Website Marketing Pearl: Help them find what they’re looking for!

While I have a long list of blog topics to write about, I don’t seem to get to them, as I’m often inspired by something that happened recently.  The trick is finding time to write them!

I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog post.  And, what I’m about to write about goes beyond a “pearl.”  This is good stuff that WILL boost your website performance.  Today’s post was inspired by a new patient visit.  She found us by doing a search for information on “bonding” in my town.  As an interesting aside, she happens to be a website copywriter for a living.

Putting all your eggs in one basket.

One of the most common “features” I see in dental websites is a singular “Services” web page.  The dentist’s services are summarized on a single page.   Often, it’s the typical laundry list of services offered in most dental offices.  Sometimes each entry in the list is followed by a short paragraph or description of that service.

As you might have predicted I would say… This is a problem.  It’s a big problem.  More on why it’s a problem to come.  Keep reading.

Here is an example (from an actual website) of a list of services, all on one page, with short descriptions.  Not good!

I suspect the reason so many websites are designed with only one page summarizing services is two-fold.

  1. Dentists don’t know any better.
  2. It’s cheaper (and easier).

To expand on reason #2, first…  When a dentist hires a website design firm, he or she is often concerned with cost.  The bigger the website (more pages), the more it costs.  Website designers have a lot of competition in the dental world.  They often are driven to compete on price.  Naturally, the lower the price, the less you get.  One way to economize, both in cost and labor, is by decreasing the number of pages on the site.  And an obvious way to keep the number of pages down is by putting all the services on one page.

Arguably writing a tiny paragraph description of each service on one page is far less work than creating an entire page of good content about each marketable service.

Reason #1:  Dentists don’t know any better simply because they just don’t know much about marketing, and they certainly don’t know much about website marketing.  They write a check and, PRESTO, they get a website with no effort on their part.  That’s a whole other issue (the no effort part) that I’ll cover on another day.  The fact that all the services are on one page doesn’t even get their attention.  It should, though.

Why have a website?

Before I get into the problems with having a list of services (even with brief descriptions) on one page, consider the goals of website marketing.  There are three:

  1. Get visitors TO your website.
  2. KEEP visitors ON your website.
  3. Compel visitors to TAKE ACTION (make an appointment).

Doesn’t a services page help do that?

I submit that a single page of all your services is unlikely to accomplish ANY of these goals.  I will discuss why it will fail to accomplish the three goals (listed above) again in reverse order.

#3:  A single page with a list of services is little more than what you see in typical Yellow Pages ads.  Even if you add short descriptions of each, they are unlikely to be compelling enough to convert visitors into patients.

A “Dental Dictionary” description about what a porcelain veneer is, won’t be compelling and won’t trigger a visitor’s emotions enough to make an appointment.

WHY should the visitor choose YOU as his / her new dentist?  What are the BENEFITS of your services?  Which problems do you services solve?  Remember these three words when creating copy for your website (or any other marketing):

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Benefit

#2:  A single page with a laundry list of services just isn’t interesting.   Many prospective patients are using the internet to research a particular service they are seeking.  A single page with list, or even a long one, of services is nothing more than diluted copy.  That is… it’s a web page about everything but nothing in particular, and certainly not the particular topic the visitor is seeking.

Imagine your are looking for information about long distance running shoes.  But, you land on a page that is all about sneakers… all kinds.  You have to wade through the list and descriptions of walking shoes, rock-climbing shoes, trail running shoes, shoes for running sprints, hiking shoes, and so on.  You’ll likely lose interest quickly.  Or, you’ll be confused.

On the other hand, if you land on a page that’s JUST about shoes made for running long distances, you’ll stay there to learn more.

#1:  Having all your services on one page dilutes your SEO (search engine optimization).  When a prospective patient searches for “bonding your city,” Google is going to find the pages that most relevant to that search.  And, that should just make sense, right?  If Google has to choose the most relevant pages to that search, between pages that contain a cacophony of mostly unrelated content vs. pages that are ONLY about “bonding your city,” which do you think will get to the first page of results?  Which will be at the top?  Hopefully, you’ve divined the answer already.

