There is a lot of buzz on the web about growing a brick and mortar business like an optometry practice. It is absolutely possible to find new patients who are using search terms for some of the services that your optometry practice specializes in. When an optometry website is designed and developed to perform well in search results, load beautifully on mobile devices, and keep visitors engaged—you will see an increase in online referrals!
Imagine having brand new clients who arrive to their first appointment, excited to do business with you. This happens when the website is designed with the visitor's experience in mind—from a visually stunning layout and images, to raving testimonials, high value free content, quick forms, and more.
Whether you are redesigning an optometry website that is not bringing in new patients, or starting from scratch, these 12 tips can serve as a great checklist for designing a website strategically to attract and convert new clients. There isn't any guesswork when it comes to finding qualified new leads online, it's a simple science.
1. Create a visually stunning, custom web design
Outshine your competitors by being unique. A good optometry website reflects the level of quality and service the establishment provides, so it's crucial to have a professional website that conveys those elements clearly.
When designing an optometry website, look at examples from companies with similar services and clientele. Notice how their websites are designed and evaluate them thoroughly by making a list of everything that they are doing right and also where they are falling short. These evaluations will serve as the basic framework to create an original design that reflects your business.
Optometry website design should mirror the practice in terms of aesthetics. Does the space have a vibe that's urban, modern, eclectic, etc.? By designing the optometry website with the same visual elements in the practice, it allows the customer to have a coherent experience from the website to the place of business. Keep it simple stupid. Practice the K.I.S.S. method; we know that it's tempting to add every single available feature to the design with lots of text, but too many buttons and pop-ups will distract potential customers from the important information they need to be looking at. White space is an asset, and content placement is key!
All images and videos should be professional and relate to the business. Introduce potential clients to the friendly staff, such as doctors, nurses, and assistants, all with stunning photography and engaging descriptions.
A good navigation is the final most important feature of the website design. An easy to navigate header or menu helps potential clients get detailed and crucial information as quickly as possible.
2. Be reachable!
The first thing optometry website visitors look for is contact information and business hours, so that information should be displayed clearly in the header.
Contact information should be one of the more noticeable contents on the main page. As soon as visitors land on the site, is it obvious what to do next if they want to get in touch? If there are too many distracting visual elements then people will simply lose attention. Reduce barriers in showing them the contact information.
List all the different ways people can get in touch with your optometry practice. The phone number should be listed prominently and accessible by clicking a button to activate a call from a smartphone or laptop. Also, a fax number should be available if possible, to make it easier for people to send medical history forms in advance of an appointment. Include an email address as well.
If the business has a social media presence, only display social media icons on the bottom navigation of the optometry website. Resist the urge to add links to online profiles at the top of the pages. Visitors could click away and then get distracted by a new LinkedIn article or a dog picture on Facebook and forget about booking the appointment. You want to focus on retaining their attention for as long as possible.
3. Call to action
Once visitors are impressed by the best optometry website design, that's it, right? Not quite! As soon as you grab their attention, give them clear instructions on the next steps. Should the visitor view your services, or would you like to encourage them to book an appointment? Whatever that next step is, make the button to perform the action clear, so that it stands out from the other design elements on the page.
A call to action is a special link on a site that encourages visitors to take the next step when interacting with this business. Call to actions are an effective and powerful way to transform a website from a passive advertisement to an active outreach and mobilization tool. They make it easy for the user to convert their internet browsing into an action, which increases engagement with potential patients and fills up the appointment book. As such, call to actions are an essential component of the website design and an effective part of many internet campaigns.
A few common Call to Action buttons include:
- Learn More
- Call Now
- Schedule Your FREE Consultation Today
- Read Testimonials from Our Patients
The placement of the call to actions is crucial. These call to action phrases must be visible and noticeable. It is essential to provide a call to action that stands out from the rest of the website, both in tone and visual design. Use distinctive bold color to highlight the action button and draw the user's attention instantly.
4. List services and brands
The optometry website must also include an easy-to-find and easy-to-read list of the services the practice provides.
Be descriptive when listing services so potential patients can form a clear idea of how you can address their needs. List the different eye condition specializations, exams and tests available, and any onsite procedures offered at your optometry business. Bullet-point the reasons to choose each, as well as the features and advantages. Once visitors understand your solutions to their problems, they're much more likely to book an appointment or ask for more information. Keep in mind that the objective is not put out a sales pitch, but rather inform the patient by providing helpful content.
Additionally, include a list of all the eyewear brands available in the store. Customers pay close attention to the eyewear brands carried by different optometry practices, as well as looking for skilled eye doctors. Eyewear is an important part of a person's identity and self-expression, so listing the brand names can appeal directly to their taste. Another reason that you want to do this is because associating your brand with larger brands makes you more trustworthy.
