When it comes to new medical technology, physicians are usually the first in line to adopt the latest and greatest. Ironically, those same physicians don’t always take a similar approach when it comes to technology to market their practices. You can offer patients the most state-of-the-art treatments available, but if your website looks like a throwback to the late 90’s then you can’t expect to attract new patients online.
Your website has seven seconds to make an impression – for good or for bad. Patients are online shopping for doctors in the same way they buy anything on the internet these days. They are researching their options and making snap judgments based on what they see and read. Your website’s job is to first be easily found and then second, strategically lay out all the information patients need to make the decision to choose your practice. You only have one shot at this so ask yourself, “Can my website attract a patient’s attention in seven seconds?”
If you are unsure of the answer to that, here are six signs that it’s time to redesign your website:
- It’s not mobile friendly
If you pull your website up on your phone and you need a magnifying glass to read it then your website is most likely not mobile friendly. Having a mobile friendly site is important for two reasons: 1.) Over half of patients online looking for health information are searching on their smartphone, and 2.) Google now gives ranking priority to those sites that are mobile friendly. If you want to verify whether your site is mobile friendly or not, search online for “google mobile test” and the first result should be a link that takes you to an online tool where you can instantly check your site.
When discussing the idea of making your website mobile friendly with your web agency, consider going one step further and making the site “responsive”. This is a programming technique that allows the site to adapt to any device (desktop, tablet, phone). Responsive design is truly the industry standard these days.
- The design is outdated or unprofessional
If your website looks like it was designed at the rise of the internet or like your neighbor’s son designed it for a school project, then it’s time to pursue a redesign. From the design techniques, to the colors, to the layout, it all matters when trying to make an impactful first impression on patients. This is why those do-it-yourself web builder programs are often insufficient, because you can’t truly customize the site to your needs.
Also, don’t forget to update your pictures in the process. Let’s face it, it’s a bit jarring for patients when you feature a picture of your 35 year old self on the website but then walk in the exam room with gray hair and bifocals.
- It’s difficult to navigate
If patients have trouble finding the information they need on your site, then you either need to consider changing the layout of your site or increasing the amount of content. A good place to start with assessing this issue is to ask your office staff what types of calls they get over and over. If patients are constantly asking how to access their portal, where to download their patient paperwork online, or if you offer evening hours, then you aren’t serving your patients well online. You are also making your office staff inefficient by answering unnecessary calls.
This concept can be applied to your services as well. It’s important your website prominently feature services that patients are most interested in, but also services that you would like to make patients aware of. Don’t assume your patients know all your practice has to offer. It’s your job to effectively upsell them to other services your practice offers. Remember, it’s much less expensive to upsell a current patient than to attain a new one.
- It doesn’t represent your brand well
Your website isn’t representing your brand well if, for example, you are a pediatrics office with bright fun colors in your office and a warm, friendly staff, yet your website is colorless, generic and features very few pictures. The look and feel of your website should match the experience you want patients to have when they walk in your doors.
It’s also important that your branding be consistent; from your logo to your business cards, your brochures and even your website, the branding should be identical in order to make it memorable for patients.
Don’t forget that part of your brand is the services you offer. Your website is an opportunity to promote this to patients. If you’re one of only a handful of robotic surgeons in your area but this is hidden down in the text somewhere then patients likely aren’t getting the message.
- It’s not an effective marketing tool
If, for the most part, the only people who visit your website are your friends and family then you’re missing a huge opportunity to attract patients online. Attracting new patients online usually requires two steps, 1.) An online marketing strategy and 2.) An effective website.
Your online marketing strategy, and the budget you spend on it, is highly dependent on your specialty, the competition in your market and how your site is currently performing. Your online marketing strategy may include some or all of the following services: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media posting, social media advertising, blogging, and online reputation management (ORM).
However, you can drive all the traffic in the world to your website but it will be wasted energy if your website isn’t effective. Your website must be able to quickly grab patients’ attention, engage them, and have strong calls to action in order to convert traffic to actual patients.
That’s why you need both traffic and an effective website to be successful online. Otherwise you’re wasting your money. Your website and online marketing strategy should be your largest annual marketing spend, by far.
- Doesn’t feature marketing differentiators
If a patient goes to your website and then your competitor’s website and can’t find one thing that sets the two of you a part then you aren’t doing a good job of marketing your differentiators.
Of course this all starts with knowing what exactly your differentiators are. Hint: the answer isn’t “personalized care”. So many practices say they have personalized care these days that it has become yet another generic marketing statement. You need to discover what truly sets you apart from your competition (for example, perhaps you have the most years of experience, have performed the most surgeries, are the only practice offering evening hours, etc.). Being equipped with these differentiators makes your marketing more effective, makes your brand more memorable, and makes it easier for patients to choose you over the competition.
If any of the 6 signs above apply to your current website then it’s likely time to consider a redesign. It will require an investment up front, but the cost is negligible compared to the amount of new revenue it can attract to your practice. For most practices, your website is your most powerful marketing tool and therefore where the majority of your marketing budget should be spent.
Lastly, please remember that even when you design a new beautiful website, it will still require an investment in online marketing if you want to drive traffic to it, as well as consistent up keep. A website is not a “set it and forget it” type investment. If you don’t have the time to manage and market the site yourself, consider working with a skilled online marketing agency that can leverage your website to its full potential.
Contact us to request pricing for a custom website design.