Stellar websites are a MUST when marketing functional medicine June 28, 2018 In our recent blog, Inbound Marketing is a Perfect Fit for Functional Medicine, I talked about the similarities between two seemingly random things: inbound marketing and functional medicine. Today we’re going to go deeper and talk about specifics. Your website is the foundation of your inbound marketing, it is the hub. Most of what you do from an inbound standpoint should be with the focus of driving traffic to your website. Your website has a few specific roles to play. First, it is vital in establishing trust and credibility with those new to your business. Second, it is a powerful way to connect with the audience on a deeper level than social media affords you. Third, it provides a powerful platform to continue to educate your prospects and current clients. Finally, it helps you get found and generates new leads with the goal of converting those leads to new business. Establish Trust & Credibility There are several avenues people use to get to your website. They could have your website address, your URL, directly off a business card or as a referral from a friend. When you have an active and engaged social media presence, people will find you there and follow through to your website. Google AdWords and Facebook ads can drive traffic to your website (among other things, more on this in a later blog). Blogs with quality content show up in search engines when people are searching for specific issues and lead people to your website. According to Sirius Decisions, a leading marketing research firm, “67% of the buyers’ journey is now done digitally.” What this means for you is that no matter how they heard about you and your practice, people will go to your website looking for more information, they are doing their research. For example, we recently had a new client come to us for a website redesign. He was frustrated with his current site because a long-time client of his had given his name out as a referral for a large contract. The person who received his name went directly to our client’s website (before we redesigned it) and wasn’t really impressed with what he saw. He didn’t end up going with our client because the website didn’t establish trust or credibility. Some of the issues that turned this prospect away from our client’s website were: The website was dated and loaded slowly. The information, the content, was not engaging or relatable. The website was not mobile friendly. The content didn’t speak well enough to our client’s experience or his credentials. So sadly, though our client is very well qualified and even had a referral from a very reputable source, he didn’t get the contract because the website didn’t accurately reflect his professionalism and depth of knowledge. We are working on redesigning the website now and we’re looking forward to bringing back some great stories about what a difference having a website that is in true alignment makes. We strongly recommend taking a look at your own site and even asking for some feedback from your patients. Here are some important items to consider: Does my website accurately reflect my practice? Are the colors and images consistent? Is the messaging consistent? Are the services offered up to date? Do people get a similar feeling when they visit the website as they would when they walk into my waiting area? Is my website mobile friendly? Does my website answer questions I commonly get asked by new and long-time patients? Does my website accurately communicate the experience and vision of our practitioners? Connect with Your Audience As much as people want to get accurate information on your website, they also want to connect with YOU! They are looking for transparency and honesty. They want the chance to get a feel for who you are before they call to make an appointment. One of our dental clients really has a passion for holistic and natural dentistry. For a long time she was concerned that if she really focused her attention on and called out that she was a holistic dentist, it would pigeonhole her too much. Her concern is one we hear pretty often among business owners. The truth was that she was already practicing holistic dentistry, but taking the step to embrace it on her website felt like a big one. Her website had solid traffic and the look and feel were consistent, but we knew the content was falling short by not fully communicating her true passion.We revamped whole sections of her content to include verbiage that called out what holistic dentistry was, why she practiced it, and how it could help people. The month following those edits, her organic traffic increased 133.4% The results continue to be dramatic! Your website has the power to educate! Remember that statistic about how much of the buying process happens online? This is where much of it comes in. People have access to so much information now and they use it! Your potential patients are out there researching functional medicine and alternatives to what they have always been told. When you leverage your website’s blog, you can publish articles that address people’s concerns. Think about all of those questions you answer each and every day. What if you wrote down your answers and published them on your website? You would be offering a valuable resource to the community at large. You would be establishing yourself as the expert. You would be educating, connecting, and establishing trust and credibility. The articles you write don’t have to be novels, they can be short and sweet. We know they can be intimidating, but they don’t have to be. You can even hire a marketing company to do the writing for you (like us). We commonly interview our clients and write the blogs they don’t have time for. Get Found and Generate Leads Your website should be a tool that gets your practice found when people search Google and helps increase how often new patients schedule with you. This does not mean you have to have a fancy website with all the bells and whistles, but your website does need to have a few specific items to be effective. Your website should be SEO (Search Engine Optimized). This means that in the content of your site (i.e. the About Us and Services pages as well as the Blogs) needs to include keywords that people are searching and the keywords that reflect who you are, remember our Holistic Dentist? You need to have quality backlinks to your website. This is one of the most important and difficult things to do well. The goal is to get reputable websites in your industry to link back to your site. You can achieve this through quality blogs that another website quotes and links back to you as well as even asking another site if they are willing to link back to you. Another technique is to make sure your site is backlinked from industry recognized directories of providers or services. Press releases that are distributed through quality channels and link back to your site are also very valuable. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Google will now penalize your website if it isn’t optimized for mobile devices. It should be easy for people to navigate to find what they are looking for on your site including your phone number! Your other marketing efforts (email marketing, social media marketing etc) should drive traffic to your website Your website is the hub, like the center of a tire that all of the spokes connect to. Our next blog will go into more detail on the other pieces of your marketing that will drive traffic to your website. But the truth of the matter is that you need to get your website on point first or all of your other marketing will fall flat. That isn’t to say your other marketing can’t be effective if your website is blah. But the difference in results is astounding when the website is strong. Your marketing dollar will go so much further when a stellar website is an effective part of your overall strategy!