11 Reasons Dentists Need a Mobile-Friendly Website NOW

How Does Your Dental Practice Website Look on a Mobile Phone or Tablet?


If you’re like most dentists – most small businesses really – then your mobile web presence sucks.

No sugar-coating it and no need for alarming stats that don’t necessarily correlate with the dental industry or poll dental patients, on the search, specifically.

That would be a disservice to you, and I’d be downright lying.

The mobile stat fact that matters most, from which you can deduce more important patient discovery & acquisition questions, is that MOST of us own a mobile phone (tablets are close) these days.

  • 58% of American Adults Own a Smartphone
  • Learn it. Live it. Know it.

Dentist Need to Learn Love & Live Mobile for More New Patients
So does this naturally tell us that our most preferred method for accessing the Internet will eventually be from our mobile smartphone…or tablet…or phablet, iWatch, Google Glass…or whatever other personal electronic thingy becomes part of our daily dress?

(don’t take that name, I’ve already trademarked P.E.T.)

Since we’re a convenience craving bunch, I’d bet the house on a firm yes – but let’s rely on some science, math, & sociology instead.

According to this comScore graph sourced via Morgan Stanley, mobile usage surpassed desktop some time late in 2013 or early in 2014.


Dentists Need a Mobile-Friendly Presence


11 Reasons Dentists Need a Mobile-Friendly Website Now


A mobile presence for dentists (or any business) basically come in 3 forms: mobile websites, mobile apps, & responsive dental websites.

You can read more about the differences and advantages to each on this post, but for now we’ll examine the reasons why if you’re website isn’t already mobile-friendly, then you’re way behind the eight ball.

Expect gratuitous expansion on ’em in a bit, but here’s what we came up with – in no specific order of importance:

  1. First Impressions Matter
  2. Most Dental Patients Have Mobile Phones
  3. We Access the Internet On the Go
  4. Better Patient Experience
  5. Google Ranking Factor
  6. Mobile Goes with Social & Local
  7. Patients Expect It
  8. You’ll Get More Reviews…Maybe
  9. More Appointment Requests
  10. Mobile Ads Cost Less
  11. If You’re Not First, You’re Last

11 Reasons Dentists Need a Mobile-Friendly Website NOW

1. Mobile May Be Your First Impression


And we’re not talking that type of impression!

You know what they say about first impressions…with more and more of us using our mobile phones to search for local goods & services – even dentists – and if first impressions matter, then that’s a pretty good reason for your dental practice to have an up to date mobile-friendly web presence in 2015.

If you don’t like that conditional assumption, backed up by facts like this, then put yourself in your patient’s shoes.

Google found that 4 out of 5 people surveyed used search engines to conduct local searches. 88% used smartphones and 84% used a computer or tablet.

Most patients accessing your website from their mobile phone aren’t interested in learning how a crown procedure is performed, or what type of hardware you use in your dental implants.

They want to call your office, they want driving directions to your office, they want to see what others say about your office, they want to login to pay a bill, refer a friend, or schedule an appointment…

Having a mobile first philosophy for your dental website takes these on-the-go desires into consideration.


2. Everyone Is Doing It


Isn’t everyone on the planet, or at least within the local zips, a dental patient?

Unless your dental practice prefers to only treat the decreasing segment of the population of the planet that does not own or use a mobile phone to access the Internet, then you best get going mobile or remain that ultra-specialized-if-not-archaic dentist.

And forgive the grammar, but it don’t matter if you’re in Westwood or West Bumblef**k – your dental practice needs a mobile-friendly presence.

As we can see in the graph image above, most of the world now accesses the Internet from a mobile device more so than from a desktop computer.

That’s most of the world – not just most of the affluent zip codes your dental practice is dying to reach with that  outdated (and incredibly expensive) form of new patient acquisition – direct mail.

Forgive me, yes direct mail does have some merits for practices that are fat from suckling the low-hanging fruit.

I am just biased to cost-effective sustainable new patient acquisition methods like mobile click-to-call ads.


