Your practice website is the backbone of your digital marketing efforts — if your site can’t be found when potential patients are looking for you, you might as well close up shop and practice in a cave. Join us as we share 25 medical practice website tips in this week’s episode.
You could be the best doctor in the world, and many of our clients are just that, but today’s successful medical practices recognize that their website is the springboard upon which to grow their practice.
This week, join us as we share 25 true tactics that you can use to attract and retain more patients to build your medical practice, and knock it out of the park as it relates to your website.
Tune in to Discover:
- Optimal ways to design your website
- How you can use Google Analytics to measure and track visitor statistics and set goals for your website
- Why WordPress and a good web hosting company are crucial to your website and online marketing success
- How to best showcase the end benefits of your treatment to potential patients
- Free resources and tricks you can use today to kick it online and fill up appointment slots
Jennifer: Hey guys, welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tip Podcast. I am Jennifer.
Corey: I’m Corey.
Jennifer: And we are here today to talk to you about what you can do to grow your practice. And we’re going to focus on 25 actionable tips that you can implement today for your website to grow your practice. So we’re going to get right into it. First thing on our list is Google Analytics. What does that mean, Corey, and why do our listeners need to be paying attention?
Corey: Google Analytics is, hands-down, the world’s most popular platform for measuring statistics on your website. So what’s great about Google Analytics is that it literally will do all the work for you. It’ll tell you how many people are coming to your site, it’ll tell you what they’re looking at, how they got there, if they came from social media, if they came from search, if they came from paid advertising if you’re doing that, it’ll tell you how long they spent, when they left, and all kinds of other great information.
Jennifer: How much does Analytics cost?
Corey: It is absolutely free.
Corey: And if you don’t have it, either install it right now, or find somebody that can do it for you, because you really need it to measure any sort of effectiveness of your practice and your marketing when it comes to the digital space.
Jennifer: Yeah, sometimes when we go through the client on-boarding process, one of the very first things that we ask for in terms of passwords and login information, is access to the Google Analytics account, and that’s because it allows us to establish a baseline for all of our clients moving forward. And so it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything, it doesn’t take any effort to put it on there. So you need to put it on today, if you haven’t done it, or yesterday. And start tracking everything that your audience is doing, so you can see what you can do from a marketing standpoint to attract and retain more patients.
Corey: Most website these days, actually, worldwide, they’re built on a platform called WordPress. We build all of our client websites in WordPress. Yours most likely, if it’s within the past couple of years, is either built in WordPress or Drupal, or a similar sort of system. But it should be relatively easy for your web developer, or for you, to just download the Google Analytics plug-in. You sign up for free, they give you a little code, you plug in the code, and then you’re off and running. So it’s super easy and very effective, and it’s a great tool to measure everything that you’re doing.
Jennifer: Totally. All right, so number two on the list. It says, set up goals in Google Analytics. So what are goals in Google Analytics?
Corey: So you’ve got Google Analytics set up by now. Hopefully you paused and you went and made sure that that happened. Once you have that set up, you can actually set up goals. So you can say, for instance, I want to increase traffic to a particular service page on my website. So let’s say your-
Jennifer: Sclerotherapy, let’s start with sclerotherapy.
Corey: Sclerotherapy, okay. Let’s say you want more sclerotherapy patients in your vein care practice. You can actually set up a goal and say, every time someone visits this page, I want to register it as a completion of the goal. And my goal is to get 200 more people there a month. So once you have the goal set up, then you can just hop into Analytics and see where you are at any time during the month. And you can see when people are on the page, how long that they’re actually there for, and then what they do after the fact.
Corey: So if you want more appointment requests on your website, you can say, I want to set up a goal where every time someone sees the confirmation or thank you page for setting up an appointment, that’s going to count as a goal completion. And I want 15 more of those a month. So now you have a number to aim for, it’s measurable, and you can go and get it.
Jennifer: And when you put in your AdWords account and things of that nature, it’s all tied into those goals so you can see what’s it’s costing you per spend, per new patient coming in the door, per new sclerotherapy patient, and whatnot. Is that correct?
Corey: Yes, it’ll put a number on your entire marketing spend.
Jennifer: Awesome. How difficult, or how time-intensive is it to set up these goals within Google Analytics?
Corey: It is about … I don’t know, six clicks and five minutes or so.
Jennifer: Awesome. How long does it take to set up Google Analytics in the first place?
Corey: Well, if you have a WordPress site, like I mentioned before, it will take you … If your internet connection is slow, about a minute.
Jennifer: All right, awesome. Awesome, that’s what I want to hear. All right, so number three of the 25 website hacks to get your practice all set up and ready to go, is social share buttons. What does that mean?
Corey: On most practice websites, you won’t see social share buttons, and that’s a huge missed opportunity, because people … We know if they see something and they want to share it with someone, it needs to be as easy and friction-less as possible. So we suggest using these social share buttons, so if someone, let’s say … Again, using sclerotherapy, they pop onto your site, they see the content and they say, oh, my friend Mary would be really interested in seeing this, I wish there was a way to give it to her. To share it on her Facebook wall, let’s say. So the social share buttons actually take care of that for you. You press the Facebook button, it opens up a new tab in Facebook at that link, and then you just tag Mary in it and say, hey Mary, check this out.
Corey: And they work really well. And I’ll say that I don’t have any hard numbers in front of me for how well they work, but if you don’t have them, I know that if you did have them, people would use them.
Jennifer: No, they absolutely do. And we have an infographic on … I think for an orthopedic group on half marathon training, and it’s an infographic about the steps for half marathon training. You should run four miles this week, 14 miles this week, eight miles this week, [inaudible 00:05:51] rest days. But the social share buttons, we’ve got real social proof that it works.
Corey: Oh, absolutely.
Jennifer: And it’s one of the top pages on this orthopedic practice. It’s about 20, 25,000 unique visitors a month, they come to this site, and that’s the number one piece of content that we’ve got, and it’s in large part because of the social sharing buttons.
