Webinar: Ways to Optimize Your Practice's Website

In this webinar, Laura Nadler sits with NexHealth to discuss the best strategies to optimize your practice’s website and turn it into a lead gen machine.

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Alec Goldman: My name is Al Goldman. I lead brand and content at NexHealth, hosting today's webinar, apparently, clearly. Leading today's conversation is Laura Nadler. She is the founder of Working Cat Marketing. She speaks internationally, including at places like ADA, ACP, Tufts, and Boston University, on things like branding, marketing, and creating and using videos on practices websites. Also, just to be noted here, she's also the author of Lights Camera You, a practical guide for creating and using video to market your practice. Laura, we're so happy to have you here. I want to turn it over to you to get the ball rolling and walk through today's content.

Laura Nadler: Huge thank you to our friends at NexHealth for sponsoring this. Thrilled to be here and talk to you guys today about one of the biggest things that we do in our practice marketing and that's a website. For any of you who were practicing 10, 12, 20 odd years ago, the idea of a website was insanity. Who has that? And as we started to get more and more into the, it's okay to market yourself, it's okay to have that. A lot of practices built a website, throw up some information about themselves and just sort of set it and forget it. 

The website became the equivalent of our digital billboard or our digital shingle. But what we're learning is that we've got to do more with our website than just have it be a digital billboard. There are things that we can do to make our site more engaging, and more attractive to Google so folks are more likely to find us, but also more likely to convert folks who visit it into actual patients who come to our practice. So today, those are the things that we're really gonna focus on.
Technology's our friend until it's not. So things we're going to talk about today are content that actually does convert. What are the sorts of things that folks want to see on your website that make them say, hmm, that seems like a practice I might want to go visit? We're also going to talk about why your site matters beyond it just being a visual calling card. And we're going to talk about the ability for prospective patients to turn into new patients by having constant access to you, having a way to constantly reach out to the practice, to get information, to schedule appointments, and to be connected to you. So the first thing we wanna talk about is what does your site need to have? And Both for prospective patients and also for our friends at Google who are very important in this conversation, we wanna make sure that that includes fresh relevant content. Right now, think about when did you build the site for the practice?

And if it was, that's a really safe place to be because the chances are you've got a lot of this content already. You've probably got a video. Maybe you've got a big banner, what we call the hero video at the top of your website, or you've got meet the doc videos or videos about your services. But if it was more than three years ago, or if you're stretching to more than five or six years ago, then it's probably time to look at whether or not your site has the things that are going to it. And those relevant things, those fresh pieces of content are things that Google loves and therefore get you served up more frequently in Google search because the first step of getting somebody to your website is them finding it. You also want to make sure that your website has a responsive design. 

Most of us are probably sitting in front of a desktop right now. That's how we're watching this. But more and more patients and prospective patients and just plain old humans or on a tablet or some other sort of device. So again, if your site was built more than three or five years ago, it may not have the mobile capability that it needs in this market. So if you're looking at a site that's more than three or five years out, get together with the folks who built your site, or maybe look for someone else to build your site and determine if you've got the things that people want to have. They want to have a way to interact, a way for patients to reach out to you, even if it's after hours.

So again, make sure we've got fresh relevant content and that it can use it on all devices, on all platforms. When we're talking about that content, one of the biggest things is photography. And I'm going to spend a little time on photography because this is really the first impression that a prospective patient is going to get of you. And we've all seen a million types of photos on websites. Frequently, we see the one I call the line, the tallest people in the middle, and it trickles down to the tiniest people on the outside. It's a bad wedding party photo. It doesn't express who you are. It doesn't tell me anything about your practice, except these are the humans who work here. But I look at my folks here at Prosperity Park Dentistry. They've got a real vibe here in this practice. You know, everyone dressed in a similar look for the day. They're not wearing the same clothes, but they all look unified, and they all put their name on this chalkboard wall. So you've got a little bit of each person's personality. They're all sitting in a way that's a little more comfortable. Yes, it's an organized shot. It's not sort of this messy. We all ran in on the last minute and pose however we wanted to, but it feels more engaging. It feels warmer. I feel like I want to know these people a little better because they've told me a little bit about themselves in the photo. 

