DO YOU DO THE WEB?
A website for your business is mandatory these days, yet so many eyecare businesses still don’t have one. Even many of those that do have a site don't have the time to devote to learning how to make it work hard for their business.
Whether you haven’t invested in even a basic website yet or you do have one (and are looking for ways to enhance it to grow your patient base), this article is for you.
Here, we serve up five strategic tips for how to optimize your business’s website for acquiring new patients.
PLAN IT OUT
Your website is your greatest sales tool. It never takes a day off, calls in sick, or strays from the messaging you created.
In order to fully enjoy the power behind what your website can do, ensure that you plan out what you want to say, how you want it to look, and what actions you want potential patients to take (more on this later).
Your first step is to create a site map, which is a fancy word for a list of webpages that you want to create.
To be truly effective, create a unique page for each product, service, and brand that you carry. Yes—it sounds like work to create that many pages, but anything worthwhile requires effort.
On each page, plan the content and type of images that you’ll need. It’s a lot easier to edit a website in the planning stages than after it’s been developed.
DEVELOP UNIQUE CONTENT
The Internet is looking for valuable information, and lucky for you, you have a ton to give! After all, what were all those years sitting in a classroom for? Your patients have questions, and you have answers. Write unique, compelling information for each page of your website and put a TON of thought into the About Us page—it’s read a lot more than you would think.
Never, ever license content from a content aggregator. If content writing isn’t your strong suit (and that’s OK), hire a professional copywriter and guide them toward finding a healthy balance of providing information while making the content digestible.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality, and whatever you do, write as if you haven’t been to school for years. Your patients don’t need technical terms thrown at them—they need it to make sense. Write for the layman.
HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER + GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Make your website stand out! Using the same stock photography as everyone else makes your business feel like a commodity.
Your website should tell your story, and the design of your website plays a huge part in that story. A potential patient will look at between three or four websites before making a decision to book an appointment.
Making a strong first impression is your best way to win that appointment.
Don’t undervalue the role of a talented graphic designer. Make sure they know how to design for the web, and give them specific feedback and direction on what you’re looking for. This part of the website process is the most fun.
Too many websites miss the point. They speak to what the business is and what services it provides, but they completely miss the most important part.
Tell your patients what you can do for them. With every sentence, headline, or call to action, use those words to close the loop on the “so what?”
You carry top brand names—so what? The “so what” in this example would be that your business values quality and style. Your patients will find a wide selection of frames that look amazing and are built to last—all creating value in your business.
TELL ME WHAT TO DO NEXT
Don’t forget to be clear on indicating to potential patients what you want them to do next. If you want people to call and book an appointment, clearly write that call to action on various parts of your website—and include your phone number.
If you have an online booking system, make your phone number smaller but make your Book Appointment button large. On every service page, place that call to action throughout the page. You’ll be amazed at the increase in your website’s performance by calling out what you want visitors to do next.
MY Best Website, Ever.
One O.D.’s first-person account of why she has pure website love
Somebody smart once told me that a website is basically a glossy brochure to attract business. It can tell a brand story in 5 seconds and can be why a customer chooses (or does not choose) your business. When it came time to build a website, I took those words of wisdom to heart.
I love my website. Not only did I win a prestigious national industry award (where I was the only business that scored 100% in the website category), but our beautiful, inspiring website is the gift that keeps on giving. A whopping 40% of new patients say they chose us because they “love" our website. Dear patient, the feeling is mutual.
In 2014, I created oaklandvisioncenter.com using a DIY online website maker for $12. Yes, just $12. It was the best investment I ever made.
I concentrated on the thesis—creating a glossy brochure to attract business. With a mix of royalty-free images from an online stock photo service, photos I took myself with my iPhone, and some catchy writing, my website was born.
It’s really true. Adding to your website will increase your site’s SEO. I started with a blog, which was a big hit. We still have patients walking in because of a blog post they read while randomly searching on the Internet. In terms of social media—think of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ as extensions of your website. Social media channels point potential customers directly to your website. Because, awesome sauce.
—Tanya N. Gill, O.D.
QUICK-HIT SEO GUIDE
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website’s relevancy with search engines. When a potential patient is searching for you, make sure they can find you by implementing these quick tips:
Mobile Responsiveness. Make your website look great on all screen sizes. More than 50% of visitors to your website are now coming from a mobile device.
Unique Content. Make great content and make it your own. Include photos and videos to enhance the patient experience.
Claim your Google Business Profile. Claim and populate pertinent info like products, services, brands, and hours of operation.
Encourage Business Reviews. Ask for reviews, but be sure to respond to them immediately.
Publicity. Get people talking about you through social media, blog creation, and videos. Offer to write articles for local newspapers and blogs.
Look for Kevin Wilhelm’s SEO for ECPs column debuting in Eyecare Business next month.