Marketing for medical practices can seem overwhelming in today’s world, and healthcare professionals are often unsure of how they should divvy up their marketing budget. They know the old methods of marketing through yellow pages, direct mail, and billboards are no longer working, but they’re not sure how to navigate the digital marketing world. They wonder if they should be investing in Facebook ads, or Google ads, or maybe a new website.
While they may not be sure about which direction to pursue, they’re right about one thing: digital is the place to be.
According to a report compiled by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 72% of internet users say they looked online for health-related information of one kind or another within the past year. These searches include patients who say they were looking for a doctor or healthcare professional near them who could best treat their symptoms.
Taking The Next Step
Once those prospective patients land on the website of a practice that looks like it may be a fit, they want to have a quick way to take the next step to request or schedule an appointment, right then, on the website. If they don’t see a prominent “schedule an appointment” button, they may move on to another practice that does make it easy for them to take that next step. It may seem like such a small convenience, but website visitors don’t want to have to pick up the phone and most likely be put on hold or sent to voicemail.
Even if they feel that practice is the one they want to pursue, they are more likely to put off picking up the phone and calling the practice’s number to schedule an appointment. And the longer they put off that call, the more likely they are to decide not to pursue an appointment.
Simply put, not having a way for patients to request an appointment online is an invitation to resistance and procrastination. Medical practices simply must make it very easy for people to schedule or request appointments with just the click of a button. The button should then link to a page where they’re asked to fill out a brief form with their name, phone number, email address, and add any comments or questions. And those “request an appointment” buttons should be placed clearly on each page of the website, not just the homepage.
Case In Point
Here’s an example: A local ophthalmology and eye surgery practice had been consistently investing a majority of their marketing budget in traditional methods, but they weren’t seeing returns on their efforts in patient growth. They had a website but hadn’t updated it for many months and weren’t utilizing it as a tool to share relevant information that their prospective patients may be searching for online.
As a result, they weren’t showing up in Google when someone searched for “eye doctor near me” or other popular search terms related to eye conditions. However, other ophthalmology practices in their region were showing up as top Google search results, and they noticed that those practices were maintaining active websites and publishing blog posts on those sites. They knew it was time to step up their digital presence by updating their website, and they came to us looking for help doing just that.
The first thing we noticed when reviewing their website was that there was no way for visitors to request an appointment online. Sure, they had their phone number listed on the homepage, but had no “request an appointment” buttons that made it quick and easy for people to take action while visiting their website.
We added this simple button that invited website visitors to request an appointment:
Once clicked, the button links to a page where website visitors can select whether they want to make an appointment or would like to submit a question. They fill out their name, email, phone, any messages, and submit. The office staff receives the requests immediately, and can then call or email them to schedule the appointment.
By making that one change alone, the practice received 36 new patient appointment requests online in just the first 90 days. That means a new appointment request was made roughly every 3 days.
So, while it may seem like a small change, adding a “request an appointment” button that takes a visitor to a link where they can input their information can make a big difference when it comes to the growth of your practice.
As for the local ophthalmology and eye surgery practice, we continued to update their website to be more appealing and mobile responsive and began a digital marketing campaign to promote their services.