Make a website that is “responsive” and you are on the path to attracting more patients to your practice.
As more people turn to mobile devices, they expect websites to respond to their hand-held devices and screen sizes. In fact, more than 50% of today’s internet traffic is made up of mobile device users. So it’s vital to make sure your site can adjust to a variety of digital environments.
How does a responsive site pull in more people? Is it simply because it is easily viewable on digital screens from smartphones to laptops? It is that, and more.
The responsive site not only has pages flexible enough to look great on a variety of screen sizes, it also is simple to navigate. Users are more likely to find the information they need, and to follow up with you and make an appointment. At the very least, they come away with a positive impression of your practice and what it has to offer, and they are more likely to keep coming back for more, especially if you post compelling and current content.
Don’t build your site and forget it!
Yet, a surprising number of medical professionals and other healthcare providers who launch new websites simply pick a template from a website builder like Google, GoDaddy or Wix, upload their initial content, and forget about it. Many believe the adage “build it, and they will come…” Unfortunately, this does not really hold true for websites.
Keep in mind…Not only do you need to make sure your practice’s website looks interesting on a variety of devices, it also needs to be updated on the different browsers that interact with your site. This will keep the most visitors possible engaged!
Key elements to include in a responsive website for your practice
Your website gives you the chance to make a great first impression. Did you know that about 80% of visitors judge the credibility of a healthcare practice or business by viewing its website? If yours lacks luster, then you could be losing many potential new patients to your competition. Try these suggestions to help amp up your customer base:
- Make sure your hearing care site is “optimized” for search engines – This is the process of maximizing how many people visit your website, ensuring it is positioned high on the results list returned by search engines like Google, Yahoo or Ask.com. Getting to the top of the heap is tough, but possible, if you include keywords that search engines will pick up. Some examples of keywords that have resulted in increased traffic include: “hearing,” “about hearing aids,” “compare prices,” “pay for hearing aids,” and “hearing test.” You can find more high-yielding keywords by researching them online!
- Add “expert content” at least monthly – Gain an “edge” in the hearing care marketplace by becoming the local authority on your subject. If you post often, it keeps your website “fresh” and keeps site visitors coming back for more expert information. By updating your site with articles and new pages at least monthly (and preferably, weekly), you will keep your content from getting stale. Then, a search engine will pick up your site more often, giving you the chance to bump up your ratings. More people will begin to search for your “authoritative tips” on hearing aids, hearing tests, and more. The greater number of articles you post about your field of expertise, then the more ground you will gain as an authority on your subject. You’ll draw an audience of people who trust your advice and they are more inclined to purchase your products.
- Get active on social media channels – Be sure to post articles, answers, and comments on social media. In this way you can add to your reputation as an authority on specific hearing-related subjects. Don’t forget to post articles on your own site’s blog as well (or give feedback on other people’s blogs) to help grow your “expert” reputation! Some 80% of adults research their health conditions online. If you want to make sure your patients are viewing accurate information, then why not provide the facts yourself? By establishing a social media presence, you set yourself apart as an “expert” source of reliable information.
- Consider how to promote your practice beyond your website –Think of all the great social media available. By keeping people engaged with your site and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts), you’ll eventually get them in the door of your practice! The other great aspect about this strategy is that it is easy and inexpensive. Your social media channels also can be added into any of the marketing campaigns you have going on at the same time. Every time someone “retweets” or “shares” your posts, you have extended the reach of your campaigns.
- Ask for online reviews and testimonials. By asking people to rate you on Yelp or Healthgrades, or to post a review directly on your website, you will keep your site more interactive. (Also, search engines will track you and stop more often at your site.) Online testimonials build your credibility and engagement. A positive review will do wonders for your business because when people trust you, it helps drive action!
- Try pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. If you purchase a Weblink or ad that is located in the top position on Web screens, most people will click on that ad first. Few people click on the ads that appear further down. For example, when people do an online search that delivers a list of search results, the first thing they see at the top of the list is a series of links that are actually paid search ads. You can learn more about this from Marketing 360 or WordStream, which offer pay-per-click advertising services. Some offer a free trial so you can see if PPC advertising gets results for your practice.
- Add news/press releases – Be sure to post press releases on your site. When journalists were asked what they look for on hearing healthcare practice websites, they reported that they were trying to learn about something, discover an organization’s position on a subject, or find a subject-matter expert! If you’ve provided this kind of information via news posts on your website, then you are ahead of the game. Another thing journalists look for is something new (ie, new products, updated research, etc). That’s why it’s vital to post recent alerts or updates—it helps people feel confident that you keep up with current issues in your field. It keeps the practice looking fresh! And, best of all, if you are updating often, your website ranking will keep moving higher on search engines lists.
- Include information on patient financing options –
Patients need to know how they are going to pay for your products and services, so be sure to include all the insurance and non-insurance payment options your practice offers. Highlight any deferred payment options you offer your patients from reliable third-party sources, such as CareCredit.
- Contact information for booking appointments – This is a call-to-action (CTA) that asks your website visitors to do something. The common CTAs are filling out a contact form, scheduling an appointment (using an online scheduler), or calling your office.
To help your website be most effective in converting site visitors into new patients, be sure to include a CTA. The following three work well on websites:
- Submissions form – If you add a submission form on your site, use wording that makes visitors feel like they are doing something beyond just sending in a form. Try “submit my request” or “need more information.”
- ‘Read more’ buttons – This teases users to seek additional information (updated and relevant details) on your site. You can draw in your website visitors in a way that they barely notice by using this CTA technique.
- Social media icons – Many practices add such icons to their home page or product pages to link visitors to their Google+ or Facebook accounts. This method is a fast and easy way to add onto any existing marketing online campaign.
Finally, always keep in mind that potential patients are reading your website so give them something helpful and educational to read…this makes your practice more appealing. And make sure readers can get to your content easily via their mobile devices. Here’s one last reminder: include information about patient financing options like CareCredit on your website. Why? Because it gets results—don’t leave money on the table!
Image credits: CareCredit; © Tsyhun | Dreamstime.com