6. Use Facebook and Twitter to communicate social signals to the search engines and to demonstrate your expertise and credibility.
7. Create a blog and optimize the posts to rank for common conditions you treat like MBF Rehab has done.
Invest in the Hub & Spokes
[info_box]You can spend hours every week chasing after the latest tech that might generate new patients. Our advice is to stop the madness and create a solid online marketing platform that includes the seven components above. We call it the Hub & Spoke Model. Your website is your hub of online marketing and the other components are the spokes. Invest in these and you will build your brand and develop more business from community members that have a need for PT.[/info_box]
Video marketing is one of the most popular marketing tools because it is a great way to promote your business. But it’s not just for retail businesses. Video marketing for physical therapists is also an affordable marketing channel to reach your local community. Consider these stats when it comes to video, consumers, health care information, and the Internet:
72% of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. Pew Internet
52 percent of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. Invodo
75% of smartphone owners watch videos on their phones; 26% at least once per day. B2Community
Want a couple more reasons why you should use video marketing? How about these: not only are videos inexpensive to make, but once you post them on the Internet, they are there forever. Just think, a video you post today could still send traffic to your Website and growth to your business years from now. Also, we all know that social media is obviously here to stay; so make it work for you. Video has quickly become a must-have on social media networks. How many viral videos have you seen this week?
Here are three tips to make it easier for you to add videos to your marketing plan.
Define your goals and metrics.
You have to make sure everyone expects the same things from the video you are producing. For example, let’s say that the practice owner wants a straight-forward advertisement that the value of seeing a physical therapist first, but the video developer doesn’t have any idea what physical therapy is like (e.g. PT is like massage, or chiropractic, or personal training). Now you have a problem. Make sure everyone has the same expectations by asking questions like:
Should you make several short videos on a specific topic?
Will the tone of the videos be funny and entertaining or more formal?
Is the goal to promote your company and services or to include other things like industry news or interviews with recognized experts?
Your team has to define the metrics that will tell you whether or not the video is a success. These metrics are things such as the number of views, number of shares, number of likes, whether it goes viral, how much traffic increases on your company Website, or any increase in sales.
Include a call to action.
It is easy to have a call to action (CTA) in print. In most cases, with a service business like physical therapy, the CTA is your phone number. With a video, you need a clearly defined CTA that people can see (such as putting a phone number or URL on the bottom of the screen) and hear (such as saying, “Call 888-555-1234 now to schedule.”). Add an end-screen or outro to your video that shows your company name, logo, phone number, Website, and any other necessary information.
Here’s an Example of a Video with a Call to Action
Share your video across social media.
According to Entrepreneur, “In 2014, YouTube officially became the second-largest search engine, with over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute, and those billion unique visitors watch more than six billion hours of video every month.” Now that’s the power of social media in action!
There are so many ways to use social media to your advantage. Post your video to YouTube and to your company Website. Then tweet and retweet the URLs again and again on Twitter. Upload the video to your company LinkedIn page, and invite people to comment on it. Ask your employees to promote the video to their social media network. That one video has made its way across four platforms in no time at all.
If you are going to be on the Web and use social media, then you also have to think about how people might search for your video (Video Search Engine Optimization or VSEO). Make a list of the keywords to use to get your video at the top of every major search engine’s results page. Plan the content of your video around these keywords. You might be surprised to see your video rank like this one.
If you have questions about how video can help your practice, give us a call at 760-585-9097 . We look forward to speaking with you to see how we can help.
It’s a little ironic: you’re a physical therapist who improves the health of others, but when tasked with the overwhelming flood of information involved in online marketing, you become stressed, tense, and exhausted.
But there’s a quick relief valve to this stress: step back and look at the big picture — at the panorama that sits behind all of the little online chores of physical therapy marketing.
And, thankfully, this big picture is not complicated — yet so many businesses overlook a simple truth: marketing, in the end, marketing for small businesses, i.e. physical therapy practices, is about getting your market (doctors, current & past patients, and your community) to know, like and trust you. But obtaining that prized marketing goal requires an essential skill.
Being a Good Listener
Yes, online marketing involves plenty of techno-babble at times — terms like “scalable,” “metrics,” “big-data,” “viral,” or “growth hacking.”
But the heart of online marketing, or any marketing, thrives on something everyone can relate to: being a good listener.
In the ancient days of sales before the Internet, door-to-door salespeople — the really good ones who ran their numbers through the roof — all did one thing really well.
They listened carefully and sincerely. They were comfortable with silence. They weren’t eager to steamroll their customers with non-stop pitching and strong-arm talking tactics. They asked good questions and then really listened to their customers until they pin-pointed that one red-hot need, that one cry for help that perfectly matched what their product offered.
Nothing has changed. Although you do not travel door-to-door conducting surveys on paper or pitching services, you are still listening. In the digital age, we now do much of our listening through screens. All of the online spheres — social media, data analytics, web design, e-newsletters — have become digital ears.
