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A guide to conversion marketing for healthcare practices

See how healthcare practices can encourage prospective patients to take desired actions on their website

Medical practice manager works on healthcare conversion rate optimization on laptop computer

At a Glance

  • Conversion marketing aims to get prospective patients to take a desired action, like booking an appointment online.
  • This is done through tactics like action-oriented language, prominent CTAs, positive reviews, and an optimized website.
  • To implement conversion marketing, healthcare practices need tools like an optimized website, analytics dashboard, and testing capabilities.
  • The patient journey to conversion has many steps. Practices should consider the entire journey, from initial online search to website visit to final conversion action, to optimize the process.

What is conversion marketing?

Conversion marketing is a type of marketing that aims to get prospects to take a desired action or “convert” them into customers. This strategy is commonly used by marketers today in a variety of industries, including healthcare.

In this quick guide, we share easy steps healthcare practices can take to encourage prospective new patients to take action.

5 steps to healthcare conversion rate optimization

Follow these steps to help convert prospective patients to current patients.

1. Understand conversion marketing basics

Like other healthcare marketing strategies, conversion marketing has its own vocabulary. Landing page software company Unbounce lists more than 100 words in its Conversion Marketing Glossary.

However, there are just a few essential terms you need to know in order to get the most from this guide:

  • The prompt used to encourage action is called the call to action (CTA), and the point at which a person performs the desired action is a conversion. The ultimate conversion is to make a purchase — or, in the case of healthcare practices, become a patient. However, many small conversions can and do happen on the path to becoming a patient. (More on this later.)
  • The conversion funnel refers to the journey a person takes from the first interaction to the desired action. The amount of time a person spends within the funnel varies depending on many factors, including the action you want a person to take.
  • The percentage of people who convert is called the conversion rate. If 100 people enter your conversion funnel and 7% ultimately click a “Book Appointment” CTA, your conversion rate is 7%.
Patient Perspectives Report

2. Learn how to prompt conversion

Healthcare conversion rate optimization requires that you’re able to persuade people to take your desired action. For healthcare practices, there are a few tried-and-true techniques to increase conversions.

Use action-oriented language

Sometimes, the most effective way to get people to do something is to give a directive. 

  • Follow us on social media
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Download our whitepaper
  • Schedule an appointment

All of these phrases use simple, action-oriented language. It’s perfectly clear what you’re telling people to do, and they can either choose to take action or choose not to take action.

Sometimes, the most effective way to get people to do something is to give a directive. ”

Create a beautiful design with a prominent CTA button

How something looks often has a big impact on whether people take action. According to Bluehost, website design is one of the most important components to optimize for increased conversion, as streamlined webpages convert significantly higher than cluttered, clunky designs that are difficult to navigate.

Furthermore, designs that feature a single prominent — and sometimes larger — CTA button convert much higher than those with buried or multiple CTAs for better healthcare conversion rate optimization.

Having a beautiful medical website based on best practices is the gateway to your practice. Don't neglect this critical marketing component.

Showcase reviews or testimonials

High-value conversions — like booking an appointment — often require more convincing than actionable language and beautiful design. That’s where patient reviews and testimonials come in. Reviews and testimonials give prospective patients reassurance that other people have had favorable experiences with your healthcare practice.

3. Build your conversion marketing infrastructure

In some instances, you can implement conversion marketing using tools already available to you. For example, if you want more people to like your practice’s Facebook page, you can share worthwhile content that includes action-oriented language to prompt people to follow you.

To successfully convert more people into patients, however, you will need a sound marketing infrastructure, including:

An optimized website

Your healthcare practice website must feature a beautiful, streamlined design that looks great and loads quickly on all devices. To help persuade visitors to explore your site, your website homepage should feature patient reviews and testimonials and also clearly explain your qualifications, as well as the qualifications of any other physicians at the practice.

Each page on your website should have its own prominent CTA that encourages bookings. ”

Most importantly, each service you offer should have its own webpage. A dermatologist, for example, should have individual webpages for acne treatment, chemical peels, laser hair removal, scar reduction, and so on.

Each page should have its own prominent CTA that encourages bookings. Service webpages provide detailed information about each service that prospective patients can’t find on general webpages. Additionally, they help you measure which services are most in demand.

