How your website can lure more refractive patients
These key measures can help convert website visits to office visits.
By Kay Coulson
Editor’s note: This marks the inaugural “Ophthalmic Metrics” column. Kay Coulson is president of Elective Medical Marketing, a Boulder, Colo.-based consulting firm that assists surgeons in growing their elective services. Her purpose here is to help practices — especially solo or smaller group practices — to measure and improve performance using practical data. This column will provide you with the tools to answer key questions about practice performance, and provide a method for you to interpret and act on those results.
You can easily lose focus of marketing on your website when clinic demands increase. You know you need a web presence. You’re less certain what website content should be. You’re even less sure who views your site. And you have no idea whether it helps generate actual patients or revenue.
Wouldn’t it be nice to understand this critical portal into your practice so you can be more confident in directing future changes? Here are five key questions every physician owner or marketing manager should ask about the performance of their practice’s website:
• Who is visiting?
• What drives them to the site?
• How are they viewing it?
• What content are they interested in?
• Can they, and more importantly do they, contact the practice?
Google Analytics, a free tool that measures everything about your site, can get you these answers — as long as it’s set up. That means each page of your site needs Google Analytics code installed, which is simple and automatic for most web architects. Ask your web host if Analytics is installed. Then, obtain access to this Analytics account, which your webmaster will authorize. I’ll walk through a variety of tracking tools in this and future columns, so you can measure how well your site is performing.
Attract the right prospect
If you are in private practice, the primary goal of your website should be to attract new prospects and convert them to patients. How many unique visitors does your website attract each month? How many of these visitors live within your geographic draw radius? Are you attracting the right people to your site, and ultimately, into your practice? The box at right shows how to get that information.
First, open Google Analytics, and choose a time frame in the upper right corner. Next, on the left navigation column click on “Audience: Geo: Location,” (Figure 1, page 17) and click through the map of the world and then the United States to your state (Figure 2, page 17). In this example, we’re using Florida.
Figure 1. Click on “Location” on the Google Analytics interface to access information on the geographic distribution of website visitors.
Figure 2. The state map shows the proximity of website visitors to the practice.
Here, you’ll see the statewide distribution of your website visitors. Are they coming from where you expected? Are they centered around your practice locations, or widely dispersed across the United States or world?
Now, let’s look at the numbers. In Figure 3 you’ll see visit details. You can look at individual cities or metro areas. In this instance, I’m going to look at the Fort Myers/Naples metro area, so I will click the Metro button.
Figure 3. Drilling deeper into the data, Google Analytics provides detail on the nature and duration of website visits from specific market areas.
Use Analytics to improve practice marketing
How do I judge the absolute number of visitors? The site I’m using as an example attracts just more than 3,000 visits a month, 68% of whom are new visitors, and yet I know from practice data the doctors there perform approximately 100 LASIK and lens consultations per month. Does this practice need more visitors? No, they have more than enough people looking at their information each month. Instead, this practice is working toward better page layouts and more prominent contact information so that more visitors convert to appointments.
Next, ask whether you are attracting the right visitors? Of 3,000 monthly visits, 2,000 are generated from the most desirable geographic area. This means 67% of visitors are well-targeted, and 33% are out of the geographic area. We certainly don’t want to spend advertising dollars attracting people who don’t have a reasonable likelihood of scheduling.
Most website traffic in ophthalmology is generated from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, so PPC campaigns should be reviewed to ensure they have radius limits installed. We’ve all seen New York LASIK or Lens Implant ads appear in California Google searches. Why? Because these PPC campaigns don’t have proper radius limits set. One look at your site visit data and you’ll know if you’re reaching too far outside appropriate geographic boundaries.
Make my metric your metric
Here’s a little homework to help you understand visit data for your website.
• Confirm Google Analytics is installed and secure login credentials.
• Glance over the past three months. Check how many visits your website captured monthly, and what percentage of visits were within your geographic radius. If less than 65% of total site traffic is coming from the geographic drawing area, tighten up your PPC campaign specs.
• If LASIK consults plus lens implant evaluations are less than 5% of monthly website visits, conversion from web visits is too low.
• If LASIK consults plus lens implant evaluations are more than 5% of monthly website visits, undertake marketing to increase web visits.
• Meet with your marketing team to prioritize site improvements based on the above metrics.
Next month: I’ll look at where website traffic is coming from and how to determine sources generating appointments. OM
Kay Coulson is president of Elective Medical Marketing, a Boulder, Colo., based consulting firm that assists surgeons in growing their elective services. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.