Superb Web Design: Making That Crucial First Impression
[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”steelblue” textColor=”#4c7c81″]In fact, over the last 6 weeks, across all of the mobile websites E-rehab.com manages, we’ve logged over 5,000 calls. [/pullquote1] If you fail to make a stellar first impression with someone you meet, they’re less likely to enter into a meaningful conversation with you. Your website — its visual appeal, navigational ease, functionality — has to be top-notch to earn the trust of visitors and create those conversations.
Physical therapy practice owners need a complete, state-of-the art online marketing system, and that’s exactly what we offer in our proven web design model. By combining Google, Yahoo!, and Bing-friendly content, an intuitive management Control Panel, an integrated blog, powerful visual appeal, and multiple calls-to-action, your site will create valuable conversations with visitors.
But desktop websites are only half of the equation. According to recent studies by Pew Internet, 34% of Internet users “go online mostly using their phones.” In fact, over the last 6 weeks, across all of the mobile websites E-rehab.com manages, we’ve logged over 5,000 calls. Mobile marketing grows every year in its dominance, and a powerful mobile website is a must. We design fast-loading, visually attractive mobile sites that will increase user engagement and attract both new and repeat visitors — in addition to many other features of mobile marketing, including QR code creation.
Search Engine Optimization
Part of being a good listener in the Screen Age means creating more conversations. We learn to listen well by doing it often. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) creates more opportunities for you to listen by bringing more traffic to your site.
But it’s more than just opening the floodgates and letting faceless IP addresses stampede through your web traffic stats. As search engines have evolved, it’s become more about search experience optimization. We make sure your website optimizes the experience for human beings, not the robot crawlers that scour the Internet. When a website creates helpful search experiences for prospects, search engines notice and this improves your ranking.
E-rehab helps you find that balance between excellent user experience in your site design and SEO guidelines that help your website stand out to search engines.
We can also determine your local SEO effectiveness and look for ways to position you more effectively among local prospects.
Effective local SEO helps you create more conversations with prospective patients in your community.
And, of course, the direct approach is the best approach. E-rehab excels in creating attractive, easy-to-use, interactive patient surveys that can be delivered via email. We can post ratings, reviews, and survey results on your website and create dynamic charts. But most importantly, our services help you ask the right questions and listen to what your patients need.
Relief from Marketing Brain Freeze
When you reduce a complex system to its essentials, it’s a little easier to relax. When you know that the goal is attainable — that, when boiled down, marketing is simply about getting your community to know, like, and trust you– it makes the process less intimidating.
The bottom-line? Digital marketing doesn’t have to be a splitting headache. Contact us to see how we can alleviate your stress and help you listen well in our digital world.
You want to grow your practice by having a website to draw more people who will use your physical therapy services. What is the point of having a website if nobody can find it? Let’s face it; what you really need is a website that is ranked number one or at least within the top 3-4 of the search results, on all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Having a high ranking on these search engines increases the number of people who will find your website when looking for a physical therapist in your city.
How To Drive More Website Visitors
Implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy will help increase the amount of traffic to your website, and it is something every physical therapy practice should do to maximize their Internet presence. Using SEO ensures that a potential patient finds your website in a prime spot on the results page when searching for a keyword related to physical therapy. SEO creates long-lasting results; as long as you rank well on the search engines, people will continue to click through to your website, which will generate more and more business. In the end, it all leads to more patients and referrals to your practice.
Start with Keyword Research
SEO is all about knowing your audience and applying your expertise to determine the keywords your potential patients are most likely to use in the search engines. Your keywords should cover areas such as your target market (i.e. physical therapy & physical therapist), your primary services (e.g. vestibular rehabilitation, women’s health, ART, etc.), your specific location, and what it is about your practice that differentiates it from the competition. After compiling your list of priority keywords, it helps to follow it up with another list, this time one that has alternative keywords. For example, your primary keywords may be “physical therapy NYC.” Your alternative keywords may be “physical therapy midtown Manhattan,” “midtown,” or “38th street.” These alternative keywords will broaden your reach and number of page 1 listings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.com .
Develop Your Content Strategy
After you have the list of keywords you want to use, begin developing strategic content for your website built around those keywords. Providing this high-quality content is important because offering useful and pertinent information will attract people to your website. In general, include your keyword in the heading, page URL, and the first paragraph. Overall, we recommend that your articles be at least 500-600 words in length.
Quality Content will Attract Back Links, Resulting in Better Search Rankings
Providing high-quality contact, for example, The Definitive Guide to Ankle Sprain Rehab, will also prompt other complementary businesses, such as a massage therapists, running clubs, etc. to link to your high-quality website content. The term to describe this is “link baiting.” If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. Your content must be recognized by all of the search engines. By authoring website content, rich with your primary and alternative keywords, you are more likely to earn a top spot on the search results page.
E-rehab can help you maximize your physical therapy practice’s web presence and provide first-page visibility on all of the major search engines. Contact us to develop a customized approach to take your practice to the next level by increasing your online presence and growing your business.
[info_box]Take Home Message: Consumers use search engines all of the time to find physical therapy practices in their respective geographic area. In fact, we surveyed 30 doctors in the Phoenix area and 2/3 said that if they didn’t have a practice to refer to in the area the patient lived in, they would search Google.