So when you look at the photography on your site or any photography that you might be planning to do, I want you to think about what's the first impression I want to make on people. Do I want to look accessible? Maybe you're a prosthodontist. I deal with a practice in Princeton, New Jersey, and maybe your images want to say, we're a serious practice. There's a lot that goes into being a prosthodontist. There's a lot more education. So we're a more buttoned-down formal sort of practice. But most importantly, decide what it is you want to say so that those are the sorts of images people will see when they come to your site.

We definitely want to make sure that we don't have pictures no one wants to see. And I will tell you that personally, I call these juicy pics. And you know what they are. My friends here at Legacy Dental are illustrating that for us. In the dental industry, it's not weird for us to see the inside of someone's mouth. But in what I like to call the real world, we never meet anyone with our faces retracted like that. No one wants to see the inside of your mouth. Some veneers where were just flawless, and the gum line was perfect. And we wanna show that stuff off. In fact, we often put it in our before and after galleries, but even in that place, your average patient showing up on a dental website doesn't wanna see juicy pics. 

We don't wanna see the inside of someone else's mouth. Let's face it, any hygienist who is joining me today can tell you that most patients don't wanna see the inside of their own mouth. That's why they're not flossing. Sure that we keep those photos, those retracted photos, those juicy pics, somewhere in the practice. We may have a before and after journal, we use there. We may have examples that we can show on a screen in the practice, but on our website, let's keep it to beautiful smiling faces, whether that's your team or even your before and afters and your before and after galleries, please make those full face or at least full smiles that are unretracted and envision themselves in the after. Now, once we get past photos, one of the other huge things, both for Google search and also for establishing who you are as a practice, that you're an authority in your field, is the idea of having a blog on your page. This is something Google considers fresh relevant content. 

So again, the sort of thing that gets people to the site, to begin with, but it also helps to keep them on your site longer. They're going to spend some time reading whatever you put there. Hopefully, you've got links within that blog that will send people to other pages. For example, you might write a blog piece on Invisalign and somewhere else on your website, you have a page devoted to Invisalign. So it's a good idea within that blog post to have a link that goes directly to your Invisalign page. This does a bunch of things. The biggest one is it keeps them on your site a significant amount of time. It also causes them to go to multiple pages. Both of these things are signals to Google that you are a legitimate page, but also that you're a good page because you're providing a good user experience. And that's going to cause them to be more likely to serve your page up in search. But what it's also doing for that prospective patient is establishing you as an authority on the subject on your website that says, hey, we know what we're doing here. We're probably the best place that you can go for the treatment that you need. So I just want to share a couple of what I call blogging 101. So things you want to make sure that you do when you blog. And the biggest one is you want it to be 90% original content. So what do I mean by 90% original? What I mean is let's a not wholesale lift that article we saw somewhere else, even if it says exactly what we want to say.
We want to write our content ourselves, but there's nothing wrong with citing that article. And that's where that 10% comes in. Maybe you quote the article, maybe you make reference to it and always give credit to whoever wrote it, but you can include something that's a good hook like that, that sort of, again, ties you to another authority. You want it to be about 500 to 800 words in length. Now, I know that may seem massively long. I assure you it's not. It's just and a half on your blog, not a lot of scrolling, but that 500 to 800 length is going to help when folks go into Google search. And the thing you want to think about is that most folks these days pick up their phone and say, Hey, Alexa, or whoever it is. And that's how they search. They don't type in dentist near me anymore. They ask the question, where is there a dentist near me? So those longer blog posts will give you the ability to answer more of those searchable to related pages on your site. And I want you to have small, scannable sections. 

We all have very short attention spans on the internet. Let's face it, the biggest commodity online is attention and everyone is vying for your attention. So if we throw up a seven-page, multiple paragraphs, big long tirade on whatever it is we think about implants, we're not gonna get folks who engage with us. Look at it and immediately see there are some bulleted lists, there are small chunks of reading, then even on a mobile device they're going to say, okay, I can spend time with this. I can learn more about what this practice has to offer. So make sure that when you do put content up like this, it's in what we call snackable chunks. This is not the time to rewrite your doctoral thesis. This is information that patients want to have, and preferably it's about services.

