Why it’s history….
The feeling widely held by many dentists that services they purchase are often price-inflated, is too prevalent to not have at least some element of truth. In the field of dental website design and marketing, this is particularly true. If you inspect the pricing details on some of the dental agencies own websites, you will see some quite extraordinary fees being quoted for their website and digital marketing services.
Where these companies do not show their prices online, you can be sure that there are also some nasty surprises in store when you request a quotation. Fees of £7k, £8k and more are still being requested for websites which businesses outside of the dental sector might expect to pay £3 – 4k for. So what’s going on here?
Pitching design services as “reassuringly expensive”.
Dentists may well be aware of this phrase from elsewhere when some 9 or 10 years ago, advisors to the business started to guide practices to pitch their businesses as being “reassuringly expensive” on the understanding that patients actually appreciated it. The concept of the “dental spa” also arose around this time and a number of dentists tried to follow the model – some getting into financial difficulties along the way. So whilst “reassuringly expensive” is certainly something to consider depending on your location and target patient demographic, “high-quality, fit for purpose and affordable” is another business model probably more suited to the majority.
The “all bells and whistles” approach also knocked through into practice website design for dentists and a couple of marketing companies positioned themselves to leverage on this – and so the “expensive” dental website came to be. The guidance was, that unless you were paying for a “high end” website from one of these companies, then your chances of acquiring new patients from the web would be limited. This message proliferated and lots of dentists were encouraged to buy in.
Other tactics used to persuade dentists included claims that they could only be certain of legislative compliance if they purchased from selected suppliers and that purchasing a website elsewhere would leave them open to challenge from the GDC and ICO amongst others. Of course these claims were rather inaccurate, as meeting such legislation is really quite straightforward.
So what the “reassuringly expensive” dentists actually got for their money was, in most cases, no different from the websites supplied by other design companies, other than of course a huge price tag and large monthly maintenance fees to boot. Lots also failed to make progress in Google or were penalised for bad SEO, and so their investments started to look rather misjudged.
Disgruntlement and transfers
Over the years that followed, many dental practices started to realise that they had paid well over the odds for mediocre websites and services and elected to move on to other suppliers; and understandably so. As competition increased, the scope for some companies to sell websites at over-inflated prices diminished considerably; albeit some still try.
What should you pay for a dental website? Today’s landscape….
Whilst the expensive companies are still trying to push their “platinum” packages or however they brand them, fewer and fewer are actually falling for it. There is increasing competition from companies who are delivering high quality work for half the price as will be clear if you make a quick search online. For example, here at Dental Media a bespoke website of around 15 pages, complete with content management system costs around £3k + vat. If your budget is tight and you need to start smaller, then please get in touch and we’ll configure a project to suit. Compared to what you could pay, this leaves ample budget for a bespoke photo shoot, video and several months of digital marketing. But does cheaper mean lower quality? If you’re in doubt, please take a look at our portfolio and dentist testimonials for reassurance.
But don’t go too far….
Whilst it is a big mistake to pay well over the odds for your website and digital marketing, it’s also a huge mistake to just seek out the cheapest supplier you can find. We have a healthy source of new clients who transfer in to us – lots from the companies who charge high fees for questionable service, but also lots who come from suppliers who promised good value but ultimately delivered a poor website built by a cheap offshore agency. So please check the track record of the supplier and where necessary, request references. Paying for “cheap and cheerful” is probably a bigger mistake than paying too much.
The proof is in the pudding
Whilst the expensive guys will try to claim that a website that is less than half the price of theirs can never work very well, we’d politely beg to differ. Many of our clients enjoy excellent Google rankings and their websites deliver many new patients each and every day. Need references? Please just ask. We work with hundreds of GDPs, specialists and Harley Street “celebrity” dentists who have trusted us with their digital presence for many years.
If you are looking to establish a new dental website for your practice, don’t be duped by the companies who would have you pay way over the odds for it. The days of the £8k practice website are history and you’ll simply be wasting a lot of money if you take that route.
If you would like to discuss in more detail or would like to see examples of our work, please call the Dental Media team on 01332 672548 for clear, no-obligation guidance.Google+