Jennifer: How much does it cost if you want to add a social sharing platform or buttons to your website, Corey?
Corey: Absolutely free.
Corey: And again, that’s another reason that we stress WordPress, because being the number one platform in the world, it has hundreds of thousands of plug-ins, and the most developer support of any other platform that’s available. They’re all really good and all really free.
Jennifer: I say, if it’s good enough for The Wall Street Journal, it’s good enough for my local gynecologist.
Corey: Yeah, I often say that as well.
Jennifer: All right, number four. Number four. And remember, these are in no particular order, there’s just a list of 25 things that we think are going to help you knock it out of the park when it comes to attracting or retaining patients. So number four about what you need to do for your website to get your practice up and going, is you need quality hosting. Speed matters. What do you think about this, what’s it mean, Corey?
Corey: You can get hosting anywhere. GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator. These are all fine providers.
Jennifer: Shameless plug, we have hosting options for medical practices. We only work with medical practices. We back it up every single night, there’s all kinds of benefits to go with this, super fast service. You need to make sure that you’re … I wouldn’t go spend $7.99 on hosting. I would look at the reason of why hosting matters so much so I’ll turn it over to Corey.
Corey: Yeah, absolutely. Actually, Google came out and recently said that about two or three seconds is the threshold for website acceptability when it comes to hosting. And actually, at Google, they aim for under a half a second. So we have seen statistics where every second after three seconds, the dropoff is exponential. So essentially, what we’re saying is if your website does not load quickly, then people will just abandon it without ever seeing any of your content. So if you have a potential patient, let’s say it’s a sclerotherapy patient, and they want to know more about your service, but your website takes seven to 10 seconds before it actually shows up-
Jennifer: Forget about it, I’ve moved on. I’ve moved on.
Corey: … they’re already off to the competitor.
Jennifer: Moved on.
Corey: They’re going down the Google search rankings.
Jennifer: They are so annoyed with you if it takes long to load. And long is more than two or three seconds.
Corey: Exactly, so speed matters. It’s worth paying more money just to keep the traffic on your site, ’cause that’s the whole reason that you’re listening to this. That’s the whole reason that you’re marketing. It’s to get more people to look at your specialty, your services. And if you’re doing that and then you don’t have the website to back it up, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Jennifer: I will say this, too. If your website is a living, breathing document, and it’s okay if you want a phase one, and it has almost everything you like, and then a phase two, and that’s where you’re really getting to the nitty gritty. Maybe you’re working at 7:00 PM on a Friday night, and maybe you’re working and you’ve already cracked open a couple beers or you have a bottle of wine sitting in front of you, whatever, and you’re working on it and you … Oh my gosh, you screw it up. You try to install a plug-in or maybe you’re a novice and you hit that button that says upgrade now, in WordPress-
Corey: And it breaks everything.
Jennifer: And it breaks. And then … What? In that instance, why does quality hosting matter?
Corey: Because with quality hosting, you’ll be able to back up your site daily automatically-
Corey: … so when you screw it up, you can just go, “Whoops” and then go to the version before it and you’re right as rain.
Jennifer: Yeah. So a little sidebar, we had a project, it was a large practice that we were working with. And we had been working for months and months building their website. And we had the entire team up in New York City at a conference.
Corey: Oh, no.
Jennifer: And this was right before Christmas, so it’s in the holiday season, and we were getting to launch the site. We had told the client, “This is going to be ready in a couple of weeks, we’re good to go.” And we were working with the hosting provider, this is before we brought it in-house and did the hosting ourselves. Working with the hosting provider and a sub-developer who … He just called one day and is like, “Ah shit, man, I accidentally deleted the website.”
Corey: The whole site.
Jennifer: Thousand-plus pages. And it wasn’t backed up. So it wasn’t quality hosting, it was subpar hosting. And we ended up spending the entire week from the conference working, it felt like 24 hours every day, just to rebuild the site from scratch. And that’s the difference between getting the hosting on sale for seven dollars a month versus paying maybe eighty to a hundred dollars a month to make sure that you got what you need.
Corey: Talk about ruining your week.
Jennifer: It was … To this day, we still … If this was a video podcast and you saw Corey’s face when I brought it up, you wouldn’t understand how bad it was.
Jennifer: All right, the next thing really works well for your optometry or your ophthalmologist practice, but really for anybody out there over the age of 40. And your Millennials also. Number five on the list is use big photos. Why does this matter, Corey?
Corey: You see a lot of times, with older websites specifically, the photos, they’re very small. They’re not user-friendly. And the data tells us that big life-style images just work better.
Jennifer: Is better. Big is better.
Corey: They work better. No one really cares what you have to say. They need your service, so they’re searching for you, and what’s going to sell them is the end benefit. And the end benefit is this giant, big photo of having your legs back from sticking with sclerotherapy. So you’re able to-
Jennifer: You’re on the beach walking with your significant other-
Corey: You’re on the beach with your significant other. Exactly. And if you’re not selling that-
Jennifer: You got your sexy legs and your sexy bathing suit.
Corey: Exactly, and if you’re not selling that, then you’re missing the boat. So big photos really do make a difference.
Jennifer: All right, so number six on the list, and let’s stick with the photo trend, is photos of office staff. It’s not okay just to use stock art. You need photos of actual people, that people are going to interact with. What do you say about this?
Corey: Yeah, exactly. People, they want to know what they’re walking into, because if they had their choice, they wouldn’t be coming into your office at all. So it doesn’t make any sense to just have stock photos of random people. Even if it’s a medical practice and it’s a stock photo collection from there, you want to have your office on display, because you want to set the expectation that this is what a patient is walking into.
Jennifer: What if you took a picture of Sally, but then you had to fire Sally because she started dating Bob, who was the janitor, and you’re not allowed to have inter-office relationships? So what happens if the staff doesn’t work there anymore?
Corey: That’s too bad.
Jennifer: I agree. Don’t worry about it, right?
Corey: Don’t worry about it.
Jennifer: The patient doesn’t know this.
