Online behavior of new patients reveals local digital opportunities for your chiropractic or healthcare website
You wanted a practice. But you’re in a small business, facing the same challenges all small businesses face: getting and keeping customers. Sure, we call it a practice, but it’s a business. We call them patients, but they’re customers. In the era of Google, you’ll want to put most of your local marketing energy into digital channels for your chiropractic or healthcare website.
The “build it and they will come” practice was 30 years ago. And these days you can’t rely solely on a great pair of hands and gushing referrals to build your practice.
Like it or not, when people want about anything, they go online. And that’s where you must be — for the same reason bank robber Willie Sutton revealed a century ago why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is.”
5 factors of digital marketing success
After analyzing the online behaviors of over a million new patients, some revealing trends appear. To win online means attending to five factors:
- High-Converting Website — Achieving your new-patient goals begins with a high-converting website.
There are websites, and there is the high-converting healthcare website. The difference starts with a design that creates an emotional connection with your ideal patient. It requires content that is persuasive. It means understanding the concerns and fears of those who make health care decisions. Only then will visitors want to learn about you and your approach to patient care. Because something better may be just a click away.
- Website Traffic — Once you have a chiropractic or healthcare website designed to convert visitors into new patients, you need traffic. Website traffic is generated in two ways. You can attract organic traffic with search engine optimization, or you can buy it using pay-per-click advertising.
Earning traffic organically takes time. You’ll want to make sure essential on-page trust signals are in place. This includes a mobile-friendly responsive design, clean code and fast load times. Don’t forget proper title tags, photo optimization and high-quality content. Google increasingly relies on visitor behavior when ranking websites, such as bounces (arriving and quickly leaving), time on page and the number of pages visited.
- 5-Star Reviews — More and more people trust reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend. Plus, there’s evidence that Google gives weight to your review profile in its ranking. That’s because Google is risking its reputation on your reputation. And you have two of them.
One is your reputation with patients, which includes your personality, listening skills, tableside manner, compassion and adjusting skills. Your other reputation is digital, which lives with Google, Facebook and Yelp. Since they have no way of knowing your endearing real-world reputation, they depend on patient reviews. That’s why a consistent stream of five-star reviews is essential, especially to counter the occasional bad review you will most certainly receive.
- Social Media Management — It surprises many chiropractors to learn that social media doesn’t directly produce many new patients. Before making an appointment with you, 92% of new patients will first visit your website.
But social media plays an important supporting role. First, it reveals your practice personality and attracts your ideal patient. Second, it creates a sense of community. How? By sharing wellness tips and helpful suggestions that keep you and their health top of mind.
- Email Marketing — Email marketing consistently outperforms all other digital marketing channels. It’s the only digital marketing channel you completely own.
Email marketing stimulates inside-out practice growth by connecting with those who already know and trust you. Mastering the right tone and tempo for your messaging lets you educate, celebrate, upsell and cross-sell.
Sending relevant health information, practice updates, birthday greetings and occasional office promotions is a way to remain top of mind. The key is to avoid email fatigue, which leads to unsubscribes.
Deploy all five of these digital channels, and with time you’ll dominate your new-patient drawing area.
Your chiropractic or healthcare website: 7 things to do now
Here’s a checklist for chiropractors who tend to be allergic to technology and computers in general:
- Buy your domain — If you haven’t secured your piece of internet real estate, do it today. Select a domain name that is short and doesn’t create ambiguity when spoken aloud. Buy it for five years, or three years at a minimum. It gives Google greater confidence than if you timidly buy it for only a year.
- Differentiate and identify your ideal patient — You’ll want to separate yourself from others so new patients choose you. And not just any new patients — ideally, patients who belong to your “tribe.” What about you or your practice would cause a new patient to drive past others to get to yours? Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for obscurity.
- Tour other chiropractic websites — It’s helpful to know what others are doing. Take a tour and see what’s going on. Keep a record of the sites you visit and take screenshots. Copy snippets of text that resonate with you. Find examples of what you like and dislike so you can share your vision with those who will create your website.
- Understand the new-patient journey — It’s important to know how prospective new patients use a practice website. There are five essential “money pages” that almost every new patient visits. The typical sequence is: Home Page, Meet the Doctor, About Us, Chiropractic, and Contact Us.
- Avoid ‘No Man’s Land’ — This is when a practice is situated near the edge of the city limits of a major city but pulls patients from a smaller, adjacent suburb. This is no man’s land because Google will use your mailing address (big city) to decide who your competitors are. You may then be forced to permanently buy traffic from the adjacent suburb.
- Harness the power of custom photography — Sure, stock photography is cheaper, faster and more convenient, but it won’t create the emotional connection you need. Plus, custom photography can reduce apprehension by showing the interior of your practice and the types of people you serve. Avoid the neutron bomb effect of showing empty rooms devoid of people.
- Get help with your digital marketing — Doing it yourself may save money, but it will cost you from underperformance. Plus, writing a compelling biography about yourself and creating content with proper keyword density is, well, unlikely.There are four major website resources:
- Inexpensive DIY platforms like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace
- Discount providers who host templated websites for chiropractors
- Local graphic designers, who you’ll need to educate about chiropractic
- Digital marketing experts who are totally invested in your success
Each has its pros and cons. Digital marketing is a game of inches. When done correctly, you can often outperform other, more established practices.
Outrun the local competition
It’s like the two hikers in the Colorado Rockies who meet a mother bear and her cubs. One of the hikers cautiously sits down to remove his hiking boots and slip on sneakers. His partner whispers, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!”
“I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you!”