Moreover, the practice referenced above in the image, increased their online business by over 500% using search engine optimization best practices.
Therefore, it’s worthwhile to optimize your physical therapy practice website and business listing and increase the likelihood you will rank on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.com . Have questions about physical therapy SEO? Give us a call.[/info_box]
Google Warning Those without Mobile Optimized Websites
Physical Therapy Mobile Websites (also called Mobile-Optimized) are Now a Must for PT Practices
Are your prospects and patients having a bad online experience when they visit your website? If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, about 30%-40% probably aren’t happy. In raw numbers, that could be 100 or more visitors each month. Have you looked at your web statistics lately? I bet that at least 25% of your website visitors are on mobile devices. Take a look at this graphic here that shows website traffic over a 90 day period…over 406 users have visited this 3-location practice in the last 90 days.
This is What They Saw…Ouch. The Viewer Has to Pinch, Zoom, Scroll, and Struggle to Find Your Phone Number, Map, Etc.
How to Make Patient Interaction with You Online, a Great Experience
When patients contact a practice to schedule a new evaluation or treatment session, they do it primarily by phone.
What you may not know is that those same prospects and patients (406 of them as noted above) search for you on the web before they make a call. This is a great opportunity for you to make it easier than your competition to connect with you. How? With a mobile optimized website. A mobile website is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). 1. We would argue that Wikipedia’s definition of a responsive website better fits that of three different types of mobile optimized websites which are described below:
1. Adaptive -Adaptive design is more like the modern definition of progressive enhancement. Instead of one flexible design, adaptive design detects the device and other features, and then provides the appropriate feature and layout based on a predefined set of viewport sizes and other characteristics. 2.
2. Responsive – Responsive design works on the principle of flexibility. The idea is that a single fluid design based upon media queries, flexible grids, and responsive images can be used to create a user experience that flexes and changes based on a multitude of factors. The primary benefit is that each user experiences a consistent design. 2.
3. A completely separate website – This development principle is primarily one based on ease of implementation. The idea here is that there is a completely separate website that exists, in many cases, on a separate web server. A user agent detection script senses that a request is made from a mobile device and then redirects the user to the separate mobile website. The primary benefit is both ease of implementation and they are cheap.
Regardless of the type of mobile website you have, there are clear advantages to having one as I outlined here in this blog post. However, now Google is stepping up the pressure on PT practice owners and telling them, “Hey, you better have a mobile optimized website, or else!” It is well summarized in this article by Searchengineland.com:
[warning_box]Google is sending mass notifications to webmasters who manage websites that are not mobile-friendly. These notifications contain the subject “fix mobile usability issues found on…” It then goes on to explain that these sites have critical mobile usability errors on 100% of the pages on the site and thus the pages will be “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.” These notifications are being sent via Google Webmaster Tools and via email. It is also being sent to sites that are simply not mobile friendly at all and typically, the webmasters know their sites are not mobile friendly. What we have here is Google reminding these webmasters their sites are not mobile-friendly and issuing a warning that the pages won’t rank well in mobile search.[/warning_box]
Here’s an example of the email message with the domain in question removed:
Notice their language, “These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.” In my opinion, this could be interpreted to read, “If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, you won’t rank as well when people search for you on their phones.”
It’s Not All Negative Though…
There are advantages to having a mobile website with respect to your Google search engine listings, as well. Assuming you have a mobile optimized website, one of them is what your patients and prospects will see when they view your listing on a Google search results page.
Take a look at this screen capture of Google search results for the search “Physical Therapy Encinitas”. You have to do this on your smartphone of course, but what you can see is that there is a small notation that the landing page for the Google search result is “mobile friendly”. In other words, if you are searching with Google on your phone and you click on one of these links, the resultant website you go to is optimized for your mobile device.
Note: this Mobile-friendly tag only appears in the natural listings. Nevertheless, it’s a simple and easy way to differentiate your practice’s listing on Google from others…at least in the short-term.
[info_box]Take Home Message: As I have mentioned in previous posts here and here, there are big advantages to having a mobile optimized website. Now it seems that Google is making it almost mandatory for businesses to have a mobile optimized website. The good news is that a mobile optimized website is affordable, easy to implement, there are multiple options (responsive, adaptive, or a separate website), and as I will discuss in future posts, it’s a great way to promote your practice. Make sure a mobile optimized website is part of your physical therapy website development strategy![/info_box]
Some business owners, especially those with a bricks and mortar business, might like to pretend the Internet isn’t happening. This can be particularly true for private physical therapy practices that have been around for a while and have never needed to make any real drastic changes to adapt with the times. They think if they ignore what’s happening around them and put their heads in the proverbial sand, it will all go away.
Sorry, but for those of you stuck in denial and the past, it’s time to take your heads out of the sand and face reality. The Internet isn’t going anywhere. It’s here to stay. It’s like a juggernaut that’s thundering along, gaining more and more momentum, and all your potential patients are moving with it.
