Do you want to acquire more patients? Do you want your current patients to show up to their appointments more often? What if you could start working toward accomplishing both of those goals—and more—for free? Got your attention now, don’t I! It’s easy to meet those goals if your company has a strong digital presence—one that is built around your website. (By the way, just to double-check—you do have a website, right?) Now, ask yourself: “Is my website at the center of my practice's marketing strategy?” Or does it seem like it’s always getting neglected? Maybe you just don’t have time to work on it or update it, or perhaps you simply don’t know where to start. That’s okay, though, because there is light at the end of the tunnel. Google has a fantastic solution to these problems, and it’s called Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
I’m sure you’ve heard—or more likely read—about the many reasons that Google Analytics (GA for short) is a must-have for anyone with a website. But what I find is that many people have no idea why that is the case. Or, they’ve installed Google Analytics but have no idea what to do with it—or have data paralysis after scrolling through all the columns of facts and figures.
Don’t panic! Google Analytics is essentially the best free web analytics tool available. It’s easy to install, works across all Google platforms, and provides tons of insightful data on who is coming to your website—and how they’re interacting with it. Did I mention it is totally free?!
If, for any reason, you are not using Google Analytics, you need to stop what you are doing and install it right now. Managing a website without any analytics is like trying to hit a baseball blindfolded. (In other words, it doesn’t usually end well, and you will strike out a lot.)
Don’t worry—GA isn’t nearly as scary as it looks.
What questions will Google Analytics answer?
GA will help answer some extremely important questions such as:
- How many people visit my site? Remember: every new visitor to your website is a potential new patient for your practice.
- Where do my visitors live? This can help you determine whether you’re marketing to the right people. For example, if your clinic is in Arizona, you probably wouldn’t want all of your web traffic to be coming from New York.
- What other websites send visitors to me? This can highlight opportunities for partnerships with other websites that might already be sending patients (a.k.a. referrals) your way.
- What other digital marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my site? It’s a bit complicated to set up, but you can use GA to track visits from social media platforms, other websites, emails, and more. That way, you can see which campaigns are performing the best for you.
- Which pages on my website are the most popular? This lets you know which pages are performing well, or conversely, which ones are underperforming and need your attention.
- How many patients do I get from my site? You likely want more people to come to your practice. Knowing how many leads (i.e., new patients) your website is generating is key to making that happen.
- What content do my visitors like the most? This data is very important if you blog on your website, as it’ll help you determine the topics your visitors are most interested in. That way, you can continue to capitalize on that interest in the future.
- What device does your audience use to view your site? See how visitors are getting to your site. Is it from their computers, tablets, or phones? This may change the information you include on your pages.
What else should I know?
Just a few more things. In addition to providing tons of valuable data, Google Analytics allows you to:
- Look at your website’s speed. The faster your website loads, the more mobile visitors you will have, and the higher you’ll (potentially) rank in Google results. But that’s a whole separate topic for an upcoming blog post.
- Watch traffic on your website in real time. This is great for when you get bored and would like to see how many people are browsing your site this very moment.
- Create A/B tests on your website. This is a biggie. In non-marketing lingo, it means you can use GA to test different variations of your pages and see which ones your visitors like most.
- Create custom reports and dashboards. These enable you to get the most relevant information quickly—without having to wade through tons of data every day.
Okay—can you sum up how this helps me get more patients?
Absolutely! Remember, your website is the key to your entire digital presence. Some people won’t even work with a company that doesn’t have website. So, if your website is your practice’s first digital impression, you want to make sure it’s in tip-top condition. Once you have Google Analytics up and running, you can use it to:
- gather information on your audience,
- discover your most popular pages, and
- pinpoint ways you can fine-tune your site to give your patients the best possible experience.
For example, you may find that adding a contact form to your homepage will make it easier for existing patients to look at your hours and schedule an appointment. Alternatively, it may allow potential new patients to find your practice and determine whether you are the right fit for them.
What your traffic can look like after you start optimizing your website with GA.
Okay, I’m sold. How do I get started?
Begin by creating a Google account. Then, install the code your site and become familiar with the reports, charts, and other tools. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use all of these things immediately. I’ll be posting follow-up articles that detail how to successfully complete each of these steps and become a knowledgeable GA user.
“Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.”
In the meantime, feel free to ask me any questions you have in the comment section below.
About Aaron Treguboff
Sometimes referred to as A-A-Ron, Aaron is the SEO Strategist at WebPT. He has five-plus years of experience in digital analytics, SEO, digital marketing, and social media.