Articles, Dentistry

The dangers of being left behind

Following on from my previous article on the dangers of being left behind, I thought it would be helpful to seek advice from someone with expertise in helping people get to grips with the digital world. Charles Southey, operations director at Digital Results, has successfully devised countless digital strategies that have resulted in his clients winning substantially more business.

I asked his opinion on why it is so important for businesses to devise and maintain an effective ‘digital strategy’.

Charles, in your opinion, why does a dental practice need a digital strategy?

A well-thought-out digital strategy is essential for any business, including dental practices. The internet should be your primary provider of new business (excluding recommendations) and if it’s not, one of your competitors is taking advantage of your underperformance. A digital strategy is created by considering simple questions such as: ‘Who are your ideal customers?’ and ‘How many of these customers would you like to attract each month?’ followed by questions like: ‘How can we reach these customers?’ and ‘What actions need to be taken to achieve our goals?’

What are the dangers of not having a digital strategy?

It’s quite simple really. A poor or non-existent digital strategy will cause new patient sign-ups to diminish. If you don’t act, your competitors will prosper from your neglect.

What is the most important element of an effective digital strategy?

With every digital strategy I put together I start with the question: ‘Is your website designed effectively?’ If the answer is no, then a big part of the digital strategy must be to rectify this. Your website must attract the attention of your desired patients – if you’re targeting Bond Street dwellers you better make sure your website looks like Gucci, not Primark. It must be accessible from all devices – more than 50% of web traffic is now via mobile devices like iPhones, so you better make sure your website is responsively designed.

Alongside the importance of an effective website is marketing implementation, tracking, analysis and constant iteration. However, none of this is useful when you’re working with a poorly-designed website.

What is exciting currently in the digital world that could be applied to the dental practice business model?

Highly targeted marketing. Once upon a time one would devise a marketing campaign to target every man and his dog. With the advent of new technology and techniques we can now seek out much smaller, more targeted groups of prospective customers and reach them in a far more effective manner. We focus on prospect nurturing and we get much more excited by quality rather than quantity. We’re seeing conversion rates of more than 50% rather than less than 2%. I’ve even seen marketing campaigns devised to reach a single person. You might think that’s ridiculous but think about what signing up your ideal customer would mean to your business and work out what you’d be prepared to do in order to get them – a marketing campaign configured around them might not be as difficult as you think.

For more information regarding your website and how it can transform your business call Digital Results, a company specialising in designing and developing websites and digital strategies for dental practices and companies by email: charles@digital-results.com, phone: 01920 444 797, web: www.digital-results.com and twitter: @csouthey.

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