Orthodontist marketing has never been more important than it is today, especially for independent Central Florida orthodontists who want to stay that way. As the payer landscape changes and more insurance covers orthodontic services, large organizations are snapping up small orthodontists.
Independent orthodontists have advantages over vast state and regional enterprises. The biggest is their ability to develop personal relationships with their patients. Orthodontist marketing is there to deepen those relationships between visits – ideally, making them permanent.
With sound orthodontist marketing, practitioners have the opportunity to extend their services to the whole family. They can attract referrals from their most satisfied customers and leverage reviews to help others make an informed decision.
But all of that doesn’t begin in the chair. It starts with your orthodontist website.
And some of the factors that influence patient decisions are surprisingly technical.
Your Website Builds the Bridge from First-Time Visitor to First-Time Patient
Today’s consumer has more information at their command than ever before. They want to take their time and look at all their options before they reach out. A research process can take weeks or months, especially if they don’t feel like getting orthodontic care is urgent.
The curveball here is simple: They have more information to sort through, but they don’t necessarily know more about how orthodontics works. It’s up to your orthodontist marketing to educate them – and do it in a friendly way that’s easy to digest.
For website success, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
That’s why helpful, informative content is only one piece of the orthodontist marketing puzzle. Even the best content will fall flat if it isn’t supported by a modern, intuitive website. Sadly, many Central Florida orthodontists are making mistakes here. That means they’re yielding business to the big guys.
Even if your website hasn’t always delivered the value you’d like, it’s not too late to start fresh. When you update your website, Google and other search engines take a second look. They can update your ranking in relevant searches at any time, potentially expanding your online visibility.
Here’s how to update your orthodontist website to appeal to everyone – window shoppers, existing patients, and search algorithms:
1. Be Sure Your Entire Website Looks Great on Mobile
About 97% of all Americans now have a cell phone, with 85% using a smartphone. As Millennials take over as the #1 largest generation in the workforce and older Gen Zers start to have children of their own, future orthodontics customers will do most of their research on their phones.
Unfortunately, not all orthodontist websites work the way they should on mobile. Despite Google’s decision to index mobile first, making it the “version of record” that your website’s search rankings depend on, there are plenty of orthodontist websites that do poorly on smartphone or tablet.
A Central Florida marketing team can take the guesswork out of the mobile-friendly craze, making a few changes that will transform your performance. A mobile-ready website should adjust in two key ways if accessed through a mobile device:
- The navigation should adapt to the user’s input, making it easy to explore without a mouse
- Graphics and design elements should reformat for ease of reading on a much smaller display
Mobile users who find your website hard to use will click elsewhere in seconds, costing you business. That also sends signals to search engines telling them that you aren’t providing content people want.
Luckily, you don’t have to tear down your website and rebuild it from the ground up if these issues apply to you. A Central Florida marketing team can deploy adjustments in a matter of days, preserving all your content and design while bringing your digital brand firmly into the mobile era.
2. Check Your Website Speed and Make Tweaks if Needed
How fast is your website?
Many Central Florida orthodontists have slow websites, but they might not realize it.
A slow website can make a major dent in your business. Even if everything looks great on mobile, users will not wait around long for websites to catch up with them. A study by the Aberdeen Group, quoted in Forbes, suggested a delay of even one second is enough to cut page views by 11%.
But how do you know if you’re in this situation and need to accelerate your website?
Google’s PageSpeed Insights will give you the information you need – including what’s not working and how you can improve on it. It only takes a few seconds to analyze the load times of any website and get actionable feedback. Plus, Google has other free tools that will help you realize the changes.
Not much of a tech-head? No problem. A marketing agency in DeLand can go through your results and ensure you’re firing on all cylinders. Speed is a fundamental part of the user experience for everyone who accesses your website, so it’s crucial to take care of slowdown as soon as possible.
Usually, this comes down to background tweaks in how your website processes and loads images. You may need “lazy loading,” which loads one section of a website at a time instead of the whole thing. It’s common with mobile websites in particular because some mobile users still have limited bandwidth.
