4 Steps to Better Patient Communication Through Technology

Technology is evolving at lightning speed, and your dental practice must change with the times. You’re probably already using new dental technologies, such as 3-D scanning or laser surgery, but are you leveraging new technology to improve your communication with patients? Here are 4 simple steps you can take beyond setting up a website and social media pages.

Online Appointment Scheduling

In general, people are moving from calling or visiting companies to conducting business online. Obviously, there is no such thing as online dentistry. But why force patients to move offline altogether to handle the business aspects of their visit? A stunning 77 percent of patients are looking for the ability to book, change, and cancel their appointments online.

Online appointment scheduling can help increase patient buy-in by giving them a sense of control. It also lets them book at their convenience rather than having to call during office hours. It can even convince a nervous or hesitant patient to go ahead and book, rather than giving her the chance to talk herself out of making the call.

Online scheduling also helps to keep costs down, since your staff is freed from spending extensive time on the phone making, changing, and cancelling appointments. You can still provide a personal touch by sending out confirmation emails, texts, or phone calls. You can also give patients the option to call if desired.

Automated Appointment Reminders

People today are busier than ever, and it is easy to forget about an upcoming dental appointment. Take advantage of technology by sending out automated appointment reminders by text, email, or phone. It is easy to customize these communications to each patient, and even include a link to the page on your website where you explain the procedure the patient will have to follow. Your patients will feel valued, and you will likely see a decrease in no-show rates.

Provide Visuals

Communication is essential inside your office as well. Digital radiography and 3-D scanning technologies have numerous benefits, but one you might not have thought of is the ability to help you educate patients on their diagnosis and treatment options. People learn in different ways, and providing a visual image can not only help visual learners understand their condition, it can also spark a conversation with those whose learning style is more auditory.

Gain Feedback

Your former and current patients are a highly valuable resource that can help you discover what you are doing right and what needs to be tweaked. Sending out surveys by email or text message is an easy way to encourage patients to provide this essential feedback. You can send the exact same survey to every patient, or tailor it according to the patient’s demographics and the procedure(s) that he or she had done.

Technology is revolutionizing modern dentistry, but many dental practices are not yet maximizing its capacity to improve human communication. With a bit of effort, you can deepen two-way communication with your patients to create a better experience for everyone.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

How to Build Links on Your Dental Practice Website

If you have even a basic understanding of SEO (search engine optimization), you are probably aware of the importance of inbound links from credible, authoritative websites. What might be less clear, though, is how to obtain those links. Here are a few suggestions for building links on your dental practice website.

Create Shareable Content

You will never get links if there is nothing to link to. Your first step is to develop unique, interesting, shareable content. Talk about new techniques. Discuss the steps for common procedures such as fillings and root canals. Compare and contrast different treatments for the same issue, such as braces vs. aligners or veneers vs. dental bonding. Help people solve common problems by giving information about toothaches, options to replace a missing tooth, and how to properly brush and floss. Make sure you follow best practices for including an image and targeting relevant keyword phrases.

Tap Your Network

Do you refer patients to certain specialists, such as an oral surgeon or an orthodontist? Ask those professionals if they would be interested in trading links. Also contact your dental supply and equipment companies with the same question. Everyone in your network is (or should be) working on their own website SEO, so trading links is a win-win.

Conduct Backlink Analysis

Find out where your competitors are getting their links, and then reach out to the same or similar websites to request links. If you provide strong, fresh, regularly updated content on your website, trading links with you can be valuable to other companies as well.

Join Directories and Third Party Review Sites

List your website with your Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, and other local sites. Also search for professional dental organizations and directories that accept free listings. Be careful about paying for directory listings, as many do not drive enough traffic to be worth the cost.

Also establish a presence on popular third party review sites such as Yelp. Ask your patients to write quick reviews on your chosen sites, and be sure to respond quickly to all reviews, comments, and questions.

Guest Blog

Guest blogging for high-traffic websites is an excellent way to quickly generate links while simultaneously introducing your brand to a wider audience. Make sure you choose websites where you will add real value, such as dental sites. You can also angle your writing to sites that don’t seem relevant at first glance. For example, dentistry and sports have little in common, unless you write an article on common sports injuries to the teeth and oral structures. Make sure to build a link to your website into your article unless your chosen site has a different protocol.

Create Press Releases

A press release typically contains a link to your website, plus press releases are often picked up by local, regional, and even national news outlets, all of which are potential sources for additional links. Whether you are offering a limited-time promotion or just acquired a new piece of technology, there is always something newsworthy going on.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Tracking Your Dental Practice Website: Why and How

You probably already know that a strong, credible website full of high-quality content is essential to growing your dental practice. What you might not know, though, is how incredibly important it is to track your website’s performance, or how to go about doing that tracking. Here is what you should know.

Why Do I Need Tracking?

Tracking performance is the only way to understand what is working on your website and what still needs tweaking. Without tracking, you might get only a small trickle of new patients and have no idea why. Or you might suddenly get a flood of new patients, but have no idea how to replicate your success. Website tracking lets you monitor the performance of different content pages, promotions, and advertising campaigns over time to enhance your ROI—the return on your investment of time and money.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is arguably the very best way to track your website’s performance. You can drill down to specifics that let you optimize your website to maximize its success. Here are a few things to pay attention to in Google Analytics:

Website Visitors: One of the most basic but most important statistics is how many new and returning website visitors you have. If this number is low, you will need to find a way to drive more traffic to your site.

Page Views: Learning which pages receive the most views helps you narrow down what your visitors most want to see.

Traffic Sources: Understanding how website visitors got to your site helps you identify where to focus your marketing efforts. Direct traffic refers to the users who physically typed in your website domain. Referral traffic represents users who came via a link from another website. Other traffic sources are social networks and search engines.

Keywords: Learning which keyword phrases people used to find your website can help you optimize underperforming pages by including similar keyword phrases on them.

Conversions: Conversions are the website visitors who actually take action such as making an appointment or filling out a contact form. Ideally, you will have a high percentage of conversions compared to your total number of website visitors.

Average Session Duration: This lets you know how long the average visitor spends on your site. A longer average session duration means that visitors find your site engaging and helpful.

Bounce Rate: The bounce rate tells you what percentage of people arrive on a particular page of your site and then leave immediately. A high bounce rate on a page with basic information such as your phone number makes sense, but a high bounce rate on a page filled with content could indicate a technical issue.

Phone Call Analytics

Many people prefer to call to make a dentist appointment rather than handling it online or walking in without an appointment. Therefore, it is helpful to add phone call tracking to your website. This lets you know when a patient calls you based on your website. You can then add phone call conversions to your website conversions to get a better understanding of how many website visitors actually take action after viewing your site.

Ask New Patients for Information

An old-fashioned but highly effective way to track your patients is to simply ask them how they got to you. Consider adding a short section to your new patient paperwork that asks simply how the patient heard about your practice and whether he or she visited your website.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.