By Rick Kleban
To make your web site effective you must first define what you mean by effective. To help you define what is effective for your web site, prioritize the following four goals from most important to least important:
[ ] Use your web site to drive new patients into your exam chair
[ ] Use your web site to keep current patients loyal to your practice
[ ] Use your web site to educate people about eye care
[ ] Use your web site to increase your relationship with other doctors
If the #1 priority for your web site is to drive new patients into your chair, then there are three ways to approach redoing your web site:
Do it yourself
Hire a web site designer
Hire a marketing expert with web site building service
Tell your story simply andcompellingly.
But which one? It really depends on how much work you want to do. Obviously, doing it yourself is the most labor intensive and least costly up-front but, overall, could be the most costly approach. Plus, do you really have the marketing skills to undertake this job?
Most work intensive means you need to create everything yourself. You need to lay out and script the web site yourself. Sure you save money doing it this way, but the reason doing it yourself is the most costly overall approach is the amount of potential money you will lose by making marketing mistakes on your web site. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Hiring a marketing expert with web site building services is the least work intensive because you won’t need to write all the copy or design the site. The company will interview you to find out about your practice and what you want the web site to do, then create copy for you to review and approve. This costs the most because you are hiring experts to do the job correctly and completely.
The following steps must be taken no matter which approach you choose.
Step 1: Identify Your USP
A USP is a Unique Selling Proposition. Your web site needs to tell visitors why they should visit your practice instead of the OD down the street. To achieve that, you need a clear brand identity that is communicated on your web site and answers key questions:
What makes your practice different?
What is your brand identity?
What is your brand personality?
These questions are answered when you identify and communicate a unique selling proposition (USP) for your practice.
To help in this process, make a list of the key benefits and key messages of your practice.
Your web site needs to tell your story and differentiate your practice brand effectively, like these do:
Multicultural family practice USP: www.tuvelledentistry.com
Pediatric vision therapy USP: www.visioncenter4kids.com
Step 2: Establish Trust
People must trust you before they will come to you. Use your web site to give people reasons to believe what you say. This ranges from selecting the right kind of photos, graphics, fonts and colors to providing patient testimonials, examples of special testing equipment able to deliver the care promised and proof of additional education received to deliver specialized care – communicate whatever helps back up your ability to make real the benefits you are claiming that your practice offers in your USP.
Step 3: Create a Semantic Differential Chart
A semantic differential chart is simply two lists of adjectives about your practice.
Think and feel list: What you want patients to think and feel about your practice.
Don’t think and feel list: What you don’t want the patient to think and feel about your practice. Providing the negatives provides “guardrails” for the creative team so they don’t veer into the ditch by coming up with something that is nice, but does not give the correct impression about your practice.
If you hire a marketing team, this step is made easy by the interview they do with you. The marketing team creates the chart and then gives it to you for your input and final approval.
Step 4: Create the Web Site Design
If you’ve hired a marketing team, then the team, armed with your USP, your brand identity, your brand positioning strategy, and your semantic differential chart will typically come up with three web site mock-ups with one to two variations per mock-up for you to review. Expect a revision or two before the design is finalized.
Step 5: Create Content
You need to create the content for each page of the web site. This step can take weeks to complete. This step is one of the hardest if you do not hire a marketing team. Without a team, you are creating all the content. With a team they do the writing, you simply give input and final approval.
Step 6: Install Analytics and Tracking Systems
You need to know who is visiting your web site, what they are looking at on your web site, how long they are looking at each section of your web site and how many phone calls come in from your different internet marketing tactics. You can only get this information if you have web analytics and phone call tracking installed on your web site.
Track the performance of your practice with the help of a
consultant who can generate a custom report that specifically
ties expenditureto return on investment.
And don’t forget to create and install internal office tracking systems. You need to track how patients ended up in your chair. Today patients are not using one source, they will often hear about you from a friend, then they search your web site, Facebook, and other internet listings. Were they referred by another professional? When you measure, be sure to ask all sources. If you do not measure, you cannot manage.
Step 7: Manage the Web Site
Go live with the web site and manage the web site based on how people react to it by tracking performance measures:
Rate of phone calls
Quality of leads, including buying preparedness of leads
Assess search engine optimization (SEO) effectiveness
Volume of traffic from search engines
Engagement of search engine traffic
Rate of phone calls from search engine traffic
Quality of leads
If performance measures show your practice’s new site and marketing efforts are falling short, roll out a site satisfaction survey to identify problem areas.
Step 8: Drive traffic to the web site
Increase traffic to your web site by utilizing the following tools:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Referral traffic from other web sites
Traffic from social media
Give your patients a reason to go to your website (e.g. quality control, survey, promotions, track their own eyewear order)
Track return on investment (ROI) from each of these sources. Refine your digital marketing executions (i.e. newsletters and paid search), then reallocate marketing dollars toward those marketing efforts resulting in higher ROI.
Once your web site is effective (as you’ve defined above), then move on to another digital presence such as Facebook. This discussion will be continued in future Review of Optometric Business articles.
Rick Kleban is a co-founder of Radiant Strategy, a digital marketing company providing strategy, analytics, SEO, and design services to doctors and attorneys. He is a 10+ year veteran of the Internet marketing industry and has worked with clients including Coke, Procter & Gamble, Sebastian, Fekkai, Pantene, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, The Limited, Highlights for Children, Hewlett Packard and The Home Depot. He holds a finance degree from Georgetown University and a masters in sociology from Ohio State University. He resides in Columbus, Ohio. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.