Healthcare marketing doesn't have to be difficult.
This article is the first in a series of articles produced by NueMD on healthcare marketing.
You've heard marketing your practice means more money, but you're busy providing patient care and navigating administrative burden. Luckily, healthcare marketing isn't a race. It’s the small, consistent strides that provide big returns.
Over the next 7 weeks, we'll discuss important medical marketing tips for healthcare professionals who are understandably busy.
Tip #1 Update Your Website
No website? Get one!
People expect you to have a website, just like they expect you to have a sofa in your office.
– Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success.
According to Pew Research, 7 out of 10 adult internet users search for health information online.
Sorry, but there’s no argument for staying website-less in 2018. Get one before web scrapers generate one for you, and it soars to the top of your Google search results filled with misinformation.
Need a website? If you’re thinking about getting a website for the first time, it’s ok to take some short cuts.
Jason Rhoades, Founder of Toolbox No. 9, suggests employing a simple template or turn-key service. These companies offer comprehensive web services at a low cost. However, drawbacks may include generic design & content, limitations in technology, and low customer service.
Have a website? Update it!
A website is like having a front door. The biggest mistake you can make is having a cheap website
– Stewart Gandolf
Your website is a representation of your practice, and frequently assessing its health is vital.
Is your medical website outdated?
According to KissMetrics, the majority of website visitors leave in 8 seconds or less. Your website is often the first impression patients will have of your practice. You have 8 seconds to make it a good one.
Don’t scare potential patients away with an outdated website.
To tell if your website is outdated, Stewart Gandolf suggests answering the following questions:
- Does my website use a weak call-to-action?
- Is my website's copy too generic?
- Does my website use obvious stock images?
If you answered yes to any of these, it's time to consider updating your website.
Before checking the expiration date on your site, think about your visitors first. The optimal design for your website will depend on your patient base. Maybe your website would seem outdated to a millennial, but most of your patients are senior citizens. Whether designing it yourself or relying on a web agency, knowing your audience before deciding on a user experience (UX) is a web design best practice. If your website works for your patients, then it's not outdated.
Have an older clientele? According to the National Institute on Aging and National Library of Medicine, here are some tips when designing a UX for older adults:
- Use a sans serif typeface that is no condensed, such as Helvetica or Arial
- Use 12 point or 14 point type size for body text
- Reserve underlining for links
- Align text to the left
- Avoid using yellow, blue, and green in close proximity
- Avoid using backgrounds with patterns
Curious why visitors are leaving your practice's website? Check out this article by Healthcare Success.
Is your medical website responsive or mobile-friendly?
Coined by Ehan Marcotte in 2010, responsive design refers to the ability of a website's design elements to remain intact and render properly across different display sizes.
More than half of website visitors use mobile devices, so having a responsive website definitely affects the amount of traffic and engagement you receive. If making your website responsive would be too costly or difficult, aim to get it "mobile-friendly."
Google prefers responsive sites over standard ones, meaning they rank higher in search engine results. Plus, experts believe Google will soon switch to mobile-first indexing, which means the way your site is scored to rank in search engines results will be based on the mobile experience of your website versus the desktop experience. If your site isn’t designed to perform well on mobile, your website traffic will suffer.
To find out if your website is mobile-friendly, click here.
Is your medical website converting?
Most practice websites serve one purpose: to get patients in the door.
That’s why Tyson Downs, owner of Titan Web Agency, says the most important factor to consider about your website’s health is conversion rates. If your website traffic isn't converting into leads, and ultimately new patients, it is time to consider a change.
To tell if your website is converting, answer the following questions:
- Is the information on your website current?
- Are the address and phone numbers easy to locate?
- Are the patients able to subscribe to your email list?
- Are patients booking appointments online?
If you answered no to any of the questions above, it might be time for a website refresh.
Downs argues that websites built more than 5 years ago are likely outdated, and warns to never sacrifice user experience for what you perceive to be a better design. Remember, consider your patient base first!
To increase your site's conversion rate, use these 3 tips from Jason Rhoades:
- Move your CTA (call-to-action) button - Try moving your CTA button to increase its visibility. Visitors should be able to see your CTA without having to scroll.
- Make CTAs compelling - Avoid using call-to-action that are too generic and not enticing for your audience. For example, change "Book Appointment" to "Get a Free Teeth Whitening."
- Use analytics to gain insight on user behavior - Try HotJar.com to track how visitors interact with your website to determine what is working and what is not.
If you decide to work with a design firm, Rhoades recommends making sure the agency installs and reviews your web traffic using a quality analytics tool prior to making any recommendations. They should be able to answer the following questions:
- Which pages get the most traffic?
- How long are users visiting?
- How many users utilize online forms?
Is your medical website secure?
Security is the #1 priority when assessing the health of your medical practice website. According to a recent study, healthcare websites are attacked more than any other sector, including those of banks and IT. Recent advancements in ransomware put smaller medical websites at risk, even if they contain no access to patient information.
We asked Jason Karn, Chief Compliance Officer at Total HIPAA, for advice on web security for medical practices, and here's what he recommends:
- Always have SSl/TLD on your site - Most web hosts offer this feature for free. If not, it will cost around $100 a year. This feature encrypts traffic in transit, authenticates that your site is valid, and gives your patients peace of mind that their information is safe.
- Use a third-party portal when collecting patient information - Collecting information is easy, but protecting it is harder than you think. Save time and money by outsourcing data collection to a third-party service. Make sure the company that supplies the portal gives you a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) and encrypts information at rest, transit, and in storage.
- Update themes, plugins, and system regularly - Most websites are built using CMS (Content Management Systems) or Web Content Management Systems. Be sure to update the themes, plugins, and content management system regularly. Most hacks happen when vulnerabilities aren't patched. Have a plan in place for managing your websites and updating them regularly.
In the next article, we'll explore the benefits of blogging for physicians.
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