Corey: Exactly. And when you hire Sally, make sure that they sign a release that you’re going to use their photos if they’re going to be part of the photo shoot you’re going to have. But don’t worry about keeping those photos 100% up to date, because ultimately, to the patient, it doesn’t matter. They want to see happy, smiling faces, they want to see your office. But if they go there and Sally is not longer there, that’s perfectly fine.
Jennifer: And I agree. And if you’re really trying to … If you’re in the market to create a new website, and your buying from one of these companies that does a template website or something like that, stress that you want personalized photos, even if you have to hire your own photographer to come in and do them. You don’t want … If you’re buying out of a template, you don’t want somebody just to provide you the photos that are available, let’s say on Shutterstock or Fotolia or something like that. Or even a Pexel photo, something that’s free. You want stuff that’s customized. So if you’re buying one of these canned products to market your practice, make sure that you’re able to customize it to a certain level with your own photos. Would you agree?
Corey: Sure, yeah, absolutely. And if the photos are really good, and let’s say you spend on the high end, $500. You’re going to use those photos for a decade.
Jennifer: We’re going to talk about that in a later podcast episode, too, is we’d go through all these ideas for marketing your practice, because you’re going to create something ’cause you’re going to own those photos, you’re going to create AdSense, and social proof, and you’re going to use those in all of your materials.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Including your print materials.
Jennifer: Okay, so this is one that I really like to talk about, getting away from photos and away from the easy steps, but focusing on the end benefit. What do you mean by that, Corey?
Corey: There’s so much supply in everything. And no matter what your specialty is, there’s most likely, depending on where you are, there’s probably 10 people that are also doing what you’re doing within 20 miles.
Jennifer: Well, stick with sclerotherapy. You got your vein care guys, you got your vascular surgeon, then you have your cardiologist, who’s also doing vein. Then you might even have your gynecologist, who’s decided it’s an ancillary. Then you might even have the gentleman running the convenience store, who happens to have a … It might be a DO who isn’t practicing any longer ’cause he found an opportunity to make dollars in another business, but he’s decided on the side, he’s going to do sclero, and maybe he’ll do Botox on the side of that also.
Corey: So everyone, maybe not that convenience store guy, but everybody else is qualified. Everybody went to school, everybody has a higher education. So what is differentiating you? And this actually backs into the photo idea, too, is, what’s the difference between you and your competitor down the street? It’s the end benefit. It’s the fact that you’re able to walk on that beach with your significant other, and-
Jennifer: Hand in hand.
Corey: Right, you’re selling the lifestyle. And that matters more than just the fact that you have qualified people and a caring staff.
Jennifer: Absolutely. All right, the end benefit, absolutely. So that’s number seven. Number eight, and I don’t even know if our audience is going to know what we’re talking about here, but number eight is you pixel your website on Facebook. What does this mean, Corey?
Corey: Okay, so the easiest way to describe that is, if you have a Facebook page, which you totally should, you can, for free, pixel your website. Basically, that means you put a little piece of code on your website, and then everybody that visits it is actually building this audience on Facebook. So then you can take everyone that visits your website, and you can run ads to them, and run traffic to your website, and drive home specific things.
Corey: So again, going back to sclerotherapy. You know the people that are visiting the sclerotherapy page, so you can then target them on Facebook. And because of HIPAA, you can’t get too specific, but you know who’s going there, and then you can serve them an ad branded from your practice. Not a particular service, not specifically sclerotherapy, but you can brand your practice-
Jennifer: You can send them a testimonial ad.
Corey: Exactly. You can send them a testimonial ad. And this is 100% free, and you know that these people are interested in your service because they’ve been to your website. We call that warm traffic, or a warm lead. They have interacted with the website. Maybe the didn’t schedule an appointment, or they didn’t complete any sort of action or anything that you wanted them to do, but you 100% know that they have intent to do something, and they’re that much more valuable to your practice because of that.
Jennifer: I love that you just said, this is free, and this is free. And now this Facebook pixel is free.
Corey: Also free. Yup.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Okay, so the next one, number nine on the list, is updated patient forms. One of my faves.
Corey: We see that a lot with some of the practices that we work with, where they have forms from 2014-
Corey: … just because, right, ’cause it’s too hard to update on whatever platform they have, or what have you. So the patient will download the forms, they’ll fill ’em out, come to the office, and then they’ll hand ’em to the person at the front desk and they’ll say, “Oh, these aren’t the newest one. Here’s a new set.”
Jennifer: Yeah, and also, we get it all the time, I don’t know if it’s in your top 25 list, but we have a client that does … That’s an endocrinology practice, and they were asking us … We had just rebuilt their website, and asking us just last week if we would take their forms and make them fillable. And change them and update the forms on the website. And Corey’s right, sometimes you put the forms on the website, you forget they’re there, and then when you get them into the office, somebody’s taken the time to print them out and fill them out, and they’re the wrong forms.
Jennifer: And also, with data, it’s junk in, junk out.
Jennifer: And if you’re not making your films actually fillable, you’re missing the boat here, because you’re asking your patients to download the form … These are new patients that aren’t necessarily using your portal yet. Download the form, print them out, and then hand-write on them. And that handwriting is lost in translation when it goes into inputting into your database. And so you want fillable forms so that your patient can type the information on the form. It doesn’t necessarily save anywhere, they can hit print, print them out, and bring you in nicely typed up forms.
Jennifer: So updating your patient forms is a no-brainer when it comes to updating your website.
Corey: Yeah, it’s super easy to do and it’s a small thing.
Jennifer: How much does it cost?
Corey: Absolutely free.
Corey: Especially if you have WordPress.
Jennifer: You may have to pay a couple bucks to have somebody make ’em fillable, but putting them one your website like that is absolutely free. Okay, so number 10. Section 1557. What is this, Corey?
Corey: You guys may or may not have heard about this, but Section 1557 is the non-discrimination provision that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. So essentially, this-
Jennifer: We hope that’s gone soon. That part of it.
