How your practice chooses to market its services to potential patients can be based on market, demographics and budgets. While some practices may be trying to utilize high ROI efforts like Social Media Marketing and Google Pay Per Click, one element that is often overlooked—and will certainly stifle your marketing ROI is your website. Not optimizing your website properly can have a direct correlation to a low marketing ROI.

A decade ago, your website was used by patients to find information such as hours, locations and contact information. Now, your website is no longer just a listing but the most important tool in attracting new patients. Your website serves as your storefront and is a potential patients first insight into your practice. If your website is outdated or not informative, what does that say about your practice?

Below are 3 things that modern medical practice websites must have to remain competitive.

1. Mobile Responsiveness

As of April 2015, Google has begun to penalize websites that are not “mobile compatible”. This was done as a result of mobile traffic usurping desktop traffic for the first time in history. If your website is not mobile compatible or responsive, Google’s algorithm will rank your site lower in the mobile search results, despite the time, effort and money you have put into organic SEO.

Almost 80% of all internet traffic now comes from a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). If your website is not mobile compatible or responsive, potential patients will have to spend time pinching, zooming and scrolling on your website to get the text and visuals to fit into the phone or tablet’s screen. This is cumbersome and often leads users to give up and close the site. The average person spends less than 10 seconds on a website home page before determining whether or not they will use that business. This means that your practice has 10 seconds to convince a patient to look into the practice further, research their condition, and contact your practice. If this time is spent being frustrated with slow load times, difficult navigation, and a non-mobile compatible layout, chances are that patient will go to another practice’s website.

In fact, one study showed that 57% of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. This may be something you want to consider if your practice website has sliders with multiple images or Flash images. The key to mobile user experience is speed and efficiency in getting the potential patient they came looking for.

The first step in determining whether or not your practice website needs to be updated is the Google Mobile Friendly Test. Simply go to the link and enter your practice website address and get the results. If the result is not mobile compatible, your practice needs a new website ASAP.

2. Content

One of the things most lacking on orthopedic practice websites is valuable content. Aside from physician bios and the “About Our Practice” page, orthopedic websites often lack relevant content around conditions and procedures. If a patient is looking into a Rotator Cuff Repair, simply mentioning that your practice performs this procedure, or adding it to a bulleted list of procedures, is not enough information to convince the modern research-savvy patient. Patients are now interested in how this procedure is performed and how it compares to the approach your competitors may use.

Another common mistake is linking your website’s content to other outside websites. For instance, many sites will link their conditions or procedures to (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/) or a similar website. The most glaring issue with linking content to a site such as this is that you are taking users away from your own website. Being practice has spent time and money to get potential patients to your website, it’s counterintuitive to then send them to another website.

Furthermore, when a user goes from your page to one of these outside websites, competing practices can instantaneously serve ads to this user the second they leave your site.  In essence, you are bringing users to your website so that your competition can advertise to them

The most effective way to house content on your site is to create unique 200-300 word summaries of the most common conditions your practice treats, as well as procedures performed. Each of these conditions/procedures should live on its own unique page within your website. This not only increases organic SEO, but allows your website to be more navigable to patients and increases new patient acquisition.

The goal of your website is to keep users on your page until they call or email your practices.

3. Calls to Action

In our experience, few things have led to more new patient inquiries than strategically placed calls to action on websites. Calls to action are prompts or visuals that allow users to call or email the practice with a single click.

Calls to action can also include timed menus that appear on screen after a user has spent a pre-determined amount of time on your site or visited a pre-determined number of pages. For example, if a user visits the Rotator Cuff Repair page on your website, then visits a physician’s bio, and then goes to the page with your location listed, a small window will come up and give them the opportunity to contact the practice right then and there.

Studies have shown that strategically-placed calls to action can increase new patient inquiries by 25%. Calls to action have quite a bit to do with psychology and enticing the user to take the next step.   The wording and copy of the calls to action is a science in and of itself and can make all of the difference in increasing new patient acquisition.

Although the idea of redesigning your practices website may evoke frustration it is a non-negotiable in the new mobile patient universe.   The natural question may always revolve around how much it will cost your practice to update your website but, that logic is a bit backward. The real question should be how much money and patient volume will your practice lose if you do not update it?


About the Author

Daniel Goldberg is the CEO and Creative Director of Gold Medical Marketing, a full service Medical Marketing and Public Relations company focused specifically on Orthopedic and Spine Surgery practices. Daniel has been recognized as a leader in Direct to Patient Marketing strategy and has lectured both nationally and internationally on the topic of Orthopedic Practice Marketing.