These days, we’re doing everything on the internet.
Ordering food at the press of a button, connecting with your BFFs, sending ‘Happy Birthday’ messages a couple weeks late (my bad, Grandma!). I’d bet you could do any one of these tasks within thirty seconds. But, what about scheduling a doctor’s appointment online?
If you’ve gone through the experience before, you’re probably groaning internally. From busted patient portals with load times in the tens of seconds, to unstructured sites without a clear ‘Schedule’ button in-sight, healthcare sites consistently drop the ball on successful digital healthcare marketing. These things can not only frustrate potential patients, they can easily drive them away entirely!
When you were the only provider in town, users didn’t have a choice but to stomach your site. With the digital revolution of this century, it’s just as easy for them to go back to Google, click an ad below yours, and find a provider in the next town over.
If you run a healthcare site and are currently thinking, “Well… my site’s not THAT bad.” Sorry, pal, it definitely is. That’s where true digital marketing expertise comes in though! Here are some actionable changes you can make right now to save your practice, or at least strengthen your digital execution.
Check Your (Web) Vitals!
There are three metrics commonly referred to as web vitals: load times, time to interactivity and visual stability. Just like our own vital signs, if one is out of whack, we’ve got a huge problem. It’s essential to note, these are but a few metrics Google uses to mark site quality and user experience.
As mentioned earlier, short site load times are crucial to maintaining user retention. It’s hard enough to wrangle their attention and drive them to your site, if your bloated, unoptimized conversion page has them waiting longer than 2.5 seconds on-load, you’ve got an issue.
A good metric to keep in mind is “Bounce Rate.” Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who’ve left your site after viewing only one page. If one of your pages has a bounce rate in the 60% range, there’s likely something driving users away. Alternatively, if your bounce rate for a page is 5%- don’t just sit back with a huge grin. There’s a good chance a page with a bounce rate that low may not be properly tracking. A happy medium of 20%-40% is best, but there’s always room to improve.
Time to Interactivity
A website is only as good as what it will let you do, and if you’ve loaded in and can’t immediately interact with the page- you’re going to be frustrated. So will your users! Anything longer than 100ms, (Yes, that short!) you need to work on it.
Visual stability gauges your page’s shift around the browser as it loads. For example, if an image loads and instantly shifts the text down to where you can’t read it, or if two buttons are positioned on the screen, and as you move to click one – they shift downward and you press the wrong one!
Few things are more infuriating than attempting to press a ‘Go Back’ button, and as the site loads a ‘Confirm’ button takes its place. Especially when a user may be filling out a patient intake form, or attempting to schedule an appointment. In an increasingly mobile-based web environment, visual stability is core to site health.
While not a “core vital”, it is entirely vital to consider your mobile site as a key priority. It’s no longer good enough to have a sleek desktop site, you MUST optimize for smartphone browsing!
I promise you, a vast majority of your users will be on a mobile device- not bound to a desk. So much so that Google has shifted to Mobile-first Indexing to cater to them; everything someone can do on your desktop site, they should be able to do on mobile as well, seamlessly. Moreover, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, Google’s algorithm will know and it will not be pleased.
Meaning you will not be ranking in their search engine, but equally important is that your users won’t deal with your unoptimized site.
Content Worth Consuming
No matter how efficient your web vitals, you cannot underestimate the impact of solid content to drive authority and educate your audience. Make use of blogs, informational videos, FAQs, and culture pieces showing off your smiling staff! You must create content that connects with your user, keeps them engaged, and differentiates your practice to win their business.
Design With Simplicity in Mind
A clean and simple design goes a long way in healthcare marketing. Site visitors often have an underlying issue- don’t put barriers in front of them. If my tooth hurts, there’s a solid chance I’m going straight from the dentist’s landing page to their booking page. Label your CTAs (Calls-to-Action, basically your site buttons) clearly and place them in the immediate sight-lines of all landing pages. Never hide the action that brings in business beneath the scroll bar (the fold).
Provide Some Interaction
Different users will have different intentions on your site, optimize for all of them! Appointment scheduling is one aspect, but it’s also convenient to give them the option to pay their bill online, access their lab results or physician’s notes, or consider adding a live chat or HIPAA-compliant chatbot to handle patient inquiries in real time.
Healthcare Marketing is Changing
So.. change with it!
Take a little bit of the passion for breathing life into your patients and breathe some life into your struggling website! I don’t think you’ll regret it, and would you believe I know a group of performance marketers who are experts in the healthcare industry? Schedule a discovery call with our team to see how OM can help your team adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare marketing environment.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day to learn with us!