creating relevant content, and including backlinks. Keyword research is essential and includes understanding what the consumers want and which keywords are considered high-value, i.e., are most common and bring in the most leads. Also, consider long-tailed keyword phrases that are specific to your audience and drive fewer searches. This means you will have an answer to a common question that not many of your competitors do.
SEO director at Hennessey Consulting Jordan Kasteler shares, “If you don’t know the user intent behind the keywords you’re optimizing for then you’re doing it wrong. Also, if you are optimizing for keywords vs the needs of the user then you’re doing it wrong.”
Each page on your website should be optimized for keyword rankings. This includes your text, visuals, and audio. Consider launching a dental education blog or component with keyword-rich content for your audience to enjoy. Remember to post consistently and to write for your specific audience. Encourage your readers to leave a comment and interact with them. You can also provide tips and include a Q&A to draw individuals in to explore your website.
A website is essential to any modern-day business. Too often, dental offices rely on traditional methods, such as proximity and word of mouth, to acquire new patients. However, an online presence is key to gaining consumer trust and visibility in our technologically savvy world. By following the above tips, you can be sure to stay on top of the competition and reach your maximum potential.