Take Your Website from Good to Great with These 10 Tips

You have a website. Today, everyone has a website. So, now what?

Does your website blow your competitors’ websites out of the water?

Almost every patient journey begins with or includes a Google search. Hopefully, your PPC (Paid Per Click) and SEO game is on point and driving prospects to your website. But how many prospects is your website driving through your front door? And, is it good enough that it would motivate someone to drive 10 extra miles to your practice over another?

It’s an ambitious goal, but certainly possible with the right tweaks…

  1. Optimize your page speed
    According to Google Analytics, 40 percent of web users leave pages that take more than three seconds to load. Meanwhile, another study has shown that even a five-second delay in page response can increase your bounce rate by more than 20 percent. Find out just how fast or slow your site is with Google’s free PageSpeed tools. Since image file size is one of the biggest culprits of lagging web pages, make sure the images on your site are compressed. There are several free applications you can use to compress your own images.
  1. Be smart about your layout and design
    Design is the main reason people don’t trust certain websites or the businesses behind them. For example, low-quality images or design inconsistencies between pages can be giant red flags to a visitor. That’s why everything from your spacing, fonts, and heading sizes to your colors, button styles, and design elements need to be consistent, cohesive, and clean. A consistent header and footer on every page that includes your logo, practice information, and social icons is equally important. And while we’re on the topic, have you ever thought about how your website’s colors might impact the user experience? 
  1. Check your mobile responsiveness
    With mobile searches finally surpassing desktop searches last year, Google recently announced that it is now indexing websites based on their mobile version instead of their desktop version. In other words, the content, links, speed, etc. of your mobile site are now the key drivers of your search engine visibility. Before you panic, know that Google has a number of tools to test how mobile-friendly your site really is and Search Console has a mobile usability report that outlines problems on a page-by-page level. One must-have feature of your mobile site: Click-To-Call. Why? Because 76% of consumers say they use mobile call features to schedule appointments for local services.
  1. Offer rich content
    For search purposes, Google recommends having a minimum of 250-300 words per page. But your content should go above and beyond providing basic information about your practice—it should engage and educate visitors. Hearing health tips, hearing loss facts, a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, a list of the devices you offer with details about the different styles, and a blog (that’s regularly updated!) are all great examples of rich content. Creating content with legitimate value not only helps to present your practice as the local expert, but it inevitably supports your SEO efforts. 
  1. Make your content easier to digest
    Step one: trim the excess fat. Did you know that white space around text and titles can increase user attention by 20 percent? Create that extra room by keeping your paragraphs as concise as possible. Step two: make sections of text easier to scan by adding headings and subheadings, choosing clear fonts, and breaking down key points, features, or services into bulleted lists. You can get more creative with your layout by replacing traditional bullet points with icons or using lines, borders, or different shading to visually isolate related content.
  1. Reconsider your images
    We all know a stock photo when we see one. Although stock images aren’t inherently bad, they are inherently generic and impersonal, which can reduce trust. If your website relies heavily on stock imagery, it’s okay, many websites do. However, consider replacing a few stock images with actual photos of your practice and staff. We promise that prospects will want to see you and your staff members’ smiling faces. Any stock images that you do use, should complement the content, not distract from it.
  1. Use calls to action and buttons to guide visitors
    Your website should provide a customer journey that is clearly mapped out and fluid from page to page. Visitors should always see a next step or action to take as they browse. That’s why every page should feature a distinct call to action (CTA), accompanied by a phone number, contact form, and/or button. A strong CTA is 2-5 words that urge visitors to take an immediate action, whether it’s “Click Here” for more information or “Call Today” to schedule an appointment.
  1. Add a contact form
    Current and potential patients alike need to be able to contact your practice when it’s most convenient for them. Contact form submissions are also a great lead generation tool. Any visitor that completes a form on your site is a prospect and should be contacted as quickly as possible. Some website forms can automatically send a thank you email to your new prospect and let them know the timeframe in which they can expect to receive a follow-up phone call. Now, this prospect can be added to your practice management system and to future marketing initiatives.
  1. Add patient reviews
    A 2018 survey found that 72 percent of patients used online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor and 88 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Boost your digital presence and reputation by including links to review sites, a dedicated testimonial page, or even better, using our Online Review Builder which gathers your positive online reviews in real-time and displays them on your website for you.
  1. Boost your SEO!
    You didn’t think we’d write an entire blog post about websites without mentioning SEO, did you? Simply put, ranking in the top positions on search engine result pages means significantly more traffic to your website, and then through your front door. Similar to PPC, SEO is an efficient marketing strategy because it targets online users who are actively seeking out your services.

