Thursday, September 29, 2016

Three best practices for healthcare web design

Designing a healthcare website? Think like a business. You need to do more than simply communicate your services. You need to market your services. In today’s competitive healthcare environment, it’s important that your healthcare website design is an effective marketing tool.
Doctor with Stethoscope

TBH Creative has worked with healthcare websites large and small and we have three recommendations to turn your healthcare website into a powerful business tool.

Best practices for healthcare website design

1. Consider what your audience needs

A good healthcare website is one that is built with the audience in mind. Everything from the navigation to the content should be carefully examined through the lens of your primary market. How do you do this? First you learn, then you design.

Do you have marketing personas built that detail your audience’s needs, learning preferences, and Internet familiarity? If not, now is the time to build them. These personas become your de facto healthcare website audience. For example, a pediatrician's target audience might be new moms nearby and/or families who just moved to the area. After doing some research into those audience types, you would develop personas that tell you about their likes, dislikes, needs, comfort level online and more. Give those personas names - in effect bringing them to life - and refer to them often. New Mom Mary and Just Moved Julie would then be considered throughout the planning, design and development process.

You want the navigation choices and style to make sense to them. You need the content headlines to talk to their specific needs. You want calls to action that engage them. In short, you aren’t designing a website for your board or your medical staff or even you… you’re designing it for Mary and Julie. Ask what they need from your website and you’ll be on the path to success.
You might also like: The value of audience personas

2. Play up your unique selling propositions

What do you do exceptionally well? What do you offer that makes you different from other healthcare providers? If people have a choice in hospitals, why should they choose you? Answer these questions and you’re well on your way to establishing your healthcare website content organization and needs.
If people have a choice, why should they choose you? Smart healthcare website design + development answers that question.Tweet this
Content is what drives people to your website. The way you present that content is what makes your audience want to spend time learning about your services and further engaging. Keep your strongest benefits top-of-mind when designing your healthcare website and then work towards highlighting them. A few examples:
  • If you have a new surgical suite or just became a Level III Certified NICU, you should promote that on the home page in an attractive, eye-catching manner. This immediately sets you apart and draws readers further into your site to learn more.
  • Do you offer the convenience of making online appointments? Keep that feature front and center so your website users make use of it. 
Colorful, welcoming home page of a dentist with their appointment option front & center
  • Healthcare is a people business. When you hire new physicians, don’t just add them to your online directory. Promote them on applicable service pages. Interview them for a blog article. Consider a feature on the home page to highlight new physicians and the fantastic benefits they bring to your hospital or practice.What does your prospective patient really want to know? What questions do they ask before a procedure? Develop content around these questions and you’ll be truly talking to your patients and their families – your healthcare website then becomes a valuable resource for them before, during and after care.
Screenshot of Logansport Memorial Hospital OB/GYN page
  • Do you have a service or tangible benefit that is different from a competing hospital or practice in the area? Promote it with a callout in the applicable service area. Add photos to clearly illustrate the benefit. Consider adding patient testimonials that address that competitive benefit. It’s a great way to address your competition – without actually mentioning your competition.

3. Leverage your resource

You’ve invested time and budget into your website, maximize that investment. Your healthcare website is much more than a communication tool. It should be the hub for your digital marketing efforts. Inbound marketing that reaches out through communication channels where your patients and prospective patients already are makes your website an ongoing marketing tool. Look for ways to engage your audience and you’ll reap far more benefits.
You might also like: Inbound Marketing: what is it and how can it help

* Bonus best practice: Include a career site

Healthcare hiring is competitive. Create a section of your healthcare website – or even a micro site – focused completely on working for your hospital or practice. Describe the culture and environment. Tell someone why working for you is a wonderful opportunity. Tie into your ATS for job openings and online applications. It’s one more way to leverage your investment and an excellent way to attract people.

Screen shot of Franciscian Health Careers Page

Creating the best healthcare website

There is no one size fits all path to follow. No cookie cutter healthcare website design is going to best serve you. What does make the best healthcare website? Strategically considering your audience’s needs and then developing a website that addresses those needs in an engaging, interactive fashion. Listen first, build second – it’s just one of the things that makes TBH Creative a strong partner for healthcare website design and development. Need help with your healthcare website development? Let’s get started.
Tatum

About the author | Tatum Hindman

Tatum is the president of TBH Creative and is responsible for building long-term client relationships. She enjoys the strategy behind web design and sitting down with clients to define online marketing goals. She likes to blog about questions or topics that clients ask about as well as sharing new tricks.

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