As a healthcare professional, you might be wondering if you even need your own website for your healthcare practice. As a small business marketing advisor, I can tell you definitively that the answer is yes — you definitely do.
You know that most of your new patients have always come from word-of-mouth recommendations. Are you also aware that “word-of-mouth” has shifted from talking to a friend or relative to getting recommendations from strangers on the internet?
Think about it: When you’re looking for a new restaurant, gift shop, or anything new or different, you go online. Right? Well, so do your potential patients and clients.
We’re at a point in our modern world where if you’re not online, people wonder if you really exist.
And while there’s a lot to healthcare marketing and making sure that you exist online, we’re going to focus on the most important part of your online existence — your healthcare website.
We’re going to talk about:
- Why a website is important for healthcare professionals
- What type of website is best for healthcare marketing
- The most important pages for a healthcare website, and
- Where to go from here
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Why is a website important for healthcare professionals?
It’s not just important, it’s imperative.
Now that we have generations of individuals who have grown up with the internet, it’s become the go-to place for information. No longer do people have to go to the same healthcare practitioners that their parents, grandparents, or friends go to. Now, they can find who and what they’re looking for on their own — as long as it’s on the internet.
Remember what I said about possibly not existing if you’re not online?
Think about this: If someone recommends a hair salon to you and you want to learn more about them, what do you do? You go online to look them up. Maybe you try to type in what you think would be their website address, or you Google the business.
If nothing comes up, what do you think? If it’s been a while since it was recommended, maybe you’ll think it went out of business. If it was just yesterday, you’ll likely assume you misspelled something. If it was me, I’d then Google “local hair salons near me,” to see if it comes up in that search. If it still doesn’t show up, I’d give up. At that point, it doesn’t matter if it still exists or not. I can’t find it. So, I’ll find another salon to go to.
The same thing happens when it comes to healthcare providers. If people can’t find your healthcare practice online, they’ll find another practice to go to.
What type of website is best for healthcare marketing?
For most industries and businesses, a mobile-responsive website is the only way to go.
Let me tell you why. Last year, Google dominated the search engine market share (worldwide) by an impressive >91% month-over-month, and 63% of Google’s US organic search traffic originated from mobile devices. So, what do those stats mean for you?
It means that most of your prospective new patients/clients will be looking for you on their mobile devices. And in order to make their experience enjoyable, your website has to be mobile-responsive.
What’s a mobile-responsive website?
A mobile-responsive website adjusts to the mobile device it’s being viewed on.
This means that no matter what kind (or size) of smartphone, tablet, or other device a potential patient is using to look at your website, the website will look good, be easy to navigate, and the content will be easy to read.
Check out our article, Mobile-Friendly vs Mobile-Responsive for more information on mobile-responsive websites.
The most important pages for a healthcare website
Every basic website has to have three basic pages: a Home page, an About page, and a Contact page. But for healthcare professionals, a healthcare website is a little more complicated than that.
A healthcare website must have at least five pages, but I’m going to suggest six.
- Home page
- About page
- Patient Information page
- Patient Services page
- Contact page
- Blog page (optional)
Like our online marketing guide for healthcare, The Download, says, “Your Home page is your front door.” And like your front door, it should not only be inviting but it should also let your visitors know exactly who you are and what your healthcare practice is all about.
In order to do this, start with a hero image (the first image people see when your Home page loads) that not only stands out but also reflects your brand (what your practice stands for).
After that, it’s all about filling in the helpful information to answer questions that your prospective patients might have, such as:
- What is your specialty? Your sub-specialties? And what are your medical qualifications?
- Who is your ideal patient? Do you work with athletes? Children? Cancer patients?
- Why should I choose you? Why are you the best practitioner for my needs?
- How do I become a patient? Do I book an appointment online? Call your office? Fill out a qualifying questionnaire?
If your Home page answers all of those questions, then you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Now, this may seem to be self-evident but that’s not necessarily the case.
Your About page is more than just answering the three most important questions:
- What is your story?
- Why should people seek your care?
- What makes you or your practice different?
Your About page is also where you can speak from your heart. Share your passion for what you do and tell visitors why it’s important to you.
What is your story?
Take some time to answer this question by not only giving additional information about your credentials but think about also including a note about why, and how, you got into your specialty. Don’t be afraid to give potential patients a glimpse into who you are. After all, the best relationships are personal and there’s nothing more personal than healthcare.
