If you’re a healthcare professional running your own practice, you may have considered a website in the past. Maybe things haven’t manifested in that area and you’ve been left disappointed or unsure of how a website can be a benefit. As the internet has matured, there are more possibilities than ever before. Modern websites are much more than online billboards, and building a great website has never been easier or more beneficial.
A great website will engage your clients, your community, and your field. Providing value and deeper service through your website is an honest way of getting customers to trust you and have positive associations with your practice. Growing your business is possible in many ways on the internet, and a well-considered website is the essential seed component. All your efforts can come together in a website that reflects what you’re doing best to those in need of your skills.
As part of our ongoing series of tips, if you’re giving thought to a new website, or wondering if it’s time to redesign an out of date one, here are some things to consider.
Medical Practice Web Design
Better Customer Experience
Businesses in the wider economy have begun moving away from the concept of “customer service” – that is, services rendered to the client at the point of consumption. Instead, they now prefer to talk about “customer experience” – the journey a customer goes on throughout their relationship with the company. It might sound like a subtle difference, but it’s not. As a practice, all your touch points with patients, be they online or in your practice, are important. Customers are just as likely to judge you if you have a bad website as they are if you have a rude receptionist.
Be There To Start The Conversation
It’s not actually an option anymore for a business to be completely offline. More than likely, your customers are finding out what they can about you by searching the internet before coming through your door. Even if they did find you through word-of-mouth, most of the conversation today is going on over the internet. Google and Facebook will index and often auto-generate pages for their users who go looking for you, extending an open invitation for rating and comment on your practice.
What people can find online about you directly relates to your reputation in the real world. A website can give you the ability to give prospective customers the best first impression possible. A well-designed website will introduce new clients to your services in a way that builds trust right from the very start.
If you’re active on your business’ social media feeds, being part of this discussion with your community can already be doing you a world of good. And if you’ve got more business than you can handle, that may be enough for you. If you aren’t looking to grow your business, or control your brand, you might not need a website. For everyone else, it’s a necessity.
Creating a fabulous website helps you to better meet your customer’s needs. You can implement all sorts of tools which can help your site deliver a higher quality service, increasing the number of visitors.
- Instant Chat. Many of your patients will have questions they want to ask you. Should they come in for a checkup because of a lump? Can your practice offer a particular treatment? How much does a certain procedure cost? Whatever the question is, patients, want answers fast. Great websites can be used to respond to questions immediately to meet patient needs.
- Educational Material. One of the biggest concerns patients have about procedures is, firstly, will they hurt? And secondly, what are the side effects? An excellent website can be used to educate patients about different procedures, hopefully putting their fears at ease. Chiropractors and Dentists may find this especially useful, as will cosmetic surgeons. You can also provide general educational content on your site for the benefit of your patients. This will encourage them to see you as an authority in your particular field and encourage them to choose you over another competing practice in the local area.
Do More Than Show Yourself Off
It’s not uncommon for a health care professional to feel some ambivalence around the marketing of their practice. Obviously, if you’re a business, you need customers; but when you’re in the business of providing care to others, you tend to tread carefully around self-promotion. A great website can be the perfect opportunity to provide valuable information and even better service to your customers.
Simple things like posting short biographical profiles and headshots of yourself and your employees let customers see the human side of your business, and help you earn their trust. A website is a great place to inform the world of your mission, what you do and why you do it. Connecting with people on the level of your passion creates stronger relationships, and your clients will feel more confident about choosing your practice.
A website is also a natural and effective extension of your medical reception services. A website can be like having the reception desk staffed day and night—without the associated costs. Your customers can get answers about your services, check available appointment times, even print off and fill out their intake forms before they come in. There are many ways to streamline the administrative process to provide better service, without diminishing the experience of your clients or overburdening your staff.
Better Lead Generation
Practices need to attract patients if they are to stay in operation. But without a website, that can be difficult. It’s not so much that the internet is a new tool that practices have to use to expand their market. Rather, it’s because the web is now the medium of choice for the majority of patients.
This means that practice websites are now the front line in lead generation. It’s here, rather than over the phone, that they first come into contact with customers. Practices often put a lot of emphasis on training reception staff to take calls in the most courteous manner which is likely to lead to the greatest number of conversions, but they rarely design their websites with the same attention to detail.
A beautiful, intuitive, educational and easy-to-navigate website is your best tool for promoting a practice online. Yes – there’s a lot more to internet marketing than just web design. But practices with fantastic websites are usually much better at turning prospective patients into paying customers.
Sales funnels play a major role in this process. Great sites attract patients with PPC or content marketing and then provide clear calls to action to get patients to convert. The funnel itself is a carefully calibrated process, starting with particular keywords and then offering content and information to match before pitching with a solution.
24-Hour Patient Access
In the olden days (perhaps 20 years ago), patients had to ring up during opening times to book an appointment. But today, thanks to the power of digital tools, that’s no longer the case. Patients can schedule an appointment, find out about treatment options or even email questions all through a practice’s website. It’s a stunning change in the way the industry operates.
A good website, therefore, facilitates patient access. It allows patients to ask questions and resolve problems at a time that suits them. No more waiting for opening hours.
Measure Your Marketing Returns
It’s not impossible to measure returns through non-digital channels, but it is hard. A billboard campaign might lead to a significant uptick in the volume of calls to your front desk, but you’ll be hard-pressed to keep track of which calls arrived through which marketing channels.
When it comes to websites, however, tracking ROI is much easier. Thanks to advanced digital tools, healthcare professionals can see exactly how much money they’re spending on improvements to their site and whether it’s making a difference to their bottom lines. With practices like A/B testing, external and internal analytics, keeping track on what makes a difference and what doesn’t is surprisingly easy.
Better Brand Recognition
What is branding? Essentially, it’s about building trust and reputation with customers so that they’re willing to come to you, rather than exploring their options with other companies. Healthcare practices spend years nurturing their personal relationships, often to great effect. But with a great website, they can take their personal brand to a whole new level.
Although word-of-mouth marketing is still critical to the success of medical practices, it is no longer sufficient to guarantee conversions. After a patient has been told about the virtues of a particular practitioner, they invariably go on their website to do a little extra snooping. Usually, this snooping isn’t about finding out about whether they’ve got bad reviews or what they look like. Instead, it’s about finding out whether a particular practice is a professional outfit or not.
When patients visit a healthcare practitioner’s website, they’re scanning for the same cues that indicate quality as they would be if they visited any other business website. A good website, therefore, can be a virtual extension of a practitioner’s office, creating a good brand impression. For a brand to be really effective and stick in the mind of the patients, it needs to have photos of your staff and be consistent with your brick and mortar practice.
A Must For Growing Your Business
Making your practice more efficient, engaging and profitable lets you expand your reach to serve more people. These days, internet marketing is the best way to spread awareness of your value and provide your services to those in need.
The most cost-effective marketing is online, and the best strategies take advantage of a professional website at their center. Marketing yourself online is crucial for expanding your practice and giving you the reach to help more people.
Your website can be much more than a google result, but you’re also going to want to get a good google result. Taking advantage of search engine optimization techniques can get you indexed and ordered more highly in search rankings. The truth is almost nobody clicks past the first page of search results. Obviously, just having a website you are proud to send customers to is a great start, even if you’re not the highest on the search list.
The good news is that a full featured web design service will be able to discuss all these considerations with you. Having a professional service work with you means that you can have a website that fits with your mission, one that your customers appreciate and that you can be proud to display.