Last month, we talked about the importance of making a good first impression over the phone. But today, many people will form their first impression of your practice from your website. About 97% of internet-savvy consumers today use the internet in searching for services.
The first step in making a good impression online is, of course, to be there. As the saying goes, 80% of success is just showing up. You need to be present wherever people go to look for an eye care practice. And yet, 20% of practices still don’t have a website. Is your practice one of those? Increasingly, consumers are looking at a business’s Facebook page instead of their website, so your presence in social media is important as well.
People spend an average of just 15 seconds on a website, so it’s important to make a good impression fast if you’re going to convert web-surfers into patients. Like you practice itself, your website should be attractive and inviting. It’s not a good idea to create the website yourself or have your nephew do it, unless he is an expert web designer. This is one place where spending a little money will pay off.
If you’re creating your redesigning your website, it’s a good idea to look at the websites of other offices in your area. What draws you into certain sites more than others? Show your designer examples of what you like. Good web pages have a large, engaging visual to focus attention and a clean, uncluttered look. Your logo should be attractive too. A good home page will have relatively few words but clear navigation to other pages.
Since one of the first things consumers look for is office hours, it is good to have them on your home page or an obvious link to another page that shows them. Your phone number should also be in a prominent place. And on every page of your website, it’s a good idea to have a “Make an appointment” button, which can link to an interactive scheduling page, or a form that gives you the patient’s contact information.
Another important aspect of a website or Facebook page is keeping it updated. This is most important on your Facebook page, if you want people to keep coming back. Staying current online is the hardest part for many practices. An announcement of a back-to-school special that is still on your home page in December, or a Facebook page where the last entry is from early 2018 make a bad impression. There should be somebody on the staff who has it as their responsibility to keep the site and your social media up do date. There’s no doubt about it: creating and maintaining an online presence can be a chore. But it is one of the key places for forming the strong first impression that brings in new patients, so it is worth your attention.