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Inside Dentistry

November 2013, Volume 9, Issue 11
Published by AEGIS Communications


The Mobile-Friendly Dental Practice

3 reasons your website should be optimized for mobile devices

Diana P. Friedman, MA, MBA

As of June 2013, 56% of American adults owned a smartphone.1 As these powerful devices increasingly make their way into the pockets of your existing and potential patients, it’s a business imperative that your website deliver the experience these users expect.

A strong mobile presence helps you get in front of prospective patients at the moment they’re looking for your business. On the other hand, if your site doesn’t look good or function properly on a smartphone, it won’t take long for patients to move on to one that does.

Not sure if mobile is important to your practice? Here are three reasons you could be missing the boat—and missing easy opportunities to attract new patients to your practice.

1. Mobile is where your patients are. Many of your patients probably use the mobile web—87% of smartphone users access the Internet using their phones.2 Mobile web usage has exploded over the past few years and many industry experts project that mobile Internet usage will exceed desktop internet usage by 2014.3

With so many of your patients “going mobile” these days, it’s important to make sure they can quickly and easily access your site on their devices.

2. Patients use mobile devices to research and make buying decisions. More people are using the mobile web to research and buy goods and services. Of smartphone users, 92% seek local information on their device, and 89% have taken action after looking up local content.4 More significantly for your practice, 52% of smartphone owners have used their phones to search for health information.5

Without a mobile-optimized site, your practice will have a harder time driving new and repeat appointments from the mobile web. Mobile shoppers are more likely to buy something if the company’s site is optimized for mobile, and are more likely to return to a site in the future if their mobile experience is good.6

3. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you may be frustrating current patients and driving away new ones. Mobile users now expect any brand they engage with to have a mobile-optimized site. More than half of mobile users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.7

If smartphone users reach a site and see that it’s not optimized for mobile, what will they do? They might leave—74% of mobile users are only willing to wait 5 seconds or less for a single web page to load before leaving the site.7 Or worse, they might visit a competitor’s site—61% of customers who visit a website that isn’t mobile-friendly will leave to visit a competitor.6

The bottom line is that not having a mobile-optimized site can hurt your relationships with current patients, and drive away prospective ones.

Taking the Next Step

The mobile web is where many of your patients are, and where they go to find and research your practice. Optimizing your website for mobile will help you best capitalize on the mobile web as a tool for building and strengthening relationships with patients. How does one accomplish that?

The key to an optimized site is responsive design. If your practice website is created using responsive design, it will adapt automatically to whatever screen size a patient is using—whether that be a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. When choosing a company to help market your practice and create a web presence to attract and retain patients, make sure they are experts with responsive design and work only with the dental industry. By taking that step, your efforts to create a mobile-friendly dental practice will pay off.

References

1. Smith A. Pew Smartphone Ownership—2013 Update. Pew Internet website. www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Smartphone-Ownership-2013/Findings.aspx. June 5, 2013. Accessed September 26, 2013.

2. Smith A. Smartphone Adoption and Usage. Pew Internet website. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones/Section-2.aspx . June 11, 2011. Accessed September 26, 2013.

3. Mobile Commerce and Engagement Stats. Digby website. www.digby.com/mobile-statistics. Accessed March 07, 2013.

4. Sterling G. Google: 1 Billion People Will Use Mobile as Primary Internet Access Point in 2012. Search Engine Land website. http://searchengineland.com/google-95-percent-of-us-smartphone-owners-use-search-113017. February 27, 2012. Accessed March 07, 2013.

5. Fox S. Mobile Health 2012. Pew Internet website. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Mobile-Health.aspx. November 8, 2012. Accessed on March 07, 2013.

6. Mobile-friendly sites turn visitors into customers. Google Mobile Ads Blog website. http://googlemobileads.blogspot.com/2012/09/mobile-friendly-sites-turn-visitors.html. September 25, 2012. Accessed March 07, 2013.

7. New Study Reveals the Mobile Web Disappoints Global Consumers. Compuware website. www.compuware.com/d/release/592528/new-study-reveals-the-mobile-web-disappoints-global-consumers. May 7, 2012. Accessed March 07, 2013.

About the Author

Diana P. Friedman, MA, MBA is president and chief executive officer of Sesame Communications. She has a 20-year success track record in leading dental innovation and marketing. Throughout her career, Friedman served as a recognized practice management consultant, author, and speaker. She holds an MA in Sociology and an MBA from Arizona State University.


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