We periodically get these emails from dentists like the one we got this morning:
“What I read on dental forums indicates that I should be getting 30-40 NP per month from website. I think I am now getting 8-10 NP a month. Would really love to know if my website could be improved so I can see some growth!”
The dentist who asked this question already has a good professional website, so aside from small improvements, there really isn’t anything that warrants a major overhaul of their website. So we decided to address the main issue: can a practice realistically expect their website to consistently bring a specified number of patients per month? Can a marketing company that sells websites even make such projections?
Our response: dental marketing companies often make exaggerated promises and false guarantees because they try to sell products. Many marketing companies even offer different website & SEO packages: a Basic plan promising X number of patients per month and a Premium plan promising Y number of patients. So it appears like the more you pay the more patients you will get, guaranteed. In reality, however, things are not that simple. Marketing is nonlinear and often the cheapest strategies bring more patients than more expensive ones. There are just too many factors at play here, many of which are random or driven by external circumstances, so marketing companies really should not make these types of misleading projections. They might be able to predict how many leads a website will bring, but they cannot predict how many of these leads will convert into patients for your specific practice.
We want our customers to have realistic expectations, so we strive to be honest and avoid making promises that cannot be guaranteed. So in our honest professional opinion, every dental office needs a high-quality website because professional online presence is a necessity these days. However, no marketing company can reliably guarantee a specific number of patients that their website will bring. Marketing has to be approached in a holistic manner and there should be other marketing channels in place that will attract prospective patients before they land on your website. It’s nearly impossible to accurately track how many patients get converted solely by the website. It’s possible to track leads from a website (such as calls or email inquiries). But not all of these leads will convert into patients, and not all patients who are converted by your website will necessarily contact your office from your website.
A website is a necessary but rather passive marketing component that provides information about your office, highlights your value, and makes it easy for patients to contact you, but it only helps convert those patients that already arrive to your website through your other marketing channels. Organic rankings on Google might help, but they are too unreliable to accurately predict the number of patients you can get per month. So while improving a broken or outdated website is necessary, improving an already well-built website is unlikely to make a big difference in patient conversions.
If your goal is to build your professional online brand and improve your patient experience – by all means, improve your website! But if your goal is to get a specific number of patients per month, try other marketing efforts such as advertising, social media marketing, direct mail, ground marketing, and others.
You should have realistic expectations and not rely on your website to bring a specific number of patients per month. Rather, you should diversify your marketing strategies and try new marketing channels in order to grow your practice. In addition, try to identify which aspects of your existing practice can be improved in order to increase the number of patients you get. For example, you may need to add extended hours to attract working patients, or to add unique procedures, or to train your front desk to be more helpful and to convert more patients over the phone.