As a medical practice, the ultimate goal of having a website is to give patients the information they need to know about your practice. Hopefully, those informed patients will then move forward with making an appointment or contacting your practice to learn more, resulting in a conversion.
Since the number of conversions equals the number of patients coming in for an appointment, practices want to be able to do everything they can to increase the number and the quality of their conversions. It is important to get traffic to your website, but that traffic isn’t really helpful if it isn’t resulting in appointments. That is where conversion rate optimization comes in.
Instead of trying to increase the amount of traffic to your website to increase your conversions, conversion rate optimization focuses on making your website more effective so that more of your existing traffic converts to new patients.
If you want to optimize your website to improve your conversion rate, here are a few things you can try.
Display your contact information prominently on every page.
When patients decide they are ready to make an appointment, they don’t want to have to scour every page of your site trying to figure out how to get in touch with you. More than likely, if they can’t find that information after looking at a few pages, they will just get frustrated and give up. Instead, put your phone number on both the header and the footer of each page so patients don’t have to try to figure out how to contact you. The information will already be available to them, no matter what page they are on. You can even take it a step further and place links to appointment request and contact forms on every page so that patients can choose whether they would like to contact you over the phone or online. The more opportunities patients have to contact you, the better the chance that they actually will.
Include all the important details about each location.
Patients need to easily be able to find out where you are located, as well as any other important details. It does a patient no good to schedule an appointment if they can’t find your office! We suggest putting your address in the footer of every page, as well as creating a location page where patients can find more details. In addition to the address of each location, you should also include phone numbers and fax numbers for each location and Google maps. You might also want to include some written directions to your practice in relation to major highways, giving information on nearby landmarks to make it even easier for patients to find your office. It’s also important to include the hours of operation for each location–even if your practice sees patients by appointment only. Your patients may have work or other commitments going on during your office hours and may need to take time off or make other arrangements to be able to make it to an appointment. If so, that’s something they’ll want to know before they contact you so that they can start planning to make those arrangements.
Make sure your website is easy to navigate.
It’s important to have all of the necessary details about your practice, such as your location, contact information, hours, and specialties, available on your site. However, patients need to be able to find that information in order for it to actually be helpful. Make sure that your visitors can find all of the pages they need in your site navigation, and make sure that each navigation item is clearly labeled to reflect what the visitor will find on that page. For example, the page with information on your locations should simply be named “Locations” in the navigation menu. Patients don’t want to have to visit several pages trying to find the information they need; if your site is easy to navigate and each page is clearly labeled, they won’t have to.
Give more information about your doctors.
When patients visit your site, they often want to get an idea of what they can expect while visiting your office. Beyond information about your offices, they are also looking to learn more about their doctor. At a minimum, you should add a photo of every doctor at your practice. This isn’t necessarily for superficial reasons–patients just what to be able to recognize their doctor when he walks into the exam room. Patients also want to learn more about a doctor’s expertise to determine whether the doctor is the right fit. For example, if a patient needs help with hip pain, she probably wouldn’t want to see a knee specialist. Beyond that information, patients may want to learn more about a doctor’s personality and interests. Patients may connect more with a doctor who shares the same hobbies, interests, or hometown–it gives them some common ground and may give some insights into the doctor’s personality.
Add appropriate calls to action throughout your site.
Think about the purpose of each page on your website. After a visitor reads a particular page, what is the action that you want them to take? Do you want the visitor to make an appointment, contact you for more information, take a survey, or sign up for your newsletter? The easiest way to accomplish these goals is add a call to action (CTA) at the end of each page that prompts the visitor to take that action. Calls to action should stand out from the other text on the page. Try creating CTA buttons or using larger or different-colored text.
Do some basic user testing.
When you are so used to navigating your own site, you may not notice any of the problems with it. To identify any problems, get a group of people who have never used your site before to test it out. Have them go through routine processes like finding your contact information and requesting them appointment–and don’t give them any direction on how to get to those items. Have them give you feedback after they were done. Did it take them a long time to find the right page or get the information they were looking for? If your test group had problems, your other site visitors probably encounter the same problems. In that case, it’s time to make some changes to make your site more user-friendly.
Use A/B testing to continue making improvements.
Can’t decide which CTA to use at the end of your page? Want to test out different button colors to see what grabs more attention? With A/B testing, you can create different variations of pages on your site, and each version is shown to half of your visitors. You can then gather data on each variation of the page to determine which version leads to the most conversions. From there, you can implement the variation that improved your conversion rate. This is one of the best ways to work on conversion rate optimization, because you have real data to back up your decisions–you aren’t just going on a hunch.
It’s important that medical practices consider conversion rate optimization when developing their marketing strategies. After all, if your website isn’t helping you get more patients or phone calls, it isn’t serving you very well.