Today’s blog post comes from David Straight, PT, DPT, OCS, and President of E-rehab
Millions of Americans search for solutions to their movement disorders every year—and most don’t even consider physical therapy an option. Physical therapy, in most states, is still a referral-based business. In fact, a recent article in Spine stated that less than ten percent of the 32,000 back patients studied actually saw a physical therapist. However, physical therapy websites have seen a steady increase in traffic over the last few years. As healthcare costs increase, it only makes sense that consumers will continue to look for more affordable treatment options, and high quality physical therapy, in many cases, is a more affordable treatment than surgery or injections.
With this in mind, it’s imperative that your website not only stands out, but also drives online traffic into your clinic. Here are seven tips you can implement to make your website a success.
1. Choose a Great Domain Name for Your Online Business and Email
Most of your online traffic comes from search so make sure your domain name matches that of your business, e.g., gasparpt.com for Gaspar Physical Therapy. While .com is the standard nowadays, people recognize .net, .biz, and .us, as well. I personally recommend www.godaddy.com for your domain name registration because they have the best prices and tons of options.
After you have your domain name registered, search for Google Apps Standard edition. This will allow you to create up to ten email inboxes for free. There are several additional Google Apps services you may find useful, but definitely make sure you have a professional email address. You don't want it to end with @yahoo, @hotmail, or @gmail, but rather your business domain name.
2. Make an Outstanding First Impression
According to my research, about 80% of all physical therapy website visitors only visit the site once. As I mentioned above, because physical therapy is primarily a referral-based business, most people will visit your site to validate the referral they received. No matter why potential customers visit your site, it’s imperative you make an outstanding first impression—you are, after all, in the business of service. Your website should reflect the quality of service you provide.
To make a good website great, hire a professional—and that includes everything from logo design and photography to website development and content. On a tight budget, I suggest crowdsourcing your logo design through www.logomyway.com and acquiring stock photos from www.istockphoto.com.
3. Make It Search Engine Friendly
There’s no point to having a great website if no one can find it. While you may not need to invest hundreds in search engine marketing, it might benefit your clinic to do some research on page rankings and affordable search engine optimization (SEO) services. Just make sure you find a service that has a lot of solid customer testimonials.
4. Give Your Website Visitors and Comparison Shoppers Good Reasons to Choose You
Create a compelling case for your business so when potential customers land on your website, they contact you for a visit. That means make sure your copy is solid and your message is clear. You may even want to offer a coupon or incentive to help them choose you. Just make sure you review your insurance contracts and CMS guidelines before you craft your offer. Want more copy tips? Check out my last WebPT blog post on crafting compelling copy.
5. Make It Educational
According to a report entitled "The Engaged E-patient Population," 70% of patients research their diagnosis and conditions online. Armed with this information, make your website an educational tool: Provide answers to frequently asked questions and let patients know what their first in-clinic visit will be like. You can also use your website to demonstrate your expertise through exercise pictures, videos, and how-to guides.
6. Use Your Website as a Timesaver and an Income Generator
Save time by directing your new patients to your website to complete their patient intake forms before their first visit. Also, you can incorporate online bill pay with services such as PayPal. Want to generate some extra revenue? Consider offering PT-related products for your patients to purchase online.
7. Give Visitors a Mobile Option
In the three months leading up to March 2012, more than 106 million American adults owned a smart phone, according to a comScore report. We have noticed a steady increase in the number of physical therapy website visitors who are using mobile devices. An easy way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to provide these viewers with a mobile optimized version of your website; it will load more quickly and won't require any scrolling, panning, or zooming. Plus, key information, like your phone number and an online appointment request, is easily accessible. For an example, visit www.mullispt.com on your smartphone. Lastly, don’t forget to include links to Facebook and Yelp so you can build your social and local footprint.
Got questions? I got answers. Contact me at email@example.com.