3. Communicate Social Proof with Reviews and More
When a local customer looks for a “business near me,” Google puts each company’s average review score front and center. Most people will take notice and might not even click on an option that has a lower score than the surrounding competition.
In effect, that option gets edited out – even though it remains right there on the page.
But reviews and testimonials can still make a difference after this first moment. By distributing customer quotes throughout your website, you can overcome objections, reduce friction, and make a sale more likely. The trick is to be proactive in the way you use your social proof.
Social proof is everything that shows a visitor others “just like them” have had success with your service. Reviews on third-party websites like Yelp and Google are just one of many forms of social proof. Make sure you’re collecting and leveraging social proof in several ways:
a. Video Testimonials
If you can get it, a video testimonial is the most powerful social proof of all. The most authentic video testimonials usually don’t require a script. Simply prompt the customer to respond to a few questions. An honest, unfiltered reaction is most likely to cut through the clutter and connect with viewers.
b. Case Studies
Case studies are best when your services take some explaining. No matter who your ideal customer is, there are probably many different “use cases” that explain why they needed your solution. When you have a case study for every use case, you can pre-pave the way to a sale no matter what a prospective customer’s needs are. When a case study matches their logic, they’ll be excited to work with you.
c. Quoted Reviews (Especially on Your Shopping Cart!)
What should you do with all those reviews you’ve been amassing? Quote the best ones on your website, ideally alongside a high-quality photo of the reviewer. Consider showcasing the best reviews right on the footer of your website or using them strategically on your shopping cart to get users excited to buy.
4. Fix Whatever’s Broken or Confusing
Over time, even the best website develops issues.
Missing images, broken or misleading links, and other problems can crop up behind your back. Many of them are no fault of your own. They may come from misconfigurations in your website’s hosting or the simple “drift” of online resources moving from place to place.
But they do have an effect.
Search engines like Google “crawl” pages on your website to determine your search engine ranking, so they know exactly which resources are faulty. That means broken links, absent images, and all the rest may actually make it harder for you to appear in searches relevant to your business.
Not to mention they can also confuse and frustrate the real people using your website!
Your digital marketing agency can use a professional link checking tool to zero in on all the broken links and other blemishes on your website. If you’re willing to make fixes manually (which can take quite a while) there are also freeware tools online to give you the intelligence you need.
5. Make Sure Your Website’s Security Is Set Up Correctly
In 2014, a vulnerability was discovered in the encryption technology browsers use to keep personal information safe. In months, data security requirements were completely transformed and popular browsers started doing even more to keep people away from suspicious websites.
These days, a website needs an SSL certificate to be deemed “trustworthy.” That’s true even if you aren’t collecting payment data or personally identifying information on your website. If you don’t have SSL deployed, many browsers will tag your domain as “unsafe.”
Users will often be forced to click on a special toggle (helpfully marked “UNSAFE”) to access your website. Needless to say, most won’t bother – and they’ll go on to take a look at some other local orthodontist. Luckily, an SSL certificate comes with many hosting plans or can even be had for free.
You can get basic information on SSL here, but the technical details can be pretty opaque.
Just know that if you don’t have SSL implemented on your website, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on 80% of your traffic or even more. Your marketing team can get you up to speed fast; certificates activate within just minutes after you roll them out.
For a Healthy Business, Central Florida Orthodontists Need an Excellent Website
As competition for orthodontic patients heats up in Central Florida, your website is an asset you can’t afford to ignore. An orthodontist website designed to maximize traffic and get more appointments is essential for keeping your schedule full.
But even these five high-priority items can be a tall order if your hands are full running your practice. You don’t have to struggle to “make time” for digital marketing. Leave it to the professionals at New York Ave and stay focused on what you do best.
New York Ave is a DeLand, Florida marketing agency with a proven history of results for independent Central Florida orthodontists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. We learn your business inside and out, then develop a strategy that catapults you toward your goals.
Contact us today to find out more or get started.