Having both services and brand pages will help you in educating and attracting potential patients. It will also streamline the operations since your staff will no longer be forced to give this information out over the phone to potential customers.
5. Highlight awards, certifications, and achievements
Customers that will be comparing you against the best optometrist websites in your area will want to know if this is an award-winning establishment. There's no better way to stand out amongst the competitors than by showing off your achievements.
Share that news when a new accolade is bestowed and when recognition for skills or media attention is garnered. Include a designated section of the website to proudly display these wins and achievements. Be sure to include any awards or certifications as well.
Consider a separate section or page dedicated to any press attention, if applicable. Positive local or major press attention is a strong example of social proof and will lend credibility. Media mentions can also help give the business a reputation for great quality and customer service, which will also attract new customers.
When compiling accolades and instances of media attention, only share things that relate to the business. If there's an award for outstanding service in optometry or if the practice participated in a charity event to raise funds for optometry scholarships, include that information. Anything personal or unrelated to the practice or profession should be avoided, as not to distract potential eye patients -- it's important to keep the content relevant.
We use symbolism in our ads and they’re more than effective, why then not utilize them on the landing page as well, or go one step beyond and use videos. Videos tie into the aforementioned idea of spoon-feeding leads, and they do a terrific job.
6. Mobile responsiveness
In today's world, potential patients and customers can access websites from anywhere and from many different devices. Therefore, it's critical that the website is accessible to everyone; from laptops to iPads to cellphones, the website design must approach mobile responsiveness as a top priority.
Mobile responsiveness ensures that the website will adjust itself appropriately to whatever electronic device with which users view the site. These adjustments include resizing content to be compatible with various screen sizes, adapting the layout and design elements, and preserving the functionality of links, call to action phrases, and forms.
Responsive design preserves the hard work from creating a website that looks and feels exactly the same across all the possible devices. Without a responsive design, customers will have a hard time navigating the site when not using a laptop or desktop. They might even have problems loading the website properly to begin with. This will frustrate potential leads and cause them to abandon the webpage for a competitor's site with better mobile responsiveness. We want to avoid that at all costs!
It can be frustrating that an elegant, informative website optimized for user engagement can be sabotaged by an unresponsive design. Especially as users rely on phones to do the work of a laptop, it's crucial that the website function just as well on any digital device.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Creating a beautiful website with informative descriptions of the services, helpful lists of the eyewear brands available, and bold calls to actions are only half the challenge to have an optometry website designed to sell. The other half of the job is to properly position the site to reach potential patients. To do this, the site must be coded to be search engine friendly, and that is where an experienced team of developers comes in handy.
Known as search engine optimization (SEO), this process will make sure the website ranks well in search engine inquiries, which increases chances of being a top result. Today, more people than ever turn to search engines like Google to find a local service or research products, and they don't have time to go through all the results. So if you aren't ranking near the top for keywords like "optometrist near me" or keywords with your city and zip code, then people won't be scrolling to the next page.
Ask yourself: when was the last time you Googled something and clicked through pages and pages of results to finally select an option on the eighth page? You probably pick a result on the first page, right? So does everybody else. A recent study of Google's search engine function shows that results on the first page garnered a 71% click-through-rate, while results on the second and third pages garnered only a 6% click-through-rate; that is a significant drop in clicks from just one page!
To increase chances of a high SEO ranking, ask a web developer to check for missing tags, broken links and website load times. Ask them to review your website analytics and make improvements as needed. Focus on creating original and relevant content for your website. Never lift material from other websites for your site, since search engines will notice the duplication and bury your content in the form penalties. Build backlinks to your website, and write organic content around the keywords that your competitors are ranking for (more on this below). Optometry marketing isn't an easy task, so you want to make sure that you are working with the best; we are currently rated amongst the best in houston web design. Our work and our results validate our position, so that is an accolade that we love to highlight.
Despite advances in technology, word-of-mouth recommendations are still a potent tool in attracting leads and converting them into patients. Testimonials offer credible and relatable accounts of the services. They also create compelling stories that attract potential patients and can convince them to choose one practice over another. For more advanced help with managing an online reputation, a reputation manager might need to be consulted.
If the practice has good reviews, put them on the website in a designated section. Encourage patients to leave honest reviews. Highlight the testimonials with dedicated call to action buttons. Make them easy to find so that anyone who visits the website knows just how much the current patients love your services. Another good marketing technique is to display short snippets of your testimonials on your homepage. This is especially true if you are running marketing ad campaigns on Google or other search engines.
