Article originally featured in the December issue of Triangle Physician Magazine
Five Ways to Put the Power of the Web to Work for Your Practice
By: Amanda Kanaan
Nearly 60 percent of Americans now seek medical information on the web and rest assured that pertains to selecting their physicians online as well. If your practice has an outdated website, or even worse no website at all, you are missing out on an invaluable opportunity to cost-effectively increase your patient base. Here are five ways you can maximize your website investment and put the power of the web to work for your practice.
1. Send the Right Message
First impressions are very powerful and websites are no different. Patients will make assumptions about your practice, and even the decision to seek your care, based on the quality of your website. If your website is outdated, patients will assume your care is as well. Itâs also an opportunity to control the message you send. Whether you want to be known as the solo doc with friendly, personal care or a large practice that offers the convenience of multiple specialties under one roof, you can send strategic messaging through the writing style and design of the website.
And don’t be afraid to take advantage of social media opportunities such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s a free platform that allows you to connect with current patients, attract new ones, and also network with referring physicians. A recent study by Burst Media reveals that 41% of patients look for medical content from social media sites and 65% of patients are willing to switch to a physician who uses digital media. WhiteCoat can even manage your social media accounts for you.
2. Use a Content Management System
Building your website with a content management system results in substantial savings of both time and costs for the practice. A content management system gives practices the power to create and manage content on their website with little or no knowledge of web programming languages. As easy as editing a word document, staff can make simple updates to the website without incurring additional costs from a web designer or waiting several days for the change to be completed.
3. Focus on Functionality
All too often practices build beautiful websites with flashing images and elaborate intros that are pretty to look at but arenât very functional for the user. Patients often visit your website for a very specific reason â to get directions for instance. If you donât make it easy for them to instantly locate what they need then thatâs one more phone call your staff will have to answer today. Itâs not only inefficient for your staff to spend their day answering unnecessary phone calls, but it also defeats one of the reasons for having a website in the first place â to provide on demand information about your practice.
4. Call Your Visitors to Action
Websites can be more than just an online brochure. Yes, they provide valuable information about your practice but they are also a useful tool in converting visitors into new patients. In order to do that sometimes itâs as simple as asking the visitor to take action. Whether you prompt the patient to schedule an appointment, fill out a contact form, or just sign up for your newsletter, asking them to take some form of action will yield a much higher new patient conversion rate. By collecting contact information, it also gives your staff the ability to follow up with those patients who donât initially make appointments.
5. Donât Forget the Search Engine Optimization
Having a website is only half the battle. If you want patients to actually find your site then youâll need to use search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a tactic used to incorporate specific search terms and other strategies to increase your ranking on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The higher your website ranks, the more traffic it will receive. Generally you want your website to rank in the top three of a keyword phrase in order to receive the best exposure.
Amanda Kanaan is a medical marketing specialist whose company, WhiteCoat, provides website and print design along with branding and messaging services to local private practices and health care organizations. Email Amanda at [email protected], call her at 919-714-9885 or visit the website at www.whitecoatmedicalmarketing.com.