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Tuesday
Mar262013

« Mobile GPS: Six ways to use mobile technology to grow your practice in 2013 (Part 1) »

More than ever before people are using their mobile devices to seek information. Sesame Communications —  a WSDA-endorsed company and valued member of THE SOURCE —  has a number of ways make your website mobile friendly. Keep reading hints on how you can use mobile technology to grow your practice.

You’ve worked hard to make your practice website look great online, but what about on a mobile device? Take a moment to pull up your website on a smartphone or tablet and evaluate it. Unless you have a mobile optimized website, you may well be disappointed – and so would your patients.

The good news is that any website can be accessed by a mobile device with a browser. The bad news is that your site may take too long to load, the text may be too small to read without constant zooming and scrolling to navigate, and the fluid elements of your site that look great on a computer screen — such as flash videos or animation — may work poorly or not at all.

This begs the question – why is catering to mobile users important in the first place? Here are some interesting facts:

Today 110 million Americans own a smartphone, according to comScore, a leading digital media research authority

In Q4 2011, smartphone shipments overtook PCs, an important milestone that says a lot about the future of modern-day computing

One half of all local searches are performed on mobile phones, according to Microsoft. What’s more, Google has seen mobile search queries grow five times in the last two years

By 2014 more people are expected to access the Internet via mobile phones than via desktop computers

By 2014 there are expected to be 788 million mobile-only Internet users. Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives and are quickly becoming a fundamental part of any practice’s online presence.

How does this relate to your practice? And how do you leverage the power of the mobile device?  Today, 92 percent of smartphone users seek local information on their device, and 89 percent have taken action after looking up local content. These users are your prospective patients, and they’re searching for a dental care provider while on-the-go. A mobile-optimized website can help ensure your practice doesn’t miss out on these patients by giving them the information they’re looking for quickly, all in an optimal viewing experience for their smartphones.

The growth of mobile users cannot be ignored by your practice. This guide will share six ways you can leverage mobile technology to grow your practice today.

#1 Optimize your site for mobile, not just desktops.

One of the key differences between mobile browsing and desktop browsing is the small screen and touch interface of most modern smartphones. Websites that look great on a large monitor lose their impact, and often, their functionality, when translated to a small screen. In just a few seconds and clicks, a desktop user can browse and interact with your website. For a mobile user to complete the same action, more action is needed - scrolling, zooming in and out, etc. This added effort needed for mobile users, if made frustrating by a difficult or non-functional website, can discourage or deter these users from choosing you as their care provider.

To combat this, it is essential that your website has content, design, and features that accommodate a smaller touch screen interface. This is best accomplished with a mobile-optimized version of the website. The idea is that your website alternates between a desktop or mobile friendly version automatically by detecting the type of device the visitor is using. A mobile optimized version of your site can help ensure the right information is displayed in the right way for all your users, regardless of where they are or what device they're using to look at your website. 

#2: Quick content for on-the-go patients

While a mobile-optimized version of your site will make navigation easier for mobile users, your content must also be written with mobile users in mind. This means focusing on the most important information first, such as contact info and directions. Consider this: the mobile visitors to your website are often on-the-go, they're the patients waiting in line at the coffee shop or sitting on the bus on their morning commute. These patients have only a few moments to get the most important details off of your website, and by focusing on this info first, you're making it easy for them to choose you. 

For your mobile site, make sure to keep practice details brief, and contact information front and center. Keep the text on each page brief.

Add links to your social networks and testimonials to allow the prospective patient to get a mile high glimpse at what makes your practice unique.

#3 Don’t make patients wait for large images to load. 

According to a 2011 Compuware survey, nearly 60 percent of consumers said they expect a website to load on their mobile phone in three seconds or less. Additionally, only 50 percent of those surveyed said they would wait a mere five seconds or less for a mobile website to load before exiting.  Bottom line, your mobile website needs to load quickly. The truth is, a slow-loading website just won’t cut it in this fast paced, digital world. Not only can a slow-loading site be expensive for users with limited data plans, but it wastes time and can frustrate the user, most likely causing them to abandon your site and move on, perhaps even to a competitor’s site. 

Ensure the images on your mobile website are small and used only where needed most. Avoid animations and videos on your mobile site, as these will slow down the load time considerably, and may not even work on some devices.

Check back for part 2 for the next 3 tips!
About THE SOURCE: 
 A year ago we rolled out an ambitous project: THE SOURCE,  a new, branded web site, where our members could find the services, products and tools they needed to run their practices smoothly — each with discounts or services available exclusively to WSDA members. We’ve done the leg work for you — vetting companies, securing deals — so you don’t have to. This blog post is an example of the kind of information we're providing to our members, free of charge, on the site. Check it out today — THE SOURCE has a tremendous amount of information vital to making your practice run efficiently!

 

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