“A website is the anchor piece to all of your other marketing services, whether it’s digital or traditional marketing,” says Chelimar Miranda, our Director of Operations and practice marketing expert. What this means is that when a patient finds out about you and wants to learn more, it is highly likely they will end up on your website at some point. The process of how to get more patients begins with an engaging medical website design.
In the past, websites were little more than digital brochures simply giving basic details and general information about a business or organization. The modern medical website is more interactive and designed around meeting user needs and coaxing visitors to take a specific action.
What separates a website from other marketing and public relations tools is the amount of control you have over how you present your practice to the community. Other digital marketing platforms like online provider reviews, social media for medical practice, online provider directories, and digital advertising can be confining. A website is like a blank canvas that you can customize to suit your practice brand and your audience. Learn how to get more patients with an engaging website using this step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Understanding Your Potential Patients’ Needs
When it comes to the patient experience, no one is as close to the patient as the providers are. Online surveys can speculate what patients want, but what your particular base wants may differ from the herd in some ways.
Insights into what will best serve patients on your website come from being observant and asking the right questions. Are there common tasks that can be done online rather than in the office? Would it be better for patients to take on the responsibility of making payments and filling out forms online rather than at the reception counter?
Consider asking patients for feedback about your current website. Do they have a hard time accessing frequently used website features? Have you heard any complaints or comments about the website so far?
As healthcare consumers, patients will expect to do more online as all other aspects of their lives have moved toward conveniences made possible by the internet. This raises the lingering myth of an older generation of patients who are technology avoidant.
If you have a mostly geriatric patient base, does it matter that your website is not optimized for the patient experience? It does. Survey results confirm that the older generation is engaged with online services for their healthcare needs.
Not only does the option of doing tasks online improve the patient experience, but it also lets prospective patients know that you are keeping pace with the modern digital landscape and that you will make the effort to make their lives easier. This makes a great first impression on website visitors.
READ MORE: Why Your Practice Should Update Your Website
Step 2: Craft Your Content: SEO for Medical Websites
The right information at the right time is also a significant patient need. Whether it is 2 a.m. insomnia, or clearing a to-do list on a Saturday afternoon, patients are searching online to help them make healthcare decisions.
What is Medical Website Content?
There are two parts of your website to consider when providing professionally-written information: the website copy and blog articles. First, website copy (everything published on the pages of your website) should satisfy all aspects of information gathering. Think of the phone calls you get from prospective patients. What are those frequently asked questions? A website that leaves no questions unanswered is the model for how to get more patients.
Patients who are on the verge of deciding between practices are those likely to be reading provider biographies. Your website should introduce prospective patients to your care team including their credentials, background, experience, a little bit about their personal life, and a friendly photo. Well-written provider bios nurture healthcare consumer confidence.
READ MORE: How to Write Great Provider Bios
Blog content is another way to help patients make informed decisions. Blog articles go in-depth to answer those burning questions patients have about their medical situations. You build trust with a prospect by giving them the information they need to move through their care journey. Blogs may be shared between friends as well, expanding your prospective patient reach.
What is SEO?
Unfortunately, merely publishing a website with a blog is not enough to bring in new site visitors. To help patients find your website online, you need to activate SEO (search engine optimization) for healthcare so that patients can find and access your valuable content.
Core Elements of SEO
There are two components of SEO – the website itself and the content it contains. Here is the breakdown.
- Crawl-friendly site – Websites must be more than just good-looking and functional; they must also be configured to be properly scanned by Google’s automated crawlers.
- Keyword usage – Content should be built around how users search for things. Knowing the most commonly searched keywords guides the content process. Those keywords and their phrasing should be planted within your website content.
- Interlinking – How your site links to other existing website pages also helps Google learn about your site and how it is relevant to Google search users. For example, if an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist publishes a blog titled “Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea,” they should link keywords to website information pages such as CPAP machine, Inspire device, sleep study, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or related blogs such as “What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?”
After putting so much effort into presenting quality content, SEO helps prospects find your valuable website resources via search. Other notable methods to drive traffic to your website through digital means are PPC (pay per click or Google Ads) and social media posting.
