Category: Medical Practice Marketing

Medical Practice Marketing

Top 7 Practice Marketing Tips

Most ophthalmologists and practice managers view marketing solely as advertising to attract new patients to your practice. A better definition of marketing, however, is any activity that moves your practice in a desired direction. A desired direction may include increasing revenue, attracting new patients, expanding your presence in your market, introducing new services, or simply automating your practice to enhance the lifestyle you want.

There are many ways to go about achieving these myriad goals, but we’ve outlined some of our favorites here. If you want to market your practice and enhances its reputation in the eyes of your patients, here are our top 7 tips for marketing your ophthalmic practice.
Tip #1 – Have a Written One-Year and Five-Year Marketing Plan

Practices with a well-defined marketing plan typically outperform those without. Research has shown that the simple act of writing down one’s goals increases the likelihood of achieving those goals by nearly 40%.

First, you should develop your five-year goals, as your one-year goals should fit within and support your five-year plan. Don’t be afraid to dream big – as long as the goal is somewhat realistic, higher challenge will aspire your practice staff to reach for more and outperform.

At the beginning of each year, do a review with your staff and set goals for the year, with specific milestones and deliverables – revenue numbers, patient visits, review scores, etc – outlined along the way. Be sure to check in with your staff and see how you’re progressing on your yearly goals on at least a quarterly basis. This will allow your practice to make mid-course corrections, if necessary.

At the end of the year, review your performance and set goals for the next year, paying attention to how this year’s performance measures up against your five-year plan and where your practice should be at this point in time.

As we’ve discussed before, your goals should follow the SMART framework – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed.
Tip #2 – Optometrists and Opticians: Employ them, or market to them?
Deciding whether to employ or market to optometrists is a crucial part of building your practice…but there’s no one right answer for everyone.

For some practices, it makes sense to employ optometrists and do everything in-house. For others, building a strong referral network fits into their goals better. Ophthalmologists typically net around $50,000 profit per year for each employed optometrist, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

Regardless of what is right for your practice, having a plan around marketing to optometrists and opticians will be a huge benefit. Your particular situation will determine which approach is right for you.
Tip #3 – Communicate Availability and Ease
There’s no denying it: your patients are busy and value convenience. Scheduling is often the most important function your office staff serves, so making sure that patients see your practice as available and easy to work with is vital.

Of course, designing scheduling systems that reduce the amount of time and friction encountered by both office staff and patients alike is a great place to start, but the following tips are also important to take into account:

See new patients and referrals as soon as possible.
See patients on time, and clearly communicate when the practice is running a bit behind schedule.
Give patients a pleasurable experience in the waiting room – this will go a long way towards better reviews and higher patient satisfaction.
Always address the patient by name, and ask how they are doing.

Tip #4 – Be Visible in Your Community

One of the most successful marketing techniques is often times ignored by practices that have grown and matured. Networking is important, and having your physicians and staff network among industry peers is vital to building connections and increasing awareness.

However, industry networking isn’t the only way to go. Making sure your practice is visible and active in your community can go a long way in increasing the stature and reputation of your practice. Leverage opportunities for local media exposure, community involvement, community service, and the like – being in public will pay huge dividends for your practice.
Tip #5 – Keep your name in front of patients
Research has shown that it takes an average of seven “touchpoints” before a consumer becomes familiar and comfortable with a brand. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your name appears anywhere and everywhere patients may look.

At the very least, this means ensuring that you’re visible on the web, in local directories, and physician listing services. Signage in and around your office complex (as permissible) will help enhance your brand, and direct mail campaigns and local advertising opportunities can also be quite effective.

In addition to your practice’s name being visible, you should also highlight contact information and ways to connect, including your address, phone number, website, and social media handles. Ideally, these should be on every piece of communication patients see, from advertisements to online listings and every piece of paper that leaves your office, both promotional and educational alike.
Tip #6 – Have a great website.
If we’re honest, we’re a bit biased – perhaps this should be tip #1. In our ever-connected society, having a professional web presence is vital.

This is no different for ophthalmologists – in fact, 8 out of 10 patients will go to the Internet to research ophthalmic providers before ever picking up the phone or coming in for a visit.