Get Mobile-friendly Now
Right now, just having a website is not enough. It is vital that your practice has strong web presence with a mobile-friendly version. [note_box] Your patients are not going to wait until you have one created. If they can’t see your site properly (if at all) on their smart phones, they will likely take their business somewhere else…your competition.[/note_box]
This is not scaremongering. The statistics all around are warning us what is happening right now: 49% of mobile subscribers in the United States own a smart phone, and they are eager to find information about your practice and possibly come to you with their business. These numbers are growing: 9 out 10 phones now sold today are smart phones. In the first quarter of 2012 alone, almost 145 million smart phones were sold. By the end of 2012, it was estimated that more smart phones would be sold than PCs, with estimated sales of 657 million smart phones sold to consumers. As an experiment, ask your friends and family what kind of phone they have. If they don’t have a smart phone at the moment, no doubt they will tell you that they will be getting one soon.
A Vital Component of Everyday Life for Some
Smart phones are an important part of your patients’ lives. Some people may even get addicted to them, constantly using them for Twitter posts, updating their Facebook status and shopping online.
If you provide treatment services that they want, they will expect to be able to see your website on their phone. If your website content is not easy to read on a mobile phone, you are in trouble, because most mobile users will simply leave your site and take their business elsewhere.
So even if you don’t think you need a mobile version of your website, you will actually be doing your practice a lot of harm by ignoring the statistics and your customer’s needs. Every day you don’t have a mobile website you may be losing potential patients interested in your practice who decide to go elsewhere.
Future-proofing Your Practice
Having a mobile website will future-proof your practice by opening the doors to literally hundreds of new and creative ways to drive traffic to your site. For example QR (quick response) codes will allow you to create unlimited marketing campaigns that will drive potential patients to specific mobile friendly landing pages with calls to action that work.
Recent figures show that 50% of Smartphone uses have scanned a QR code and 18% of them made a purchase afterwards as a result. That’s an easy increase in business you wouldn’t have gotten without your mobile marketing platform. The opportunity to improve your practice’s web presence and boost business with something as simple as a QR code should be clear.
Another important point to focus on is you need get your name out there to constantly remind your potential patient-base of who you are and how you’re interested in helping them improve their condition. Using the right tools and resources is vital. Some business owners attempt to draw attention to their business by throwing away good money on large newspaper ads, the Yellow Pages and flyers.
Newspapers and the Yellow Pages are part of a dying business model, and in most cases, it’s a waste of time putting a one-time advertisement in them. Flyers are expensive and only reach a limited demographic.
Mobile marketing is the most effective way of keeping in contact with your current and potential patients that may have forgotten you or not known that you were there.
Consult Us for Additional Expert Guidance
We would advise any private practice considering using mobile marketing to reach potentially millions more customers to contact us at E-Rehab to discuss how you can employ traffic generating marketing strategies and turbo-charge your practice.
Having a mobile-friendly site will not only impress your patients, but will set you well apart from your competition, who still have their heads in the sand and are refusing to acknowledge that times are moving at such a terrific pace.
[colored_box bgColor=”#788794 ” textColor=”#ffffff “]Keep up with the times and bring your practice up-to-date with a web-based marketing strategy and you’ll notice a change in the way you’re perceived.[/colored_box]
Who would have thought when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad back in 2010 that it would become anywhere near as popular as it is today? All over the Internet, reviewers were openly mocking the tablet as a clumsy oversized iPhone.
Now a quarter of all U.S. Internet users own tablets and the figures are similar in other countries too. That means in the U.S. alone, there are 56 million people who are just as likely to encounter your site on a tablet as they would on their laptop or desktop. Your practice really can’t afford to miss the opportunity to talk to that many people, and if you don’t make your web design tablet-friendly, you will miss them completely.
Having a tablet-friendly website can mean a huge boost to your revenue.
Who are tablet users and why should your practice care?
Tablet users aren’t just a random selection of the online community. They are a discerning group of patients and are among the wealthiest because they come from demographics with the largest disposable income.
[note_box]Recently released stats give you an idea of the market your site could reach as a result of having a tablet-friendly site.
The gender of tablet users are pretty much evenly split—51% female, 49% male
About half of tablet users fall between the ages of 25 and 44
Just over half (51%) are college graduates
Just over half (53%) make over $75,000 a year
71% prefer to read their news as opposed to watching it—a huge boon for bloggers.
Tablet users are more likely to be employed full-time (62% of tablet users are employed full-time versus 41% of the general population)
In other words, tablet users are Internet-savvy, educated and financially independent. This is why it is so important to reach this demographic.[/note_box]
Another hugely important reason to target tablet users is the way they use them to view information online. You will often see people in waiting rooms, on public transport and in coffee shops and bars using their tablets. That is in addition to them using them before they go to bed or other opportunities when they just want to wind down. They are giving their undivided attention to the information that they are browsing, so they are much more likely to explore and shop online without any distractions.
How you can attract tablet traffic
It is the sites that fail to accommodate tablet-based browsing that will eventually lose out and get left behind, so if you want your site to attract these visitors, then you need to make your user interface as smooth and visitor-friendly as possible.