While digital marketing trends come and go and change constantly, a solid website that entices potential patients, engages current patients, and reinforces your brand will never go out of style.

 

Think it’s time to give your website a makeover or even a complete overhaul? Consult YHN’s Marketing team provides website assessments to members.

About the Author

Nicole Finkbiner joined Consult YHN as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2018 with nearly a decade of communications experience. Over the course of her career, Nicole has created a wide array of different content for various mediums and outlets—news articles, press releases, arts features, product descriptions, small business websites, e-blasts, social media posts, promotional materials, and more. In her free time, the Philadelphia native enjoys soaking up the city’s culture and binge-watching TV shows.

2018 Year in Review

It’s that time again to reflect on the past year, and we probably aren’t alone in saying that 2018 was a whirlwind. We enjoyed a busy, but productive and exciting year.

Take a look at what we were up to and what’s on the horizon for 2019.

2017 Consult YHN Year in Review

What did we do in 2017? The short answer: a lot…last year was a productive, highly-caffeinated year at Consult YHN.

As we look forward though, it’s important to reflect on the year that was. Take a look at what we accomplished for our Associates in 2017, and get ready, because 2018 is going to be even bigger and better.

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

Seven Things to Consider When You Run Your Next Ad

your-ad-goes-hereWhile it is true that advertisements don’t drive as much traffic as they once did, they are still effective!

In Consult YHN’s most recent ROI report (compiled from Associates’ marketing data), ads brought in a slightly negative ROI (-4 percent) and brought in few opportunities, BUT 72 percent of those completed appointments were converted to sales!

We also noticed that few Associates are running inserts, but those that do generate a positive ROI. In fact, of all the marketing initiatives, inserts delivered the highest conversion from appointments to sales (75 percent)!

The next time you weigh the options of advertising in your local publication, ask yourself these seven questions:

  • 1. Is the ad at least a quarter-page?

WHY: If you want traction, your ad needs to be at least a quarter-page in size. Frequency in the newspaper is a tale of the past — if you want your ad strategy to be successful, run one larger ad once a month instead of smaller, weekly ads. In the hyper-competitive world of advertising we live in, frequency can become white noise. Allocate your budget to a larger ad or an insert that doesn’t run as often in order to make it stand out.

  • 2. Is your logo and contact information prominent?

WHY: You would be surprised how many ads we review that neglect to list a practice’s name or their phone number! Beyond your contact information:

  • Utilize your logo prominently to establish some brand recognition in your community.
  • Calling out a landmark close to your office under your address can help provide easy reference.
  • List your website URL under your address — it helps build your credibility as an expert in your field and your website is typically the place that individuals will go to after they see your ad and before they pick up the phone.
  • 3. Do you have a call-to-action that encourages people to call the practice?

WHY: You need to tell people what to do with the information you give them. As simplistic as “Call today” or “Schedule an appointment” are, you would be surprised how effective these messages can be.

  • 4. Do you highlight what makes your practice unique?

WHY: From a branding perspective, it is important to utilize your messaging to highlight what sets you apart from your competition. With the big box stores and OTC coming into play, you need to tell your audience why they should come to you instead of going to your competitors. Ask yourself if there are any services that you provide that no one else in the area offers. Have you been around longer or have more experience? Are you doing things in the community that no one else is doing? Your audience wants to know!

