Converting website visitors into new patients is critical for any medical practice. But many physicians’ websites are not optimized for the user’s convenience, which can push patients away before they ever set foot in the office.
When most people are feeling under the weather, they look for answers in the same place they spend the vast majority of their time: the internet. Today, 72% of Americans search online for health-related information, according to Pew Internet. This means that a physician’s primary point of online contact, their website, must be optimized to convert all of these potential visitors into new patients — long gone are the days when proximity alone determined where you went to the doctor.
An optimized website increases patients’ trust in you and your services, convinces more visitors to sign up or provide contact information for mailing lists, and dramatically increases the ROI of your digital marketing efforts. No matter how many people visit your practice’s site, it won’t bring in more business if the user experience is subpar.
If your website conversion rate is lower than 5% — or if you’re unsure as to what that even means — this post is definitely for you. After all, increasing conversions by just 1% can reduce your overall media costs by 33%.
Clear and Simple
In general, the best websites are those that are easy to understand, simple to navigate, and appear the most credible. Conversely, users tend to steer clear of sites that are overly-confusing, require too much time and energy, and seem untrustworthy. Fortunately, there are easy ways to ensure your site falls into the former category, not the latter.
For one, your website must be “scannable” — users rarely read text closely. Headlines should be large, and smaller text should be broken into digestible pieces, following a clear hierarchy. Headlines should also contain search query-specific keywords, which enables visitors to quickly find what they were looking for, and boosts your search engine ranking as well.
It’s helpful to A/B test different site configurations to determine, with the help of web tracking tools, what works best with your audience. Importantly, any calls-to-action (CTA), or directives for your audience to take some type of action like a “click here to learn more” feature, should be prominent at the top of the page, so that users don’t have to scroll down to see it.
Successful sites also feature images that lend a human face to the practice — post smiling pictures of yourself and your staff, and virtually welcome patients into the office with photos of the interior and doctor-patient interactions. This can have quite the payoff: companies have found that adding images to a webpage can increase conversions by 95%, according to KissMetrics. Videos can provide a huge boost as well — according to Animoto, 73% of U.S. adults are more willing to make definitive purchasing decisions after watching a video online.
Credible and Trust-Enhancing
One of the simplest and most overlooked ways to gain trust is by displaying a local phone number prominently on every section of your site, if possible. This simple trick backs up the notion that you are real, reachable, and willing to engage directly with your patients — and local numbers are proven to perform better than national 1-800 numbers.
Be sure that the number is never saved as an image — that way, users can quickly copy and paste the digits on their mobile devices, a trick that will up your contactability by streamlining the calling process.
It’s also valuable to post accreditation seals, trust seals (for cybersecurity purposes), and media logos near your contact information submission forms, thereby enhancing your site’s legitimacy. According to Actual Insights (via Forbes), trust seals increase credibility for over 75% of consumers.
Also, don’t ask for too much information on customer contact forms. Requiring less than five fields is optimal — but any more will noticeably diminish your conversion rates. One company increased its conversions by 120% simply by reducing the number of fields from 11 to 4, according to Unbounce.
Physician sites should also feature patient testimonials and reviews — this kind of “social proof” gives doctors and other specialists an enormous amount credibility, demonstrating that they’re willing to stand behind their work, as Hubspot emphasizes. Bonus points if you’re able to feature reviews from a third-party source, like Yelp and Health Grades.