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80% of social patients start their search for aesthetic services on the web, including those who received a word-of-mouth referral. Which elements of a typical practice website will most likely create a first and lasting impression on socially connected patients? The visual images, including photos and video. Here are 5 steps to create alignment with your site and the internet-savvy social patient.
We have all heard it said over and over that a picture is worth a thousand words. Those thousand words represent YOUR PRACTICE’S STORY. This adage especially applies to your digital presence. If you give it some thought, it makes perfect sense – 80% of social patients start their search for aesthetic services on the web, including those who received a word-of-mouth referral.
Question: Which elements of a typical practice website will most likely create a first and lasting impression on socially connected patients?
Answer:The visual images, including photos and video. Other factors such as color schemes, layout, navigation and content are also important, but the FIRST impression will almost always be the result of the images.
Now try this with your practice’s website. If you can be unbiased about it, what type of story is being told by the visual imagery on the home page of your site? Collectively, how do they make you think, feel and most importantly, what do they TELL you to DO?
This can be difficult because nobody wants to be told their baby is not beautiful. In most cases, innovative practices are telling a vivid tale of the good things to come with their visual imagery. For those who are not 100% satisfied, there are a few simple steps to take to create alignment with your site and the internet-savvy social patient.
Step 1: Get your mind right. Social patients have choices when selecting a practice. It’s not just about your reputation as a physician, it’s about how you sell your practice. We must accept that there is an element of sales to acquiring a new patient. A great reputation should be a given, but how you portray that makes all the difference.
Step 2: If you’re maintaining your practice’s website internally, get more than one opinion. While it makes sense to get feedback from your spouse, staff and friends, this may not be the best feedback. Their opinions can be affected by your relationship, and nobody wants to hurt your feelings. Getting unbiased, outside feedback can be more realistic -- different age groups, genders and professional backgrounds may give you a more accurate assessment.
Step 3: Most contemporary sites have what’s called a “slider” on the home page. This allows for a series of rotating images. The slider provides you with an opportunity to highlight different aspects of the practice.
Bonus: Different images affect people differently. Having more than one image should increase the site’s appeal.
Step 4: Pay attention to the results. When you do make changes to the site, try to limit the number of variables you change. Doctors are research-oriented by nature, so this should be relatively easy.
Step 5: Embrace the idea of change. Your digital presence should be considered a means to an end, as opposed to an end in and of itself. Online trends change and you must be willing to change with them.
Keep in mind that strong visuals will grab the attention of the hyper-connected patient, but that’s just chapter one. Other important chapters in your story should include unique and relevant content, professional video production, contact forms that are easily found and completed, physician and staff member bios, on-site positive reviews and the most powerful of all stories within the story. These powerful stories should include real patient stories with before and after photos, compelling and relatable content and a heartfelt recommendation from the patient about the way you changed his or her life.
For best practices in the use of real patient stories visit: http://sadriancosmeticsurgery.com/
From a digital marketer’s perspective, that’s what really matters: What do I want prospective and existing patients to THINK, FEEL and DO when they visit us online? How can we turn their red lights to green lights, and encourage them to go further in the process of choosing your practice.
Every physician has his or her own amazing story of achievements, successes and life changing procedures. Knowing it is one thing, but TELLING your story to thousands of unique visitors a month can make the difference between sustainability and perennial practice growth.
I challenge you to do a little research:
Watch more interviews
The power of social media in practice building with Thomas Jeneby, M.D., of the Plastic Cosmetic Center of South Texas