How do you increase conversions on your website?
How do you build trust with potential clients or patients through your website?
How do you make your patients or clients feel at ease before they ever walk through your doors?
The answer to all of these questions is this: implement a digital patient journey.
We wrote a blog last week on how to build trust with your patients before they ever walk through your doors, and it has inspired many conversations among our healthcare network. Because of that, we thought it’d be appropriate to walk you through what a digital patient journey is and how to implement one into your digital marketing strategy.
First things first: a digital patient journey is an online experience that guides patients through learning about your services and moves them to schedule an appointment with your healthcare facility.
Please note, a digital patient journey is not limited to just the healthcare field; it can and should be applied to all industries with an online presence. However, because we work heavily in healthcare marketing, we’ll stick with the healthcare example.
In order to guide your patients through a digital journey, you have to understand what type of information your patients are looking for, and what obstacles may prevent them from choosing your services. To do that, you must identify key patient personas. HubSpot released a fantastic blog a while back about how to identify key client personas; I often refer people to this article to learn more about how to build these, because these personas are essential to creating a patient journey, which is essential to growing your healthcare practice. Take a moment to read the blog linked above.
Now that you understand how to identify your top three types of patients, you can use this information to create a digital patient journey for each type of patient your practice treats. Remember, your patient journey needs to do three things in order to get a new patient to walk into your practice:
- Establish trust.
- Address concerns.
- Provide a hassle-free experience.
Let’s look at an example of a middle-aged man, Joe, who is experiencing chronic lower back pain, and see how we would address these three important aspects of a digital patient journey in order to gain this new patient.
1.Establish trust — The first thing Joe cares about is whether or not you can treat his lower back pain. He is tired of missing out on playing with his grandkids, and he wants to be able to walk the dog and stay active, but his quality of life is impacted by his chronic back pain. The best way to build trust is to acknowledge and empathize with Joe by addressing the fact that lower back pain can make you feel like you’re missing out on life. Be sure not to spend too much time talking about what the patient is missing out on, but a few sentences to empathize and build that emotional connection can go a long way. Follow up your empathy with the services and treatments you offer specific to lower back pain. This is your first page.
2. Address concerns — This section of your digital patient journey may span three or four pages, and is potentially the most important part of the digital journey. By addressing Joe’s concerns, you are eliminating reasons for him to not choose your practice. Think through the three most common concerns patients have that prevent them from walking through your doors. For many healthcare providers, the top three concerns include:
- Do the treatment options you offer have a high success rate?
- Can I afford this?
- What can I expect for my recovery?
- How do I know this really works?
You’ll notice the first and last bullet points are very similar. That’s because healthcare is always an emotional decision, and pages that address the emotional concerns should bookend the patient journey. The first page may err toward the more statistical side of addressing this concern, such as sharing success rates and percentages that show how people have recovered after lower back treatment. The pages about cost and recovery are straightforward, but provide valuable information to help ease Joe’s concerns about what he may be signing up for. The final page is one last emotional appeal to show Joe how successful this treatment can be for him. This page should have testimonials and pictures of actual patients who have undergone this treatment enjoying their lives.
3. Provide a hassle-free experience — The last page of the digital patient journey is conversion, so it’s important to make this step as seamless as possible. Typically, a contact form is the best way to seal the deal. This form should include general questions like what type of pain is the person experiencing, has the person had an MRI or CT scan in the past year, and what type of insurance does the person have. This information will help you determine if this patient is a good fit for your practice and what the next steps are when you call the patient to follow up with the appointment request.
The final step to creating a digital patient journey is tying all of these pages together. You want to guide Joe through these specific pages so you can control his patient journey and provide him with information that is most relevant to his need. To do that, you need to add navigational prompts on each page that direct him through the digital patient journey. These navigational prompts can be as simple as arrow buttons on the bottom of each page that indicate the topic of the next page. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it’s easily seen and provides a seamless guide through the patient journey.
To learn more about how to create a digital patient journey for your healthcare practice, contact Burg & Co. Marketing today. We are located in Downtown Tampa, and we specialize in healthcare marketing. Our team of certified inbound marketing specialists is ready to help you establish trust and build relationships with potential patients before they ever walk through your doors. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.