12th March 2013

Effective Website Design

Effective Website Design

Better marketing techniques, a better standard of competition and patients’ higher expectations of websites mean that more and more clients are seeking to break out of designing their website by templates and are coming to us to redesign, modernise and improve their websites to look very different.

Know what you want from your website

When you start thinking about a new website, it’s easy to jump straight into the design stage, but an effective website needs more than creative design – it needs a purpose too. Think of your home page as a department store window – new patients will look at it before deciding whether to come inside and make an enquiry or learn more, existing patients will keep an eye out for special offers, and patients registered elsewhere might be looking for cosmetic expensive treatments. There may even be other practices that are happy to refer their patients for specific specialist treatment. Your home page has to show at first glance that you can respond to all these different needs.

Break out of the template

Most practices provide similar treatments, with similar equipment and teams with similar skills. It can be difficult to really separate yourself from other competing practices in your area. Your brand needs to be unique to you, to reflect your practice and be true to your patient experience. It is an asset to the business because it shows what makes your practice different.

Keep your copy clear and simple

Your site has to work hard to win your readers’ attention and even harder to keep it. Often websites make the mistake of saying too much. Don’t bore and confuse your potential new patients. They assume you know what you’re doing; you don’t need to prove it by going into detail about what a treatment involves; leave that for the consultation period. You need to show that you are there to answer patients’ questions and to book a consultation. That’s where your business will grow.

Remember the three second wow factor!

Websites have just seconds to convince patients to spend a few minutes looking around and to hopefully make the enquiry. Are you saying what you do, who you do it for and why patients should choose you in seconds?

The right images are priceless when showcasing your practice and USP’s. After all, your premises and patient journey is unique to your practice –making it unique to your brand. Use these to try to convey your brand experience. By staying away from the generic stock pictures we see all too often in favour of carefully chosen images, you can effectively demonstrate why your practice is the right choice.

Devise a targeted marketing strategy

It is easy to get seduced by the next best thing in marketing or by what your competitors are doing, but the practices that are most successful at promoting themselves are the ones that seek to understand how their target patients communicate and respond to what’s around them. There’s no point spending thousands on marketing aimed at younger audiences if your patients are typically over 50 with a high disposable income. You must always keep your target audience in mind, how they reach out and how to reach them.

Play to your strengths

Remember that when looking for a practice patient’s want a practice that offers them a high standard of work and care and is approachable. Every practice has its own unique strengths, the things that keep patients coming back time and time again. The trick is to play on these strengths and communicate them. A patient’s relationship with your practice often begins with your website showing them what their experience will be before they even call. Engage with them from the outset and the chances are they will pick up the phone to make an appointment.

Creating a unique brand and experience both visual in message and real that reflects your practice’s strengths, values and key messages goes a long way towards attracting and retaining customers. Where single practitioners and small practices are often strongest is in their ability to offer a personalised approach. It’s important to think about your unique selling points or those of your clinic and why they are important.

Why websites with the wow factor matter more than the Google ranking

In striving to appear on Page one of Google along with other practices in your area, it is vital that you look and feel unique, and of a better quality, to new patients. Everyone wants the best price but we also want the best quality for the money we’re prepared to spend. Most of us might click through to a few websites before making an enquiry.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, clinics and single practitioners are often persuaded to compromise the impact of their online presence by focusing on securing the Google top slot alone. In the quest for the coveted number one placement on page one of Google, the trade off may be the integrity of their usual brand, doing their business more harm than good in the long-term. Having a well designed and original website at three or four on Google is better than looking dubious and cluttered with links.

A staggering number of websites compromise the brand experience by featuring too many links, repetitive copy written for search engines and not people, adverts and images. By cluttering the design, they devalue the brand and leave patients feeling sceptical and question quality. Successful websites are those that communicate information in a well thought out way but aren’t afraid to hold something back.

Instead of focusing solely on Google’s pole position, making several appearances on page one can reinforce a patient’s positive assessment of your brand. A carefully formulated pay-per-click campaign through Google Ad Words can effectively increase your presence, ensuring that your business appears at the top, lower down and to the right. By appearing more than once, you can create a sense that you are an established practitioner without compromising the brand experience.

Valuing enquiries over egos

Too many practices concentrate on website hits and not on conversion rates, placing egos (“we must be great because look at all the hits we got”) over the value of enquiries. It’s important to be competitive but for a business to be successful, it is better to have 100 hits and 50 enquiries than 1000 hits leading to 20 enquiries. As we’ve shown, this can be achieved by creating a website designed for its target audience, generating relevant traffic and high conversion rates – in other words, potential patients who are compelled to pick up the phone and make an appointment.

To discuss your website with the experts or for help with creative design and intelligent marketing call H&P Design on 0115 9140 640 or email enquiry@handpdesign.co.uk

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