Corey: This is just a PDF. And it says, essentially, that you don’t discriminate. You’ll provide translators if someone speaks another language. It’s small, but it does matter-
Jennifer: I will say, it’s another regulation on a small business, when it’s hard enough to manage your small business every day. That’s just my input.
Corey: If you were ever audited, you need to have it. So if you don’t have it, make sure you put it up. It can go in the footer of your site, it can just be a link that opens up in a separate tab with a PDF. And they’re pretty standard. We actually … We do this for our clients. We have one. So if you need that PDF, just reach out to us, either myself or Jen or hit us up on Twitter or contact us through the website, whatever, and we’ll get it to you.
Jennifer: Absolutely. So that’s Section 1557. All right. This is it. Number 11. This is one of my favorites. Actually, they’re all my favorites. I love this stuff.
Corey: They’re 25 of my favorite things about websites.
Jennifer: I love it. You know why? Because it’s so easy, and it’s the way that patients are finding you, and this is truly how do you attract and retain more patients. This is the starting point. Your website is the living, breathing document. It is the mother ship of everything you do to get new patients. So number 11. Google Local SEO Pack. What does that mean?
Corey: So the Local SEO Pack. If you’ve ever searched for something, let’s say you were looking for … I don’t know, a nail salon. Or a place to get a massage that’s close to you. You’ll notice sometimes, in the results, there’s actually a little map that’ll show up at the top of the page, and then it’ll have three listings below that. That’s called the Local SEO Pack. And something that a lot of practices, especially if the website’s a little bit older, that they don’t have, is the proper NAP, is what the acronym is called. And that stands for Name, Address, and Phone. It’s the Google NAP. So the NAP’s critical for businesses wishing to rank well in this local, organic search result, because Google takes this data into account when they’re determining which companies show for the geo-targeted searches.
Corey: So if someone is saying, I want sclerotherapy near me, or I’m looking for a massage close to me, whatever, the way that Google crawls the website, you always want your name, address, and phone number to be the same. So if it’s the footer of your website, or you list it on the contact page, you want that same order, and you want it to be written the exact same. Because that way, it gets indexed the same, and it will show up in the Local SEO Pack even more. So this is, again, something that is free and easy to do, and if you’re not doing it, then your competitor down the street probably is. Maybe they don’t know that they are, but someone’s going to hit on it if you don’t. So it’s just one of those things you just want to check off your list and say that yeah, we got it, because it will show up in search better.
Jennifer: It’s good stuff. And you have to show up in search. If you don’t show up in search, you don’t exist.
Corey: Yeah, and I would say, just make sure too, it doesn’t actually count in the NAP area, but put your hours there, as well. Most patients assume you’re going to be open from 8:00 to 5:00, but you never know.
Jennifer: You never know.
Corey: You might be open late, you might be open on Saturdays, you might close a certain day.
Jennifer: We have orthopedic walk-in clinics. We’ve done seven new walk-in clinics in the last 12 months, and we have another one getting ready to come online now. And their hours are different than the regular hours at the orthopedics center.
Corey: And we want those to show up in search-
Jennifer: Absolutely, so you put the hours in.
Corey: … because if someone’s looking for the walk-in clinic, they need to know what the hours are because they want to take an action immediately, and that’s to walk right in and become a patient.
Jennifer: Boom. All right, number 12. This is an easy one, it’s sometimes overlooked, but bio pages for physicians.
Corey: Yeah, sometimes we see where practices, they’ll just have a team page, and they’ll have everybody listed. They’ll have headshots. And that’s it. Or maybe they’ll have little snippets of a bio, or maybe where they went to school, but they don’t have specific pages for the physicians. And the reason that we suggest that is because it’s just really helpful in search, because we know that some of the most popular pages on every practice website … You got your home page, your locations, and then you got your physicians. That’s what people are looking for. And so if your physicians don’t have a dedicated bio page just for themselves where you can put their information, maybe pop a testimonial on there, then you’re missing out.
Jennifer: I will say, too, I notice when we start working with a medical client, if they’ve gone to a third party that does an all-in-one solution for marketing services or just a random company that they go to to build their website, they don’t necessarily build out the physician pages, because it could be 10 extra pages, and it’s pretty time-intensive when you’re trying to … You’ve got the physician page, the photos, the bios, the drop-down menus, the videos, the testimonials, the blogs that are [inaudible 00:25:09] to that page. It’s just extra work, and they know that the end user, as in the practice, isn’t going to know to ask for those pages individually.
Corey: Yeah, and you really need to. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have individual provider bios.
Jennifer: All right, number 13. Build out content and procedure pages. Why would you do this, Corey?
Corey: Again, like what we were just talking about with the bio pages, if someone is looking for sclerotherapy or any of your procedures or your services, you want a dedicated page for that, because one, it helps with search, and two, whoever is going to your website and they’re looking for something specific, they don’t care about any of the other stuff. They only care about the thing that they’re looking for.
Corey: So going back to the sclerotherapy example, if that was on a page with 10 other things, and it’s buried, number eight out of 10, I’m never going to get there as someone who’s potentially interested in sclerotherapy. I need my own page, where that’s the title of the page, you’re telling me what it is and what the benefits are, and I can see everything right there.
Corey: So it just makes sense to build out the content and procedure pages, and have one for every single thing that you do. I know that sounds daunting, but like what Jen was saying earlier, where it’s the … The website is your living, breathing brochure. You can do one at a time, that’s fine. You don’t need to launch 20 of these at once. But have the end goal in mind, that we’re going to create a procedure page for each thing that we do.
Jennifer: Yeah, and we’ll get into it on a future episode, but as you’re creating the content calendar, you’re creating the plan for growing and making the website deeper through the content calendar, and these procedure pages are part of that editorial calendar.
Jennifer: Okay, that was number 13. Number 14, this is again, another one of my favorites. A blog.
Corey: Yeah. Basically, blogging is just written content. So you’ve got your procedure pages. Let’s say you’ve knocked all of those out.