We’ve written a lot about website design for ophthalmologists, but here are some general tips:

Make sure it’s responsive and looks great on every device
Have clear contact information on every page
Enable patients to request an appointment with the touch of a button
Integrate social media
Use your website as a platform to leverage social proof and positive reviews
Make sure it’s securely hosted and managed

Tip #7 – Patient Experience Comes Above All Else

It’s plain and simple: a patient that has a terrific experience at your practice is more likely to refer their peers to you.

Because of this, maintaining a commitment to quality is paramount to your success as an ophthalmologist. Providing exceptional patient experience is perhaps one of the cheapest and most effective forms of marketing you have at your disposal. It may not be “marketing” in the traditional sense of the word, but personal recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals can go a long way.

Related: Why all ophthalmic practices should be more like Tesla

This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of ways or best practices for marketing your ophthalmic practice, but these tips should help you take your practice to the next level, attract more patients and growing your practice substantially.

 
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Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

Medical Practice Marketing Patient Experience

Ethical Marketing and Advertising in Ophthalmology

Competition is on the rise in healthcare. Especially as reimbursements decrease for many ophthalmic procedures, more ophthalmologists are turning to marketing to attract more patients, increase revenue, and stay competitive. Many ophthalmologists rely on marketing agencies rather than performing marketing activities in-house, and it’s all to easy for physicians to form opinions of effective marketing strategies based on what they have seen their competitors say and do.

While the pressure to remain competitive amidst a changing landscape is certainly powerful, ophthalmologists must maintain an ethical approach to advertising, especially in healthcare, where high stakes and occasional mismatches between patient expectations and surgical realities can vary drastically and have serious consequences.
Business Values vs. Medical Values
There’s no doubt that ophthalmic marketing is on the rise, especially in recent years. The benefits of refractive surgery tell a good story, and the procedure itself is lucrative for physicians – why would an ophthalmologist not want to advertise?

However, with the advent of modern marketing technologies, one must pay careful attention to the message of the ad itself, ensuring that what is being claimed can actually stand up to the likely outcome of a procedure. The most effective forms of marketing get the target to focus on perceived value from buying a product or a service rather than focusing on the attributes of the product or service itself. However, in healthcare, the rules are a bit different.
“First, do no harm.”
In short, one must be careful about confusing business goals with medical obligations.

Traditional business values focus on increasing revenue, attracting new patients, and growing a business, sometimes by whatever means necessary. This doesn’t mean that all business-related activities are inherently unethical, but the line can easily be blurred by the siren’s call of increased revenues and practice growth, no matter the cost.

Contrast those capitalistic values to the values of the medical practitioner, whose primary duty and obligation is not to the practice, but to the patient: first, do no harm. These ethical values are not always in alignment with the cutthroat strategies espoused by traditional business values. It’s tempting to replicate what the less-than-ethical practice across town is doing because it seems to be working so well for them – but this is where the ethical physician must question the the underlying values at play.
An Ethical Approach to Marketing: The Rules
Advertising ethics in the medical profession have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. Advertising became popular and gained legitimacy in 1982 when the Federal Trade Commission won its lawsuit against the AMA, who had previously restricted advertising in its Code of Ethics.

While many ethics and best practices of ethical advertising are still regulated by the Codes of Ethics of many medical governing bodies, there has been a gradual acceptance of the presence (and necessity) of traditional marketing in recent years. Medical associations and professional organizations understand that marketing is here to stay, and that many specialists such as ophthalmologists are keen to employ its strategies to their benefit.

At its core, the rules are simple: marketing and advertising (for sake of discussion, we use the terms interchangeably) are designed to sell a core product or a service. In other fields, claims of superiority of one product or service over another are thrown around all the time, and often cannot be verified (are Bounty paper towels *really* 60% more absorbent?). But for many products and services, the stakes are relatively low: will your life really change that much if it turns out Bounty is only 40% more absorbent? Probably not.

This is where physicians have to tread lightly. Claims of superiority of a product or service in the medical arena can easily come into conflict with a physician’s primary obligation to the patient. In healthcare, marketers may focus on potential benefits of certain procedures such as LASIK rather than simple product attributes, but advertisements “must not contain material claims of superiority that cannot be substantiated.”

