Running With the Right Clicks by Casey Bull

Running With the Right Clicks 

Your website should do more than just look good— it needs to attract and convert patients, too


by Casey Bull


Your website should be more than just a pretty face. Sure, design is important, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. Your website should be modern, aesthetically pleasing and an accurate digital representation of your practice—but think for a moment about its purpose, too:

  • You may want patients to be able to access forms, schedule appointments or even submit payments.
  • You undoubtedly want the site to attract new patients and rank well on Google.
As with anything else, it’s important to have a set strategy and purpose driving your plans and design when it comes to your website and its conversion rate optimization (CRO) and search engine optimization (SEO).


Set your purpose

While your site will also have peripheral uses, its main purpose should be to convert web traffic into new patient prospects. A great website gives you more new-patient leads—not because it’s generating more prospects, but because it’s converting more traffic into a clicks-to-call or filled-out forms.

All your marketing efforts—both on the ground and digital—direct people to ask about your practice, and while some may call the practice directly, most will look at your website first. So it’s critical to build your site with conversion rate as a focus.

Would you send 100 new patients a month to a treatment coordinator (TC) who converts half as much as they should? That would be a waste of resources; you’d invest in training to improve the TC’s conversion rate or bring in a new person. Unfortunately, most websites just sit there and don’t get the attention the TC does. Most practices don’t even know their website conversion rate (the percentage of unique monthly visitors who convert to a click-to-call or filled-out form).

Website traffic varies dramatically from practice to practice based on many factors, including if they’re running digital ads, but for illustrative purposes, let’s assume 1,000 visitors to the website and a conversion rate of 2.5%, which means 25 new patient calls or filled-out forms.

A benchmark conversion rate for a solid website is 5%, which based on the same number of visitors would give the practice 50 new calls or filled-out forms. By increasing the conversion rate by 2.5%, you can double your new-patient calls without spending a dime on paid advertising. This is why website performance is critical to your practice success.



Top tips for a high-performing website

Set up proper tracking. To make data-informed decisions, you must have tracking properly set up on your website. Tools like Google Analytics will track, measure and report on website activity and visitor behavior, including traffic, clicks and conversion rate. This is the best way to ensure you can monitor what’s happening on your website: You can see what is and isn’t working and make adjustments accordingly.

Monitor these two KPIs. The most important key performance indicators to focus on are conversion rate and average session time. As mentioned above, conversion rate is the percentage of unique visitors who convert to a call or completed form—and it should be above 5%. (The average website my company manages converts at 7.3%.) Average session time measures the average length of time visitors spend on a website, from the moment they land on the site to when they exit. Your average session time should be greater than one minute. Things that affect session time include user experience (UX), website load speed and having high-value pages that entice visitors to stay longer.

Perform A/B testing. You may launch a website with a brand new design that has a very low conversion rate, but this doesn’t always mean there’s a need to redesign! Your website is never truly done—your team should be A/B testing various components and making recommendations based on CRO best practices to help improve performance.

The key with any A/B test is making incremental changes so you can accurately attribute increased performance to that particular change. For example, A/B test the headline on your homepage but leave everything else on the page the same. Then monitor the performance of the website for a month to see which version of the headline outperformed the other.


Onsite SEO

While the above performance helps you convert more of your website visitors, when your website ranks well on Google, you’ll increase the amount of visitors to your site. There are many different elements to this and approaches to take, but these tips will get you started.

Have a clear strategy. While I’m here giving you tips, if you take them out of context from your overall strategy, you won’t get far. Your strategy must be mapped out and planned to ensure you can achieve specific results. For example, know which keywords you want to target. It’s not advised to have only one “treatments” page where you’re targeting braces, aligners, adults, kids and retention; instead, optimize each individual page with a goal of targeting a niche set of keywords. So, you might decide to have a main “Treatments” page that lists all the options, then interlink to individual pages, each dedicated to a particular treatment.

Create keyword-rich content. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to write new pages consistently, like blog posts, but you need to ensure all of the pages on your site are properly optimized. This includes the headers of each page (H1 and H2). Word count is important for all main pages; make sure they have about 800–1,000 words.

Add backlinks. A backlink is a link from one website to another. The best kind of backlinks come from partnerships, charities and other quality sources, so when you sponsor the local soccer club, for example, be sure it gets you a link on the club’s website.

Focus on quality as well as strategically selecting the page to link. You could send all backlinks to your homepage, but a better option would be to make the user journey hyper-relevant. In the soccer club example, you could create a co-branded landing page that showcases patients involved in the soccer club, information about any offer exclusive to the club’s athletes and what to expect at the new patient consultation.



Conclusion


To win big, you need to marry UX and SEO. The Google algorithm is becoming more and more advanced and you simply cannot fake the system. Google knows that its users care about UX, and now it’s using UX elements as a ranking factor. Ultimately, find a website provider who can deliver the design you want and be a partner in the ongoing optimization process.

Author Bio
Casey Bull Casey Bull, the global director of content and community at The Invisible Orthodontist (TIO), drives TIO’s efforts to provide member practices with marketing and business management expertise. Bull began her career in the orthodontic industry in 2014 working for Dr. Alexander Waldman in Beverly Hills, where she developed a range of practice management processes encompassing tracking and reporting, management systems and templates, treatment plans, marketing programs and more.
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