The most important part of attracting tablet consumers is to make sure that your web design displays correctly on both Android and iPad tablets. Users should be able to check out your site in both portrait and landscape mode. They definitely will not want to have to zoom or swipe their device in order to navigate around your site.
[colored_box variation=”steelblue”]Now is the perfect time to start attracting highly-connected, high-income consumers and make sure that your practice is doing all it can to keep up with the times so it prospers rather than getting left behind. If you need any assistance getting your site tablet friendly, call E-Rehab. We will be happy to help.[/colored_box]
Attracting a potential patients to your website is hard enough, but grabbing their interest and persuading them to come to your practice for treatment is even more difficult. That is why it’s so important to good web design so you don’t frustrate or irritate your visitors by making them jump through hoops to find the information that they need.
Here are some examples of common website mistakes that make visitors leave a website within the first few minutes:
Putting up Barriers that Prevent Them Viewing the Information
Avoid putting up barriers between you and potential patients by forcing visitors to register before them can view content of your site. In most cases, the visitor will leave and try to find the information that they are looking for elsewhere.
Stale Old Content
It is no use having a glossy, professional looking site if your content is old and stale. You need to keep your site constantly updated with fresh new content. Not only will this make your site more relevant and interesting, but it will also contribute to higher rankings on the search engines.
Too Many Ads
If your site bombards visitors with too many ads that pop up, flash at them or fill the entire screen, then you are really going to infuriate them. If it’s bad enough, they may leave the site, which is one less patient that will come to your practice for treatment. Running ads on your site makes good business sense but in order to maximize your retention rate and not chase away visitors, your ads need to be discreet and fit in with the theme of your site.
Nothing frustrates a website visitor more than a site that is hard to navigate. If it is too complicated or too hard for your visitors to find their way around, it will make them feel confused, angry and irritated. These are definitely not the emotions you want your potential patients to feel when they visit your website.
Hiding Your Website Content
It’s a big mistake to make your visitors have to search your entire website just to find the relevant information that they need. Try to group similar content in a clear, concise manner. Don’t complicate things by distributing your content and information across multiple pages that could easily have been put on one page. Bad content structure can literally destroy your conversion and retention rates. Make all of your content, especially your contact information, easy to find. It’s estimated that as many as 50% of sales are lost because potential customers can’t find what they are looking for.
Invasive Use of Audio and Video
Most of your visitors will prefer to choose what content they want to absorb. Having voice or audio content that loads up and starts playing automatically can potentially drive a lot of patients away. Give users the choice of viewing videos or listening to audio content. Don’t force them.
[colored_box variation=”steelblue”]Call us today for your free website health check. We will make your site more customer-friendly and in turn help you improve business.[/colored_box]
Just because you can see your desktop site on a mobile phone doesn’t mean that it’s using mobile web design. Mobile sites are specifically designed for the small screen, with the needs of mobile users (your patients) in mind. A mobile-friendly site helps your practice connect with patients and drive conversions.[note_box]No business can afford to ignore the fact that more than a billion people primarily access the Web from mobile devices. Some of the most recent studies indicate that about 50 percent of people with a smartphone or another mobile device use mobile search on a daily basis. And 17 percent of mobile users make a purchase after performing a search.[/note_box]
To ensure it is mobile-friendly, view your website on your smartphone, and while doing so ask yourself these questions:
Does the site fit the screen? Almost 50 percent of your audience already uses a mobile phone as their primary Internet access device. In other words, you are losing nearly half your audience if you do not make your website mobile-friendly. Make sure content fits on the screen and can be read without pinching and zooming.
Is the content readable? Do not try to cram all the information you provide on your website into your mobile site. Make it easy for your patients to read and bear in mind that they might be reading it in a place with low light.
Does the site load quickly? Include important information like phone numbers, addresses and maps which would be useful to people on the move. Instead of giving a detailed description about your practice, provide a one-liner, which is good enough to entice your mobile audience.
Do videos and animations load? Avoid using large, Flash-based video files on your mobile site, as most smartphone browsers do not support Flash. Instead, use simple images to improve the look and feel of your mobile website.
Is the site responsive? With the rapid evolution of touch-based smartphones and tablets, touch has taken over typing. When designing your mobile site, use drop down menus, check boxes, and pre-populated fields whenever possible, so that your mobile visitors can navigate and input information easily rather than having to fill in long forms.
Are file sizes as small as possible? Use simple compressed images and keep them small for faster loading. This will improve the look and feel of your mobile website—but make sure all images used on the desktop are set to resize automatically to fit a mobile device’s smaller screen sizes. We can do all of this for you (see our contact information).
Is there a home page icon set? Nobody likes to be confused. Help users navigate between levels with clear “back” and “home” buttons.
Do all images fit on the screen? Use plenty of negative space and don’t let the images overcrowd the page.
Do the gestures work? Use large-centered buttons to reduce accidental clicks and make sure that they all work. This will ensure that visiting your site will not be a frustrating experience for your patients.
