by Sasha Thompson, M.Ed.
Mary is fed up with trying to sleep with her husband’s snoring, and he won’t use his CPAP. Searching online, what turns up? Obstructive Sleep Apnea, CPAP alternatives and snoring treatment awareness are on the rise. Searches online are exploding but search engine results are falling flat. While Google Trends show a consistent increase of headline news related to sleep apnea and snoring symptoms as a top related search, store-bought devices currently dominate the Search Engine Result Pages, or SERPs, like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Headline news is pitching home runs with reports of tragedy and illness linked to sleep apnea and sleeping partners are seeking help for peaceful rest online. Dental sleep medicine practices have the opportunity to answer these restless information seekers by fortifying online messaging.After reading this article, you will be able to identify areas of opportunity for improvement in your sleep dentistry practice marketing. This article is a roadmap for creating a website that will convert patients, respond to search engines, and provide a basic understanding of search engine optimization.
You have the ability to take control of how many new inbound patient phone calls for patients seeking dental sleep medicine treatment. Your website and SEO are step one. A well-implemented website will give you the ability to turn up the volume of new patient calls like the turn of a dial.
Let’s start with the hub of your marketing; your website. Whether you run radio or print ads, or get a referral, people will typically refer to your website to see if they feel confident in you and learn about the services you and your team can offer them. They scan the photos in search for a warm and competent practitioner accompanied by a patient-centric biography. If your dental practice website has stock photos, replace them with original photography. Hire a reputable photographer who understands dentistry and will work with your marketing consultant. For sleep dentistry, actual patient photos or video testimonials make a powerful connection with the prospective patient seeking help. This also sends a warmer message and outperforms stock photos for search engine optimization. Of course, written permission from the patient is always required for any use of photos or testimonials – an obstetrician has recently been chastised for having a wall of baby photos sent by proud and grateful parents, so be careful.
Your practice website has 8 to 10 seconds to attract your prospective patients, according to Nielsen/Norman Group. If your website visitor stays past 10 seconds, according to the study, they will stay 59 more seconds. Having video testimonials will be helpful but you also need a well-organized and easy-to-navigate design. For the dental practice, have the core areas of the practice services in separate tabs within the navigation. For instance, have drop-down menus for general dentistry, sleep dental medicine, and cosmetic dentistry. If the patient can immediately identify a sleep dental medicine practice because there is adequate content, they spend more time on your practice website. Adequate content for sleep dentistry also establishes your practice as a credible resource for sleep dental treatment they are seeking. Once you have attracted the prospective patient’s attention, it’s time to ask for the business. Have “call to action” buttons ready to work for you. “Call to action” buttons are prominent graphics that invite an immediate response. For sleep dental medicine, some relevant Calls to Action might be “Refer a Patient”,” Schedule an Appointment”, or “Help my Husband Stop Snoring!” The number of new patients that schedule from your website’s “call to action” button’ should be reported with tracking tools.
The most common tracking tool is “call tracking.” This is attached to the practice website. As your SEO provider increases your visibility online, the number of calls and online requests from your “calls to action” should be reported monthly. New patient appointment requests should be reported in conjunction with website performance. If you are unfamiliar with SEO and would like to learn the basics, try SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide from Moz. For dentistry-related services, it is important to note that dentistry is a local healthcare service, so you want to be sure that your vendor provides local search engine optimization so people looking nearby for you will find you. If your SEO provider is also managing your practice social media, stay authentic and avoid canned content. Limit posts to local community events that relate to your patients.
As Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, explains in his Ted Talk Interview, his company engineers their service to render natural results. The reputable dental SEO provider’s job is to create natural search engine results with technical skill. Your sleep dentistry practice website should be user-friendly, have an easy-to-navigate design, and ask for your new patient’s business with effective “call to action” buttons. You have the ability to take control of your practice and fill in the gap for treatment options for sleep-troubled patients. My hope is when I repeat the same search for sleep apnea snoring symptoms; I’ll find more sleep dental medicine practices on the first pages of the Google, Bing and Yahoo. Yours should be the first in your area!