5 Changes you can make to your surgical website to gain more private patients.  

Having surgery (whether elective or emergency) is a major event in the average person’s life.  Elective surgery is not a decision that is taken lightly, and with the availability to carry out research at their fingertips, your prospective patients will be researching prospective surgeons to the nth degree!

Help prospective patients make the decision to book an appointment with you by removing mental blocks, and providing all the necessary information they require to make their important decision.

Here are my top 5 tips to improve your surgical consultant website:

1. Make it personable

Having surgery can be a frightening prospect; even if it’s elective surgery to enhance a persons life, it is still a daunting concept and your prospective patients want to be reassured that they will be seen by a friendly, approachable human being who has empathy and warmth.

The most impactful ways to do this are:

• Your homepage should greet your visitors with a warm, friendly smiling image of you – try to limit the number of stock photographs and instead use a few nice images of you

• In addition to your professional achievements and experience, your ‘About’ page should also include a few personal details: Are you a family man? Do you enjoy taking the family pooch on muddy after-Sunday-lunch walks? Do you enjoy photography or painting in spare time?

Your prospective patients will want to see the human side of you, to see whether you’re approachable and whether you’re someone they will feel comfortable with.

2. Testimonials

Social proof is becoming increasingly important in this new online world we now live in. Having testimonials on your surgical website (and on your Google My Business profile – a post for another time!) is very important in providing social proof to your prospective patients.

It demonstrates that you are a surgeon to be trusted, it demonstrates that you’re excellent at what you do and it provides the prospective patient with the confidence to take the first step and make contact with you.

As you are someone in the medical profession, it goes without saying patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance, and as such you can choose to display the testimonials by keeping your patient anonymous, or semi-anonymous.

I have had past clients use their patient’s initials and location for their testimonials (ie “PE, Leeds”). The testimonial is still powerful, but retains patient confidentiality.

3. Before and after photos

Displaying before and after photos (with your patient’s consent of course) is perhaps the most powerful form of social proof and can be considered an extension of the testimonials.

It is most useful especially for Plastic Surgeons, or Bariatric Surgeons; anything where there is a visible difference in their patient’s appearance.

The most powerful combination would be to display a before/after photo combined WITH a testimonial – this will connect the two, make it more real for your site visitors, and giving the utmost confidence that you’re the surgeon for them.

4. Keep your content updated

Did you publish your last blog post in 2017? Is your copyright notice in your footer dated 2016?

Guess what your prospective patients are thinking…?!

“Is Mr/s Bariatric Surgeon still practicing?” “Is s/he still doing private practice?” “Is s/he still offering Gastric Bands?”

It injects doubt into peoples minds, causing mental friction and questioning whether you’re a good fit for them.

Remove these blocks by publishing blog posts at least once every 3 months*, to keep them fairly recent and give confidence to your site visitors that you’re a practicing surgeon, you’re still taking on private patients and thus preventing them from exiting your website and finding one of your colleagues surgical website instead(!)

In addition, make sure your copyright mark on your website footer is the current year – this will give patients confidence that your site is managed and maintained regularly, and therefore your practice is still in operation.

I’m aware these may seem like minor points to you, but psychologically speaking it is absolutely vital to build trust with your prospective patients and if the patient experience is smooth and reassuring all the way through then your conversion rate will improve.

* Ideally if you have a blog, you should post at least once a month to help your Google ranking, but I know you guys are incredibly busy people so if you can publish at least once every 3 months it’s better than nothing at all!

This website footer has 2022 displayed, which is clearly an updated, maintained and cared for website.   (yep, it’s mine!)

This website footer still has 2020 displayed, which hasn’t been updated, and appears to be a fairly neglected and outdated website. (I have blanked out the developers name – it’s not one of mine)

5. Have Clear Call-To-Actions (CTA)

Call To Action = Giving clear instructions on what you want your site visitor to do next (book a consultation, email you, call you etc)

I have saved the most important point for last!

As an NHS consultant with a private practice, there will be a myriad of ways your prospective patients can contact you.

As a non medic myself, if I were looking to make an appointment with you, without a clear CTA on your website I would have no idea how best to contact you for your services in the private sector:

• Via GP referral?
• Via private secretary?
• Via private hospital booking department?
• Via NHS secretary?
• Via your direct NHS email?

Therefore it is vital to give ONE simple CTA on your homepage for your prospective patients to make contact, or make an appointment, depending on what you wish them to do.

One of my well established clients, for example, has a single CTA on his homepage (repeated strategically on his homepage). It is a button when clicked takes the patient to his personal online booking system for the Spire Hospital, where they can make an appointment with him directly online.

By implementing this strategy, various emails, and phone calls requesting to book with him (which took a lot of time out of my clients day to respond to) have decreased, and his patients now simply make an appointment directly by using this single CTA.

NB: He still receives emails with questions etc, but the emails requesting appointments (which took up a *lot* of his spare time) have dropped, and his private practice is thriving.

 

Make it simple, make it straightforward, make it clear.

An example of a solid CTA, compelling the site visitor to book a consultation (this button takes the person directly to an online booking facility)

So there you have it, 5 top tips to immediately improve your surgical consultant website and have more private patients come through your door!

For more tips, drop your email below and I’ll send you golden nuggets of inspiration from time to time. I promise not to bombard or spam you… and you can unsubscribe at any time.  (How’s that for a CTA?!)

Jen