Is it thumb friendly? People use their fingers to operate mobile devices, especially their thumbs. Design your mobile site so even large hands can easily interact with it.
Are number and e-mail addresses actionable? Remember to use click-to-call functionality for all phone numbers.
Are forms easy to fill out? Use check boxes, lists and scroll menus to make data entry easier.
Would you stay on the site? Try to be objective and try to look at this through your patients’ eyes.
[colored_box variation=”steelblue”]If you were shocked and disappointed by the results, or would just like to talk to us about making your website mobile friendly so that you don’t lose any more potential patients, we would love to hear from you.[/colored_box]
The Internet has had a profound effect on the way that people communicate and interact with each other. The changes have also had a dramatic influence on the business world by altering the way that consumers make purchases and seek out services.
Until about ten years ago, companies reached out to consumers through trade shows, print advertising and other traditional marketing methods.
Times have changed significantly since then. Today, people start their shopping experience by looking on the Internet. In most cases they will visit a search engine, most likely Google, and begin to do their product research from there.
Your patients, both current and prospective, are no different. If they’re looking for physical therapy in their local region, they will expect to find you in the search engines and on the Internet.
This is very exciting and creates the opportunity for your private practice to use the Internet to your advantage and reach out to a wide range of patients in your local area.
[note_box]In order to have the competitive edge and to ensure that other physical therapy practices don’t steal potential patients, search engine optimization (SEO) is now more important than ever. It is not an exaggeration to say that businesses that don’t practice SEO are in a dangerous situation compared to other local businesses investing in search engine marketing.[/note_box]
What is SEO?
This is the bit when we talk to small practice owners that we see their eyes glaze over and they try to stifle a yawn. But bear with us, as search engine optimization (SEO) is very important and could literally save and transform your practice.
SEO is helping the search engine find you.
SEO is making your website more visible and transparent to the search engines. The most important goal of SEO should be connecting your site to the search engine.
SEO is helping people find you in the search engine.
Social media has made everything on the Internet more personal. People don’t want to look hard for your site. People don’t want to do hours and hours of research in order to find information. They want it quick, 1-2-3 boom! SEO makes it possible by making your site more direct and focused on certain keywords that people would most likely go looking for when they want information provided by your site.
That is the point of SEO and that is why your practice needs it.
The benefits of SEO for your practice
The Internet has provided a level playing field for businesses no matter what the size. Small companies can have a viable online presence just as much as the large corporations, but just like in the offline world, the competition is huge and you need to have the competitive edge in order to get a good share of the market.
Search engines are there to help you. They serve millions of users every day looking for answers and solutions to their problems. If you have a website or online store, SEO will help your practice grow.
Search engine optimization is essential because:
The majority of search engine users are much more likely to choose one of the top five suggestions at the top of the results page. They are unlikely to continue past page 1 or trawl their way through hundreds of search results. This means that if you want potential patients to find you, click on the link and visit your site, you need to rank as high up the search engine page as possible.
SEO is not just about being ranked in the search engines. It also improves the user experience and usability of your site, making the viewing experience much more enjoyable for them so that they view you in a good light and will strongly consider coming to you for treatment.
Users place a great deal of trust in the search engines and it gives them confidence and helps build up trust in your practice if they see you occupying the top results.
SEO is perfect for the social promotion of your website. People who find your site by searching in the search engines are much more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media channels.
SEO puts you way ahead of your competition. If two physical therapy websites offer the same services, the search engine-optimized site is much more likely to attract more patients and increase business.
As you can see, small practices have a lot to benefit from SEO. It can literally transform your site into a sales marketing machine. Let’s explore the benefits in a bit more detail.
SEO forces you to create a better and more user-friendly website (more business for you)
Implementing SEO strategies will help you to create a better, faster and much more user-friendly site for your patients.
How, you may ask? Well, despite the name, search engine optimization is not just about search engines but it also focuses on the user. If your users have a good experience on your site, then the search engines will be happy too. Everybody wins.
The same user is also more likely to come back to visit your site more often and tell their friends about how good your site was.
The search engines will recognize that people like your site and will want to refer other users to it when they use the relevant search phrases to find your practice.
You win because you have lots more traffic, bigger profits and happy, loyal patients.
Find new patients and watch your business grow
If you have invested in a website, it’s because you want to increase your patient base and get more business. It is a fact that businesses that have a website grow twice as fast as those that don’t.
SEO will help you to rank higher in the search engines, which will in turn give you more targeted visits and more patients.
Reach a whole new market
As we mentioned earlier, having a website makes excellent business sense because the Internet is growing so quickly. However, SEO will help you to find brand new patients that would normally have never known about you by substantially increasing your traffic levels within social media platforms and mobile marketplaces. There is a revolution going on and you can be part of it.
Increase your visitor-to-customer conversions
A search engine optimized-website means that your site is fast, easy to use and is compatible on mobile and tablet devices. Visitors coming to your website are much more likely to become patients, subscribers or loyal visitors. All of this translates into better conversions for you: more business.
