Picture this: it’s Thursday night. You’ve just returned home after a long day at work, and you’re in the mood to put your feet up and relax. You land on the couch and turn on Netflix, but you’re pretty exhausted, and you don’t want to put too much thought into your selection. As you flip through your options, you come across a suggested pick that looks interesting, and when you read the description, it sounds like it’s right up your alley. So, you give it a go. (It’s either that or watch Parks and Rec for the third time, amirite?)

When you pick something new to watch on Netflix, you probably don’t choose at random. Instead, you look for cues that something aligns with your interests and taste based on the image, the description, and Netflix’s suggestion rating. But, without those cues, you might watch several misses before you find a hit.

In many ways, rehab therapy patients go through a similar process while seeking out a provider. But for them, the stakes are much higher than potentially watching a snoozefest of a movie. When a patient seeks therapy services, he or she is likely in pain, and researching providers probably isn’t his or her primary focus. But, if that patient chooses the wrong provider, he or she risks losing motivation and possibly dropping out of therapy altogether. That’s why practices have a responsibility to market their services in a way that speaks to the right patients. And in this day and age, that means having an online presence that resonates with those patients. There are many elements of healthcare website design rehab therapists should consider, from the page layout to the copy. To that end, here are five crucial considerations for creating a patient-focused clinic website.

1. Targeted Messaging

Before you dive in head-first, you’ve got to do a little research. Specifically, you should think about:

  • the demographics of your immediate area,
  • your practice’s strengths and weaknesses, and
  • the kind of patients you already attract.

Identify your ideal patient.

This information will give you a good foundation for identifying a realistic target audience. (For example, it may not be realistic to target student-athletes in an area with a high concentration of senior citizens.) If you’re just starting out—or you’re unsure about your practice’s existing strengths and current patient demographics—you can leverage data through your EMR to capture an accurate picture of your practice and your patients. For example, your EMR should have reporting capabilities that help you figure out which diagnoses and treatment modalities are most common in your practice. This data—along with outcomes data—can help you paint an accurate picture of the kind of practice you run, the types of patients you attract, and your success with treating those patients.

2. Persona-Focused Content

Once you know who your target audience is, it’s time to create a site that reels them it. But, before you do that, let’s do a little exercise. Close your eyes, and picture your ideal patients. Ask yourself:

  • Who are they?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their concerns?
  • What do they care about?
  • What circumstances most likely brought them to your site?

Get inside your patients’ heads.

The mental picture you just created is called a marketing persona, and it will help you make a site that speaks directly to your intended audience by considering it from the patient perspective. Ultimately, your desired patients should look at your website and think, “This is exactly what I’m looking for!”

Personalization is also crucial to setting your practice apart from the competition. As WebPT’s Erica McDermott points out in this post, “Today’s patients have a choice when it comes to their healthcare providers, which is why one-size-fits-all marketing techniques aren’t going to cut it any longer. Instead, opt for a tailored message that gets to the heart of what patients care about, which…really comes down to getting better, faster.”

3. A Taste of the Patient Experience

Your website is often where your patients get their first impression of you, so it should set the tone for a typical experience in your practice.

Show patients what you have to offer.

On your homepage, explain how you help patients heal. Include a list of wellness services and any specialized therapy services you offer. For example, some patients specifically seek out a practice that also offers massage or other wellness services, so if your practice falls into that category, then you should include that information on your site. You should also supply a list of any specialty items you sell, such as cold packs, therapy bands, or supplements.

4. The Who, What, When, and Where

Make sure your information is current and easy to spot.

Even if potential patients know what you offer, that information won’t mean a thing if they can’t find you. That’s why it’s crucial to include your NAP (that’s your name, address, and phone number) on every page of your website in a plainly visible spot—not just on the “Contact Us” page. Not only is this information helpful to patients who actually plan to visit your clinic, but it’ll also ensure Google has the right information when people search for your clinic online. (Pro tip: Make sure your NAP is exactly same everywhere it’s listed online, as explained in this post.) You may also want to consider including an interactive map to your clinic—such as a Google Map—on your home page or contact page.

Additionally, when prospective patients visit your website, they’re likely looking for:

  • a list of accepted insurances,
  • hours,
  • scheduling information, and
  • new patient forms.

So, make sure this info is readily available and easy to find. We also recommend including:

  • A short, snappy headline.
  • A brief subhead that explains the kind of services you provide and exemplifies your clinic’s culture.
  • Concise calls-to-action (CTAs). As we mention in this post, “It’s best practice to incorporate CTAs into your design as linked text to help boost your SEO ranking.”
  • Site navigation that’s easy to use and located at the top of every page on your site. For tips on how to create an effective site nav, check out this article from Kissmetrics.

5. Simple, Succinct Language

Keep it short and sweet.

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it’s the heart of marketing. You only have a few seconds to pull in your audience before they start to lose interest, so make it count. When writing the copy on your website, avoid:

  • getting overly detailed with your descriptions.
  • any super-technical language.
  • putting too many items in your site nav.
  • crowding pages with a bunch of text.

When you pick the wrong show on Netflix, it might cost you 30 minutes of “me time,” but when patients pick the wrong rehab therapy provider, it can cost them healthy function—and even their all-around well-being. Without proper guidance, though, crafting the perfect website for your practice can get a bit overwhelming. For some additional direction to help you create a patient-focused website—as well as tips on how to use it to maximize your referrals and audience reach—check out our free, comprehensive guide to modern marketing for rehab therapy. Got any website tips of your own? Let us know in the comment section below!