According to the Code of Ethics of the American Association of Ophthalmology, communications to patients (which encompass marketing in its various forms) “must not convey false, untrue, deceptive, or misleading information through statements, testimonials, photographs, graphics or other means. Communications must not appeal to an individual’s anxiety in an excessive or unfair way; and they must not create unjustified expectations of results.”

The absorption of paper towels may not change a patient’s life, but if they fall prey to less-than-ethical claims about a medical procedure, there’s more at stake. Ethical conduct in marketing is key.
The Scales Will Even Out
Although new forms of marketing brought about by new advertising technologies are on the rise, we cannot underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing, either. Remember the last time you were burned by a product or experience? What did you tell your family and friends about it? Chances are you wanted to warn those in your inner circle of your disappointing experience, lest they repeat your mistake.

In the same way, patients who fall prey to less-than-scrupulous physicians who employ deceptive marketing techniques are more likely to disparage their services online and to their peers. In today’s economy, which is highly driven by authentic stories and recommendations from trusted sources, this can make or break a practice. If you’re tempted to worry about competitors who are focusing their efforts on less-than-ethical marketing strategies (to their benefit), don’t bother. Their day will come.
The Responsibilities of the Physician…and the Marketer
At the end of the day, the physician’s ultimate responsibility is to the patient: did they accurately portray the service offered? Did they deliver a good experience that met the patient’s expectations? Did they, to the best of their ability, provide adequate, compassionate medical care and do no harm?

While it may seem incongruous at first, the marketing agency’s ultimate responsibility is not to physicians, but to patients. Yes, marketing agencies have to account for performance, showing their clients how their services are adding to the bottom line, but their obligation is deeper than that. The end goal is not only to increase revenue and attract more patients, but to establish a human connection between the physician and patient, ensuring a good experience. If marketing agencies do their job well, revenue will naturally flow to their clients as a result. If marketers are serving patients, they will be serving physicians, too.

Not only does ethical behavior in ophthalmic marketing reduce the risk of malpractice litigation, but it will enhance the reputation of those practices who employ ethical marketing practices in a field where competitors’ claims may not hold water.

While the medical landscape is changing and reimbursements are declining, the prudent ophthalmologist must keep in mind the overall goal of delivering exceptional patient care in the increasingly-complex healthcare puzzle.

Ethical marketing is just one a piece of it.
Practice marketing plan need a facelift?
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Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

Medical Practice Marketing Patient Experience

Why all ophthalmic practices should be more like Tesla

A Look at a High-Touch, Relational Approach to Patient Experience
In our last post, we looked at the value of using a psychological concept called priming to attract and retain more satisfied patients at your ophthalmic practice. While priming and other psychological tactics are powerful, they can’t stand on their own – they must be paired with follow-through and standard of care that match patients’ expectations.

Unfortunately, for too many ophthalmic practices the game is all about dollars and cents. The economics of running a practice can all too easily get in the way of patient experience, with  patients suffering as a result. The rise of practices whose only concern is revenue maximization has lead to decreased expectations around patient experience – both for practice staff, physicians, and patients themselves.

To combat this, we propose that more ophthalmic practices use a high-touch approach to patient care. Focus on revenue alone, and your patients are very likely to leave dissatisfied at their experience. However, when a physicians treats their patients right and provides excellent care at every stage of their journey, and the revenue will naturally follow as a result.
High Challenge, High Support
When patients are thought of as just another transaction, they will act accordingly – they will expect very little of the practice, and unfortunately, will receive very little in return. When patients expect little from their ophthalmic provider, the incentive to provide excellent care all but disappears – both physicians and office staff ignore opportunities to delight patients in favor of revenue maximization activities. It’s a downward-spiraling, vicious cycle.

This is a structure of low challenge and low support in which the only thing that matters is dollars and cents. There is no challenge to constantly be improving the standard of patient care and patient experience – the bar is set very low. Likewise, because the bar is set so low, there is very little institutional support for practice staff to exceed expectations – it’s all about the bottom line.

A better approach to patient experience is to adopt a high challenge, high support structure in which both doctor and patient expectations are high, and there is support to meet those expectations.