Build brand awareness
If you have top rankings in the search engines, this is going to help build better brand awareness for you and your practice. Users are more likely to trust brands that are near the top of the search engines than those who don’t have a prominent web presence.
If you are a small practice that needs to build brand awareness because, for example, you want to target local markets, then you need to invest in SEO in order to gain the top rankings to enable you to reach your target audience.
The search engines play a very important role in building or destroying a brand.
Beat Your Competition
Imagine you have two private physical therapy practices in the same area. They both offer similar services and charge similar prices. They are both almost identical in every way. Now let’s imagine that one of them has a search engine optimized-website but the other decides not to invest in an optimized site. Which one do you think will be more successful? Which practice will gain more patients from local SEO and which one will grow faster?
It’s obvious. In this day and age you can’t afford to underestimate the power of the search engines. Your practice needs them.
If your competition is on the Internet and they are investing in SEO and social media marketing, you have to as well. If you don’t, your practice is going to be left behind and they will take all of the potential patients that should have gone to you.
If, on the other hand, they are not doing any SEO and they are slipping down the search results page, then now is the ideal opportunity to differentiate your practice and grab the top rankings.
Your business will be a 24/7 sales generating machine
A business that gets sent lots of traffic by the search engines is like a store that is open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. That is the power of the Internet and SEO.
If you invest time and money to get your website on top of the search engines, you will attract new patients interested in your practice even when your bricks and mortar practice is closed and you are fast asleep in bed.
How Can You Take Advantage Of All of these Benefits?
The first thing you need is a website. This may sound obvious but there is still a high percentage of businesses who don’t have a website (we are shocked too).If you don’t already have a website or you have a website that is tired and dated, then you can contact us free of charge and we can give you expert advice on how to take your practice online and reach a wider audience.
You need somebody with SEO experience and expertise to plan your marketing campaign. Remember, money spent on SEO is an investment and not a cost. A good online marketing campaign will always bring in more profits than what you spend.
SEO is a must for every website
In summary, SEO is a way to optimize your web site so that search engines will understand it better and give you higher rankings. It is important because a good SEO approach can drive more traffic to your website and drastically improve business to your practice.
Let us help you to build your brand and turn your website into a 24 hours sales generating machine. Contact us at E-Rehab for more advice on how to transform your practice.[/colored_box]
Great news: somebody has visited your website. Hurrah! Perhaps they might look around and decide to schedule an appointment for treatment…but wait…oh no! Now they are leaving. “What? They only stayed for five seconds.” Yes, it’s very possible that they stayed long enough to be appalled by your website and then made a quick exit to one of your competitors. If your site is not converting visitors into patients, then you might be committing one of these deadly website mistakes:
Search engines hate Flash-driven design. In fact they hate them so much that they will completely ignore your site no matter how pretty you think it looks. So what if it is clever and it contains beautiful, state-of-the-art design? Nobody is ever going to see it. Google is just going to skip right past your site as if you are the invisible man. And those millions of iPhone and iPad users who use their mobile devices instead of their desktops certainly won’t see it because they can’t see Flash on their phones. It’s pointless to annoy Google to the point where they choose to ignore you. You’re your site that won’t get any visitors. Just because you can add whistles and bells doesn’t mean that you should.
The Annoying “Welcome to our Website”
How long do you think you have to grab your visitor’s attention? Here’s a hint: It isn’t 2 minutes, 1 minute or even 30 seconds. It is more like 10 seconds. That is all the time you have, so don’t waste it with a boring introduction. Most people don’t like to read much online, so when they first visit your website, they are probably just going to quickly scan it to see if anything catches their eye. Why would you want to squander an already-tiny attention span by reminding people which site they are visiting? Instead, use an attention-grabbing headline. People should already know where they are just from glancing at the top of your site, where they should see your logo and a snappy tagline, or a short description of your site, so there is absolutely no need for stating the obvious with a banal “welcome to our website” message. Yawn!
“We…. We… We… We… We…zzzzzzzz”
“We have a team of…” “We plan to…” “We have been in business for…” Sorry to sound blunt but…NOBODY CARES! Visitors to your website are only interested in one thing: “What is in it for me?” If your site doesn’t answer this question pretty quickly, they will probably leave. Instead of just talking about you and your site or your business, imagine that you are talking one to one with one of your typical customers and ‘speak’ to them as an individual. Tell them how your product or service is going to benefit them.
Every industry and business sector has its own tech speak and industry-only words that nobody else understands. Try talking to friends and family about autoresponders, SEO and long-tail keywords and you’ll see their eyes glaze over as they slip into a coma. If you use words, terms and phrases that mean something to you but go straight over your visitors’ heads, then you are going to lose them. We’ve already said visitors are going to scan over much of the content on your website anyway, so you should try to make it as easy as possible for them to be able to pick out and understand the main points from the bits that they do read.
