If you’re like the owners of most medical practices, the primary reason you’ve invested in a website is that you want to use it to get more patients into your practice. However, bringing in new patients isn’t as simple as building a website and waiting for the money to roll in. Before you can get people into your practice, you need to get them to your website and win them over.
Some medical professionals are hesitant to talk about the costs of treatment on their websites because they worry that being too upfront about costs will scare prospects away. This is misguided, but understandable—after all, medical treatment can be quite expensive and people might decide they can’t afford it, while if you wait until they’re in your office before talking about costs, you can show them all the benefits at the same time.
But in reality, being clear about costs from the beginning can actually be a great marketing tactic. If you’re clever about it, you can actually turn the costs associated with the treatments you provide into one of your selling points, while also using this information to bring more traffic to your website.
Answer patients’ questions to earn website traffic
Attracting search engine traffic to your website is the first step to using the site as a marketing tool. For private medical practices, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site is to answer the questions that people have about your treatments. People often search for the answers to questions they have, which means that websites that explicitly answer those questions can earn a large proportion of that search traffic.
One of the most common questions that patients have about any medical treatment is how much it’s going to cost them, and they go to Google to find the answer to this question.
For most common medical treatments, there are tens of thousands of searches every month asking about the cost. Answering these kinds of general questions can help your website rank well, but just as importantly, it gives your website visitors what they need to make an informed decision about treatment.
(As an aside, there’s something to be aware of when doing keyword research–”braces” can mean several different things. In this case we can be fairly confident that most of these searches are for orthodontic braces because those are simply much more common, but this may not be true for all keywords for your practice. Keep this in mind when choosing which keywords to target.)
Rather than waiting until someone books a consultation before you discuss prices with them, putting the cost of treatments front and center on your website can actually improve the chances of people booking consultations in the first place. Website visitors who feel educated and empowered are more likely to move forward with treatments they’ve been considering because they aren’t worried about being surprised by the cost when they’re sitting in your office.
Create a payment calculator
There are a lot of ways to discuss prices on your website. You can simply list the prices of your different treatments on your homepage, or create pages for each treatment where you discuss the pricing options. However, those are usually not the most effective ways to handle this information.
For any kind of complex medical treatment, there are a lot of variations in treatment for different patients. An online tool that lets patients examine their options and payment methods can be hugely beneficial. Giving potential patients the ability to explore treatment options and payment plans on their own can hook people who would never have booked an appointment or called for information. A payment calculator is a great, interactive way to accomplish this.
Payment calculators help get more patients into your practice by giving them a sense of control over the whole process. Your potential patients can play around with the settings until they find a combination that works for them, which gives them a sense of control–THEY are controlling how much the treatment is going to cost. And most importantly, knowing what to expect helps them feel more confident about booking a consultation.
To get the most value out of your payment calculator, you should require that site visitors enter their email address and name into a form before they can access it. This way you can immediately offer them the option to book a consultation after they use the calculator, and then send an email to follow up with people who have chosen not to book.
Check out these statistics from one of our clients who adopted this strategy:
We created a payment calculator for this client in the fall of 2016, and they saw substantial gains in traffic every month. But even more importantly, the payment calculator page drove more conversions than any other page on their website. Once site visitors spent a few minutes playing with values in the calculator, they were much more likely to either book a consultation immediately or after receiving a follow-up email.
What else can you do?
While payment calculators can be very effective marketing tools for getting more patients into your practice, you can do other things as well to reassure potential patients. If the treatments you offer can be covered by insurance, talk about which aspects of the treatment are covered and how this can affect what patients pay out of pocket.
If you and your practice are willing to work directly with insurance providers to ensure that your patients receive maximum benefits, then say so. This can be a big selling point for potential patients who are on the fence. Similarly, if you offer payment plans, describe them. What are your patients’ options? Anything you can do to reassure them that there’s a plan that’s right for them will help boost your conversion rate and get more patients into your practice.
Talking about the costs of treatment can help get more patients into your practice
Despite what many medical practitioners believe, being upfront about the costs of treatment in your practice can be an excellent way to bring in more patients. When potential patients search for the cost of treatment online and discover your site, your honesty about the cost of treatments will help them trust you—especially compared to any of your competitors who might not have that information accessible on their website.
Furthermore, tools like payment calculators put the power in your potential patients’ hands, giving them the ability to find a payment plan that they’re comfortable with, and giving them the confidence to book a consultation with you.
However, not every practice is trying to attract patients who consider cost such an important factor. For more tips on how to effectively market a medical practice online, check out our whitepaper Inbound Marketing for Healthcare Practices: 5 Key Strategies to Stand Out From the Competition. It’s FREE, and contains everything you need to know to bring the power of inbound marketing to bear on the unique challenges of healthcare practices.