A data analytics dashboard

Data is an important aspect of conversion marketing, and a simple analytics dashboard is essential to interpret data.

Data helps you determine which conversion strategies are most effective so that you can continue to increase conversions. For example, you might find that text-heavy service pages rarely convert website visitors, whereas pages that feature several photographs have a high conversion rate.

You can deduce, then, that you should rework the text-heavy pages to include more photos in order to boost conversion. Data can also help you understand the marketing channels that are driving the most prospective patients at the lowest cost so you can better allocate your medical marketing budget.

You can purchase a data analytics dashboard from a number of companies. However, most are highly complex, as they are designed for professional marketers. A better move could be to find a company that offers a data analytics dashboard that exclusively features data that matters to your practice, such as the number of new patients booked online.

Optimize Operations

4. Test your conversion marketing efforts

Continual, accurate testing of your conversion marketing efforts is a necessity. A few variables most commonly tested include:

  • CTA buttons (color, location, size, font, etc.)
  • Photographs (photo vs. no photo, colorful photo vs. black and white photo, single photo subject vs. multiple photo subjects, etc.). Make sure your imagery is compelling to prospective patients.
  • Copy (active vs. passive voice, statement vs. question, conversational vs. technical language, etc.). Be sure your web copy speaks specifically about your specialty and the servicedsyou offer patients.

Conversion marketing tests usually fall into 1 of 2 categories:

A/B tests

An A/B test is an experiment in which 2 versions of a webpage, email, PPC ad, or other online content are pitted against one another to see which produces the highest conversion rate. Half of your audience is shown the original content — called the control — and the other half sees the other version — called the variation.

Also known as split tests, A/B tests often modify just 1 element at a time. For example, a red versus a blue CTA button or a CTA that reads “Book an appointment” versus a CTA that reads “Let’s Talk.” After the testing period is complete, you compare the data to see whether the control or variation yielded a higher conversion rate.

Multivariate tests

A multivariate test is an experiment in which you test multiple combinations of content elements simultaneously to see which combination yields the highest conversion rate. So you could test the color of a CTA button, the location of a CTA button, the phrasing of the CTA button, and so on, all at one time.

The benefit of multivariate tests is that they tend to yield more telling data. ”

Multivariate tests are more tedious than A/B tests, and they only render significant results if you have a large audience. The benefit of multivariate tests, though, is that they tend to yield more telling data. After all, a prospective patient’s choice to book online is rarely influenced by just 1 content element.

5. Consider a patient’s journey down the conversion funnel

As mentioned earlier, the patient journey begins long before a person schedules an appointment on your healthcare practice website. To further illustrate the patient journey, consider this example of a conversion funnel.

Real world example:

Lin, a 20-something individual, just relocated to Phoenix for work. In need of a teeth cleaning and without knowing many people in the area, Lin uses their phone to type the query [best dentists near me] into Google. Of the hundreds of thousands of results, Lin clicks the first result in the local pack and sees google business profiles for dentists near her.

Lin chooses a dental practice and lands on a website, and sees a beautiful, mobile-friendly design. They peruse the homepage and see helpful information that details the dentist’s qualifications and experience, a list of services, and reviews from real-life patients. 

As they scroll, a “sticky” navigation bar that prominently features a colorful CTA button encourages them to “Book Now.” They click the button, select a time and date, fill in their contact information, and submit. New patient Lin has reached the bottom of the conversion funnel.

Now imagine Lin is a prospective patient in your geographical area looking for services your healthcare practice offers. Would they see your website at the top of the search results? If not, what can you do to ensure they do, thereby landing them at the top of your conversion funnel?

Hopefully these tips will help you build your website with conversions in mind and begin to make better use of the leads and site visits that come your way.

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75% of people look online to find a doctor. Patients take a critical look at web presence, online business profiles, and reviews when they decide to pick a health provider. Learn where your practice should be online in the 2023 Patient Perspectives report.

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Catherine Tansey, business writer and reporter

Catherine Tansey is a business and healthcare writer and reporter. She has close to a decade of experience writing and reporting on small business best practices, emerging technology, market trends, and more. Catherine has several family members who own private practices in mental health services, dentistry, and chiropractics, and she’s seen firsthand the pride and privilege practice owners feel to be able to support their communities.

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