So I did what you do when you’re looking for a doctor. First, I asked a friend, who happens to be a general surgeon. He didn’t know anyone to direct me to.
So I did what you do next: I went to Google with my query.
An amazing thing happened as a result of that Google query, and it’s something that every doctor, and every business of any size can learn from. It’s so important that instead of doing what I had planned on doing this morning, I’m making time to write about it.
It’s about just one thing—what your website says about you, how it works for you, and how it attracts prospective customers to you and your business.
How the Best Podiatrist in Kansas City Found Me on the Internet
So how did I find the best podiatrist in Kansas City? I already told you that— I googled it! And here’s what I got
It’s hard to miss that gigantic star I put in the image above, but here’s why that matters. I googled what I was searching for and, as always, looked briefly at the Google Reviews the search engine served up. Note the podiatrist with the most reviews? Hmmmm, 17 reviews (and an ad), 2 reviews, 10 reviews, or 109 freaking reviews. Who would you consider first?
Then check out immediately after the Reviews box, where you see Kansas City Foot & Ankle — The Best Podiatrist in KC. Isn’t that what I’m looking for? The best podiatrist in Kansas City? Well of course it is. What in the world would keep me, or any searcher, from clicking on that link? I can’t imagine a thing. And if you’re a podiatrist, or anything, don’t you think that prospective customers are likely searching for “the best” and using those words in their search queries.
This is an example of smart search engine optimization tactics, my friends—and the best podiatrist in Kansas City is smart SEO. Oh, and that META description they use that’s pulled in the search engine result—
“Welcome to Kansas City Foot & Ankle! Dr. Mark Green, Dr. Stephanie Jameson, and Dr. Daniel Miller are three of the most trusted podiatrists in Kansas City.”
That’s a little bit of search engine optimization magic right there. Tactic: Attract searcher by using words like “best podiatrist in Kansas City” then draw searcher in a little bit deeper by describing our physicians as “most trusted podiatrists in Kansas City.” Now, I’ve got the best, and the most trusted in my brain—of course they are getting my business.
Do you have any idea how many businesses don’t have well-developed, strategically written META descriptions for every page of content on their websites? More than I can count. In fact, you could be one of them. The key to success here is to think about what matters to your prospective customers and develop your messaging with that in mind. Messaging that touches them, and compels them to action.
Homework assignment: Google your business—what are the results that are served up? What does that bit of copy that the search engine serves up next to your business result say? What phrases do people use to search for what it is you sell or do? Spend some time looking at your own search engine results and that can give you a blueprint immediately on what you might need to fine-tune with regard to your own business internet presence.
Back to the foot people. That best podiatrist in Kansas City. Of course I clicked on the search engine result and went to KC Foot & Ankle’s website. I need a podiatrist for this kid—and I definitely want the best podiatrist in Kansas City! Here’s what I got when I clicked on that link—here’s what they led with:
Notice the clear and compelling message used by the best podiatrist in Kansas City—simply written but which tells you everything they want you to know about their medical practice—
First Class Medicine.
World Class Patient Experiences.
What do Doctors and Customer Experience Have in Common?
What do doctors and customer experience/customer service have in common? Usually nothing. When have you ever looked at a physician’s website and seen even the slightest nod to “world class patient experiences” — which is really customer experience or customer service in disguise. Chances are good, never.
In fact, in my experience, customer experience, and sometimes patient experience, is largely not even on the radar screens of far too many doctors and their staff. [This is especially top of mind for me after spending weeks trying to get any kind of patient service from a local dermatology practice. Phone calls that went unreturned for days, conversations with disinterested receptionists or nurses, and weeks of wrangling in order to finally get a copy of my medical records so that I could go see another dermatologist for treatment. I won’t mention them by name but let’s just say the words ‘Kansas City Dermatology’ would be involved in your Google search.] [end rant]
I digressed. The use of the phrase “world class patient experiences” on this website immediately got my attention because that is something that is all too rarely an integral part of a medical practice’s marketing message, much less something upon which a patient visit is centered on. In many instances, a lot of doctors kind of act like you need them more than they need you. I suppose that’s because it’s the way it’s always been and how to provide great customer service/patient experiences probably isn’t a course in medical school.
In fact, here’s an example of how the business of finding a doctor can all too frequently go:
Have a problem, find a doctor, make an appointment, go see them. Arrive on time, wait to be seen. Impersonal nurse leads you to exam room, takes vitals, leaves. Sit in an exam room, twiddle thumbs. Finally see doctor with not-so-great interpersonal skills, hope he can fix your issue. Leave with crossed fingers. Deal with front desk personnel who treat you like an inconvenience, nurses who don’t return phone calls until 4:30 pm because that’s when it’s convenient for them in spite of the fact that you called at 9:00 am. I could go on, but I won’t. You know the drill, haven’t we all experienced this in some fashion or another?
So many times those things are just part of the doctor-patient experience and patients, or “customers,” deal with them because it’s the way it is. You might ultimately get the care you sought, but the norm is and has been for a very long time to expect to put up with whatever you have to along the way.