Why should people seek your care?
Make sure that you’re letting your potential patients know how they can benefit from your care. And if you have some patient stories, share them (with permission, of course).
Let your prospective patients know what you can do for them, and maybe even what you can’t. You know your boundaries. There’s no reason your potential patients shouldn’t as well. You’re asking people to trust you with their lives. So, express why you are trustworthy.
What makes you or your practice different?
This is where you can shine that spotlight on all of that extra training you’ve done over the years.
Put a spotlight on the fellowship you completed, the special techniques you’ve learned, and especially express how you use those lessons (and advanced knowledge) to help your patients.
This is also the perfect opportunity to let prospective patients know how you differ from your competition in other ways. Perhaps you offer child care while patients are in an appointment with you, or perhaps you’ve become known as being especially diligent, intuitive, graceful under pressure, or for having a gentle touch.
If you have quotes or reviews from current patients that point out the things that make you and your practice stand out from the crowd, be sure to include them.
Patient information page
This is where you want to gather all of the information that a new or existing patient might need. Well, most of it at least.
On this page, be sure to include:
- FAQs – including what kind of insurance you take, payment options, etc.
- Forms – include any forms that new patients can fill out and bring in with them, prescription refill forms, financial assistance forms, etc.
- Privacy, legal notifications, and disclaimers
This page should be especially easy to navigate, so be sure to keep sections neat and calls-to-action (CTAs) clear.
Patient Services page
While you included your specialty and sub-specialties on your Home page and your medical credentials on your About page, here is where you explain exactly what it is that you do.
If you’re a family practitioner, explain what that means and how it may differ from a general practitioner or a specialist.
This is where you want to educate not only your prospective patients, but also new and existing patients. Include content that explains things in a way that someone who’s never been to a practitioner of your type will understand.
If you’re a specialist, be sure to include educational information about the disease or condition that you treat. Have a list of symptoms, explain the diagnosis process, and the options you provide for treatment. Be sure to also include some FAQs about the disease/condition as well as risks and benefits of the treatment options you offer.
One thing to keep in mind is that although you know, understand, and use technical jargon all day long, you’re website visitors don’t. So, use imagery, videos, and written content together in a way that will make your Patient Services page engaging and informative for all of your visitors.
If you don’t have a Contact page you might as well close your doors now. I know — a little dramatic, but it’s not really far off. With everything you put into your website, if prospective patients can’t contact you, it’s all for naught.
So, when setting up your Contact page, be sure to include the following:
- Location – include not only your office address(es) but also a map, driving directions, and maybe even location clues like, “We’re right behind the McDonalds.”
- Hours of operation – Include not only your office hours, but also what hours billing, appointment setting, and other patient services are available. If you only take new patients on certain days or times, be sure to include that information as well.
- Actual contact information – For decades, this would only include a single phone number for the office but if you have different numbers for different departments, be sure to list all of them. And if you accept email or have online chats or televisits available, be sure to include that information here as well.
It’s also a good idea to include links to your EMR, FAQs, patient forms, and other pages that have important information on them as well.
As I mentioned, this page is completely optional but let me tell you why I think it’s a good idea to have one.
If you’re a specialist, a blog page gives you a platform to dive deeper into the disease or condition that you treat. While you share basic information on your Patient Services page, here you can go deeper into the discussion and share things like:
- New medical studies pertaining to what you do
- Fuller explanations of treatments that you offer
- Discussions on why someone may or may not want to try various treatments
- Current healthcare reforms that are up for discussion and why you do or do not support them
Basically, a blog gives you a place to open up the discussions that are important to your patients and your practice. And keeping this page up to date with current events and medical discussions in your field helps to improve organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and gives you a place to refer people to when you want to start relevant discussions on your social media platforms. But, that’s a few steps away yet.
Where to go from here
If you haven’t downloaded our free online marketing guide for health professionals, I recommend you do that now. It’s a fantastic guide to how online marketing works — and will show you not only how the pieces work individually but more importantly, how they work together to help you better engage with new and existing patients.
Once you read through that bit of genius (no, I didn’t write it) you’ll see that your next step is to tap into email marketing for healthcare. After all, email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels out there.