In the digital age, a practice's website is often the first place prospective patients will look before coming to a decision about where they will receive their medical care. As such, much like a business in any other industry, your medical practice's website will compete with others in the space to attract new patients. It is imperative, therefore, that your site advertises your medical practice in the very best light, in the most effective manner possible.
If you believe that your medical practice's website needs a makeover in a bid to reach more patients, read on. Below is a guide with some surefire tips for improving your online presence.
1. Make your unique selling point clear
It's to be expected that your practice's website has an "about us" section, outlining your history, location and the like. As Dr. Michael Woo-Ming argues, however, writing for Physician's Practice, your "about us" section should do more than simply explain what your practice is. Woo-Ming asserts that this page should contain a unique selling point, which essentially means a description of what sets your practice apart from the competition. After all, why should a prospective patient attend your clinic over the competition? What is it about your establishment that is different? Examples of a unique selling point could be that you specialize in certain kinds of medicine, or that your faculty have won certain awards. If a patient is able to discern why your medical practice is special, they'll be more inclined to use your services.
2. Make it mobile friendly
Smartphones are now ubiquitous and many of us use our phones to surf the web. In fact, according to Fast Company, a phone is used in roughly half of all online searches. That's why it makes sense to ensure that your practice's website is mobile compatible. According to Fast Company, this means ensuring that your website can adjust it's size, contingent on the device it's accessed from. If potential patients are unable to easily access your site from their phone, there is a strong chance that they will look elsewhere. If you are unsure whether your site is designed in this way - it's dubbed responsive design - contact a web developer for guidance.
3. Keep it simple and fast
While it is important to keep in mind that your practice is a business, it is also helpful to strike a balance and not make your website do too much - after all, patients are looking for a physician, not a new pair of shoes. As an article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology explains, this means keeping the design simple and easy-to-navigate. It also means keeping necessary information clear, concise and easily visible.
4. Create useful content
If you have the time and resources, consider creating a blog with engaging content, Woo-Ming suggests. This is an effective strategy as search engines recognize content with keywords and therefore tend to promote websites with rich content more prominently on search engines. Content also carries a marketing function, as it is highly shareable. If you write an interesting piece on vaccinations, for example, it will likely get shared across social media and other platforms, drawing more customers to your website. Woo-Ming explains that your blog should contain a mix of medical news, updates pertaining to your practices and evergreen articles about various health issues.
5. Embrace social media
An effective website should also be paired with a social media presence, according to Small Business Trends. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are especially effective at being a place where your patients can connect with your practice and stay current on any news and developments. Don't be afraid to reach out and engage with your patients, fielding any question, comments or concerns they may have. Social media is also a place where you can share content that can then drive traffic back to your website. Be sure to include icons on your homepage, with links, to indicate to new visitors other sites where your practice has a digital presence.
6. Keep the important information easily visible
While your site is there to attract new patients, it should also be a helpful resource for patrons you already have. For example, some of your customers may quickly access your site for a reminder on hours of operation or to make an appointment. According to Woo-Ming, this is crucial, so keep this information clear and visible on a special landing page. Be sure to also include details such as the practice phone number and email address. Keep the link to this landing page on your homepage, in bold letters so patients don't have to hunt around. If this basic information isn't accessible in a couple of clicks, you have a problem, as users could quickly become frustrated and leave your site.
7. Understand how patients are using your site
Fast Company suggests the best way to understand how your site is working and identify areas that need improvement is to monitor user metrics. This essentially means using a program that provides insight into things such as page views, user behavior, engagement, interactions and so on. The most prominent tool that many organizations use is Google Analytics. This is the most cost-effective option as it is free of charge, although it is by no means the only analytics tool available.
8. Include patient testimonials
A fantastic way to attract new patients and instill trust in your practice is to include positive patient testimonials on your website. The testimonials don't need to be lengthy, but should be enough to convey that your facility is trustworthy and provides impeccable patient care. Woo-Ming also suggests incorporating video testimonials, as they can be more engaging than plain text and are easily shareable on social media.