The golden proportion
The creation of an appealing website is not unlike the principles required to create a perfect and natural looking smile; a well-observed and careful balance of aesthetics and function paramount for long-term success.
When it comes to the online presence of your business, your ‘shop window’ needs to look good to attract attention. Meanwhile, ‘behind the scenes’, it must work efficiently to deliver what is expected; treatment and team information, online booking, pricing, contact information and so on.
The nurturing of a practice website is arguably just as important as the time invested in caring for patients. Without effective dental marketing and an engaging website design which encourages an easy flow through from website to practice enquiries and beyond, you will quickly see a drop in the number of those patients who continue their patient journey with you.
Here, we borrow some principles from dentistry and apply them to your online activity to help your business achieve optimum health.
Art and science
The science behind beauty is a much-discussed topic within dentistry. The Golden Proportion – the cornerstone of smile design – is as much to do with achieving excellence in functionality, as it is an appealing appearance. The goal for any clinician is achieving the optimisation of both, without one impeding the other. Clinical skills and knowledge need to be matched with a keen eye for detail and an appreciation of how best to achieve success, using minimally invasive techniques. This fine balancing act also demands an innate sense of how best to meet the demands of a patient without compromise to their health or aesthetic outcomes.
Similarly, a balance needs to be struck with a website between delivering key dental information to your online audience and appealing to their more aesthetic requirements. Any practice website needs to be populated with evidence-based oral-health guidance, options for missing tooth solutions, teeth straightening and layman explanations of complex treatments and so on, alongside stunning images of your most successful cases, high-quality before and after photos of smile makeovers and some great patient feedback. It may even be worth collaborating with a dental website designer who can realise your dreams by applying the principles of science and art to its development.
Aesthetics and function
A practice website is essentially your online CV and should not only appear exceptional, but also needs to be easy to navigate. Like the mouth, function without aesthetic or vice versa spells danger. Book time out to revisit and reassess your website regularly to check that they remain in harmony. If you are considering a redesign, it may be worth asking a dental marketing business about its experience within the dental industry. There are some very specific regulatory requirements expected of a dental website that are as much to do with what needs to appear and where, as they are what claims about your skills that may and may not be made. Instant attraction is important but nobody is going to hang around if your website is tricky to find or, just as bad, slow to respond and clunky. Patients increasingly have high expectations and will only see poor usability or old-fashioned design of your website as an indicator of the business itself. If the practice website is not fit for purpose, what hope the team?
Are you KISSable?
Quite simply, always apply the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle to your website, particularly on the home page. It is the first place some potential patients will experience your business and speed is essential in a competitive market. Nobody wishes to wait ages watching a virtual tour of your practice before being able to click through to key information – however beautiful it might be. Like a seemingly inexhaustible queue at a city-based burger restaurant that never accepts reservations, trendy and ‘alternative’ websites have minimal appeal in the long term. If you are looking for some fresh ideas and for someone to breathe new life into your website, it may be time to talk to an experienced dental marketing expert.
Fast – but built to last
Treatment modalities have come a long way in a very short period of time and continue to metamorphose into faster, more predictable versions of their former self. Orthodontics, for example, offers patients a wider ranger of faster solutions than ever before. Implants can now deliver fully functioning teeth in one day and teeth whitening can be achieved in under an hour in and out of the dental chair.
Equally, any ethical dentist worth their salt will want to see these last. To this end, you put in place systems and protocols to help ensure longevity, such as frequent hygiene appointments for implant patients, retainer check-ups for orthodontic client and so on.
When to comes to speed, your website needs to ‘hook’ in potential patients quickly and keep them interested. Is your practice website as easy to use and as appealing on a mobile? They should both offer the same high-quality experience to potential patients; just launching mobile-friendly websites is not enough. Web users now expect the same experience from mobile devices as they do desktops and tablets.
Widgets also offer a convenient way for patients to manage appointments, access treatment information and refer friends. Consider adding a virtual live ‘chat’ facility to ease the process. But also make sure your website is built to last but be mindful of a capacity to change. Design trends are just that and only a business with experience in dental marketing will understand what is and is not necessary to appeal to potential patients – whatever the moment in time. Just as the health of a mouth is best left in the hands of your team, dental marketing is best left in the hands of experts. Speak to a design professional with experience in the industry and who has the knowledge and skills to help enhance your website, make your business more visible and take new patients from online and into the line forming at your surgery door.