Do You Really Need A Website For Your Dental Practice?

Is Social Media Better Than Having A Website?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at which is better for the growth of your dental clinic: a business website (that you own) or a social media page.

Now when I say a “website that you own”, what I mean is something that you physically own, that you have built or have had someone else build, and is held on your own hosting account.

I don’t mean having a website on Squarespace, WIX, GoDaddy’s Page Builder, Weebly, or any of those other Do-It-Yourself services.

When I say you own it I mean you:

  • Physically have a professionally-built website
  • Subscribed to a hosting account
  • Own a domain name that points to that hosting account
  • Have a website in that hosting space

Now some of the people reading this article may get confused with what exactly the difference is between hosting, domains, and websites, and that’s completely normal.

Not a lot of dental professionals know the ins and outs of web jargon and it’s ok not to have much knowledge on the subject. So before we get into what’s better, social media or a website, I’ll do my best to break down the terms for you.

What Is A Domain Name?

Think of a domain name as the address to your house, when you ask people to visit you for the first time, you most likely start with “We live at 59 Decker Drive, it’s the house at the end of the street with the big bush”.

You’ve described your property, but not before providing a physical address. On the web, your domain name is equivalent to the address of your house.

It’s the “www.yourdentalpracticename.com” link you provide to your patients so they can visit your website.

What Is Hosting?

Let’s move on to hosting, hosting is the equivalent to the piece of land that you build your house on. Without a piece of land, you would be able to have a house, would you?

What Is A Website?

So if your domain name is the address, and your hosting is the piece of land, that would mean your website is the house itself.

A house can be built to any size, and have as many rooms (or pages) as you need. The paint, pictures, and furniture are the equivalents of the design, images, and text of your website.

So now that we’ve sorted out terminology…

Is It Better To Own Your Own Website?

The reason why I say having your own website rather than a SquareSpace, Weebly, a Wix, or a GoDaddy page builder site is because there are so many marketing channels available and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. These companies do a great job of marketing how and it’s easy it is to get you online.

The problem with all of these big marketing companies is that you’re essentially promoting them. So your data is stored on their servers and they can change their terms of service at any time.

As an example, if you are on Squarespace and they change their terms of service and you don’t like the changes because it may affect your business, or customers, or privacy, you can’t take that data with you if you go somewhere else. They make it incredibly difficult to package up your website and go somewhere else.

The reason these companies make it so very hard for you to take that data with you is simply that they don’t make money if you leave.

Is Social Media Bad For Dentist Clinics?

It’s easy to think that social media platforms are a great way to get online quickly and inexpensively, and they absolutely are, but each social media platform has its own terms of service, and as anyone knows, Facebook is constantly changing its terms and there is not a darn thing we can do about it.

You see, these social media companies sell advertising dollars to businesses and corporations, and the longer they can keep you on the platform, the more advertising dollars they make.

The reason why most businesses advertise on Facebook and other social channels is because social companies have literally become the experts at tracking everything you do. They track you, mine the data, and then use it to predict what you will look at so they can continually feed you ads on things you’ll find interesting.

All of the time, they’re also buying up other properties like Instagram, and then the terms of service of Facebook trickle over to Instagram, or they set new terms of service with this acquisition.

So, yes, 100% it’s an easy way to get online and build a following, but the problem with this is you don’t own your customer data.

Side Note! If you’re interested in learning more about advertising on Facebook & other socials, I highly recommend checking out this free guide “12 Facebook Dynamic Ads Best Practices: The Winning Formula for DPAs” from our friends over at Hunch (the automated creative production and media buying platform that empowers brands and agencies to grow on paid social).

What’s The Best Way To Market Your Dental Practice Online?

So let’s say, hypothetically, you don’t have a website and instead, you put your dental practice business on Facebook. You have a lovely group or a Facebook business page but you have no website, Facebook is the only page you’re using and you have a thousand followers.

After a few years of growing a big following and gaining a lot of attention, Facebook suddenly changes its terms of service. They decide that businesses need to start paying for their pages.

At this point, you can choose to pay Facebook, or you can decide that you don’t want to give Facebook money, so you decide to go away and build a website and get away from Facebook.

Well here’s the tricky thing about that, how are you going to take those followers with you?

You’re aware of who your followers are, but you don’t have their actual contact details, and you don’t have access to their email. With Facebook, or any social media, you don’t get access to your followers’ phone numbers and you don’t get access to that database full of information about your followers either. Facebook owns all of that data and they certainly aren’t going to give you a copy. That wouldn’t be beneficial to THEIR business.

Heck, even if you decided to send out a post to your followers asking for them to follow you, only a small percentage of people will actually have it show in their feed (because social media doesn’t show your posts to all of your followers without paying for promotion). Organic Facebook reach is down to 5.2%! Plus many of your followers probably won’t come along for the journey because going somewhere new is a royal pain in the ass.

This is why having a website is so important because when you have a website on your own server, you 100% control the message that is getting out to your subscribers, your followers, your clients, your fanbase. Whoever it is, you control that message.

If you’re relying on social media and they change their terms of service, if they change anything in the way they work, if they change anything at all… you’re losing that database of people.

Even with a Facebook business page, if you have 100 people following your business page and you put out a message and they haven’t clicked that button that says see your message first, they might never see your message at all.

Unfortunately, this is something that is happening now, even the people that are following you aren’t seeing your messages or posts because Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels want you to pay the ad fees or the boast post fees for people to see your message.

To get you in front of your audience, they want to monetize it, and the way they do it is by blocking you from the people who don’t engage with your posts so you have to pay to play.

Unfortunately, even if your followers interact with your page, you may still not show up in their feed.

So How Do We Solve This?

Invest in your dental practice!

If you’re serious about your clinic’s growth and success, then focus on building your own website, even if it is just a one-page website that’s on your own hosting account to start. You’ll have full control and can use it to interact with your clients.

Focus on building that site so you 100% control the message, and then focus on building an email list so you can connect with your audience regularly. But we’ll save email marketing for another article.

So, should you skip the website and just use social media?

No!

Reread the statement above.

Should you only have a website and not worry about social media?

Again, no.

Social media is an incredibly valuable tool for any dental clinic. Go where your patients are on social media and use it as a lead generation tool that drives your customers back to where YOU control the message. Your website.

Drop a comment below and let us know if you’re only using social media for your dental clinic, if you’re building an email list, if you have your own website and hosting, or if you’re using a service like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly to run your dental practice.

We’ll see you in the next post… Cheers!

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