September 10th, 2014
Many considerations come into play when creating a great website for your practice but perhaps the most important is honesty.
Don’t use stock photography
These days patients aren’t bamboozled by smiling faces purchased from stock photography websites. It’s a cheap card trick and it’s easy to see because so many doctors are using it. The reality is anyone can buy those photos from the butcher to the candlestick maker to the car salesman. What do they mean?
At best, they might convey a sense of happiness—after all, our reptilian brains are programmed to pay attention to faces. And when we see carefree, smiling faces it definitely has a positive effect, but there’s nothing honest or real about stock photography. And is it even ethical to show photography that is obviously intended to manipulate? What does it say about you? And if you’re playing that game, how does it set you apart from competing practices who are flipping the same card trick? What does it say about you and your practice, your expertise and quality of care?
Part of creating a really great practice website entails spending a bit of time thinking about why you do this work. What brought you to it and what motivates you to continue. It can be a very introspective look at yourself and the larger community around you. It can also be a great motivator for you to help center you and direct your practice.
Now, you don’t need to bear your soul, but at least be honest and open, clear and genuine on your website. Write as though you are writing to a single person. The Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, reminds us that whenever someone reads what you wrote, they are alone with your words. Don’t address your readers as though they were gathered together to hear a speech. Pretend you are writing to each individual on behalf or your practice.
Photography is important, but make it relevant and honest.
Take photos the mean something. Obviously a great photo of the doctor and possibly the staff would be a good idea. Photos of your work (where applicable) also make sense. And don’t forget the office.
Hopefully you have already realized the importance of beauty, comfort and quality when it comes to a patient’s experience at your practice. A patient walks in the door, and he or she is already experiencing what it is like to be treated. We, as humans, are affected by the world around us. No one expects quality care from an office that is dirty or loud or that has broken furniture.
More than likely, a lot of money was spent on your furniture. Leverage it. A photo is worth a thousand words. Let it speak. Show the world why they should choose your practice.
Pay someone to take good (honest) photos for you.
It will be tempting to try taking photos on your own and admittedly there is the odd office person who has a great camera and can light and frame a great shot, but that is awfully rare. A great photographer will far surpass the capabilities of the old point and shoot or someone’s iPhone 5.
Put your best foot forward.
Your website is your time to shine. You have complete control. You can do anything you want in this space! Make the most of it. Don’t make a bad first impression on your potential patients by showing them shoddy photography work. Make your practice look amazing and reflective of how great it really is.
Make sure your site is easy to update
A website isn’t something you set and forget. That is not meant to scare you but rather encourage you. It can and will need to change. As your office brings in new members, as you change your services, as you see new topics that should be addressed. Your website is a tireless 24-hour spokesperson for you and anytime you want or need that message to change, you should be able to do it quickly and easily. Make sure your website is easy to update.
Make sure people can see it on any device
Over 50% of internet traffic these days is on mobile devices. Make sure your site is easily accessible from your patients’ phones. It will make your patient happier and it makes it easier for them to refer you to a friend. Also the staff will be happier as they are required to field less calls about your location or what forms need to be filled out before they arrive. Let your website work for you!
Are you ready to make the move toward setting yourself apart from competing practices? Create a website for your practice. We are happy to help.
September 3rd, 2014
June 4th, 2014
Recently a friend had a bad experience at a doctor’s office: they mixed up his chart and diagnosed him based on someone else’s tests. He’s young, very web savvy and he was understandably very upset by this. He logged into his Yelp account and submitted a negative review. When he went back to the doctor’s office, the staff told him they saw the negative review and treated him badly.
As a doctor or a staff member, getting a negative review can obviously be a serious matter. But what most professionals don’t understand is getting a negative review can be turned into an opportunity. An opportunity to:
• publicly show you care about your patients
• be seen more positively.
How? Here’s your recipe for “retribution” after a negative review:
1. If you can pinpoint the patient who left the negative review, address their concerns personally. Your negative review could be based on a simple misunderstanding.
