You’re a savvy physician business owner … right? Well then when was the last time you took an objective look at your website? Do you even have a website?
My website adventures began in a typical fashion. With my first coaching business, Oya Consulting, one of my most exciting projects was to get my website up – I couldn’t wait to see myself “live”. I knew I’d feel validated.
For a fairly big sum of money, I got a pretty website. I loved the way it looked. And yet it seldom delivered any business to my doorstep. It sat there, ready for the world to see, and effectively invisible!
Fast forward to Round 2: Here is what I’ve learned about having a workhorse website, that is discoverable, that addresses the needs of a specific target market and that produces results in alignment with business goals.
First, if you haven’t established a web presence yet, I urge to reconsider your decision. You need a website. Irrespective of what business you are in or planning to start, these words apply to you, to allow you to take advantage of these key business opportunities:
1. Credibility – we have reached the point at which, if you don’t have a website, you probably don’t have much of a business. That is even becoming true for medical and other professional practices, unless they are so established and anti-growth that a website would be an unnecessary expense.
2. Access – in healthcare, some of our biggest struggles are all about access. The best websites improve client or patient access to the business owner and staff.
3. Communication – a blog linked to a website, a newsletter or even just a “What’s new in our practice” corner on the home page offers you the chance to mould the perception your clients or patients have of your business.
4. Resource sharing – great websites have excellent updated resource articles, tools, glossaries etc with unbroken links for their readers.
5. Education – articles you have written, live classes or workshops, teleclasses can be valuable tools for your clients or patients.
6. Promotion – of course, a website should also promote what it is you are offering, with concise benefits-laden program, services or product descriptions.
7. Sales – in many businesses, sales are conducted via a website for defined service packages, information and other products, and memberships.
What if you do have a website? Is it time for an overhaul?
I believe these four website failures represent the greatest source of wasted opportunity – and remember, I’m entitled to this opinion as I earned it the hard way!
1. No clear target market: Poorly conceived websites fail to make it clear who they are intended for. They are trying to be everything to all comers. By contrast, when a prospective client or patient comes across an effective website, they recognize themselves in the description right away. Their interest is piqued and they want to know more.
2. All-about-me: A big website turn-off is one where the client or patient is barely mentioned. Instead we read all about Dr So-and-So’s degrees and med school accomplishments and office hours and location, and we never really hear why we should care!
3. Doesn’t help accomplish business goals: This is the biggest failure – and one I made early on. It’s vital to know where you are going with your business, who you want to serve in business and why BEFORE you put up a website. If your goal is to attract a big group of perimenopausal women to your practice, show some insight into their concerns and lives. Create content that will attract them. If it is sports jocks, then make sure their needs are addressed front and center. Align your website content and message with your intended business goals.
4. Fancy brochure, and nothing more: Oops – guilty as charged, for my first website. If you have the kind of company or practice where all the business you can handle comes from referrals, then a “brochure” website is fine. People may just want to check you out. But if you plan to attract web searchers and browsers, your website needs to be found. Organic search engine attraction with plenty of newly-added relevant content is one way to go (a blog is a great example of this), and search engine optimization is another.
As we learned in our great April teleclass on Personal Branding, part of managing your personal brand is knowing how you’re showing up on the web. If you don’t want to or feel you need to invest in a website, then make sure you have a professional-looking profile, with a good photograph, on Facebook and LinkedIn. Even these networking sites can do wonders for your web presence and your business.
For our complimentary May 2008 teleclass on “Internet Marketing 101 for Entrepreneurial Physicians”, register on our Classes page.