Build trust online
At a minimum the online presence for your medical practice starts with your website. It can be something simple, a single page website, a microsite or a landing page. Getting the basics right involves:
- Professional appearance; photos and layout
- Ease of navigation
- Grammar and spelling
- Visitor security
- Contact details
- Mobile friendly layout
This will mean any traffic arriving at your website is far more likely to engage with you. A customer or patient may be referred to you, or find you by searching for your type of services online. Either way, you need the ability to answer any questions that may stand in between the research-moment and the appointment-moment. Aim to logically present the answers with clear instructions on how contact can be made. You have the opportunity to control the content your patients and referring doctors access on your website, so make it count.
Your website should be mobile friendly to keep your visitors on-side. Statista state that just under 50% of total web traffic in Australia is mobile. Typically, our medical clients in Australia experience mobile usage of closer to 85%. If your website isn’t equipped to display correctly on mobile devices you are effectively halving (or more!) your reach before your audience has had the chance to hit the ‘contact us’ button.
First impressions will be carried through well into the relationship. Your investment here works toward building trust and your authority.
Your website needs to build trust online
People judge us on first impressions, they just do. The internet is no different, if anything, an online audience has the comfort of jumping to ‘judge-mode’ even sooner. Arguments exist about the length of time it takes to make a first impression, in reality it doesn’t matter. For our clients, the most important consideration is:
‘You have a really small window to make a really big first impression’
So how important are the first few moments of a patient landing on your website?
In qualitative research completed in 2012 for the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Taverner Research asked participants “what aspects of the content and the look and feel of a website they took into account when deciding on how much it could be trusted?”
83.0% of respondents would withhold personal information from a website that was missing a security padlock or other sign it met security standards.
63.6% of respondents would withhold personal information from a website if it did not appear professional, used poor graphics, bad spelling and grammar and poor layout.
Although the research was asking if users would withhold information, say for example from an enquiry form or shopping cart, it is extremely important to focus on the key piece of info.
How you plan and design your medical website affects its ability to build online based purely on how it appeared to an audience. The key criteria evaluated were:
- Security and SSL certificate
- Professional appearance
- Professional graphics
- Correct spelling and grammar
- Appropriate layout and user experience
We can measure an SSL certificate, we can measure spelling and grammar but elements like graphics, appearance and layout are totally subjective. This highlights an extremely important consideration;
‘The ability of seemingly unrelated elements coming together to build trust online’
Getting this right is the difference between patients and referring doctors making contact or searching for alternatives.
How do I get people to visit my medical website?
So you have the basics of a website right? Great! But how do you get traffic? The single, easiest way to increase traffic to your website is to set up a Google My Business (GMB) page. Google’s free service allows all businesses to explain the services they offer and publish the details. Individuals searching for your service will be able to see you, your geographic locations and a link to your website along with any reviews (and yes we have some tips on how medical professionals can deal with reviews).
Claiming your GMB page is a relatively straight forward process. For those that prefer the do it for me approach versus a DIY approach, we have you covered too. Click to see out our Google My Business setup option.
Word of mouth and medical marketing
Across all industries, we know word of mouth is king. Anyone and everyone who has ever exchanged a product or service for revenue understands the important role word of mouth plays in business. As the digital world edges in on every aspect of our lives, word of mouth has found new and fertile ground to flourish in.
For some, the ability to actively collect or display reviews doesn’t exist. Herein lies your challenge; GMB is configured in a way that allows reviews to gather, regardless of claiming your GMB or not. As an absolute minimum, you want to be in control of your GMB page. You’ll know when you get a review, be it positive or negative.
If you receive a positive review, great! Just leave it there and continue on. Technically you should be removing those as well, but Google doesn’t allow you to remove reviews, so for now there is little that can be done. If you have a delicate situation unfolding within your reviews, drop us a line and we can run you through our approach.
Help, my medical practice just received a negative review!
Eventually, you will end up with a negative review, best practice is to always respond to it. Your audience wants to see you being proactive in this space and demonstrating you care about patients. We advise simply acknowledging your patient’s experience and offering to pick up the conversation off-line. A way of acknowledging and engaging with a negative review could look like:
“Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear that you had this experience. We would like to talk to you about it further. Please contact us on email@example.com or (02) 9999 9999”.
Any future patients looking at your reviews will see your proactive approach. Although the patient has had an unfavourable experience, you’re seen to be genuinely caring and wanting to correct the situation, be mindful of the time it takes to reply too.
Don’t sweat it. People are quite in tune these days and can tell the difference between somebody who’s disgruntled, a competitor, and of course, a genuine complaint. More often than not, the negative reviews will be outweighed by the positive ones provided you know about them.
Making your medical marketing count
As you can see, an online presence is definitely a ‘sum of all parts’ approach for medical businesses. Regardless of budget, there is an optimal way to generate organic results. Too often we find practices that miss the mark on the basics and then attempt to correct course with expensive online advertising campaigns and costly SEO, while immediate results may be achieved, they aren’t sustainable and cost increases exponentially.
If you want a hand with taking stock of your online presence and how you can deploy any of the above, let’s chat.
And if you missed part 1 of our ‘How to market your medical practice’ be sure to check it out too!