[Guest Post] So – You’ve Got a Great Medical Practice Website, But It’s Not Performing? by Greg Fawcett of Precision Marketing Partners
Just having a great website is not enough to bring in new patients. Yes, we agree that it’s an essential aspect of medical marketing, but simply having one doesn’t mean anyone is going to see it. And even if they do, what are you doing to keep them coming back, time after time? Do they even remember the name of your practice and/or website after the first visit? If your website is simply the starting point, what can you do to beef up performance and bring patients through the door?
Here are the essentials you need for a strong online presence and a website that performs.
A Coordinated Strategy
Nothing can exist in a vacuum, not even a great website. To be effective, your site has to be part of a coordinated healthcare marketing strategy that incorporates multiple channels available to use. These include social media marketing, search engine optimization, search marketing, digital advertising, publicity, establishing thought leadership and generating leads. We’ll go into more detail about some of these in the rest of the post, but suffice to say that just building a website and not following through is like printing a fabulous brochure and then putting it on your reception counter. The only people who will see it are those who are already inside your door!
The arrival of social media has given medical practice marketing a whole new vista to explore. It’s no longer only for teenagers; research shows that each year more and more older people are becoming familiar with it, particularly Facebook and Twitter. So regardless of who your target patient market comprises, if you want them to know about your website you have to go to where they hang out and tell them about it.
At the very least, you need profiles on Facebook and Twitter. Google+ is a rapidly-growing marketplace for affluent, professional people and there are added benefits to having a profile there, while if you work in the B2B environment at all, LinkedIn is a good place to be, too. Social media lets you interact with your prospective patients on a one-to-one basis and engage them in conversations about their health, while showcasing your website so they a) know about it, and b) get to see everything you post on it.
Getting found in your potential patients’ search engine results is vital if you want to increase awareness of your healthcare services, and that depends heavily on keeping fickle Google happy. It’s not actually that difficult, either; all it takes is updating the content on your website regularly using good quality information and a smattering of keywords. And yes – I know you can only update your pages every so often—that’s why you need to be blogging. Creating a blog gives you the chance to
- Publish fresh content daily frequently to ensure that Google keeps on indexing your website
- Gives you something new to post to your social media profiles
- Enables you to speak directly to your followers, get feedback and respond in real time
- Pass on news and information about healthcare, your practice, and anything else of interest.
You can also update the site with patient testimonials, curate content from medical websites such as the Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association and other authoritative sites.
The “Right” Layout
Ok, so you just love that great big logo on your home page and the solid block of technical-sounding medical text that follows it. And the nice, reserved headers and lack of “busyness” makes it look like a classy site. Right? Wrong. The correct layout to have isn’t just about how you set it up; it’s all about readability and conforming to best internet practices. You need suitable formatting, just enough images and not too many keywords. You also need to speak directly to your readers using language that they understand, which highlights what you can do for them.
Ways to Take Names
All the prospective patients in the world won’t help if you don’t know who they are. Without names, you can’t follow up and find out how you can help them. To really perform, your medical practice website needs to include offerings people want, such as educational ebooks and special offers. Setting up a regular email newsletter gives you the chance to communicate with those interested in your services, and once they subscribe you have contact details you can use to nurture them along until they become patients.
So, it’s not just about having a website. To get your site to deliver results, make it part of a comprehensive, multi-channel strategy that reaches your audience and encourages them to respond.
About the Author: Greg Fawcett is President of leading North Carolina medical marketing firm Precision Marketing Partners. In this capacity Greg helps healthcare service entities to research their target markets, build their brands and develop creative strategies to reach patients.