And always, always, always equip it with at least one visual image. And visuals are really important because we are all, again, looking for that piece of attention online. Now, if you've never blogged before and you're thinking, I don't know what to write about, that's not my vibe. I'm not a writer. I don't know what to talk about. The reality is you guys do this every day in practice. Hygienists educate patients every time they sit in a chair. Doctors talk about the different services that are offered every time they do a treatment
So things that are easy to talk about our services you wanna promote, Invisalign, implants, and maybe you've got a CEREC machine. Talk about the benefits of those, how that makes your practice better than the average practice, and how it sets your practice apart. Again, let's get hygiene involved here. Talk about the benefits of oral health, and the benefits of flossing. We all have these crazy hashtag holidays, it's National Taco Day, and it's National Donut Day, which is a great way to tie in something that you write about foods that are good for our oral health and our systemic health. And every hygienist's favorite is the link between oral health and heart health. But most importantly, you want to have content that makes folks want to come in because you're saying to them, we understand this, we understand you as a patient, that's why we're sharing this information, and we want to be able to provide that care.

This slide came on, no one saw the words or me talking because we all did that thing because we're all seven on the internet. We all looked at the video because something was moving on the screen. And honestly, it is the single most engaging element that you can have on your site. Not having video today is like not having a website 10 years ago. You absolutely need to have these moving, engaging things. And frankly, they are the best way to tell the story of yours and to help people understand who you are, what you represent, and how you would be the best possible practice for them. So I will tell you there are five that I absolutely want your practice to have. 

First one, is Meet the Doc. Now this might be Meet the Docs if we've got multiple, and I would suggest to you that every doctor have their own Meet the Video, and that can be on the About page or their Bio page of your website. I also want you to have Meet the Team. To know this doc, but the number two page that's clicked on a dental website isn't meet the doc, it's meet the team. That's after the homepage. So having your team there is something that's important to patients. We want to know as we're coming in, how do I feel about these people? Do I like them? We spend a lot of time talking about our education and our experience and our ability to do the most incredible veneers or the most spectacular implant cases. But in the end, is, do I like you? Do you seem like someone I'd want to come in and spend time with? Because really by choosing you as their practice, that's what they're saying. I wanna come and spend time with you. So meet the team videos are super important. And these can be small. If you've got a small team, one video that covers everybody. If you've got a really large team, maybe we do a meet the hygiene team, a meet the assisting team, a meet the admin team. And each of those groups gets their own video.
Say a little bit about who they are, why they're a part of your practice, maybe how they got into dentistry, and what they love about what they do because that gives the patients the message they want to hear, which is the, do I like you? Do I want to spend time with you? It's also a good idea to give them a quick tour of the office. Maybe you've got some amazing technology you want them to see or beautiful operatories, or maybe your office is just a beautiful building from the outside.
And patient testimonials, my gosh, there is nothing more compelling than another human saying that you're amazing. If you can get two or three of your patients combined into one video that you put on your site, in a patient testimonial video, this will do more for you than having 50 of them on Google. Yes, it's nice to have a written review. And I want you to have those all over the place. And I hope they're all five stars.