  • 5. Is there an incentive that will entice them to call?

WHY: Incentives provide an added value to the services you provide. While everyone loves a deal (e.g., money or percentage off a hearing aid device or a free hearing screening), this doesn’t always have to be the offer. For instance, Consult YHN’s wellness initiative encourages practices to have “Lunch & Learn” events or educational seminars within the community, which could be your promotion. Ads receive a greater response rate when tied to an event where there is no commitment to buy vs. advertising an offer for a hearing device.

  • 6. Is there an image that relates to the message?

WHY: It is important to feature an image in your ad that grabs your audience’s attention and visually communicates your message. We prefer imagery with multi-generational families or active seniors that the audience can relate to. If your message is focused on technology, include imagery of up-to-date hearing devices that showcase their sleek design and advanced features.

  • 7. Are you optimizing your ad results?

WHY: Based on industry benchmarks, the average response rate for an ad is 1-2 calls per run. If you run an insert, then it is 10 calls per run (est. 30,000 distribution). The calls may convert to appointments and sales, but that is not always the outcome. While ads are typically seen as a branding awareness initiative, you can promote them through digital marketing or utilize your community network to gain more traction.

You should be allocating about 15 percent of your marketing budget towards print ads. While there has been a decline in response rates, it is still an important touch point that should be integrated into your multi-media marketing plan. If you have questions or need marketing help, the Consult YHN marketing team can review your existing ads and provide feedback, develop and release ads, and assist you with your overall marketing strategy.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.

Social Media and Blogging: What to post and what to write about.

So you want to write a blog and post on social media?

Today’s digital marketing requires more than just a static website. Social media and blogging have become popular ways for practices to boost their online presence. Baby boomers are active on social media and blogging offers a great way to increase your SEO — so both activities attract potential patients — but thinking a blog needs to be a 2,000-word article or that posts always need to present new content can stifle the work that needs to be done.

To help get you started on your path to delivering online content, here are some tips to consider when starting:

  1. Develop a realistic schedule. Posting once a week on Facebook for a year provides more information to your patients than posting every day for one month. Similarly, a monthly blog ensures articles are up-to-date. Make sure you’re providing interesting content on a regular basis. No one likes reading a blog with outdated content!
  2. Provide relevant information. Don’t focus on one patient demographic. Instead, make sure you’re developing a mix of content that is useful for current hearing aid users, prospective patients, custom hearing protection for musicians or loud work conditions, and general hearing health information.
  3. Keep it personal. Your relationship with each patient is the basis of your practice. While you do want to be professional, you should make your posts relatable and inject your personality into your writing.

Here are a few tips for starting a social media strategy:

  1. Share content. Social media content need not be new or original all the time. Sharing video clips from relevant TV shows or news broadcasts, articles from scientific studies, and manufacturers’ posts can make up as much as 50 percent of your social media content.
  2. Create relevant stories. When creating your own posts, steer clear of the hard sell! Event invites, product announcements, patient testimonials, and introductions to blog posts are all great ways to get traction through social media.
  3. Have fun. Every so often, pepper fun human-interest content into the mix. Everyone likes a heartwarming video of a baby getting their first hearing aids. If you live in a tightknit community, local events outside of hearing might be relevant as well! Make it personal occasionally — do your patients know you’re in a tribute band? Feel free to let them know where you’re playing next.

Interested in blogging? Here are some tactics to get you started:

  1. Write for your patients. While you may be interested in scientific journals, it just may be too in-depth for your patients. You can always feature a study, but write about how that study relates to your patients and their hearing health. Also, 400 words is a good length — a little more or a little less is okay, too!
  2. Think in keywords. Including industry-relevant keywords throughout your blog makes the content search friendly and can increase your rankings in search engine results. Search engines have gotten smarter, so you no longer have to repeat the same phrase over and over again. Instead, include different variations of your SEO keywords. For example, if there is a new product launch, use the manufacturer and product names both together and separately throughout the blog.
  3. Plan ahead. Consistent blog writing is much easier to commit to when you have a plan in place. This limits the chance that you’ll get writers block because you feel you must get a blog out today. Keeping a content calendar will allow you to plan for event-related invitation blogs and product releases that may provide you with some pre-written content.

