Where do all your dental website visitors go?
When looking to determine the effectiveness for your website and web marketing, the funnel starts at the number of visitors on a monthly basis. Most sites will place a call tracking number on your site so you can track the number of calls to your office from the traffic that is coming to your website. But what happened to all the people that came to your site but end up doing nothing at all, and how can you get more of those people into your office?
Some quick stats and definitions to give you an idea of some averages across a number of sites we have worked with:
- Average Bounce rate – 20-30%, this means that a visitor came to the site but did not interact with your page in any way or view another page other than the one they landed on
- Average call ratio – 7.5% – 12.5%, this means that % of people that come to your site that pick up the phone and call the practice
- Average Call to scheduled ratio – 8.5% – 11.5%, this means of the incoming calls generated by the website what percentage scheduled an appointment, inclusive of both new patients and existing patients
- On average between 65%-75% of the patients scheduled from inbound website generated calls will be new patients
The word problem works out like this:
If you have 1000 people visit your website on a monthly basis, 700-800 will interact with your website in some way, between 53 and 100 will call your office, and of those between 8 and 13 will schedule an appointment. To remove any doubt on these numbers lets add 50% to them to between 16 and 26 and take the median of 21 for the purposes of this analysis (and because you are better at this than most other offices), or 2.1%. (remember these are not total calls or total new patients to your office on a monthly basis, only those generated by your website).
But what happened to the other 600+ people that never called your office but did interact with your site in some way? Why did they not get in touch with your office to schedule or at a minimum inquire about what ever drove them to your site in the first place?
Multiple studies from Pew, Accenture, and Decipher show people hate calling medical and dental offices. Not just with your practice but any practice. It is a barrier to scheduling and one reason why people put off going to see any type of Dr. So people procrastinate, find any reason not to call, particularly those that have yet another barrier to calling, such as being at work, having children they need to look after, or anything that keeps them from calling from 9-5 on workdays. And then, in most cases, your office is closed and they can’t call and schedule even if they wanted to.
A key to maximizing your website effectiveness is giving your potential new patients the most options to schedule with your practice. Most sites offer some kind of request, but ask your patients and staff about those—no one likes them and they are ineffective at getting people into your office. What patients want, and what offices need in order to maximize their online effectiveness, is a system that allows patients the ability to see open appointment times and select what best fits their schedule, in real time.
About now, some people reading this article are saying “I would never allow that, patients scheduling themselves is a terrible idea”, save that thought for a moment and for the purposes of this simply ask yourself “If it were possible to do this without losing control of my schedule would it be beneficial to my practice”, if you answer yes, then keep reading.
Over the past 2 years we have worked with a number of practices and gathered the data regarding the online scheduling habits of their visitors. We have seen conversion rates from 1.75% to 8.84% (yes, that is accurate) of the total number of visitors to a website to schedule online, with an average of 72% being new patients.
For the purposes of this, lets say that 50% of the people that schedule online would have called your office anyway given no other choice of a way to schedule an appointment. Lets use an online scheduling conversion rate on the conservative side of 2.5%. Using the same numbers as before of 1000 visitors in a month that means that 25 people would utilize the online scheduling from your website and if we remove the 50% that would have called anyway (and already included in the 21 that would have scheduled had online scheduling not been available) that means having online scheduling and calls would generate 33 total scheduled patients a month with 8 of those 12 additionally scheduled appointments being from new patients (12 total patients * 72% new patient ratio), or more than 67% more new patients from your website with online scheduling and calling as options for scheduling. Your new chart looks like this:
The number of patients scheduling from your total online efforts looks big, inclusive of calls and scheduling online, but we have many practices that see numbers 3 and 4 times this. Our single highest percentage scheduler saw 54 scheduled appointments online in April on 610 total website visitors, or 8.85%. Their numbers are obviously high but we have many practices in the 4%-8% range, or on 1000 visitors they would see 40-80 appointments scheduled. Our highest trafficked site sees an average of 22,000 unique visitors a month and schedules at an average of 2.9%. With the numbers above I have tried to be conservative to show the effect even those that are on the lower end of the conversion spectrum will see.
Ok, so what does this mean to your practice revenue? The dental industry throws a lot of numbers around about the value of an average new patient in the first year. I have seen numbers between $500 – $1000 for the first year patient value depending practice specialty and geography. For this discussion lets use the middle of those two numbers for the first year value, $750. Using the numbers above providing multiple scheduling paths for patients that visit your website can generate $72,000 in the first year (8 additional new patients, 12 months, $750 per new patient)
Now lets say that the no show rate on those patients is 20% and your net is 33% of billables. The math looks like:
1st 12 months: $72,000 80% show up 33% net profit = $19,008 in bottom line profit
Of course these numbers are averages across a variety of sites but regardless of what service or product generated $72,000 in billables and $19,008 in net profit in the first 12 months it would be beneficial to any practice. And if it cost less than $1000 per provider per year to make this happen it would be a no brainer. Feel free to plug in your own practice numbers for website traffic and new patient value to see the effect on your specific practice.
It exists, it works, and you don’t lose control of any part of your schedule. But that is for another post.
Interested in learning more about how LocalMed can help increase your website conversions?
LocalMed lets patients schedule appointments straight into your practice management system, just like your front desk would. You set your scheduling rules, and they’ll start booking appointments around the clock - even at 3am on a Sunday.
Learn more about how LocalMed can help your dental practice fill its schedule, 24/7.