Honestly, again, as humans, we're compelled by other humans. We wanna make that connection. So another patient saying, you're the jam, that's more likely to get them to come to your practice. And I'd love something that talks about what makes you different. What tells me your philosophy? What is it about your practice that makes you the place I should go? Because again, the whole point of these videos is to connect and have a patient say, yep, that's the place I wanna be.
I'll tell you that 75% of patients, and this is a poll done by our folks at 1-800-DENIST, see that having any time access to a practice makes them more likely to stay with that practice. They wanna know that if the office is open from seven to three, Monday to Thursday, and that happens to be all the time they're at work, that they still have a way that they can get in touch with you. That's super important to them. And I just wanna show you a little bit of data here. I don't wanna bog you with data, because I think what we need to see is what happens if they can't reach us. So in this example, we're looking at a thousand patients land on your website. They did that one thing we really wanted them to do. They aim to our website. But statistically, from the time they look on your website, do they actually want to pick up the phone, call you and book an appointment? We're dropping down didn't want to take that action because maybe it was too much work because maybe it was too involved. Maybe they were at work and so they couldn't make a phone call because somebody would come behind them and say, what are you doing on the phone or whatever it is? We want to make sure that we're giving them an easy way to do that because even once they booked it, another 76% drop-off actually show up at the office. And then for me, the big one is do we keep them as patients. I know a lot of times we like to count new in the door, but I will tell you that that visit is a blind date. They have not decided to be a patient yet. They've decided to see if you're really the right practice for them. Everything you showed them on the website said yes, but now they need to make sure. It's when the patient comes back that we know we've really got a patient. And as you can see from that original thousand who landed on the site, we've got a less than 2% conversion rate, less than 20 of them are staying, and when we look at the three or so hundred dollars it costs in patient acquisition through marketing and outreach, that's a lot of money we've spent that isn't walking in and ending up in our chair. So what can we do about that? How can we help this process? How can we get people to make the decision based on our content and finally say, yeah, I wanna come in? The biggest thing is to make it easy to book with you. Now I talked about, you might be open from Monday to Thursday, seven to three.

The majority of humans out in the world, that's probably going to be during work hours. So calling a dental office from the middle of their day, especially if it's that first-time call, so now they've got to give you their health history and their insurance information, their social security number, and where are my birthmarks and all that information you got to give upfront. Suddenly you've got people going, I can't do this from work, so now I can't call this office. I've got to find somebody who's open when I'm done with work. Wouldn't it be great though if you had a solution where they are right there online, right through something on your website. So now your website has said to them, yeah, you gotta come to this practice, this is where I wanna be. And now they can take action right there, sitting at their desk, and actually schedule an appointment with you. I know for me that would be huge because I'm constantly somewhere and having to pick up a phone and make those decisions and look at my calendar isn't as easy as just being able to click through to something.
 So the folks who are kind enough and we'll hear a little bit more from Alec later, what's phenomenal about their process is the real-time integration into your website. So as you can see there, the patient makes that on the phone. It literally looks like your practice branding, like they're dealing directly with your practice, and you're gonna see that pop up instantly in your schedule. So you also know, because let's face it, you guys are worried about who's in the book, where they're in the book, and all that stuff, you'll know immediately, hey, a patient has made this appointment with us. And I know a lot of times when we talk about these online scheduling tools, and I will tell you, I've been in the dental industry for a very long time, longer than I sometimes care to admit. 

And at the beginning of these sort of early patient scheduling things, there was a lot of fear in practices. And I'm going to speak openly to that because I know in the early days there was a, well, I don't want a patient to just throw an appointment in wherever they feel like it. They don't understand my block booking that I do, or all these other things in your practice.

And we truly are in the golden age of technology for the dental industry, is that now we're in a place where those sorts of things shouldn't be fears anymore. Now, certainly there are some still out there that never change a thing after they came out with their first version, but now we have the ability to actually go in and customize it, to create a schedule so that when a patient makes an appointment with us, we know they're making the right kind of relationship that we're building. And let's face it, having control over your schedule, and being able to customize all of that is the single most important thing about your schedule. I mean, that's the money, that's the revenue. So being able to create all of these different filters and customization so that a patient can easily make an appointment and still be in the production and the days that you want it to be, to me is a tremendous way to still control your schedule while also giving patients the ability over when they interact with you and when they're able to make appointments. 

So I hope that we have covered a lot of things here that are helpful and useful for you with your website and your practice. The biggest things I want you to remember here are always to include engaging content. When you post something, think to yourself, would I wanna hear this? Would I wanna learn this? Because that's content that's truly engaging. Show them who you truly are.

