Most physicians in private practice claim to know how important their website is. But too many doctors make the same mistakes with their practice websites over and over – mistakes that are holding them back from more patients and more revenue. Are you one of them?
Hey, what’s up friends, and welcome to the Medical Marketing Podcast from Messenger – the show where we give you actionable tips and advice to help improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take patient experience to the next level. I’m your host, Crawford Ifland, and today we’re going to be talking about the most common mistakes physicians in private practice make with their websites.
Not Paying Attention to Mobile
So, let’s jump right in. We’ve identified 5 of the most common mistakes physicians make with their websites, but if I had to choose the most egregious, it would be this: not paying attention to mobile devices.
When the iPhone came around in 2007, the world changed forever. Finally, we could have the Internet in our pocket – we could be connected from anywhere. The early internet (as viewed on a smartphone, at least) was pretty bad and hard to navigate. You had to “pinch to zoom” just to read anything on a smartphone because the phone was bringing up the desktop version of the website.
But come 2009, we had this thing called “responsive design” one around, and it changed things once again. Now, everything on a website “re-adapts” to the size of the screen its being viewed upon for a much more pleasant, accessible experience,
And while it’s not common that we see a physician website that hasn’t been touched since 2009, you’d be surprised how many doctors haven’t paid attention to how their sites show up on mobile. They might be responsive, but they don’t load quickly. Maybe certain elements don’t display correctly. Or, even worse, some elements of their website break entirely on a smartphone…but because the doctor is used to interacting with their sites on a desktop or laptop, their mobile sites are left to languish.
From the patient’s perspective, this is a huge problem. Mobile traffic just beat out desktop traffic for the first time a few years ago, and today, most doctors see anywhere from 60-75% of their traffic come from mobile devices! Would you be successful if 60% of your patients couldn’t do something as simple as open the door to your practice to come inside? Of course not!! So why let your mobile website suffer? You’ve got to pay attention to every aspect of the patient experience.
Not Utilizing the Basics of SEO
#2 is equally horrifying, and that’s when doctors don’t utilize the basics of SEO to help them be found by Google. I’m not talking about the super-technical, complicated aspects of the site’s coding – these aren’t changes that require a computer science degree to accomplish. I’m talking about simple things like making sure every page has what’s called a “meta description” that tells Google what the page is about.
These are the descriptions that appear beneath each result on Google. If you don’t provide one, Google will guess what the page is about, and that’s not owing you any favors.
There are other things, too, like linking out to other pages on your website – and pages from other websites as well. Enabling a sitemap for your website, and making sure that it’s listed with Google so that they know to look for changes.
It’s simple things like these – really low-hanging fruit – that can have quite a beneficial effect for your practice’s visibility. It’s not an in-depth SEO campaign that will get you to the top of Page 1, but there’s no excuse for not checking off the basics or skipping over the fundamentals.
Thankfully, many website content management systems can generate these for you, but the trap is to take a “set it and forget it”-type approach. So when it comes to SEO, don’t settle…
No Lead Generation Forms
We’ve touched on this before, but too many doctors have a mentality of “if we build it, they will come.” They figure that the only value they have to provide is in the exam room or in the operating room, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, these are where their medical knowledge is most commonly utilized, but they have a responsibility to educate and inform the patient at every turn.
Patients expect value at every point of their journey, and a great way to provide value – and get an opportunity to form a relationship with the patient – is right there on your website through lead generation forms.
In exchange for downloading a valuable resource, the patient is asked for a small amount of information – usually their name and email address, or phone number. You’ve probably interacted with some form of this online: submit your info, get a resource. Simple examples of lead generation forms for doctors are things like self-tests, resource guides, or other “gated” content. The key here is to provide value. Once you’ve begun that relationship, you can begin nurturing it, providing more value to the patient until they end up scheduling an appointment with you.
Too many doctors just list their services on their website, but don’t explain each service or provide any additional value to help educate their patients on what might be right for them.
Other doctors do nothing but provide value, but they don’t ask for anything in return! There’s no opportunity for a patient to submit their information in exchange for a resource, which means that doctors are missing out on opportunities to form relationships with new patients, and ultimately, to grow their revenue.
If you’re interested in growing your practice, make sure that you’re providing value…but also, don’t be afraid to ask for something in exchange for that value, too. Your appointment schedule will be thankful that you did.
Not Creating Content
There are a few reasons physicians should blog: it provides value to patients, it keeps your website fresh with new content on a regular basis, and last but certainly not least, it’s great for SEO.
Unlike more “premium” resources like self-tests and guides that we discussed in our last segment, blog posts should be topical, and completely free. There’s a good chance that a patient looking for information or resources on a certain topic may not encounter a “services” page on your website, but a blog post instead.
Yes, blogging does take time and effort, but it can pay enormous dividends. Not blogging at all – or worse, blogging very infrequently, not on a regular schedule – is a very common mistake we see physicians make.
No Analytics, No Measurement
That brings us to our last mistake, which is this: not having any sort of analytics enabled on your website.
To be honest, maybe we should have made this Mistake #1 because of how common it is. I am constantly astounded by how many new clients we see that don’t have a tool like Google Analytics enabled on their website.
There’s an old saying: “What gets measured, gets managed.” But if you’re not measuring the response that patients are having on your website, how can you manage that process and improve your results?
If you don’t have analytics, how on earth can you know what’s working and what isn’t? How can you understand if a page is broken or having a problem? What if you’re running an ad campaign and sending people to your website, but something isn’t working, you’ll never know without analytics…you’ll just be pouring money down the drain.
Google Analytics is fairly easy to install, and it’s silly how much information and data it can give you. Not having analytics tools installed on your website in 2019 is just ridiculous…if you want an easy way to track and improve your most important metrics over time, Analytics on your practice website is a must.
That’s all for today’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast. Join us again next week when we talk about speed – specifically, how a slow-loading website is hurting your bottom line. As always, we’ll have a link to the show notes in the description, and be sure to check out www.messenger.md for more resources on how to improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level. See you next time!
Crawford Ifland is the Founder and Creative Director of Messenger Medical Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom medical website design, healthcare SEO, practice promotional videos, and more. Messenger helps the nation’s leading physicians and medical device companies grow their businesses through websites, promotional videos, and smart marketing strategies.