I’ve often preached that “content is king.”  And, it is!  A page with content devoted to one particular keyword, like “bonding your city,” is going to be more relevant than a page with content about a variety of topics and keywords.

Back to today’s patient.

Of course, when I learned my patient was a website copywriter, I could barely contain myself.  Discuss her dental concerns??  Plenty of time for that… LATER!  haha!  I had an opportunity to distill some good info from her just by asking her some questions about her Google search and why she chose my office.

As I mentioned, she searched for “bonding my city.”  Not only did my website come out at the top of the results, the link took her DIRECTLY to my page about… you guessed it… bonding.  She didn’t land on a page that was about ALL my services.  She landed on the page about what she was LOOKING FOR!  And, then she said, “Right there was a list of things bonding will fix, and SPACES was one of them.  That’s why I’m here… spaces between my front teeth.”

Today’s patient.

I asked her if she visited other websites.  She had.  I asked why she chose my website and my office.  “Because your site was the only one that had a whole page dedicated to bonding.”  Hmmm.

Why did she search for bonding?   Her chief complaint is spaces between her upper front teeth.  She explained to me that she didn’t know what else to search for.  She had heard about bonding.  She had some bonding already on these teeth.  And, on my web page about bonding, one of the problems solved by bonding is:  SPACES BETWEEN YOUR TEETH.

Now, here’s the cool part.  This patient came in about “bonding.”  Naturally, I discussed all the options along with advantages and disadvantages.  We even did a quick composite mock-up.  In the end, we are probably going to do whitening and four porcelain veneers.  She searched for “bonding,” because that’s all she could think to search.  Thankfully, I had a web page dedicated to that, and it popped up at the top of the search results.

Floss the teeth you want to keep, and create pages for the services you want to do (more of).

Making sense?  To be clear, I’m not suggesting you have a dedicated web page for every single service you perform in your practice.  You probably don’t need to create a page about surgical extractions.  However you should consider having a page for each of the services you want to market.  Alternatively, think about which services are most likely to be searched for by prospective patients.  Those are the ones you should consider for unique, dedicated pages.

In summary, the advantages of having unique, dedicated web pages for your marketable services include:

  • Provides the answers and information searchers seek.
  • Makes for more interesting and compelling copy.
  • Is better for SEO by making those pages more relevant for the keywords being searched.
  • Creates links in the search results that take visitors directly to the “good stuff.”

Of course, having more pages in your website will cost your more – initially.  But, the return on investment will make those worries go away very quickly.

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6 Responses to Website Marketing Pearl: Help them find what they’re looking for!

  1. Greate article Mike,

    Couldn’t agree more. Everything we’ve tested about dental consumer tendencies on the internet are supported by your assertions

    Mark Dilatush

  2. Ritu says:

    Although my practice website is significantly better than the one I used to have (from-a-template-bc-I-didn’t-know-any-better), one of the things I find frustrating is that it doesn’t offer a CMS system. So, if I learn something new along the way, I can’t just go in and modify it myself.

    My website company says the reason why is because most dentists “just don’t care” what’s on the website, as long as there is one. Baffling.

    They did do separate pages for each service, however. Good to know they did that right!

  3. Another great blog, Mike. Love the thoughtful information. Thanks! Ed

  4. Great blog post Mike. You hit the nail on the head.

  5. Nilay Shah, DDS says:

    Hello Dr. Mike,

    Awesome blog post! I completely agree with you that having a list of services on just one page will definitely confuse the reader. 99% of dental websites have the same format. The other 1% that don’t are definitely getting more patients through their websites because of higher conversion rate to taking an actual action.

    I’ve seen your website, and it is definitely in the 1% I think. I still don’t know why dental website companies these days itemize on the number of pages and charge by the pages. I see you have a “Make An Appointment” call to action button. Have you considered also placing a “Click to Call” button to let the patients call the office right away instead of filling out a form and waiting for a call back?

    Keep the posts coming!

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Nilay,

      Thanks for your comments. I hadn’t considered putting a click to call button on my website. But, I do have one on my (relatively new) mobile website.

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