Jennifer: Does it have to be written?
Corey: Not necessarily, but written stuff shows up in search. But you always want to, if you can, if you have the resources, you want to supplement that with some rich media, like a video or an infographic or something like that.
Jennifer: Of course.
Corey: So what we always say to clients is, yes, we need the video. Yes, we need the written, because people will search for it, and Google will then scan the index content, so you need it written so Google can scan it. But then they’ll watch the video. So you want ’em both. But your blog … People will share your blog. They may not share a procedure page as much. So a good example of this, going back to the sclerotherapy, is you can have a page on sclero, explains everything about it, but then you have a blog that says, the Top Five Reasons to Get Sclerotherapy. And so then you’re positioning yourself a little bit there to sell and inform and educate. And people will … They’re more likely to share that than they are the procedure page.
Jennifer: All right, well I’m going to give our listeners a tip here, if they’re looking for content for their blog. The content for the blog is always about the patient. And what Corey was sharing is, yeah, you could share tips. And I mentioned earlier that we have a half marathon training infographic, the blog post that does really well. But day in, day out, if you’re looking for blog content, and you’re looking to fill your editorial calendar, you do it with patient testimonials.
Corey: Yeah, absolutely.
Jennifer: Because patient testimonials are talking about the procedure, talking about the outcome. They are the gift that keeps giving, and that is your blog post, perpetually, for the next … Once a month, every month of the year, you just lead with another patient success story. That’s all you’re doing.
Corey: Right, because again, going back to an earlier tip, you want to talk about the benefits.
Corey: And there’s no better way to do that than with a patient testimonial. So if you can film the testimonial and then write a blog post based off of that, and don’t get fancy with it. Just call it Hip Replacement Blog Post. Hip Replacement Testimonial. Whatever.
Jennifer: That’s it. Done.
Corey: Then you’re ahead of 90% of the practices that you’re competing with in your area.
Jennifer: And we film patient testimonials all the time.
Jennifer: And Corey will come and tell me, so-and-so said he found us because of the video that he watched or the blog post that he read. It’s constant. Okay, number 15. This one just sounds fun. Yoast SEO architecture.
Jennifer: What is that, and how much does it cost?
Corey: Okay, so believe it or not, it’s totally free.
Corey: We use Yoast on all of our sites, but again, all of our sites are built on-
Jennifer: Yoast is like toast with a Y.
Corey: Yup. Most of our sites, again, they’re built in WordPress, so hopefully your is, too. If it’s not, it should be. But Yoast SEO is the world’s leading provider of SEO software for websites. Super easy to set up, it’s a plug-in you install on your WordPress site. Setting it up takes about five minutes. Actually, going through each page and blog of your website can take quite a bit longer, depending on how big your site is. But it works really well, and it will help your website show up when people are searching for it.
Jennifer: I think it’s great. And Corey mentioned something so I’ll sidebar it. Just chaps, my ass. ‘Cause he said, you’re going to set it up in WordPress, hopefully it’s set up in WordPress, and sometimes we talk about these third party providers that medical practice is coming in and they buy something with some marketing agency or somebody out there to build a template-based site. And they don’t own the site themselves, so they’re not able to plug in things like Yoast or … Yes, they can do Analytics, but they can’t really expand on patient testimonials or do the things that we know that you can do that are free.
Corey: If you’re in some sort of contract or relationship-
Jennifer: ColdFusion or whatever it is.
Corey: … it’s a proprietary system, and-
Jennifer: Get out.
Corey: Yeah. If you want to add a blog post that’s going to cost you money, then yeah.
Jennifer: Get out.
Corey: Get out of that, ’cause that’s like an abusive relationship. Just run away.
Jennifer: It’s cheaper to get out and just deal with the contract and have to pay it off than it is to stay in that contract.
Jennifer: Get out of the contract and go build a website in WordPress, and you’ll be exponentially happier for it, and you’ll have better results.
Corey: You deserve better.
Jennifer: You do deserve better. All right, number 16. This one sounds scary, but I don’t think it is. Proper schema.org markup. What is that? And how much does it cost?
Corey: Again, free.
Corey: But that is … It’s a fancy sort of search engine optimization technique. But if you have a website in WordPress, it will basically take care of it for you. But basically, this is a language that Google and other top search engines and websites … Website crawlers use to categorize your website. So if your website isn’t set up correctly, the titles won’t read, the descriptions won’t read correctly, the keywords won’t read correctly, so all this money that you’re pouring into your site to build this organic, hopefully, search traffic engine, won’t work if you don’t show up properly on this schema.org platform.
Corey: So like I said, luckily, with WordPress, that’s all taken care of for you.
Corey: But if you’re in one of these proprietary systems … Some, they do a great job. Some, not so much. It’s hard to tell without knowing what your particular website is in. But the moral of the story is if you’re in there, you might just want to send a support ticket in to whoever your webmaster is, and just ask them about schema.org and make sure that they’re on the ball.
Jennifer: Good advice, Corey. I love that it doesn’t cost anything, either. All right, number 17. This one sounds so simple, and it’s such a simple thing that you can do, and immediately help yourself out. Compress image or cache your website for speed.
Corey: Yeah, so going back to an earlier tip. Speed matters. It makes a huge difference. And there are software solutions and plug-ins and just free stuff, again, our favorite word, that will compress images on your website and cache your website. So it loads faster. Because if it loads faster, it’s better for the end user. The more end users that are happy, the more likely they are to convert into happy patients.
Jennifer: Awesome. Awesome stuff.
Corey: I tried to compress that answer down.
Jennifer: Yeah, you compressed it really well. Yeah, you did. Okay, number 18. Contact form with an email to someone on the staff.
Corey: Sometimes when we deal with clients … We’re actually going through one right now with a colorectal client. They do not want a contact form on the website because they don’t have someone that can answer the emails. And that sounds crazy, ’cause who … Do they not trust their … Anyone, not a single person on their staff, to answer their emails? Or does the practice administrator not have 30 seconds a day to check to see if a new appointment came in that they can then forward that to someone else? I don’t really understand it, but it’s something that we deal with sometimes.