Patient testimonials are useful when optimizing for SEO ranking. Search engines will rank websites higher if there are a good deal of positive or five-star reviews. Talk to a web developer about how to host a review or testimonial form on the website. Review websites like Yelp can also be used to field reviews and testimonials.
9. Patient Forms
The optometry website design should be beautiful, informative, and functional. However, to enhance its usefulness and functionality, be sure to add patient forms to the site. A patient form is like a virtual practice through which excellent care can be provided outside of appointments, and customers and staff both will appreciate the time savings.
Add a patient form to a designated section of the optometry website to expedite the intake process and improve the patient's user experience. No longer will patients have to fill out tons of forms in the waiting room. No longer will the practice staff scramble to input a patient's data into the system before an appointment. Patients will be able to complete medical forms in the comfort of their homes (or mobile devices) well before the appointment. Then, the practice staff will receive the forms ahead of time, which will allow better service to patients and better management of schedules.
It's possible to install a series of questions with fields to fill answers into or instead, PDF files can be made available for patients to download. Because of handling sensitive patient information, it's imperative to use HIPPA compliant forms.
Incorporate visual design from the website and practice into the forms. Add just enough color or a logo to make the form visually appealing and professional. Again, a patient form is another opportunity to interact with patients and keep them coming back to the practice.
10. Appointment Scheduling
An optometry website should also include an essential and game-changing function—appointment scheduling. A dedicated appointment scheduling page can capture potential patients by allowing them to effortlessly schedule an appointment through the website. With the click of a button, potential patients, impressed with the services and the brands offered can take the step effortlessly without having to pick up the phone and call.
Self-scheduling will not only pull in patients but also make their user experience smoother. Additionally, website scheduling will streamline the appointment management process. The amount of time they will spend on the phone or tracking down clients will be drastically reduced, freeing them up to focus on customer service and other more critical duties.
It's easy to add an appointment scheduling field. This field should have its own tab within the navigation bar to make it easier to find and access. The appointment scheduling function should also have a bold, attention-grabbing call to action button to drive potential patients to the appropriate page.
On the scheduling page, add a survey or a list of preliminary intake questions to improve the new patient's experience and enhance the service to the new patient. If preliminary intake questions are included, don't forget to include HIPPA-compliant language to protect the patients' rights.
11. Google Analytics
With a high SEO ranking and lots of traffic to the website, it's then necessary to monitor how the website performs, particularly if you do not notice an increase in patient sign-ups. Google Analytics can do that performance monitoring and much more. However, there's so much information available that it is wise to bring in a marketing specialist to make sense of the analytics that could suggest website design changes based on the data.
Google Analytics is one of the most powerful web analytics tools available. It measures the website's traffic, identifies conversions, keeps tabs on ad performance, tracks referral sources and gleans insights into how visitors use the site. In short, Google Analytics tracks all the data that comes through the site and allows data sorting in a myriad of ways.
Ask a web developer to get the optometry practice started with a Google Analytics account. Then, track the pages on which users spend the most time. Also check to see how long users are on any one page. Start to identify which users are one-time visitors and how many return to the website multiple times. All of this information will help you in recognizing the weak points of your website, and also help you in making marketing decisions.
With this data, make the necessary adjustments to the website design. If visitors spend a lot of time on a particular page, or if a specific page gets a lot of traffic, then consider creating more pages like it. On the other hand, if visitors rapidly exit out of a particular page (read: high bounce rates), examine why and make changes accordingly. If visitors are finding the practice from a specific source such as social media, then encourage existing patients to post about the practice on their social media platforms.
Google Analytics is always finding new area of opportunity to enhance website designs. Use this data to build stronger relationships with patients, convert more leads into customers, and improve the effectiveness of overall marketing strategies.
Blogs are great ways to rank higher in search engines and build value to potential patients when they read the helpful content. If writing regularly is a challenge, a good copywriter can take all the stress out of producing original content.
Blogging enhances SEO. With each new blog, a new page is added to the website, which shows that the information is regularly updated and current. Including external links to reputable sources further demonstrates the website's relevance and usefulness, which can increase ranking in search results.
But, this is not only about showing up in search results. This free content builds value in the likelihood that even more valuable information is available to patients. Choose topics to provide users with the crucial information they need to decide to become a customer.
Blog content can cast your practice in an inviting and capable light to attract more visitors to the website. Blog posts can be shared and posted on multiple platforms, which makes them excellent pieces of marketing for the social media strategy.
As mentioned before, copying content from other sources can negatively affect your SEO. The blogs should be original, fresh content to boost your chances to secure a higher ranking in search results. A skilled copywriter will be able to take your ideas and craft them into engaging pieces of writing that encourage potential patients to take action and schedule an appointment.