For the practice staff, the challenge to deliver an exceptional experience is high – but they are given the tools they need to delight the customer at every stage of their journey. The expectation is not to maximize revenue at every opportunity, but to deliver a wonderful experience for the patient.

For the patient, their expectations are high – but they are met with personal service and an almost “concierge-like” approach to their medical care. Their questions are answered, their needs taken care of, their expectations exceeded. The patient feels at ease with every part of the experience, from the first contact to post-surgical care.

“A high-touch, relational approach to patient experience is the cheapest, most effective form of marketing you have at your disposal. ”

 

The high-touch model may be more costly and time-intensive for ophthalmic practices to adopt, but in time, it will perpetuate a cycle of exceeding expectations, both on the part of patients and office staff alike.
Turning customers into evangelists
Think of the last time you experienced incredible customer service at a business. For me, it was at a Tesla store.

I’ve always wanted to test-drive a Tesla, and while I won’t be in the market for a new car for at least a few years, I still wanted to experience what it was like. From my very first appointment request to the follow-up after my visit, the staff at Tesla was incredible – they answered my questions, showed me all of the features of the vehicle, and talked about the future of automotive transport. I came by the store a few weeks later (on an unrelated visit), and they remembered my name and the test-drive I had. Not something you’d get from a normal car dealership.

What’s more, I freely admitted that I wasn’t ready to buy a car, but that I wanted to experience firsthand what it was like to drive a Tesla. In a normal car dealership, that would change the dynamic – I would no longer be a potential paying customer, and therefore, I wouldn’t be worth their time. When the game is all about the dollars coming in the door, the onus isn’t to deliver a great experience – it’s to get you to pull out your wallet.

Not so at an experience-focused business like Tesla. Their focus was on providing an exceptional experience, and that is exactly what I received. The fact that I wasn’t ready to buy didn’t change the way they treated me – they still went out of their way to ensure that I was cared for. Sure, revenue is important, but Tesla knows that if they deliver great experiences to their customers, that those customers will turn into evangelists.

My experience at Tesla is a classic example of a high-touch, relational model, and the experience they delivered has made of more of an evangelist for their brand than anything else could.

Yes, a high-touch, experience-oriented strategy requires more effort and is more time-consuming, but is perhaps the best way we’ve seen of increasing word-of-mouth referrals and achieving high levels of patient satisfaction.

This may not be the approach for every ophthalmic practice, but if you can devote some extra time and money to a high-touch approach, you’re very likely to reap incredible benefits. It may not be very conventional, but a high-touch, relational approach to patient experience is the cheapest, most effective form of marketing you have at your disposal.

 
Want more help improving your practice marketing?
Contact us to learn more about how Messenger can help attract more patients to your ophthalmic practice.
Contact Us

Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

Medical Practice Marketing Patient Experience

Use Psychology to Get More Satisfied Patients

Your practice is built around your patients. If you want your practice to grow in stature and reputation, you have every reason to want not only more patients, but more satisfied patients as well.

Fortunately, there are many ways to obtain more patients. Many of these involve awareness, outreach campaigns, and traditional marketing and advertising.

But how can you improve the effectiveness of your marketing? How can the messages you tell lead to more satisfied patients?

One technique you can use is the psychological principle of priming.

Using psychology to influence behavior may seem taboo to some, but it’s commonplace, especially in marketing and advertising. That doesn’t mean you have to be gimmicky like a used car salesman – to increase the likelihood that patients will make a desired choice (i.e., to choose your practice over a competitor’s, for example), you need to know why they would make that decision. And to understand why people make decisions, you have to start by knowing how the mind works. If you want your practice to thrive, you need to know how to employ techniques that appeal to our human nature, how our brains work.
What is Priming?
According to Psychology Today:
“Priming is a non-conscious form of human memory concerned with the perceptual identification of words and objects. It refers to activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task.”
For example, a person who sees the word “yellow” will be slightly faster to recognize the word “banana.” This happens because yellow and banana are closely associated in memory.