If all goes well, you’re golden. Ask the patient if you can respond publicly on Yelp or whatever review site is applicable. (To be HIPAA compliant you may need consent from the patient.) This is a great opportunity to show you really care about your patients and about fixing problems responsibly.
2. If you have a lot of negative reviews and can’t seem to remedy the problems directly, your strategy is now a numbers game. Your objective: drown out the negative with positive. AKA make a campaign of encouraging satisfied patients to leave positive reviews. This is the most common strategy used by consultants. But don’t stuff the ballot box! Most review sites are uncannily smart and will blacklist you if they think you are manipulating the system. Word to the wise.
3. Work toward remedying the main causes for negative reviews. This doubles as a great checkup for the health of your practice!
The main reasons for negative reviews are:
• Having to wait more than 15 minutes
• Getting less than 10 mins of the doc’s time
• Dealing with abrupt staff
Also consider: having a few negative reviews actually adds to the credibility of your practice. In other words, having all super positive reviews looks fake.
While dealing with negative reviews is no picnic, consider they could become relevant in a malpractice suit or in a case where the practice is being sold. So think ahead.
Start building a strong presence online now and any negative reviews will bounce off your armor.
June 4th, 2014
May 6th, 2014
Obviously every good practice has a website, but just getting “a website” is sort of like going over to a rack of clothes at a department store and blindly choosing something. You need to make sure your website meets certain technical and common sense criteria AND your website needs to fit. In other words, it should be a reflection of your practice.
5 important tips to create a great practice website:
1. Make sure the design of your site is a reflection of your practice.
Your patients want honesty. If your website is covered with stock photography of smiling models what does that really say about your practice? Nothing really. Patients can see passed these sorts of tricks. Our advice is to hire a good photographer and take some great REAL shots of your practice. Show off your space, yourself and your staff. Be honest about it, back up your great design and photography with excellent care, and you’ll be rewarded with loyal patients.
2. Make your site easy to use and read –on any device.
Keep the layout of your sites uniform and make sure the type size is big enough for easy reading. Also make sure your site can be seen on smart phones and tablets. Mobile traffic is projected to outpace PC use in 2014. And it does not appear to be slowing down. Mobile use has increased 35% year over year since 2012. In light of this, it’s wise to create a responsive website. Responsive sites reorganize themselves based on the device the user has. In other words, responsive sites are the ones you don’t have to pinch and and zoom on when you visit them on your smart phone. Pretty convenient when you’re on the go and looking for information.
3. Include patient intake and privacy forms and the ability to request appointments online.
Many patients prefer to fill out forms at home and if you’re using paper intake forms, why not save the front office staff the trouble? It’s easy for any site to include a downloadable pdf. And even if you’re patients are signing up electronically at the office, it’s only fair to let patients know what kind of information they will need when they arrive in your office.
Letting your patients request an appointment online is a great way to provide better care and more convenience for your patients and your staff. And it doesn’t need to interfere with your current appointment making system. Just allow your patients to send an email with their requested time. If the slot isn’t open, the front office can respond with the next available slot. Often patients will remember they need to make an appointment in the off hours. Or when they are in the office and there are privacy issues. Why not make it as easy as possible for them? It’s a great way for you to provide better, more convenient care.
4. Make sure your site runs fast.
Ever waited a long time for a site to load? You might have given up and gone somewhere else. Your site should load in less than 3 seconds. Otherwise, you’re going to have potential patients dropping off. Internet users are used to getting information fast. If you’re website is on a slow server you’re patients will loose their patience. Ergo, you will them.
5. Provide easy-to-find contact information.
The contact page is often the most trafficked page of any medical practice’s website. We think you should have key contact information on every page of your site–like your phone number in the header and your address in the footer. Make it even more convenient (and save the front office time on the phone) but including a Google Map so patients who are trying to find you can get quick directions straight from their mobile device.
So many of these technologies are free and easy to implement. Keep these 24-7 work horses current and bring your practice to a new level.