No Clear Call to Action
As well as telling your visitors “what’s in it for them,” your next job is to tell them what they need to do now. It is absolutely pointless to give them great reasons why they should come to your practice for treatment, and then not tell them what they need to do next to in order to schedule an appointment. You need to have a clear call to action and make it blatantly obvious how they can make it happen. Do you want them to call you if they have any additional questions or if they’re ready to book an appointment? Then tell them. However, telling them to call you and then hiding your number somewhere on your website is another big fail. If your call to action is telling them to “call us now,” then make sure you put your telephone number right next to it. Never assume that your visitors will know what to do next. Spell it out for them. Tell them what you want them to do. If you make it difficult for them, they will leave. Yes, they probably could figure it out, but sometimes they won’t. They will move on to the next site in the blink of an eye.
You invest a lot of time and money encouraging people to visit your website, so why scare them off by making one of these fatal mistakes?
For more information on protecting your website from common pitfalls and encouraging potential patients to stick around and come to you for treatment, contact E-Rehab and we’ll be glad to offer you our assistance.[/colored_box]
Depending on where you live, you may have taken notice of a trend where big corporations are taking over and moving the small businesses out. Many towns and small cities are now carbon copy of each other, with the same chain of coffee shops, the same clothing retailers, the same chains of DIY and garden care companies and the same electrical outlets.
The small businesses seem to be fighting a losing battle and the lifeblood is being sucked out of them.
The exciting news is the Internet gives you, a small private practice, a new level playing field where you really can easily become a giant on the Internet and get your share of the business that’s out there.
Increasingly patients are looking online for information with over 80% of patients research health conditions, symptoms, and healthcare brands online. These are local people in your area, and some are potential patients.
[note_box]Don’t just take our word for it. Look at the statistics in any publication (e.g. pewinternet.org) and you will see the trend increasing year after year that the majority of people research products and services online using their mobile phones and tablets but here is the twist: they still buy offline.[/note_box]
That means that your practice should be taking full advantage of the Internet and getting a slice of the action. If you don’t, then your competitors will.
Read on to find out how you can become an online giant.
Getting Started Online – Taking Control Of Your Physical Therapy Web Design
One of the reasons so many local businesses put off promoting themselves on the Internet is because it can be overwhelming. There are so many ways that you can market your practice online that you might not know where to start.
A large number of local businesses dabble in online marketing and then give up after a few weeks because they don’t get the results they expect.
Although the Internet is not a magic wand that instantly makes you rich overnight, you will see results if you know what you are doing.
It‘s true, not all marketing techniques are suitable for all business types, but here are some things that your practice can start to implement to help give you a giant-sized presence on the Internet (and they won’t break the bank either).
Your website does not need to be an expensive, all-singing, all-dancing work of art. It should make a great first impression and it should be search-engine friendly and regularly updated .
For many private practices, designing a functional but profitable website can be extremely daunting, so they tend to leave the whole design in the hands of their website designer.
This can turn out to be a very expensive mistake for your practice. Web designers can make some stunning looking websites complete with every bell and whistle imaginable.
However, if you owned a car dealership, it is doubtful that you would trust your car mechanic to have complete control of your marketing campaigns. While he might be a very good car mechanic, it is unlikely he would also be an expert in marketing. Leave it all up him and pretty soon you would be out of business.
That is in effect what you would be doing if you allowed your web designer to have complete control of your website.
Yes, they might have good design skills, but in most cases, they know very little about marketing. There are very few web designers who understand how to optimize sites for the search engines, or how to write compelling copy or information that effectively describes the services your practice offers.
You really don’t want a website designer who just concentrates on how pretty they can make your site and how they can add a wide range of lovely looking but utterly pointless gimmicks on your site.
So rather than give your web designer free reign, here are some tips that will put you in control and and help you end up with a website that draws more patients to your practice:
1. Be very clear about what you want.
You want a website that works 24/7 and earns its keep, so you need to be clear on exactly what you want each web page to do. When thinking about the function of each page of your website, decide in advance what its purpose is.
For example, will it be used purely as an online brochure for your patients to show off services or do you want to add some general information about physical therapy and common conditions treated by your practice as well?
Will you want your page to collect visitor’s names and addresses or do you just want your site to let people know how they can contact you?
Will you have a blog where you can keep patients updated or will you be sending a newsletter out?
2. Have your offer and call to action clearly visible on your website.
Don’t hide this information away. Put your address and phone number at the top-right of every page. If you want patients to be able to schedule an appointment on your website, make that clear to them and easy to do. Do NOT make your call to action or offer a sign up for a free ebook on how to treat their own back. It devalues your service!
3. When you write your web copy for your site, write it with the reader in mind.
Always remember to clarify what you can do for them. It will make it very boring if the site is all about you and how great you think you are. Nothing turns a visitor away fast enough than the words “we do this…” or “we are…” Talk about your unique benefits. What makes your practice different from the clinic next door. Remember, it is not about you, it is about the patient, so show them that you are the type of practice that provides exactly what they need and what they’re looking for.
[colored_box variation=”steelblue”]Click here for a guest blog post I wrote and is posted on WebPT which gives you more tips on how to write copy for your home and about us pages. In summary, think twice about letting your website designer completely take over. Even if you don’t have a technical bone in your body, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have full control over the online presence of your practice.[/colored_box]