It all comes down to cognitive ease. All else being equal, we tend to choose those things that are familiar, comfortable, and cognitively “easy” for us.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman outlines his research that the human brain works in what he calls two “systems.”
System 1 is fast, reactionary, and immediate – it forms snap judgments and uses heuristics that are (mostly) correct.
System 2 is more methodical – it takes time to solve harder problems for which answers are not familiar or immediately available – but it’s also inherently lazy.
If we can use System 1 whenever possible, we will. It’s easier than engaging System 2. This is where priming comes into play.
Repetition is Key
Priming and repetition can play a powerful role in guiding desired behavior from prospective patients. Simply repeating a message or increasing visibility of a desired action (requesting an appointment, for example) may be one of the most effective ways of guiding patient behavior.

As Kahneman notes, “a reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from the truth.”

While Kahneman applies this concept to falsehoods, it’s applicable elsewhere, too. You’re not trying to peddle lies or be deceptive in your marketing – but if you want patients to become more comfortable with the notion of using your practice for their refractive surgery, repetition and familiarity is key. 

Research shows that it takes an average of seven “touchpoints” before a person will become familiar and comfortable with a brand…so getting your message, your staff, and your services in front of the patient repeatedly is crucial to helping them feel more familiar with your practice.

By doing so, you’re “training” a patient’s memory. If it’s familiar and easily understandable, cognitive ease will take over and put their behavior on autopilot.
How Can the Ophthalmologist Use Priming in their Marketing?
One of the first interactions many patients have with an ophthalmologist is on their practice website – and priming is subtle and easy to implement online.

For an ophthalmology website to be effective, it must meet 3 criteria:

Simple to use.
Easy to understand.
Clear in how to proceed.

Simple to Use

There’s a temptation in website to try to be all things to all people, to do absolutely everything under the sun.

This is a huge mistake.

Clear choices about branding, fonts, and imagery fall into this category. The most simple websites (sometimes with bare-bones features) are often the most effective. That doesn’t mean your website has to be ugly to be effective, but it will be more effective when you pare down the number of “features” it has in favor of telling a simple story.

By making your website easy to navigate, you’re signaling to the patient that you want their experience to be as painless and effortless as possible.

Patients who feel comfortable and familiar on your website are more likely to feel comfortable and familiar with your practice. When in doubt, keep it simple.

Easy to Understand

When we’re faced with an unfamiliar situation (researching options for refractive surgery, for example), System 2 kicks in – we expend more energy processing the situation, and we’re wary by default.

Your goal as an ophthalmologist should be to minimize the degree to which a patient has to engage their “System 2.” You can do this by making the process educational and as familiar as possible.

One way to do this is by educational resources. Repeatedly showing educational resources on refractive surgery can have this effect as patients become more familiar with the concept and steps necessary to improve their vision. The more education patients receive, the more it will lessen their cognitive strain and make them feel more familiar with your practice.

Another way to make patients feel at ease is by case studies. Featuring case studies or testimonials from satisfied patients can have the same effect – by seeing other patients who closely resemble them (this is a psychological principle called “mirroring”), the patient will feel more comfortable and familiar with the prospect of having surgery performed at your practice…because all of those other people had a great experience, I probably will, too!

The same goes for your staff. The best ophthalmic practices we’ve encountered have gone above and beyond to highlight the people who work in their practice – and not just physicians, but their front office staff too. If a patient comes into your practice and recognizes the faces of people they’re interacting with in your office, they are more likely to feel at ease and have a positive experience. This recognition may be subconscious (System 1 is at work, after all), but it can have a powerful effect. It costs nothing, but can contribute to overall patient satisfaction. What’s to lose?

As the situation becomes more familiar, cognitive ease increasingly guides our behavior as we let our walls down. Bingo.

Clear in How to Proceed

Having multiple opportunities to request an appointment is critical for an ophthalmic practice to engage prospective patients. By now, hopefully patients are more comfortable and familiar with your practice, and have learned more about their condition and what to expect. Their “System 2” is utilized less and less as System 1 takes over.

Once a patient becomes comfortable with your practice, they will want to take action. By having numerous visible opportunities for a patient to request an appointment or reach out for more information, you give them an outlet to take action on the knowledge they have acquired.

Opportunities to take action can take on a number of different forms: chat widgets let patients have their questions answered in real time, contact forms can be used to answer general questions or submit comments, and appointment request forms are for those patients who are ready to improve their vision.