As digital marketing trends continue to evolve, social media and blogging are great ways to develop an up-to-date digital experience for both your current and prospective patients. If you have concerns that planning for and implementing these tactics will take too much time away from your patients, let the Consult YHN marketing team recommend a solution for you!

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.

Gain- vs. Loss-Framed Messaging: What do patients best respond to?

Consult YHN Consumer Behavior Series: Message Framing

The way we communicate to customers through marketing materials is extremely important when it comes to their feelings and opinions about, and ultimately their purchasing decisions towards our brand. From the tone we set to the phrasing we use, the way we communicate in an advertising landscape can make or break the relationship between the customer and the brand. Especially in the healthcare industry, messages conveyed to patients must be tailored to speak directly to the audience and meet them at the exact point of their journey towards healthy living.

In the first installment of Consult YHN’s Consumer Behavior Series, we’ll examine the different ways to frame messages when speaking to hearing healthcare patients.

  • Gain-Framed Messaging
    • This type of messaging focuses on the benefits of acting on a certain behavior – put more simply, the benefits of purchasing the service/product in question.
    • Ex: Hearing aids help people with hearing loss better connect and communicate with loved ones.
  • Loss-Framed Messaging
    • On the other side of the coin, loss-framed messaging stresses the negatives of not acting on a certain behavior – or the negatives of not purchasing said service/product.
    • Ex: Without hearing aids, people with hearing loss experience a disconnect from loved ones and suffer anxiety.
  • Mixed-Framed Messaging
    • The combination of gain- and loss-framed messaging; usually introducing the gain as a solution to the loss.
    • Ex: Hearing loss can lead to communication problems with loved ones, but the good news is that hearing aids can dramatically improve your ability to reconnect.

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Consider the age-old idiom of using “the carrot or the stick” to change behavior based on either rewards or punishments. Gain-framed hearing messaging represents the carrot – or the future benefits of seeking treatment, whereas loss-framed hearing messaging represents the stick – the negative flipside to not seeking treatment. There are some campaigns that successfully employ the “stick approach” of loss-framed messaging (think the scare tactics of anti-smoking campaigns), but the hearing industry is its own unique landscape and therefore requires a different framing device to motivate patients to purchase.

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Overall, gain-framed messaging tends to be the most effective approach in the hearing healthcare sphere. Patients respond better to positive language that emphasizes the benefits of seeking audiological treatment and the improved quality of life that results.

The doom-and-gloom nature of most loss-framed messaging instills a sense of fear in patients that does not translate into the positive mindset associated with ready-to-buy attitudes. Using a negative voice can come off as critical and judgmental to the audience, automatically isolating them further. Especially in a climate where hearing loss is already stigmatized and associated with weakness and old age, loss-framed messaging does not perform well with the target audience.

Of course, there is a time and place when the negative aspects of untreated hearing loss may need to be addressed, like in educational seminars and informational articles. However, when it comes to introducing your customers to your brand and practice – via print ads, brochures, direct mailings, etc. – show your patients the increased quality of life possible with better hearing, and how you can help them achieve that.

Wellness-focused materials are great tools for putting a positive spin on seeking hearing help. Make sure your practice has some sort of Wellness Program in place, and use promotional items to encourage patients to commit to hearing and whole body health. Help your patients look to a healthier, happier future and communicate the benefits of taking the first step towards hearing wellness!

If you have questions about gain- or loss-framed messaging, or would like any assistance in developing any wellness materials, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com today!

 

 

 

Sources:

American Marketing Association, Framing Health Care Messages: Why Interpersonal Context Matters

Health-Care Product Advertising: The Influences of Message Framing and Perceived Product Characteristics

Positive Messages Make the Most Impact in Public Health Campaigns