3. The Internet Is Everywhere


With free wi-fi access available at Starbucks and even whole towns – like Encinitas here in Southern California – those of us with mobile phones (most of us) or tablets are just a search away from running smack dab into some dentist’s pitiful mobile website.

Picture this; a recently relocated young woman is sitting on a park bench watching her kids at the playground.

Said Ms. Young Mom notices while drinking her triple-dip half-skim no-foam low-fat quintuple-shot latte that her teeth have become sensitive to all that sugar and heat.

At that instance Ms. Mom suddenly realizes that she has not seen a dentist since she moved to town…nor has her entire family.

So yes while of course the search could begin at her insurers website – we’ll give you that one – it very well could end up on your website.

Do you think once people find dentists that accept their insurance, that they go searching elsewhere online to see – where you’re located, what your hours are, your practice focus, if you accept kids, what your patients say, how up to date & modern your digital (& mobile) practice identity looks…

Which leads us to number four.


4. Give Your Patients A Better Experience


We won’t even get into actually having a mobile app for your dental practice – that would LIVE in your patient’s phones complete with appointment reminders, review requests, referral prompts… – we’ll just concentrate on a mobile-friendly experience for your patients, and prospective patients.

In this digital age of convenience, we want what we want and we want it now.

An up to date mobile-friendly website for dentists can help by:

  • Easily allowing patients to press a “click to call” button to call your office – instead of dialing…after looking up your number.
  • Reducing the pinch & expand effect we all find so frustrating with sites that are not mobile-friendly.
  • Easily finding directions to your office in just one click – or touch.
  • Even allowing patients to pay their bill with their mobile phone!

You’re a professional in your community, and you’re a doctor; get a mobile-friendly experience to your patients and prospective patients…or some other local dentist will.


5. Your Website Will Rank Better


Mobile is now a ranking signal, but don’t just take our word for it. Listen to what Google says directly in this announcement back in February of 2015:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

To test if your website is mobile-friendly, try this :30 Google test.

What does that mean for Bing, Yahoo, Dogpile, DuckDuckGo, Ask & every other search engine in existence?

It means get your dental practice website mobile-friendly by April 21st of 2015 or you will suffer a drop in rankings to local competitors who do have an up to date mobile presence.

End of story – and bonus points if you get your dental website fit with a SSL certificate too, as that is an additional ranking factor.


6. Dentists Need SoLoMo to Remain Relevant


For dentists SoLoMo means social, local, mobile: as in an engaging communicative social media presence, a widespread (consistent, correctly formatted & optimized) local search visibility footprint, & an updated mobile web presence.

A mobile-friendly dental website goes so nicely with social media & local search – as does a mobile app even more so.

As we’ve already heard from the experts, when most of us have the devices and look for things close to us, eventually this is all going to come together.

  • You want patients to easily find your office on a simple mobile search. (local & mobile)
  • You want patients to refer your dental practice. (social & mobile)
  • You want patients to review your dental practice. (social, local, & mobile)

When patients can do all of this (and more…apps…) from the convenience of their mobile phones or tablets, that is the confluence of the SoLoMo concept as it applies to dentists.


7. Dentists Need to Go Mobile Because Patients Expect It


Whether you like it or not, dentists are in the service business.

It doesn’t matter if you avoid those denture adjustment or TMJ Vicodin seeking patients like the plague, your existing patients expect their dentists, doctors, attorneys, accountants, plumbers, roofers, house cleaners, landscapers, and other local professionals to have an updated mobile-friendly website.

In fact, more and more we all demand it.

As consumers we demand a more seamless, convenient shopping and purchasing experience no matter what the product or service in question is.

And if those that we currently do business with fail to adequately value their customers by constantly improving this seamlessness convenience, we (as consumers) will seek life elsewhere.

If you don’t give patients – especially prospective patients you haven’t yet had the opportunity to woo with your dazzling dental health care experience  – a modern, easily navigable mobile-friendly presence, they will take their business to another local dentist that gets it.

And if you know all this already but you just can’t take the incessant hounding from your existing dental website company, then find another solution!


8. Get More Reviews


Here’s another scenario for you, say you have a patient just leaving the office after getting her shiny new smile whitened & brightened – we’ll call her Sally for no other reason than that’s the first name that popped in my head.

