Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Important is the Practice Website?

If I come to your office as a prospective patient and see torn curtains hanging at the windows, a maze-like layout to the office, and nobody there to assist me, is it likely I'll stay for the appointment? You know the answer. I'll bolt faster than a cat in a tubful of ice water.

So, does it stand to reason that if I come to your aesthetic website and it's unattractive, difficult to maneuver and hard to find important information (like before/after and financing details as 2 examples), that I'll bail and go to another aesthetic practice site? You betcha.

Your website is the doorway to your practice for the vast majority of patients. This assumes, of course, they can FIND YOU on the internet by typing [procedure] + [city] into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or MSN (the top 3). If you are doing search engine optimization, (SEO) with a reputable SEO firm, then at least consumers have a chance of finding the site.

But finding your site isn't enough if, when consumers arrive there, the information they want cannot be located without extensive clicking through layers upon layers, if the headers don't make sense, or if it's ugly and disorganized.

Just today I went to the website of a prospective client in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is THE toughest market in America for plastic surgeons. Sooooo many plastic surgeons. I was stunned to find a hideous, poorly formatted site. Honestly, it is obvious that this person did the site himself. And it's a pity. Because I imagine him to be a terrific practitioner. But if I were a consumer, I wouldn't stay on the site for more than 5 seconds--that's about enough time to be turned off and get the click out of there.

So, a word to the wise. Consider prospects' first interaction with your practice. If your website is crappy, fix it. If your receptionist lacks finesse & charm, doesn't speak clearly and pleasantly and/or doesn't "get it" when interacting with upscale clientele, don't pass GO and don't collect $200--fire her! You have much too much to lose.

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