Online Presence for Dental Practices in Malaysia. [Article will be updated from time to time]
An online presence such as a website or being listed in any directory is important for private dental clinics especially in Malaysia. More and more users go online to search for dentists and clinics to seek treatments, according to the ITU, out of a population of 29,179,952 as of 2012, 60% of Malaysians (17,723,000) has access to the internet. It is estimated that at least 50,000 Malaysians search for private dentists online DAILY through Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines. Therefore, it is essential for a practice to have a solid presence online to stay on top especially your practice's location is not ideal. Of course the best marketing is still the illusive "word-of-mouth" but what about those new patients that searches for dentists online?
Several Ways to have an online presence:
---- Listing your clinic on various niche directories (such as Yellowpages, Dentistsnearby), which is free and users will be able to access information such as address and consultation hours when on your "mini" webpage. Yellowpages is also a good place to list your practice. The benefits of listing your practice on a directory is the ease of mind and it is definitely hassle-free without the need of you maintaining the site and paying for the maintenance cost and so on. Also, directories are also Search Engine Friendly and marketing will be also done by the directory management company themselves. Besides that, niche directories receives "targeted" audience in a way the users are intending to search for a clinic.
---- Setting up a simple and functional website of your own, this will perhaps cost a bit more than the first option but it will provide more information to your prospective patients. Before and after pictures of various clinical cases can be also added to your site. A simple appointment system can also be implemented if requested upon with your outsourced company, where patients can "book" an appointment online and an email will be sent to you or your clinic manager. A blog can be as functional as a dedicated website with the difference of not having your own unique URL for it. blogger.com, wordpress.com and other blogging services provides a platform for a straight-out-of-the-box usage with no coding background needed. If you would like to venture into a more advanced sites, you can also use some open-source CMS like Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal and so on. This might require some time to learn. A website must have a registered domain under your name, for example: www.dryapkl1234.com which can be registered with a server company, which hosts your domain and content files, regardless of which content management software you use. Think of it like the domain is the land in which you build your house on and your house is the CMS and the server is where it will be stored in the house. Setting up your personalised website can be a tedious process if you are not sure what you're doing and perhaps it is better to outsource the job to a professional company. All in, setting up a website will cost you around rm2,000 and above if you decide to outsource the project.
---- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+ etc are also a good place to set up shop for posting up fast and up-to-date information about your dental practice. Setting up a page on Facebook and Google+ are free and relatively easy to do. Besides that, Malaysia has the highest number of Facebook users in terms of percentage of population in the world! Facebook can be a very good place to reach out and connect to your existing patients or even potential patients. Engagements on Facebook are instantaneous and real-time, dedicating a staff for managing your social accounts might also be a good idea as users tend to expect their questions answered fast.