I don't know anybody's personality. Show me your personalities. Show me who you are as people, because that's who a patient wants to connect with. And then once they make the decision to connect with you, give them an easy way to do it. I hope again, that was helpful for all of you. I'm gonna welcome back my friend Alec here. So if you folks have any questions, I know there were a few there in the chat. We can certainly toss them over to him or to me. We are both here to answer you.
Alec Goldman: Laura, thank you so much. Truly my pleasure. Tons of tangible detailed strategies to optimize practice websites. Very lucky to have you here.
Laura, I guess a question that I had was, what is the most common miss that you see practices, just the biggest mistake practices are making today with their website? 

Laura Nadler: I think the biggest one is thinking that it's something that you can just make once and walk away from it. The sort of set-it-and-forget-it mentality. You've constantly got to be updating what's there, whether it's adding new functions or adding new content, but you've got to give folks a reason to it, even existing patients, you know, you want to share new information that's there, and not just have something that's been there forever. I also tell folks at least every three years, to update your photography. Everyone changes how they look. It'd be nice if we all got younger. We don't. But it'd be nice if when I came in, I met the people who are actually there. Be your authentic self in content on a regular basis.

Alec Goldman: Thanks. And I guess it's really hard. A lot of dentists and practice teams don't have a ton of time just dealing with all of the day-to-day. To learn more, I guess, where would you recommend dentists who don't have the in-house team to do blogging? How would they learn to go about doing so? 

Laura Nadler: Right, absolutely. So there are many, many marketing agencies out there that do this sort of work. Certainly we do it at Working Cat. We coach and advise teams on how to do that. Paying for some sort of social media package through your website provider or through just a marketing agency, blogging is frequently part of that. And I know that blogging is the one that kind of scares people because like, oh, the novel, it's not a novel. And it's the stuff you talk about every day. And again, don't feel it has to be formal writing, write in your natural voice because that tells people who you are. And again, helps make that connection.

So I think the biggest one is to engage the team. Too often there's one person and the folks who are joining us today are likely that one person in the practice who has been handed the here you do marketing. And it can be daunting, especially when that's just sort of a side gig to the full-time job that you have at the practice. On social media and whatnot, we wanna be posting photos or quick little videos, have everybody be taking those. Just because you're who runs social media doesn't mean you have to be the one who takes the picture of the VIP patient today or the braces removal or whatever the thing is. 

You may be who's posting the content, but that content creation, it'd be nice if the team could help you with it. Also in the content creation world, I am Canva biggest fan. They should probably pay me because it just makes creating your content and planning your content ahead of time a world easier than trying to do it spur of the moment.

Your practice’s website is more than just a digital billboard, it’s also the central hub of all your marketing efforts. In this webinar, we’re inviting Laura Nadler to chat about the best strategies to create a practice website that converts.

Content that Converts

You should have a mobile-responsive website that can adjust its layout and design to fit any screen size, whether it's a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile device. This is crucial because more and more people are using their mobile devices to browse the internet, and if your website doesn't work well on those devices, it can turn away potential patients.

The first impression a prospective patient gets of your practice is often based on the photos on your website, so it's essential to choose images that accurately represent your practice and convey the right message. 

A blog is a great way to provide fresh and relevant content to your website visitors and establish your practice as an authority in your field. Including links to other relevant pages on your website within your blog posts to keep visitors on your site longer and signal to Google that your website is providing a good user experience.

Why Your Site Matters

Your site matters because 75% of patients prefer to have access to a dental practice at all times. Many website visitors drop off before booking an appointment or becoming a patient, which can be costly in terms of the patient acquisition. You should make it easy for patients to book appointments and make them convert directly from your website.

Anytime Access

Give your patients easy access to you through your website at any time. NexHealth’s online booking tool helps you get appointments booked even during off hours. In the past, there was fear among dental practices regarding online scheduling tools, but with NexHealth, practices can customize their schedules and filters, ensuring that patients are making the right kind of appointments.

Common Practice Website Mistakes

One of the biggest mistakes is assuming that the website is something that can be made once and forgotten about. Laura advises that practices need to continually update their website, adding new functions and content to keep it fresh. 

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