Corey: But in this day and age, especially as the Millennial population ages up and they’re going to become your patients, they don’t really want to talk to you. They don’t want to pick up the phone. They’re going to want to fill out some sort of a form or a chat or something that they can schedule an appointment or say whatever they need to say about their billing or whatever the case may be. And someone on your staff has to be ready to get that notification and actually communicate with them. And if you’re not doing that, if you’re directing everyone to a phone call, you’re probably missing out today on 30% of potential patients.
Jennifer: I agree.
Corey: And in a few years, it’s going to be, 60, 70%, because people, they expect and are going to desire to just chat and talk and type. And if you’re not giving them that option, then they’re going to go somewhere else where they can get that option.
Jennifer: I couldn’t agree more, and it’s frustrating when … If you’re going to invest in the digital side of your marketing components, and then not to have something that is truly trackable, then how are you ever going to know if you are getting the biggest bang for your buck, or what your ROI is on the back end? And there’s nothing more valuable than being able to track appointment requests.
Corey: Right, and not only is it trackable, because if someone fills out the form and they convert into a patient, well then you know … There’s metrics in place that if … Whoever’s doing your marketing, if they’re doing it right, then they can say, oh, this patient came from this source. So you can track that entire patient journey, and then see where they wound up and how they actually converted.
Corey: But even if you’re not doing that, just the simple fact of saying that, I’m searching for something, I click on your website, I made it all the way through, and then I go to Contact and it says call. And let’s say it’s 9:30-
Jennifer: I don’t want to call.
Corey: … on a Saturday.
Jennifer: I’ve already forgotten, I’ve gone to the next practice.
Corey: Yeah, I’m not going to call. One, ’cause I don’t want to, and two, ’cause I know you’re not open. I’ll just look somewhere else, because I don’t really know you. I’m not that invested. So you just want to make it as friction-less as possible, and if you’re not doing that, like you said, they’re just going to find another practice-
Jennifer: Yeah, you’re losing out.
Corey: … where they can just type it in and go.
Jennifer: And especially if you’re an independent practice, and you’re competing with the large hospital systems, the hospitals are doing this same stuff. And they’re doing it … Always going to be more advanced than you. And they’re going to be putting real dollars behind it. And they are accepting online appointment requests, so if you’re not, and you’re an independent physician trying to compete with a large hospital, then you’ve already lost, and you don’t need to lose in this one. This is an easy win for you.
Jennifer: All right. I’m a big reader. I love to read. I don’t mind reading big, hairy, audacious books. But not everybody likes to read, Corey.
Corey: I read sometimes.
Jennifer: Corey’s a reader, too. But not to this level. So number 19. One of your favorites. Videos. Tell us about them. Why does it matter for your website?
Corey: Yeah, so there’s a lot of reasons why they matter, but videos make a huge difference because most likely, people want to watch your story rather than read your story. So first of all, it’s important to have a story. But second of all, you want to have it in different forms and different media so you’re reaching the most amount of people possible. I had mentioned it earlier, but when people type and they search for something, you need to have it written so that the search engines can index it. But most likely, when they get to your site, the end user, the actual human being on the other side of the screen, is going to want to watch whatever said story is.
Jennifer: And so when you’re doing video, likely if you want to go the free route, which we like free-
Corey: We love free.
Jennifer: … you’re going to house your videos where?
Jennifer: And who owns YouTube?
Jennifer: And how does that matter?
Corey: YouTube is the number two search engine in the world, behind Google.
Jennifer: That’s right. And if you want to be on the front page of Google, which you do, and you’re using video, then you have a heck of a much better chance than if you aren’t using video, and maybe you want to be on another search engine but nobody goes to those search engines.
Corey: Yeah, they don’t matter. And on top of that, the video that you create, you can then use-
Jennifer: It’s the gift that keeps giving.
Corey: Right, you can use it over and over on different social channels, different places on your website. But for this podcast, we want to specifically talk about the website. And one of the good things about video is, not only does it provide some sort of social proof, which is basically saying, people … If you ever use Yelp, the reason that there’s so many reviews is … And if you look up something, you go to a restaurant with a good review because you innately trust these 900 strangers that they really like this taco place. You say, well that must be a really good taco place.
Corey: So it’s the same thing with videos. If you see somebody on the screen and they say, “I had sclerotherapy at XYZ practice and I’m so much happier now, the results are amazing,” you’re just going to innately trust that person. Especially if they’re genuine in their talking to you. It’s almost like a one on one conversation as you’re watching this video.
Corey: On top of that, when it comes to the website, if you embed this on, let’s say your sclerotherapy page because you built out your procedure pages like we talked about earlier, that keeps people on the page longer. And Google likes when people are on pages longer because that means they wound up seeing the thing that they were searching for. So if they see the thing they were searching for, that website must be really good, and that will elevate you in the search ranking. So if you’re elevated in the search rankings, then you’ll show up more often than your competitors. I know that’s confusing and that’s a long-winded answer, but take away from that that video will help you show up above the people you’re trying to beat.
Jennifer: There you go. And it’s the gift that just keeps on giving.
Jennifer: All right, so let’s go back. So not everybody likes to read, again. So videos. And then number 20 is photos of the office. What are you talking about here, Corey?
Corey: Yeah, so like we said earlier, you want big photos. And you want to include your staff in the photos to show that there’s actual human beings, and they’re friendly. But you also want to show pictures of your office because people, again, they’re going to you not because they want to, but because they have to. So anything you can do to alleviate that stress and show your brand, if you will, makes a big difference.
Corey: So you want photos of the office, the outside of the office as well, so they know what they’re looking for. And the inside of the office so they know what to expect when they’re in the waiting room and when they’re in the exam room, when they’re getting an MRI, they’re getting an x-ray, they’re going to PT. whatever they’re doing at your office, you want to showcase those things because it will make them feel at ease. And most practices do not do this. And so if you do, it gives you a leg up.