Patients have access to health information on demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week thanks to mobile technology. The CDC reports that 61% of patients sought medical information online which signals they are actively looking for answers. Providing relevant and reliable information that helps them make informed decisions on their care journey fosters trust and may lead to a new patient appointment somewhere down the line.
READ MORE: Drive Even More Traffic to Your Healthcare Website with Google Ads for Medical Practices
Step 3: Create a Page Layout that Turns Visitors into New Patients
Going live with a new website or redesign is exciting, but rather than looking at it as just part of standard operations, think of your website as an investment that yields a return. A website should attract prospects, turn them into new patients, serve as a tool to help retain patients, and, in turn, impacts your bottom line.
What is a Medical Website Conversion?
When tracking the performance of a website, we count the number of visitors, but the number of conversions is the real measure of victory. A website conversion is when the visitor completes a desired action that moves them closer to becoming a new patient.
Examples of a “conversion” include filling out a new patient appointment request form, clicking the phone number to call your practice, participating in an interactive quiz, or capturing their email address to send more information or content.
One of the most effective ways to drive conversions is to make the site interactive and feature-rich. An interactive website should have the most popular features easily located at the top of the page with buttons for telehealth access, online medical bill pay, and patient portal. Having the phone number at the top of the page with “click-to-call” enabled makes it easy for patients to call you from a mobile device.
Of course, the most important conversion is when the patient finally books an appointment with you. Having the appointment request feature in a prominent area turns a site visitor into a new patient within minutes. We recommend bringing this feature to the front page where it invites visitors to begin the process of becoming a new patient.
Step 4: Build Easy to Use and Secure Web Forms
Allowing patients to complete forms in the comfort of their own homes is not only convenient but also engages the patient in committing to the next step of their patient journey – coming in to see you for the initial visit.
This convenience comes with considerable responsibility as the necessary security features must be in place to ensure patient data does not end up in malicious hands. Not only does this protect the patients you serve, but also is a matter of government compliance (such as HIPAA).
READ MORE: How to Know if Your Medical Website is HIPAA-Secure
When working with tech professionals, you should ask what encryption and security protections they have in place to protect sensitive patient data for their medical websites.
Step 5: Ensure Patients Make It to Your Office
Knowing how to get more patients only gets you halfway there. Until that patient completes a revenue-generating visit, the mission is not complete. A patient who takes the time to book an appointment and complete the new patient paperwork does not always show up for their appointment. How to get patients to follow through with a visit is by sending reminders.
Appointment reminders are no longer just a courtesy, they are part of the modern patient experience. Completed appointments are the final step in pulling in revenue from website-generated leads. Studies have found that no-show rates drop when appointment reminders are sent. As consumers have grown accustomed to reminders, it is no wonder that the majority of patients want reminders to be sent to them ahead of the appointment.
Once a patient has consented to be called, emailed, or texted, you can contact them to confirm upcoming appointments, provide instructions, and any other direction that will make the orientation process go as smoothly as can be.
The goal of the reminder process is to encourage patients to complete their appointments. Text or email reminders that include directions, a mobile-friendly maps link, a link to access the telehealth system are all ways to help patients keep their appointments.
Get More from Your Medical Practice Website with iHealthSpot Healthcare Marketing Solutions
Of all the aspects of your practice you are currently tracking, website performance should be a top priority. If your website is not attracting visitors and new patients consistently, it is time for a change. iHealthSpot will create a healthcare website that best reflects what your practice has to offer and helps you attract the right patients. We also offer writing services that plan out the best blog topics for your SEO, published every month, and crafted by writers who specialize in healthcare content.
If you have dealt with web design agencies who seem to forget you as soon as the site is launched, we get it. That is why we set out to offer ongoing and attentive support to ensure that your website continues to run as a new patient acquisition machine. Our web design and healthcare marketing experts help medical practices bring in new patients every month!
Curious about how your website fares for attracting new patients? Get a free online presence assessment or a no-obligation consultation from iHealthSpot today!