In order to truly understand what is working in your marketing plan, you have to understand all of the possible ways that patients can find and interact with your site, and track accordingly.
Google has always been one of the most popular ways for patients to find a practice’s website–and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. However, that no longer tells the whole story of how patients found your site. Analytics can give you a lot of detailed information, but it can’t give you the full picture.
For example, Google recently introduced a new search function on Android phones called an “in apps” search. Android users can search for content within their apps. A patient could have previously found your site on his or her phone via the Google or Chrome app and visited it. This would be counted as an organic visit in analytics. However, if that patient used the “in-apps” search to get to your site a second time, it wouldn’t be counted as a search engine visit. Instead, it’s treated like a bookmarked link and counted as a direct visit.
The lesson here is, it’s important to fully analyze where your traffic is coming from. Doing so can help to inform your marketing going forward.
These are some of the ways you can get more information about how people are getting to and interacting with your site.
Conduct Patient Surveys
What’s the easiest way to find out how patients found your website? Ask them! If you already do some type of patient satisfaction survey, it’s easy to add in a couple of questions to get a better idea of how patients heard about you.
First, you’ll need to ask patients how they found out about your practice. Give them a few options: a friend or family member, local ads (print, billboards, etc.), or the internet. As a follow-up question, ask patients who found your practice on the internet how they got to your website. Possible answers could include search engines, online ads (if you run online ads), or a link from another website. This additional information can help you start to tie your website visits to actual appointments and give you insights into how well your online marketing efforts are working.
Look at Your Referral Sources
Search engines are usually your primary source of website traffic, but it’s also worth taking a look at your referrals in analytics. “Referrals” occur when other websites link to your website. Referral sources could include your social media accounts, links from hospital or health group websites, or articles run on local media websites. If you can get a better sense of who is linking to your site, you can focus your strategy accordingly.
For example, if you know that you get a lot of website visits from your Facebook page, you can focus more of your marketing efforts on there to continue to build awareness about your practice.
Track Your Advertising Data
If you run paid search or display ads through Google Adwords, it’s quite easy to connect the data with your analytics account to get a better idea of how the campaign is driving website visits. If you run other types of advertisements, such as ads on local media websites, you can’t always get detailed data like you would from Google Adwords. However, you can attribute traffic data to a specific ad campaign with a little planning beforehand.
If you are linking to your website from an online ad, you can use a tracking link to help you attribute the traffic to a specific campaign. If you’ve ever seen a link that looks like “http://www.p3inbound.com/?utm_campaign=Drive%20Traffic&utm_source=Fall%20Ad%20Campaign,” you’re looking at a tracking link. You can still display your regular URL, without all of the extra stuff added on, in the ad itself. But, ask your ad provider to actually link to the tracking link instead of the exact URL in the ad copy. You can then determine the effectiveness of your ad campaign by attributing website visits to that campaign.
Tracking links look complicated to set up, but they are actually quite simple. Google Adwords even has a tracking link generator to simplify the process even further. All you have to do is fill in the necessary information, and the tool will generate a tracking link for you.
Track Phone Calls and Appointment Requests from Your Website
You may be able to get a good idea of how many patients are getting to your site and how they got there, but even that doesn’t give you the full picture. If you want to truly track the effectiveness of your online marketing, you need to find out how many of those visits turned into actual appointments. You can get this information with conversion tracking.
Conversion tracking can help you track form submissions and phone calls from your website. We offer this service for our clients. While it may be fairly simple for you to track form submissions on your website, it isn’t as easy to tie phone calls in with website visits. To do this, we use a call tracking service that dynamically replaces the phone number on your website with a tracking phone number. The number rings directly to your office line, so patients won’t notice a difference. This process allows you to see how many patients called your office after visiting your website. You can then start to tie all of your online marketing efforts to see which methods are truly getting you conversions in the form of new patients. From there, you can adjust accordingly.
As you can see, the ways in which we can track website visitors has changed and evolved quite a bit. Are you getting the full picture on how patients are finding and interacting with your website?