We chose this topic for our YellowTelescope newsletter and not our sister company, www.SEOversite.com, which helps practices get better results from their online presence, as the concept truly translates across segments of your business. So let’s dive in.
Many website marketing companies currently preach that medical practice websites should focus on real patient stories. We agree this can be of great help and value – more before/after photos and testimonials, more stories personalizing, and humanizing the website may increase time spent on-site as well as overall conversion. With that said, YellowTelescope submits that this goes against the order in which patients shop for doctors, like bringing out dessert before one has looked at the menu.
To wrap our minds around this concept, let us think about how we each select our own doctors. Ask yourself, “If you had a sick relative with cancer or wanted a facelift or new teeth, what would be the 1st thing you’d look for before selecting a doctor?” In a survey asking what they look for, over 90% said they would look at the doctor’s experience in their specialty, education, or accolades before considering the doctor further. Certainly, some people would say that outcomes, naturalness, bedside manner, referrals, or dozens of other factors are more important. What is not important is if these should be the first factors considered. What is important is that this is how people shop. Few, if any, polled mentioned photos, personality, or the ability to connect with the doctors’ similar patients. This is not to say those things aren’t important. For some people, in the long run, they may be MORE important. Rather, it is to say they are not the first, second, or third considerations. For further clarity, imagine you were told about two doctors:
The first doctor has really nice stories about real patients she has treated. She has some pretty good before and after photos. It is unclear where or to what extent she is educated. It is unclear how long she has been practicing – a day or a decade or a millennium. And it is unclear if she has won any awards, accolades, or board certifications.
The second is a double-board certified doctor, educated at the University of Florida, then Cornell Medical School, Fellowship Trained, with over 5000 procedures performed and 15 years of experience. It is unclear what her patients think of her or how they feel about her outcomes.
Who would you pick to visit for yourself or a family member in need of a nip-tuck or necessary medical procedure? Most select the second doctor. The problem is confusing order with importance. To some patients, everything is important, while for others only a few factors matter. In most cases, however, the very first things they seek are to narrow their field to those who are most qualified, and only then do they decide amongst those finalists who have the best results, testimonials, bedside manner, or office space. Patients want a doctor with a great bedside manner AND a good staff AND superb outcomes AND a great education. First, however, they tend to confirm that the doctor meets at least a minimum threshold of education, accolades, and experience. What is important to remember is how people buy – in other words, in what order they place their hurdles as you cannot jump over hurdle number three until and unless you pass hurdles one and two. In the current market, a preponderance of websites we encounter has at least a 50% bounce rate, meaning visitors leave without even clicking on a second page often in a few seconds or less. This shows that patients who research on the internet rarely peruse a site if they do not see what they want immediately, often in ten seconds or less.
With this knowledge, and understanding that every site and market has its nuances, consider improving your conversion rate and overall business by showcasing the doctor front and center with bullet points showcasing the doctor’s awesomeness in a way that can be digested in 10 seconds or less. When you do so, you buy more time from the prospective patient for them to move on to other needs, like confirming your bedside manner, patient happiness through testimonials, results through photo galleries, and more.
Taking this one final step further, the concepts outlined above are true of phone calls and live consultations as well. Do you cover with every patient caller why the doctor is so wonderful? What about during the live consultation by reviewing early on some of the doctor’s education and experience related to the procedure being requested? A website is a static online sales pitch, just as a consultation is a mutual dynamic sales pitch where the doctor confirms the patient is the type of patient she’d like to treat just as the patient determines if the doctor and staff are right for her. Counterintuitively, there is very little difference between a website and a phone call or a consultation. As a doctor, you are your brand. Although it may feel slightly narcissistic, it is crucial that you convey what makes you the best choice to all potential patients in order to keep them engaged and hopefully get them to choose you as their doctor. You did the work, and won the awards. Why shouldn’t you, or your staff/website, tell them why you rock? By mastering how people shop, you can increase patient conversion rates and grow your practice by serving your patients better.