Jennifer: I totally agree. So speaking of that, what about maps or map links or something like that?
Corey: People want to know where they’re going, and we see this all the time. If you go to a contact page, especially on some older practice websites, they’ll have the address and a phone number, but that’s it. And you want to eliminate as many clicks as possible and make it as easy as you can for the potential patient to get to you. And again, we know that the most popular pages on websites is typically the home page, locations, and the physicians, or the providers. So if they’re looking at your location page, that means they’re trying to get to you. So do yourself a favor and have either a link to a map, or you an actually embed Google Maps right on the page, and then they can click that and then get directions immediately without leaving your website. So it just … If it’s not there, it’s something that is totally free, surprise-
Corey: It’s free. And it will make a big difference to the end user, because it makes it that much easier. And when you can make something easier for the patients, they’re that much more likely to turn into an advocate for your practice, because if it’s easy and they’re happy with the results, they’re going to tell people about it. But if there’s a bunch of roadblocks and speed bumps and they had to go to three different websites to find out how to get to your practice, or if you’re in a confusing location, if you’re in an office park and it’s not very clear what building you’re in and to get lost, they’re going to show up frustrated, and they’re much more likely to have a negative experience because of that.
Jennifer: I also think, consumers are in control right now. And if they go to your website and they can’t figure out where the heck your office is or what the map is to your office or anything at all is confusing, they’re just going to go to the next one. They’re just going to go find another endocrinologist or another orthopedic surgeon or whoever. And they’re also, if they’re frustrated, they may even go a step further and they might start complaining about that online, which is a whole other topic. But the fact is, you can alleviate so many of the problems. You can overcome some of these challenges just by making sure that you have your stuff together when it comes to your website. Basic common sense stuff that maybe you didn’t think about three years ago, but today it’s very, very relevant.
Corey: Yeah, you want to put your best foot forward, and the website is hands-down the easiest and most effective way to do that.
Jennifer: And the most cost-efficient way.
Corey: Yeah, everything we’ve said today is free.
Jennifer: Almost free, and then you just gotta build the darn thing and keep it going. All right, so we’re almost done. 22. This is one of my favorites. Large font. Easy to read font. Why is this important?
Corey: Every time we build a website and Jen comes to look at it, the first-
Jennifer: And I don’t even wear glasses yet, and I still pay attention to this.
Corey: The first thing she says is, “The font’s not big enough. It’s not big enough for the old eyes.” And it’s true. If you have a website, especially if it’s one of those plug and play, you get 10 pages of content and we’ll just stick it on there for you like some services provide, that they’re not thinking about those things. And it is a huge disservice to your audience, especially if they’re a little bit older. So if you … Sometimes are an orthopedic practice or you’re an ophthalmologist, for example, and you don’t have where you can choose a size of font or you don’t just default to a large size, then people can’t see what you’re doing.
Jennifer: I also think that it’s important, also, to look at the color of your font.
Jennifer: I was actually looking at a website this morning for a client, and I was leaned over the person next to me. I said, “Look at this font. this headline. It looks clean and crisp.” And it was black. And I said, “Look at the body of … The text of the body of the paragraph.” And it was a smaller font, a little too small for what I think are the right audience, but it was a grayscale. And I said, “Does this font look fuzzy?” It looked pixelated to me because of the size and the fact that it was gray. And I think gray is a soft color, but it’s also difficult to read with older eyes, and so I think there’s something to be said about the font you choose, the size of the font, and the color of the font, and it can truly set the tone for the entire experience if you choose the wrong font.
Corey: Yeah, and sometimes, when you’re building a website, and I think a lot of practices are guilty of this, is you’re shown something from the design team of whoever’s building your website. And you say, “Well that looks really cool. I like that. Let’s do it.” But you don’t think about the end user, ’cause you’re looking at it from your eyes, your perspective, and you say, “Oh, that looks really cool.” Or you’re so busy that they present you something and you go, “Yeah, whatever, that’s fine.”
Corey: But if you look at it from the patient’s perspective, it shifts the whole paradigm, and then you might go, “Well, that’s kind of hard to see.” And it doesn’t matter if it’s cute or if it’s cool or if it looks good. If it’s not doing the job of having someone actually read it, it doesn’t matter.
Jennifer: And I think you don’t want your website where somebody has to even think twice about what it is you said. They shouldn’t think about the font. It should just be beautiful.
Corey: Yeah. Easy.
Jennifer: And it should be about the user experience, and it shouldn’t really be about much else. It should be all about that user experience, and the number of clicks that it takes, and that it’s clean and it’s crisp and it gets your point across in the way the copy’s written and everything else.
Corey: For sure.
Jennifer: All right, so we’re almost done here. Number 23. Colors that sense with your brand. What do you mean by this?
Corey: Basically, if you use certain colors in your print materials or on your website ads or anything like that, you just want that to be consistent across the board. So for example, if your colors are-
Jennifer: Like a brand standards manual, which we love to talk about.
Corey: Absolutely. So if your colors are green and blue, well then on your website, you wouldn’t want to introduce red, because where did the red come from?
Corey: Right. Or if you always use green and a certain shade of blue, make sure the shade of blue always matches on everything that you do. So if you have a link on your website, make it the same shade of blue. If you’re going to do a callout on a big photo, because we talked about that earlier, we know how important those are, make sure it’s the same shade of blue. It sounds silly and it may sound sort of inconsequential, but if you can present everything in the most professional manner possible, that’s going to differentiate you from some other practices as well that are mailing it in or doing it piecemeal. And it creates this innate trust, this perceived value, that you know what you’re doing, because it looks like you have your act together.
Jennifer: Yeah, and I will say, that’s why, with all of our new clients, no matter what level they come in at, that we provide a brand standards manual. Because when you’re designing a new website, or really trying to put your best foot forward, having a brand standards manual helps you. No matter who it is that’s working on whatever project you’ve got, whether it’s an intern or a graphic designer or somebody in marketing in the department itself, or an agency, you give ’em your brand standards manual, they know what font to use, what colors to use, the printer has it, everybody has it. And everything has AdSense across the board, it looks good.
