Using Your Practice Website as Advertising
Your website is the center of your practice marketing plan, and all of your other marketing efforts should direct people to your website. Your website should be a comprehensive resource for information about
your practice. Both current and prospective clients or patients will view your website, so the information provided must reflect this diverse audience. A practice website is an essential part of both your
internal and external marketing plans.
The differences between a website and traditional advertising all favor the website. You have greater flexibility, and you can use as much space as you need to present yourself, your credentials, and your practice
to the world. Instead of choosing to present a general overview of your services, or to highlight one specific service, a website allows you to do both. With a website, you can effectively differentiate yourself
from other practitioners, and attract clients/patients who are looking for your specific services. A website is also easy to modify, so the information is always up to date. And, even with all of these
advantages, a website is the most affordable way to advertise.
Your website can educate potential clients/patients about the value of your professional services, and the importance of choosing a qualified professional. But, don’t rely on your website as your only
marketing resource! A website should be used in conjunction with other forms of advertising. Your website can expand on the information provided through other advertising, and can even reduce your total
advertising budget. Combining a website with traditional practice marketing maximizes the impact of your marketing program.
People who use the Internet regularly almost always use the Internet as their first option for finding information. More than 35% of US households have at least one computer, and perhaps twice that number have
access to a computer at work. In large metropolitan areas, these numbers are much higher. The Internet has become the major reference and research tool. Your referral sources also have access to the Internet, and they will use the information you provide on your website to determine who they will send to your practice.
Your website can provide information about your credentials, your experience, and the services you offer in your practice, so that anyone can access this information at any time. Your website should be
designed to encourage people to contact you after they have reviewed the information online. In a nutshell, your website is a very powerful marketing tool. It is also the least expensive form of advertising for your practice.
Using Your Website for Networking
Your website is an excellent tool for networking with colleagues, and with allied professionals who also provide services to your clients/patients.
When you meet with other professionals for lunch to discuss your services, do they take notes about your practice? Of course not! Place your website address on your business card, letterhead, practice
brochure, and any other information you provide to other professionals and potential referral sources. This directs them, and the prospective
clients/patients they refer, to the most complete source of information about your practice - your website. Months later, your contacts can check
your website to verify whether you provide a specific service. Your website is the most convenient way for anyone to learn about your practice, and it
also serves as a referral aid for other professionals. Unlike brochures and other “hard copy” resources, your website is easily revised, and always provides current information about your practice.
When you have a client/patient who needs additional services from other professionals, you can review their websites, and easily locate someone
who offers the service you want for your client/patient. Without access to practice websites, you might spend hours networking on the telephone to
find another professional, and you might not make the effort. Likewise, if you highlight your services on your website, you will assist other
professionals who need to refer their clients/patients for the additional services you provide. Your website will help other professionals locate you when they need to make a referral for the services you offer.
Combining Your Website with Traditional Advertising
A website has many advantages over traditional advertising, but your website should not completely replace other advertising. Your practice
website should be used in conjunction with traditional advertising, to improve the overall effectiveness of a coordinated marketing campaign. Your website address should be prominently displayed on all of your
advertising materials - Yellow Pages ad, practice brochures, business cards, letterhead, Newsletter, mailers, handouts, etc. But, you can usually
reduce the size, and the cost, of your other advertising by directing people to your website.
Potential clients/patients who review your hardcopy advertising will also browse your website when they are seriously interested in your services.
By directing people to your website, you provide more information, while reducing your overall advertising costs. As an example, consider your
Yellow Pages ad. You can reduce the size of your ad, but emphasize your website address in the ad. This approach can yield better results than a larger ad without the website address.
Your practice website brings together all of your marketing efforts.
Do you use a Practice Brochure to highlight your services? The brochure describes your practice in general terms, but is very limited in space.
Include your website address in all brochures. Your website can provide expanded information on the topics discussed in the brochure, and also
connect people to other services you provide, that were not listed in the brochure.
Do you give workshops in your community? If you do, always distribute handouts with information about the workshop topic, and always include
your website address on the handout. Your website can provide additional information on the topic, plus other information about services in related areas.
Have you ever advertised in the local newspaper? This is a good way to build name recognition in your community, but the ads are too expensive
to include much information. And, you need to repeat the ad at regular intervals to be effective. Instead, consider placing a small newspaper
announcement about your website. The ad will direct people to your website, and the website can fully explain your services.
Many professionals use a Newsletter to market their practice. A Newsletter may inform current clients/patients about new or additional services, or it
may serve to educate the community about your services. In either case, your website can increase its effectiveness while reducing costs. Consider
placing the Newsletter online, and send postcards to your mailing list to alert them to each new online edition. Or, use your website to create a
mailing list of interested community residents, and send the Newsletter to current or prospective clients by combining e-mail and your website.
As you can see, the marketing possibilities for your website are endless. Your website should be a vital part of your practice marketing campaign,
and should be designed to work with traditional advertising already in place, in order to maximize its effectiveness. If you do not currently have a
marketing plan, your website can easily become the cornerstone of an inexpensive, yet effective practice marketing plan. In either case, the value
of a practice website, combined with its reasonable cost, makes a website essential to every successful practice.
Internet Practice Solutions is dedicated to helping you design, develop and launch your practice website. Once you are online, we will manage your
website, register the site with the major search engines, list your practice in the Directory for your profession, help to coordinate your online and
traditional marketing, and assist you with all of your Internet consulting needs.
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