Is Your Website as Credible As You Are?
When using digital marketing techniques to promote your Dental Sleep Practice, the success of your efforts can often feel at the mercy of complicated “hidden algorithms.” Although you may be tempted to throw expensive solutions at online platforms to appease the “internet gods,” this mentality often leads to wasted resources for only limited results.
Fortunately, once you explore the science behind these algorithms, they can become very simple and intuitive, with the fundamentals remaining relatively the same over the past 20 years. This is why successful marketing doesn’t necessarily come from beating the algorithm, but harnessing an understanding of how it actually works. We’ve shared a list of 10 guidelines for building the credibility of a website, as recommended by Stanford University:
1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site
A search engine is only successful when it’s trusted by its users, so it will always aim to rank sites with the most consistent and accurate information. The more widely accessible your practice’s data is, the more likely you are to be discovered in the top rankings when patients are exploring sleep apnea treatments and diagnosis. Online business listings are a useful tool for validating existing information about your clinic, and will usually be favored in the first initial search pages. Using medical-specific directories like Healthgrades and WebMD is also recommended, to support your presence in the medical sector.
2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site
Many patients prefer a personalized and human approach in their medical care, but how do you portray this in the online space? Utilizing Social media channels, including Google Business pages to showcase the activities and facilities in-house can help to tell the story of your practice, one which may lead to a patient choosing your care over a competitor. From sharing images of facilities to celebrating patient successes and positive feedback, always aim for content which unifies your team’s expertise and knowledge, patient care and high-quality services.
3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide
Easy access to the internet has allowed the world to find answers to their problems online, including patients seeking help for their sleep apnea symptoms. This has created an opportunity for professionals to promote their own knowledge, credentials, and expertise in sleep and oral medicine. Publishing blogs, newsletters, and consistently updating service pages with the most relevant medical advice and treatments showcasing credentials on staff pages can all help you stand out from the crowded search engine results and give your clinic the attention it deserves.
4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site
No one tells the story of your clinic better than your medical team. Healthcare professionals hold a wide variety of credentials, subject interests and partnerships, which is exactly what your patients want to see when they’re considering sleep apnea treatment. Do you have a specialist in oral devices or a doctor affiliated with the Academy of Sleep Medicine/American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine? Great! Remember to add in a staff profile picture wherever possible to promote authenticity, this will make new patients feel more comfortable visiting in-person if they recognize the person greeting them.
5. Make it easy to contact you
Once a new patient is interested in your services, they are likely to want to get their treatment started relatively quickly – meaning your website needs easy navigation to those essential contact points. Offering a user multiple directions for contact throughout your site, as well as alternative methods such as webform, email or phone, can enable patients to express interest and get the help they need without delays. You can also feature location, contact information and business hours clearly throughout the site, to encourage in-person visits or let a user know if you practice in their local area.
One important element for dental sleep practices is to add a call back request calendar to your forms, linking to your team’s calendar. It has doubled the number of patients that respond to form follow ups, which turns into a lot more delivered appliances.
6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose)
Your sleep apnea clinic may not stay open 24/7, but your website does! After-hours, your online platforms will provide a gateway to valuable information and touch points for new and existing patients, so it’s important that this reflects the professionalism and expertise of your practice. A poorly designed website gives new clients a bad experience of your clinic, and as design is a key indicator of trustworthiness, may drive them to potential competitors. With people only spending 54 seconds on websites in total, which generally involves only scrolling through pages over reading copy, an unattractive or difficult to navigate site could raise red flags that their apnea treatment is best cared for elsewhere.
7. Make your site easy to use – and useful
Just like poorly-designed sights can throw off new patients, over-designed pages can lead to a frustrating experience for those seeking help and guidance on treatment. If your site is too content-heavy, users may easily get lost whilst looking for information. Remember, not every patient starts at the same point in their apnea journey, so consider what different information needs to be available for those seeking a diagnosis, starting initial treatment, or struggling with long-term symptoms. Your design should accommodate a breadth of audiences, with easy click-off points to explore more about treatment prices, treatments such as oral appliances and devices, and general guidance on how to seek help.
8. Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently)
The medical sector is constantly evolving with new treatments and research, particularly in sleep science which is a relatively new area of practice. Consider your website as an online pamphlet given to patients, would you want to hand over out of date information on Dental Sleep Medicine?! Keeping copy fresh, relevant and factually correct compliments your expertise and specialist interests in sleep science and apnea, from blogs, price lists, product pages to staff listings. A great content hub can also display authority and help you rank for key terms, driving business with no advertising budget!
9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers)
Most patients will seek out medical information and treatments on their own accord, making clinics highly focused on pushy sales and ads seem fake and disingenuous. Creating a balance between showcasing your services and expertise, whilst demonstrating why you’re better than the competing clinic in town, is an often difficult task, so it’s understandable many reach for a quick promotion or ad campaign to boost interest. But always tread carefully on quantity and the frequencies of promotions and advertising! Yes, call to actions are key to ensuring your customers know what to do next but keep it clear, direct, and sincere.
10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem
Mistakes happen across all sectors – As a reflection of your business, multiple errors can suggest disorganization, lack of attention to detail and negligence in provided services, three assumptions which never bode well for medical professionals. If a patient is placing their health in your hands, they need assurance through these first impressions that you’ll give them 100% in every part of their treatment, starting from their initial contact with you online. Keeping on top of amendments, correcting typos, fixing broken code and missing words are all achievable with regular site audits that keep your site clean and tidy.
The concepts are simple, intuitive really. But execution is time-consuming, and thats where a marketing partner with proven processes in place to address all 10 items can help you handle this while you continue to focus on building your dental sleep practice.
If you think your website is not giving you the credibility you deserve, we can help. Schedule a website review call with us to get your website working hard for you so you don’t have to.