Sally is feeling ultra-confident and proud of her new smile, and she wants people to know!

Immediately (or a few hours) after leaving your office Sally gets an email asking if everything was satisfactory with her appointment & whitening procedure.

Along with the inquiry, Sally also sees a way to rate & review your dental practice – on your website, on Google, on Healthgrades, on Yelp…etc. (not just some software platform that the public doesn’t see)

The question is, will Sally go ahead and leave you a gleaming review – or will she choose not to?

To review or to not review, the $64,000 dental patient question all dentists have the answer to…

Here’s the kicker, it doesn’t matter if Sally does or doesn’t review your office – of course you’d like a response in the affirmative, but let’s examine why it doesn’t matter.

Because you gave Sally the choice, and afforded her the convenience of doing so right from the mobile device that doesn’t leave her side from morning to night through to morning.

Furthermore you gave her the choice of writing a review from her mobile phone OR her desktop, laptop, tablet, Apple Watch, Samsung timepiece…etc.

But what happens if say before even starting her call in your office parking lot, she tries to write a review from her phone and she gets your poorly formatted mobile not-so-friendly website?

Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Sally doesn’t leave a review because it’s not easy or convenient for her to do so on your outdated website.

Are we noticing the convenience theme here throughout many of these reasons dentists need to go mobile with their digital identity?


9. Get More New Patient Calls


If you (or prospective new patients) go mobile on the search for a local dentist and want to call an office, which one of these methods would you rather do?

  1. fill out a contact form
  2. manually dial (after remembering) a phone number
  3. simply tap the phone number to actually place the call

And if you are like the rest of us, you’d probably rather be able to just touch the phone number staring you in the face on your mobile phone to make the call.

Back to the convenience thing.

Click to call, touch to call, tap to call…no matter what you call it, the future is now. Poorly formatted dental websites that are not mobile-friendly offer no such convenience.

Another IF…your practice is running ads, are the visitors that click your ads landing on a mobile-friendly website?


10. Mobile Ads Cost Less


Which brings us back to quite the game-changing tactic with the digital dental marketing for new patients crowd – mobile click-to-call ads.

OK, it’s really not that game-changing anymore…everyone is doing it, just like everyone wants the convenience of interacting with a mobile-friendly website whenever they want to buy something, or call their dentist.

Here’s the best part, on average mobile ads cost less than desktop ads – but don’t take our word for it. Check out this CNN article from October of last year, and this one about Facebook ads on mobile from earlier in 2014.


3 Reasons Why Mobile Click To Call Ads Will Get Dentists More New Patients


People searching on a mobile phone or tablet are searching for a dentist (or Cosmetic, Implant, Invisalign…etc.) NOW…they’re just one click away from calling your office…but that’s just hearsay.

  1. Mobile clicks cost significantly less than desktop clicks – about 30-40% less on average.
  2. 76 percent of mobile searchers would call to make an appointment.
  3. 70% of mobile searchers click-to-call a business directly from Google’s search results.

Sources: Mobile Click-to-Call Ads on Google


11. Reduce. Reactivate. Review.


Dentists that adapt a mobile-first strategy will reap the benefits of reduced patient attrition, increased reactivation percentages, and amplified digital word of mouth.

Mobile-first, as it’s applied to dental websites, basically means giving the user (patients & prospective patients) a convenient, easy experience on a mobile device that is completely different from the experience they’d have on your desktop site.

When you the convenience of your patients first, you’ll never be last.

  • Did you know that over 1/2 of local searches take place on a mobile device? (Source: SearchEngineLand)
  • How about 25% percent of Americans that use only mobile devices to access the Internet? (Source: GoMoNews.com)

Now what IF, one day soon…mobile phones become the primary way by which most of us access the Internet?

Will your dental practice be in a position to reap those rewards, or will you continue to watch gross production drop month after month after year after which you’ll be saying hello lock, stock & barrel sale to those dreaded DSOs…?


Mobile Websites, Responsive Sites, & Mobile Apps for Dentists

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+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.