If you are like most Medical Practices, at some point over the past few years you have gone through the process of developing a Medical Practice Website.
For some, the process was well worth the effort and the net result was positive. For the rest, the process was a nightmare and the results were far less than expected. For those of you who experienced the latter, here are some simple and effective tips to think about before you begin another time-consuming, expensive web development project.
1. Begin with end in mind.
In other words what is the purpose of your medical practice website? Fuzzy phrases like, “we know we need to have something for patients to see,” “we want to provide some basic information,” or “everyone has a website” will most likely lead to more frustration. WHY? Because you have not clearly defined the purpose of the site. What specific goals are you trying to accomplish? Patient education and patient satisfaction are great goals but difficult to measure.
What should you measure?
Through Google Analytics you can quantify and track the actual performance of your site – usually discussed in terms of metrics. Basic site metrics (what to measure) should include unique visitors, total visits, page visits, length of time on site, bounce rate and conversion.
CONVERSION is the ultimate metric. This measures the number of forms or phone calls received by the practice directly from the site, as a percentage of unique visitors. For example, 100 unique visitors in a month, with 10 emails or phone calls to the practice means your site converts unique visitors into inquiries at a rate of 10 percent – which is good. Knowing what to measure and how to measure it will help you feel good about your efforts as well as provide insight into adjustments that you need to make.
2. Mobile Responsive Functionality
This means your website will automatically (and correctly) change dimensions to fit the screen of the device being used to search. According to Google’s multi-screen world study, 65 percent of searches began on a smart phone. Thirty-three percent of smart phone users search specifically for contact information.
In another study by Telmetrics, 46 percent said they use their mobile device exclusively when performing online search. The inability of a site to format correctly to all devices – i.e. desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android, etc – will create a negative experience for the searcher and potentially mean significant lost revenue for the practice.
How do I know if my site is mobile responsive?
Simple. Using your smartphone or iPad, type the URL (website address) of your practice into the Google search bar, and see what pops up. Can you easily locate the contact information and address without scrolling, pinching or expanding? Do you feel like the image on the screen accurately reflects the professional image of your practice? If not, what would you change?
3. Content. Content. Content and Calls to Action
Content is king in the online kingdom. Your website strategy should include a consistent process to review and update relevant content. The old model of “set it and forget it” is dead. You should view your site as a living, breathing organism. New, well-written content is the oxygen to sustain it. In addition to well written content created by you and your team, your practice should have a process in place to create links to other content rich sites.
As content relates to specific treatments and procedures your descriptions must include:
- What is it and how long will it take?
- Am I a good fit for this?
- What will it do for me or how will it help me?
- Will it hurt?
- What is the recovery period or down time?
- How do I schedule a consultation?
Content is king, and content marketing is here to stay. The search engines and future and existing patients have an unlimited thirst and desire for good, high quality and relevant content. So the question is,who in your practice is dedicated to making sure that there is daily social content and weekly (at least) fresh content on the website? If the answer is no one, then it is only a matter of time before your traffic to the site decreases and the effectiveness of your website drops. Be committed to content!
If conversion is the ultimate goal of the site, then your design must include multiple calls to action including prominent display of your phone number as well as the ability to request a consultation or book an appointment immediately via an online form.
The most important part of a website is the conversion to new, paying patients who are finding the information they need. These new patients deserve very clear and easy steps to connect with your practice when they want to connect with you.
4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
There are hundreds of great books and blogs written about SEO, and there is no way we could do justice to it’s true meaning in a few short paragraphs. Suffice it to say, if you are looking to Find, Serve and Keep more patients, then SEO may be one of the most important strategies for your practice.
WHY? SEO directly impacts your ability to be found on the internet. Backlinks, title tags, meta descriptions, Heading tags, and local listings and social signals ALL affect your SEO. The value of SEO cannot be overstated. It requires commitment and time. If you want your practice to be found by local patients. you or someone you hire must make this a priority.
5. Interactivity / Connectivity
Not all future and existing patients are the same. Every person does research and comes to decisions differently. As many of you know, there are essentially three learning styles:
- Visual learners prefer visual objects such as graphs, charts, pictures,videos and seeing information.
- Auditory learners retain information through hearing and speaking.
- Kinesthetic learners like to use the hands-on approach to learn new material
Effective web site design should appeal to all learning styles. Multimedia sites are a popular way to keep visitors on the site while increasing interaction, i.e. professional quality video with audio, infographics, interactive tools and the right blend of high-end imagery (photos) will have a significant impact on connectivity and conversion.
Think of it this way: the CLICK (online) experience has to exceed the BRICK (in office) experience or the searcher will continue their walk down “Google Street” to the next medical practice.
The most important tip to remember is that website development is a dynamic process. While certain principles remain constant, the technology, search environment and consumer behavior constantly change. Effective online marketing must include the ability to measure what’s working vs. what may need improvement. Statements like “I feel” “I think” “I’m guessing” are counterproductive. Online success is part art but mostly science. I.e. We did this and this is what happened. The process is repeated until we get a consistent desirable outcome under the same set of circumstances.
And when the external environment changes, we make adjustments to optimize the outcome under the new set of circumstances just like researchers have done since the beginning of time.
The world has changed. Technology and the internet have made it necessary for every health and wellness practice to address the increasing tech demands of the new social patient. For those practices looking to Find, Serve and Keep more patients profitably the internet can not be ignored.
This is a time in history where doing nothing is most likely not an option for most practices. That being said, the majority of folks we meet explain in frustration how they have tried repeatedly to create an effective strategy with no results to show for their money and effort. The most common response, “I’ve been burned so many times by…..”
To you, the vast majority I say it all starts with belief.
Do you really believe that 80 percent of patients start their search for a new or existing health provider on the internet?
Do you really believe 65 percent of all searches start from a mobile device?
And most importantly, do you really believe that with some time, focus and effort you can attract some of these folks to YOU?
We at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing say you can. As we stated at the beginning, WE MUST BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. If you survived 10 plus years of education, residency, specialty training and more, you know what you need to do, the question is; Who is going to do it, RIGHT?
Let Crystal Clear show you how……schedule a Virtual Demo today by calling 888-611-8279 or fill out one of our forms on this site. We look forward to serving you and your practice.