Corey: Right. And AdSense, just real quick, is basically just saying if someone sees an ad and then goes to your website, they subconsciously connect the dots. This is the place I’m supposed to be. This makes sense ’cause it looked like the other thing that I saw. So if they see your ad in a print magazine and they go to your website, they should look the same, so they’re not confused about where they are and think, oh maybe this isn’t the practice that I thought it was on that billboard, or whatever.
Jennifer: There you go. That’s right. Number 24, we’re almost there. Set up Google Webmaster tools and submit a sitemap.
Corey: This is really in the weeds of what you should do, so just forward this on to whoever’s maintaining your website. But you need to be on Google Webmaster tools, and then you have to submit a sitemap, because when you submit a sitemap, everything on your site is indexed, and when it is indexed, it is therefore searchable. So if you don’t have a sitemap submitted, you’re not on Google Webmaster tools, some of your stuff, it’s going to get crawled and searched by default, but this is a way to ensure that every single thing on your sitemap is. I don’t want to get too in the weeds there, but just forward that to whoever needs to see it.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Okay, so this is the last one. And it’s one of my favorites, ’cause I love tracking my progress.
Corey: You have a lot of favorites on this list.
Jennifer: I just love this stuff. This stuff’s good stuff.
Corey: It is, it is.
Jennifer: You build something and they will come, and then they come, and you want to measure it. So number 25. Set up a dashboard to track your progress. What do you mean by this?
Corey: For our clients, we set up a dashboard-
Jennifer: It’s a pretty dashboard, too.
Corey: Yeah, regardless of what level you’re at, we set up a dashboard that measures visitors and progress and all sorts of fun stuff. But for you, if you don’t have that or you don’t have the tools to invest in that, at least put together an Excel spreadsheet, and look at your Google Analytics. Remember tip number one? And then track your visitors so you can see trends, and you can see what people are doing. Because once you actually put this stuff down on paper and you can measure it, it will change the way you look at your marketing forever.
Jennifer: Absolutely. It’ll tell you what pages they’re looking at, what pieces of content, where are they coming from. You might think that all your traffic to your website is coming from a particular source, but it may not be coming from that source, and Analytics will tell you that. And your dashboard allows you to track it over time. So it’s just such a valuable tool. And it doesn’t cost anything.
Corey: And what we like to do too, is on ours, we actually have traffic sources laid out, and then also, some of the most popular pages. So let’s say, for example, we launch a campaign about sclerotherapy, and we see that page skyrocket to the top of the most viewed pages for the month, well, we know we’re doing something right because we’re driving traffic to this page, and it’s showing up in our dashboard, so we get instantly see that, we can report on it to the client, and we can say, look, this campaign that we did, it resulted in this many conversion because we set up goals for that. And the traffic resulted in this many views, because we put this many dollars behind it, and it’s an easy way just to quantify everything that you’re doing in one or two pages.
Jennifer: I couldn’t agree more. Okay, so Corey and I are recording this in San Diego, from the Traffic and Conversion Summit, that is taking place here at the Marriott. And there’s a topic that’s been coming up, and it’s been over the last couple of years, but it’s finally gotten enough mainstream that it’s a nice added bonus, and something that we’re exploring with some of our clients right now. So let’s give them … I think our listeners deserve a number 26. So number 26, let’s talk about this. It’s chat hours.
Corey: Okay. So if you’ve listened this long, you’re at minute 53 and a half. So here’s a bonus tip for you.
Corey: A lot of what has been talked about right now is bots. And chats. And how the robots are coming.
Jennifer: Artificial intelligence.
Corey: We need to run for the hills because the robots are taking our jobs. But one thing that we’re seeing that’s very clear for our clients that we’re going to implement, so we’re providing this for you guys too, is that people expect to be communicated with instantly. So if someone asked you a question, let’s say they ask on Facebook or they go to your website and they fill out a contact form, or they send an email. If you don’t respond to them within minutes, then they’re gone.
Jennifer: They’re onto the next thing.
Jennifer: Just like if your site was slow. They’re onto the next thing.
Corey: Right. So what we’re suggesting for the bare minimum is to have some sort of chat interface, where you can designate someone in the office to communicate with patients as they fill out this chat form on a website.
Jennifer: But not personal information. Just generalized information.
Corey: Exactly. Right, so if they’re asking a question, you want someone to be able to respond. And if it gets anywhere close to personal, then just say, please give us a call and we’ll get this taken care of. And pull it offline. And what’s great about some of the software and the services that we’ve been seeing so far is you can automate when this happens. You can automate some of the actions, so if there’s certain keywords or things that happen, then it sends them down this path, and then eventually, there can be some human interaction. But if not, then you can specify what hours you’re available, so someone can open a chat and ask the questions whenever they want, and you can say, thanks for sending your request. Our office hours are from 8:00 to 5:00, and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can.
Corey: So you’re creating an immediate connection and conversation with that person, even if you’re not in the office, and then when whoever you’ve designated gets in in the morning, their first job is to open up that chat log and see who’s there, and respond to those people, and get them scheduled.
Corey: Yeah. And that’s something that is very new and is very different for healthcare, and no one is doing.
Jennifer: It’s a true bonus to put in your back pocket and start thinking about. And we’re going to start testing it with some of our clients and some of the things that we’re doing, so you follow along with us at the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast, hear and understand a little bit better how we’re translating this with the clients that we work with, and then maybe you can understand how it might translate to you.
Jennifer: So we have given you 25 true tactics that you can use to attract and retain more patients to build your medical practice, and to just knock it out of the park as it relates to your website. Plus, we’ve given you a little bonus food for thought. So with that, I’m Jennifer.
Corey: I’m Corey.
Jennifer: And we’ll see you next time on the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast. Thanks for joining us.
Corey: Thanks, guys.
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