Sometimes, we get calls from a dentist who has been working for months on getting their startup ready to open, and just remembered that they need a website...by yesterday. We can certainly create a "mini rush site" so you have something up before opening day, but it probably won't be what you ultimately wanted to represent your investment and all of your hard work.
So, when is the right time to pick your dental website and marketing company? Ideally, at least 3 months before you open. That may seem like a long time, but a good website shouldn't be rushed and you want to give the website time for Google to crawl and index your site before you open your doors.
To make the experience as smooth as possible (and not stress about it last minute), you'll want think ahead about what you want to see on your dental website, saving you both time and money. We've put together some things to start planning so that everyone comes out ahead.
Know Your Demographics
Hopefully by this point, you already have a good idea as to what your demographics look like. You've either worked with a dental consultant or a branding or marketing agency who has dug into your area to help you understand the population. Your existing demographics may force your hand a bit, but since you probably won't be serving every person in your area, spend time thinking about which part of that group you want to serve?
A website for a dental practice serving a highly-educated, upper-class population will look different than a practice who is exclusively serving Medicaid patients. These practices can both be profitable, but the approach will need to be different.
Think about what else sets you apart from your competition. If your practice is multi-lingual and there is a non-English speaking community in your area, that should be displayed as a major selling point. Do you have experience and enjoy working with special-needs patients? Talk that up!
Keep these differentiators and demographics in mind when you move on to your next step, which is planning your content.
Pre-Plan Your Content
Even if you've hired a professional copywriter for your website, they won't be able to know everything about your practice without communication from you. In our experience, copywriting can be a frequent bottle neck for our client projects because the dentist hasn't spent enough time really thinking this part through.
We recommend writing a few bullet-points for each service you plan on offering. You want to think, again, about what your unique approach is to each service. Consider the following questions:
- Do you have specific or specialized training in that procedure?
- Do you use a specific brand or materials that give you an edge over your competition?
- Do you have a different philosophy for specific services? Mercury amalgams seem to divide a room for dentists, for example.
- Why do you offer that service, and who is best served by it?
- What do you wish every patient knew about that procedure? Can you make your life and their life easier by talking about it before they come in to your practice?
If you can have 5-10 bullet points for each service (don't worry, it gets easier once you have found your pace), your copywriter will love you and your project will take half the time.
Another thing to keep in mind when working with a copywriter on your project: it's normal to have revisions and edits. While we try to learn as much about our clients as possible, we cannot literally step into your brain to know exactly what you want to see.
Start Collecting Your Images and Videos
In a perfect world, each service would have 2-3 smile gallery images to support your written content. Use this as a guide, not a rule, though. You can skip root canals or fluoride treatments, but make sure you have a lot of non-clinical before and after images, especially for your elective procedures. Get the patients natural smile, even if you crop it just to focus on their mouth. Stay away from cheek spreaders!
You should also include an overview video for each service. It can be short, a minute or so will do. But this will give you a chance to explain, in your own words, what patients can expect from your practice when they choose you as their dentist.
Feeling nervous about filming? If you imbibe, take a shot or have a nice glass of wine to relax enough. But avoid that second (or third) round, we don't want you too relaxed. And let someone else give you feedback after your first video or two. It's easy to not like it because you feel awkward seeing or hearing yourself, but it may be a great video for your website. If you're working with us, you can send the video over to your project manager for a second opinion. We see enough dental videos to give you constructive feedback.
Whichever dental website and marketing company you end up choosing, you should feel supported by the team working on your project with you. Follow their guidance, do your homework to meet the deadlines, and ask questions or for more clarification if you still aren't sure what you need to do.
We have worked with hundreds of dental startups to create their first website. Our consultants and project managers can walk you through your options and the steps involved to create a website that not only represents your practice, but one that you can be proud to show off. Contact us to learn more about your plans.