Technology is increasingly an important part of our daily lives. Especially in this new economic turn, all industries are looking at technological advances and capabilities in order to create a digital extension to their business to reach their goods and services to their customers. In order to maximize your reach to patients, you must have an online presence and a website is the backbone to your online presence.
Here are 4 reasons to have a website:
Growing your business with New Patients
When a customer is looking or researching for new products or services, first thing they do is go to a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing to find out more information. This could be as simple as finding a business in the vicinity, reviews on a business, store hours, contact information, products, etc. However, if you do not have a website, this means you are missing out on 93% of potential new patients.
Professionalism & Credibility
When patients are looking for a new service provider or to find more information on a recommended one, they search the internet to find the company’s website. This provides a professional platform that solidifies the company as a legitimate business. When a customer cannot find a website for a business, it diminishes their opinion of the business, raises the question of trust as a reliable providerii, provides an impression that you are out of business and it encourages them towards your competitor. Having a website helps build a dialogue with your customers. It tells them your story, showcases your products and/or services, it helps patients to get to know you and establishes trust. Having a website shows that you are a reputable business. It helps to set you apart from your competition.
Fingertip Technology with 24/7 Accessibility
With smartphones, comes the “fingertip” generation. This means having access to an infinite amount of information right at your fingertips. Having a website allows patients to find your business and information with ease, on their schedule without having to wait for business hours to call in and being placed on hold. This helps facilitate your customer service, without having anyone in the office, tying up phone lines or missing a call from patients. If you have an appointment scheduler on your website, patients can book online 24/7. This provides flexibility and convenience to convert potential patients into actual patients. For types of scheduling software, check out our previous post here.
An Enhanced Shopping Experience & First Impressions
“The shopping experience” is talked a lot about in retail. This refers to the customers experience inside the store and how to keep them in the shop longer. Studies have shown, the more time a customer spends in the store, the more they spend. This strategy doesn’t only apply to retail stores. Every business should be aware of their customers experience, as this is what leads to a loyal clientele, referrals to new patients as well as ways to improve and build upon products and services in demand, that puts your practice ahead of your competition. However, your patients shopping experience does not begin when they enter your practice, it begins from the moment they search for your information online. Your website is your business’s first impression. As we know, patients are researching online before deciding which practice to book an appointment with. Here is where you can outshine the competition and ensure your customer’s shopping experience is a positive one that will keep them coming back. When creating your website, 5 key elements to keep in mind:
1. Simple navigation – It should be natural, user intuitive and easy for your patients to find the information they are looking for without having to click multiple times. Menus should be clear and concise.
2. Attractive with a clean design – your site should be attractive, using images and colors of your business or logo. There should be a balance of design and information that is not overwhelming to look at. All information should be easy to read and quick to load.
3. Helpful Information – Add content that is informative about your business and include information that frequently asked by your patients. Don’t forget your location and contact details.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- this means that your website is optimized for search engines like Google, Yahoo & Bing. “Optimized” means that it helps the search engines understand what information is on your site and uses it to helps customers discover you.iv
For more information on SEO, here is a link to Google’s SEO starter guide.
5. Fast loading times – ensure your website loads information within a few seconds. If not, customers will be frustrated and more likely to leave your website.
Building a website
Setting up a website sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. Like anything else, websites come in all shapes & sizes. Best way to start is to first determine what and how much information will be on your website. You can start small and keep it simple with having your logo, business information, location, contact and frequently asked questions. Then, grow from there by helping to streamline your business with an online appointment scheduler (link to previous blog), add a product showcase of what customers can find in store, have customers create a selection of frames in a “wish list” before their appointment, expand to online marketing that links back to your website, etc. The possibilities are endless. To help get you started, there are two things you will need: Domain Name & Web Hosting. There are many ready-made, easy-to-use sites you can build yourself (or hire someone to build) that will include your domain name & web hosting. These sites also have free or trial versions which gives you the flexibility to learn how it works before you commit financially. The options below have multiple plans to fit any budget. Here are the three popular website builders:
Having an online presence is vital to the survival and growth of your business. Having a website gives you the upper hand over your competition. It allows your business to be more flexible and adapt to changing environments. It also gives you the ability to stay in touch with patients at critical times by providing up-to-date information, it provides your patients with the constant to access to information at their leisure and is essential to keeping customers happy which translates into repeat business.