Primed by ease of use and comfortability, the experience is no longer foreign, but familiar, and patients now feel empowered to take the next step.
Priming is Easy, Powerful, and Effective
Priming is a powerful psychological principle that is underutilized in many spheres of marketing. By giving patients easy-to-use online materials that help them feel comfortable, familiar, and empowered, you’re doing yourself a favor that will pay great dividends in the form of more – and more satisfied – patients.

The goal is to get the patient to feel like, “wow, they really care about me here. they went out of their way to listen, understand, and provide excellent care. I never thought I’d actually want to come to the doctor!”

Priming can do that for you.

To learn more about how Messenger can help you attract more patients to your ophthalmic practice, contact us today.
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Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

Medical Practice Marketing Medical Website Design Patient Experience

What Makes a Practice Website Effective?

You’d be hard-pressed to find an ophthalmologist in 2018 who doesn’t have a website. However, upon further inspection, you might suspect that many in the medical community don’t care about their website or online reputation: their website isn’t responsive, pages are out of date, it’s hard to navigate…the problems can go on and on.

Everybody claims to know that a good website is an essential element in a marketing plan that attracts new patients and fosters growth, but if you want to realize that growth for your practice, you first need to know the elements that make a website good.

In this article, we’ll explore 10 key ways in which your website is important than you think.
1. A good website increases exposure.
When you promote your practice online, the goal is exposure. The more patients that can see your practice, the more patients you will attract. A well-built practice website will give your practice exposure and help potential patients discover your practice and what you have to offer.
2. A good website promotes a coherent brand.
If you want to stand out in a crowded market, you need to have a brand that is clear, coherent, and cohesive across all platforms. Ideally, your website will bring all elements of your brand – your physical presence, your social media, your paid advertising, and your content marketing – under one roof to tell a coherent story. Patients resonate with clear and authentic stories, so utilizing your website as a platform to tell your story will elevate your brand in the minds of your patients.
RELATED: MillennialEye LIVE Talk – Building Your Practice Brand

3. A good website will be a valuable marketing tool.
A good website should serve as your main marketing tool when seeking to reach potential patients. Your website should contain many opportunities for patients to connect with you online, request more information, and take action on marketing messages they see.
4. A good website is flexible.
Technology is constantly changing, and your website is no exception. A good ophthalmic practice website will remain relevant and up-to-date with the latest technological advances, giving you an advantage over practices whose websites aren’t well- maintained. Having a website that works on a variety of devices, is easy-to-navigate, and is flexible to the needs of the patient will go a long way in helping to win the trust of your patients.
5. A good website is should provide a competitive advantage.
Chances are your market is crowded. Having a good website will give you a competitive advantage over those competitors who haven’t paid close attention to their online reputation. This means not only having a well-designed website but making sure you’re showing up at the top of search engine results so that when patients search for ophthalmologists in their area, they find you.
6. A good website will be locally targeted.
As a physician with a physical practice, it’s important to be attracting local patients. A good ophthalmic website will help bring local patients to your door through valuable content, SEO best practices, and a focus on your local market. Making sure your practice website is hyper-local is one of the most important things you can do to grow your practice and attract new patients.
7. A good website will contain valuable content – and lots of it.
You’ve heard it said, ”Content is King”…and there’s a reason that statement rings true. Especially in ophthalmology, where patients are confronted with medical jargon, the unknown, and the prospect of surgery, the more information, the better. Having a website that’s chock-full of content and information to set patients’ minds at ease is a must.
8. A good website facilitates conversation.
What good is a website if patients can’t contact you for more information? Lack of easy-to-find contact information is one of the biggest reasons patients abandon websites without ever scheduling an appointment or requesting more information. A good ophthalmic practice website will provide patients multiple opportunities to contact the practice for more information or to schedule an appointment. Having clear, easy-to-find contact information is key.
9. A good website is educational.
As we’ve mentioned, the field of ophthalmology can be scary for outsiders who are wary of going to the doctor. Hence, having educational content throughout your website will go a long way in easing patients’ fears and helping them understand what their condition or procedure entails. Chances are a more-educated patient will make your life easier…and if you want to see more educated patients, you’ll need to take a look at your website.
10. A good website reinforces a good brand image.
It’s easy to measure the effects of conventional marketing with statistics, return on investment, and myriad analytical tools. Your practice image is a bit more nebulous, but it’s still important. Your website is a crucial element in helping you build a good image for your business. Your brand doesn’t exist outside of the minds of your patients, so it’s important to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward everywhere. A good website will help with this by presenting your practice in a positive light, making your message easy to understand, and facilitating conversation with patients.

