One of the first things you will probably want to do as you start your practice is to set up a Web site. There are lots of ways to do this wrong; here are some suggestions for doing it right:
* First, be sure you know WHY you want this website. In other words, what is your primary purpose for this site? Do you want to attract potential patients? Do you want to make the site an informational and interactive site for patients? You can do both, but not at the same time on the home page. Since you probably want most to use the site to get patients, set up the home page to focus on this purpose.
* Feature your USP and your logo. Your site should be individual to your practice. If you want to use a packaged website to save time and money, ask if they will personalize your site with your logo.
* Consider a blog. A blog can be a great way to interact with potential patients or to provide information that increases your expertise. But like anything else, your blog must be maintained. One web expert says you must have 100 posts before your blog is effective. That’s a lot of work.
* Plan to keep your website updated. Don’t just put up the site and let it go. There are many “bugs” that can infect a website, and they need constant maintenance, just like gardens. Find someone with expertise to keep tending yours, so it will continue to work effectively for you.
* Use a “package” to help you get started quickly. Some DC’s have found that using a “packaged” website system can help you get your website up and running quickly, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time designing and creating the content. You’ll give up some personalization, but it might be worth it.
Here are some ways one new DC uses her Web site:
* New patient paperwork. She puts all her new patient forms on her site and when a new patient calls for an appointment, she directs the person to the site to download and fill out paperwork.
* Online new patient scheduling. She has set up her website to allow new patients to schedule their first appointment. On some sites, patients can see your available times and insert their own appointment. You can also take email requests for appointment times.
* Answering questions through emails. She uses email to communicate with her patients, responding to questions after adjustments, and giving patients encouragement to keep up with exercises.
* Communicating with newsletters. She sends out an online newsletter to keep patients informed of practice events. Keep past issues on your website for more content and to show how you’re committed to keeping in contact with patients.
In conclusion, a Web site might be great for marketing your practice, but only if it fits your image and it is properly set up and maintained.
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