Does Your Dental Practice Website Give Patients What They Want?

October 25, 2018 Rieva Lesonsky

lighthouse 360

When potential patients visit your practice’s website, do they get all the information they need to make the right decision? You might be surprised by what information patients consider most important when they’re selecting a dentist.

Even if you have strong word-of-mouth going for you, your practice’s website still plays an important role in getting new patients in the door. That’s because almost half of people who get dentist recommendations from friends or family members then go online to do additional research before visiting that dentist, Dental Economics reports. (Learn more about how to get new dental patients with referrals.)

Here’s the most important information and features patients want to see on a dentist’s website:

  1. Hours of operation – 48%: Unless your office hours are convenient for patients, they won’t visit you. It’s that simple. Put your office hours at the top of every website page so they’re easy to find at a glance. If you offer office hours outside the normal 9-to-5, make sure to highlight that fact; it’s a big plus for most patients.
  2. Photos of dentist and staff – 40%: I was surprised to find out how important photos are to patients’ selection of a dentist. Don’t skimp: Have professional photos taken of your dentists, hygienists and office staff. Include photos of the whole team, group photos (i.e., the entire front desk staff together; all the hygienists together), and individual headshots. Use them on your About Us page, and include dentist photos on your home page, too. Along with About Us photos, add information about each person’s experience, degrees, expertise and even some fun stuff (like hobbies). Lighthouse 360 has a Photo Distribution feature that lets you upload photos and build galleries on your website with an easy-to-use widget.
  3. Modern design – 38%: Technology is a key part of the dental patient experience. If your website looks outdated, prospective patients will wonder if your office is behind the times, too. While your website doesn’t need to be “cutting edge,” it should be simple, easy to navigate, and incorporate modern design elements. It also needs to load quickly—patients are impatient!
  4. Insurance information – 30%: Insurance information is the number-one factor that  dental patients consider when selecting a dentist, according to a separate dental patient survey. Almost six in 10 respondents say their decision to visit a practice hinges on insurance.
  5. Patient education/relevant articles and content – 21%: Creating content might sound complex, but it’s really as simple as answering common questions that patients have. Use these to write how-to articles and blog posts or record short videos. For instance, you could do a video showing how to brush properly, or a blog post on the benefits of electric vs. manual toothbrushes. (Sharing these articles on social media can help boost your online presence and attract more patients. With Lighthouse 360’s Facebook integration, you can quickly add posts and reviews to Facebook right from your Lighthouse 360 portal.)
  6. Online appointment scheduling – 20%: Convenience is king for today’s dental patients, many of whom love the ability to schedule their own appointments online without making a phone call. Even if your office doesn’t offer this functionality yet, make sure your appointment-making process is as convenient as possible for the patients.
  7. Viewable on any device – 17%: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, women are the primary decision-makers when it comes to family healthcare. Busy moms schlepping children to and from school or fitting in family scheduling during work breaks typically rely on smartphones, as do millennial patients. Unless your practice focuses solely on seniors, you’d better make sure your site is easy to navigate on all types of smartphones. (Learn more about marketing to moms and marketing to millennials.)
  8. Videos of the office – 11%: In addition to seeing your staff, patients like to see what your office looks like. How about recording a 360-degree video tour of your facility, or showing off some of your newest dental equipment? When patients feel confident your practice offers a state-of-the-art setting, they’re more likely to choose it.
  9. Online bill pay option – 11%: While relatively few patients care about this feature, expect it to become more popular in the near future. According to the ADA, 40% of dental care in the U.S. (47%) is paid for out of pocket, so be sure your site explains all of the different payment options you offer. For example, do you offer third-party financing? Do you participate in any discount plans? What methods of payment do you accept? The more choices patients have, the better.

In today’s digital world, your practice’s website is your number-one sales tool. Make sure it has all the answers potential patients are looking for.

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