 

It’s not always easy to create a good, useful website that serves your business needs and goals while reaching more patients, but as you can see from these 10 aspects of a good ophthalmic practice website, it’s incredibly important.

Getting your practice website right is by far one of the most valuable things you can do as an ophthalmologist to attract more patients and grow your practice.

Want to improve your practice website? Contact us for a free website report today.
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Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

Medical Practice Marketing Medical Website Design

How (and Why) to Keep Your Practice Website Updated

The age of your website might seem like nothing more than a random number. However, it has quite a bit of relevance when it comes to your success in areas such as SEO.

If you‘re running a website for your ophthalmic practice, you will want to make sure that it’s informative and appealing to potential patients and search engines alike. Whether you built your website 10 years ago or just finished a brand new site last month, what really counts is how old it looks.

Whatever the age of your site, there are certain actions you can take to make it more valuable over time. Let’s look at why it’s so crucial to have a website that looks young and up-to-date.
The Benefits of an Updated Website
In the old days of SEO, domain age was highly valued: the older your domain, the greater chance you’d have at ranking higher. More recently, however, Google has shifted its focus to other areas, such as the quality and relevance of content. Domain age still plays a part, but it’s not as important as it used to be.

Google uses many factors when it ranks websites. “Domain authority” depends on various elements, including backlinks and page loading speed. When older websites rank better than newer ones, however, it isn’t only because they’ve existed longer. It’s because they tend to have more content, backlinks, and traffic.

What really counts today is to have a website that is “young” in appearance, features, and relevance. By this, we mean that the website is constantly updated and new content is continually added on a regular basis. This is especially crucial in a field such as ophthalmology, where your visitors want to know that you’re up-to-date with the latest medical advancements in the field. Here are some features of an updated website:
Mobile-Friendliness
More and more people are accessing the internet via smaller devices like smartphones and tablets. Most website design today is responsive, meaning it automatically adjusts pages to fit all devices. But many older websites are non-responsive, which causes them to lose lots of potential visitors. Google is also actively penalizing those websites that are not responsive, as they deliver inferior experiences to visitors. If you want to rank higher, make sure your ophthalmic practice website is responsive.

Updated Content
Google favors websites that are frequently updated. Visitors also like to see relevant news, tips, and stories. If people see that your most recent post is from 3 years ago, they’ll look elsewhere for the latest news.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be continually changing the content found on your pages or blogging on a daily basis, but having new content to share at least a few times a month can do wonders for your SEO and online reputation.

Visually Interesting
People today like to absorb content in a variety of formats, including images and videos. It helps to mix things up and give visitors great written content along with visual stimulation. There are a variety of ways to  accomplish this, including educational videos, varied imagery, and immersive visual experiences.
Nobody likes to visit websites with pages upon pages of text with nothing visually interesting to break it up. After all, our brains process images up to 400x faster than we process words, so keeping your website updated with visually-interesting content can work wonders with user retention and engagement.

Your Website’s Age in Online Years
To find out your website’s literal age, you only need to consult your records. If you don’t remember when your domain was first registered, check with your domain registrar, website hosting provider, or Whois.

When Google ranks websites, it uses a proprietary formula that includes hundreds of factors. When you improve in any of these areas, you increase your website’s value and rank better. Two websites that are in the same niche and have the same content, but were built at different times will rank differently.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter as much how old your website is in actual days, months, or years. It’s never too soon or too late to remake it in a way that’s more visitor- and search engine-friendly.

The key is to provide a valuable user experience that promotes frequent and continual engagement over time. The most successful websites are responsive, updated, adaptable, and in touch with the needs of both customers and search engines.

If you’re serious about obtaining more traffic to your practice website, it’s important to show your visitors (and search engines) that you are investing in their experience and wants to provide value through new content, research, and a pleasant experience.

 

Need some help in updating your ophthalmic practice website? Contact on our of website specialists today for a Free Website Report.
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Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

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Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.