When it Comes to Websites, The Devil is Always in the Details
For successful businesses today, a website is everything. I could tell the minute I got to Kansas City Foot & Ankle’s website that this practice, and these doctors, were different. Whether they knew all this stuff about the power of a great website and the importance of creating great online experiences for prospective customers themselves, or whether they worked with a marketer who understands how to nail an online presence, the experience they’ve created by way of their website is a great guideline to follow.
When it comes to building an effective website presence, the devil is always in the details. Let’s take a look above at the details the folks at KCF&A paid attention to here. Look at the image up there—that phone number up in the right-hand corner, it’s what’s called click-to-call functionality and it’s very easy to integrate into your website. Most businesses don’t do this—but they should. This functionality makes reaching your business incredibly easy for a new (or existing) customer (patient) to call.
Want a deeper dive on that topic, check out this post from the Think With Google Blog: The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase.
Notice also the online scheduling functionality also built in by way of that easy to find bright green button, making it easy to do what you went to the website to do—schedule an appointment. Heck, that’s practically screaming your name—click me, schedule away!
Now take a look up there at the navigation on the website. See the “New Patients” button in the navigation of the website, leading a new patient directly to information that is important and helpful to them, whether it’s booking an appointment online, getting insurance information, answering questions, or filling out new patient forms.
Also, notice the Education section of the website highlighted in the image below, which is also prominently featured in the navigation bar. It’s filled with resources that could be valuable to a patient looking for additional information, including an FAQ section (a website best practices necessity), a video library, and shocker of all shockers, an actual blog. Let’s talk about that a little.
The Power of a Blog, Yes, Even for Your Business
The power that a blog can bring to a business—of any kind—cannot be overstated. A website that doesn’t feature a blog is like a person who only managed to get halfway dressed for the day. A blog is an integral component of a website and it can add so much value. A blog “feeds” your website fresh content, and it can also be used as a resource for both existing customers and prospective ones. Take a look at the KCF&A blog featured over in the right-hand sidebar of the website’s home page. Look at the kind of topics they cover and the titles of some of the most recently published blog content:
Could This Be Gout
Healing Diabetic Wounds
It’s Just an Ankle Sprain, Right?
These are exactly the kind of topics that patients or prospective patients might be searching for information on, and a valuable resource in a world where we are used to using the internet to educate ourselves wherever possible.
Note there is new content published on the blog on a regular and consistent basis—they didn’t start a blog and let it go stagnant. Sure, there are a couple of self-promotional posts featured on the blog, but that’s totally fine. The real gist of the blog is designed as a patient resource, and that’s a terrific example of a business operating with a customer-first, customer-centric strategy.
Whose Byline is on that Blog Content?
That content on the blog I’ve waxed poetic about is powerful, and that’s largely because it’s not authored by “Admin” or by some random person on staff whose job it is to “take care of the website.” At Kansas City Foot & Ankle, the blog content is bylined by the actual physicians at the practice. You can see in this sample post below, bylined by Dr. Stephanie Jameson.
Doctors, actually writing about what it is they do, how they think, and what they care about is a smart step in not only building their own credibility, but also building a relationship with a prospective patient before they ever see them. Add to that the fact that 99.5% of physicians wouldn’t be caught dead blogging, and you’ve got a recipe for a competitive advantage, not to mention a powerful web presence, that is hard to beat.
And you know what? Maybe the doctors don’t write this content. Maybe they give general ideas to a content marketer who writes it for them, and then review it for accuracy before it’s published. We provide that kind of service for our clients all the time, and write incredible content for them as a result. I’m not saying doctors need to find time in their busy lives to write blog posts if that’s not feasible, but what I am saying is that understanding the importance of blog content, and what it can do for you, your reputation, your business, your online presence, and your customers and finding a way to make it happen—that’s smart business.
Marketing Your Business is Easier When You Understand the Power of a Website
There’s not much these folks are doing that isn’t awesome. That includes adding to the power of their already great website things like customer testimonials, both in writing and in video format, that are displayed at the bottom of the website, and there’s not one detail about building a bonafide digital presence by way of a powerful website that this practice has overlooked.
Everything about this website, the online presence of this business, these doctors, and the medical practice they’ve built is impressive. As the mom of a kid with some messed up toenails, I’m so looking forward to becoming a patient. As a marketer and someone who labors day in and day out to explain the importance of an online presence, to clients who are often very large and with very large marketing budgets, this brings me joy. It’s wonderful to see a small business, and one in an industry not known for savvy when it comes to an online presence OR to the importance of a customer-centric culture, get it right on absolutely every single detail.
The pièce de résistance, however, and my favorite part about visiting the Kansas City Foot & Ankle website, was this video featuring Dr. Mark Green.
In a few short minutes, he hits on everything that sucks about what far too many patients experience when they visit physicians’ offices, and demonstrates that the experience you can expect when you visit Kansas City Foot & Ankle will be exactly the opposite. Since when is anyone excited about a visit to the podiatrist? Well this marketing geek who understands both the importance of building a great website presence as well as the importance of great customer experiences can’t wait to see if the best podiatrist in Kansas City is as great in person as he (they) are online.
If this topic resonates with you, or if you’re thinking of redesigning your corporate website, take a minute and read this post, featured on the Search News Central Site: Increase Conversions By Designing Who the Website is Intended For.
Other resources on this topic: