Your Veterinary Website: The Key To Winning The “Consideration” Stage Of The Customer Journey
When your veterinary animal hospital reviews the consideration stage in the customer journey, your practice’s website should take center stage. Without a doubt, your website plays a critical role, as virtually every potential client will visit it.
Let’s delve into the realm of your website
Embracing a digital presence has become an inescapable reality of today’s world. It stands as a cornerstone for achieving success within a veterinary practice. Drawing insights from conversations with practice owners across the nation, it’s evident that only a few practices harbor genuine affection for their websites. Challenges like the hassle of making updates, an outdated appearance, or poor search visibility contribute to rendering websites a “pain point” for many practices.
The silver lining is that you possess the power to effect change. You can turn this situation to your advantage by establishing the most outstanding web presence in your local community.
Your practice’s website: now a new first impression.
In days past, your practice’s physical building stood as a potential client’s initial impression. You invested efforts into creating eye-catching signage, an inviting reception area, and hiring a warm, hospitable staff to welcome clients. These aspects certainly retain their importance, however, a prior impression of your practice now wields the potential to determine whether a prospective client progresses to experiencing your beautiful establishment.
Naturally, I’m referring to your website.
Presently, consumers navigate through 57% of their purchasing journey before engaging with anyone directly. This means they’re nearly halfway towards deciding whether to opt for your practice before they even reach out to your affable front desk personnel—let alone setting foot in your impeccably maintained and inviting reception space.
To ensure that these potential clients ultimately step into your practice, your website must wield true effectiveness. But what defines an “effective” website?
A contemporary website aligns with a modern practice
Despite the plethora of aesthetic styles, the foundational requirement is that your website should exude a current and modern feel, regardless of your brand positioning.
Unfortunately, decisions are often swiftly made based on limited information. The adage about not judging a book by its cover holds—although, if it didn’t, the specialized field of marketers dedicated to designing book covers for enhanced sales wouldn’t exist!
Prospective clients lack the expertise to gauge your practice’s quality by merely observing your equipment, spaces, or tools. They do, however, require some yardstick to ascertain whether your practice aligns with their standards.
Drawing from Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s insights in Thinking, Fast and Slow, when faced with a complex question such as “Does this practice offer contemporary care for my pet?” people often instinctively substitute it with an easier question like “Does this practice boast an up-to-date, modern-looking website?”
It may not be entirely equitable, but this is precisely the behavior displayed by individuals—including you and me. All of us resort to rapid judgments founded on incomplete data. This underscores the vital role of your website in establishing trust and reliability. Your potential clients might not be able to discern between an antiquated and modern ultrasound machine, yet, they can unmistakably recognize an outdated website. Therefore, your website’s quality should mirror that of your practice.
Regrettably, it worsens before improving…
Another less-than-ideal revelation pertains to the source from which your prospective patients derive their notion of a modern website’s appearance. Reflect on the websites you frequent daily—perhaps you peruse news on The Wall St. Journal, shop on Amazon or Nordstrom, or connect with loved ones on Facebook. Each of these sites exemplifies technological and design marvels, backed by investments amounting to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, aimed at delivering a seamless user experience. This is the sphere your prospective clients inhabit. When they navigate to your website, they bring along the same elevated expectations. Consequently, a website with an antiquated appearance that falters on mobile devices—or one that lacks substantial information or fails to convey your practice’s ethos—will invariably leave an unfavorable impression, impacting your business prospects.
Finally, a glimmer of optimism
Nevertheless, a ray of hope emerges. Even though potential clients’ expectations regarding website experiences have soared, the cost-effectiveness of crafting a high-quality website that meets these expectations has concurrently increased.
In my tenure within the agency realm, I’ve supervised the development of numerous websites—many of which were bespoke projects developed from scratch. The budgets assigned to these custom websites ranged from $25,000 to upwards of $100,000. Of course, a website for your practice need not command such astronomical expenses. The landscape now accommodates a plethora of website development options, starting with pre-designed elements that can be tailored to suit your needs. This approach not only economizes time but also cuts costs.
So, what defines an exemplary veterinary website in today’s context?
Several perspectives can be applied, yet fundamental principles persist:
- Contemporary: Boasting a sleek, refined design characterized by a minimalist aesthetic
- Branded: Conveying your practice’s culture, values, and distinctive philosophy
- Mobile-responsive: Functioning seamlessly across all devices, including smartphones and tablets
- Informative: Hosting exceptional, enlightening content that positions you as an authority
- Up-to-date: Easily updatable and manageable, enabling the inclusion of fresh content
What constitutes a “modern design”?
Several key characteristics define a contemporary, modern design:
- Simplicity, Clarity, and Consistency: Minimize clutter and consider the experience on smaller screens. Avoid unnecessary ornamental elements – using visually appealing images, distinct colors, and elegant fonts is acceptable. However, be cautious of excessive borders, redundant drop shadows, and other embellishments that might enhance aesthetics but could hinder site performance and divert attention away from your content.
- Distinctive and Large Typography: Unlike the past, today’s web offers an array of font choices. Collaborate with your designer to select at least one distinctive font that can establish your site’s branding and leave a lasting impression. Google Fonts provides numerous options and even suggests effective font combinations for headings and body text.
- Engaging Visuals: Incorporate impactful, high-quality images to establish a connection with your site’s visitors. Utilize photos showcasing your practice, clients, patients, and staff – moving away from generic stock photos. While smartphone images can suffice, hiring a local freelance photographer for professional shots is recommended. Ensure images are “responsive,” automatically adapting to various screens for optimal display on all devices.
- Utilizing Videos: Video content is a powerful means of conveying your narrative and representing your brand. Videos featuring your team, medical professionals, clients, and patients foster trust and boost engagement. Moreover, videos enhance search engine optimization (SEO) performance and elevate conversion rates – the proportion of site visitors taking subsequent actions like contacting your practice or requesting appointments. Marketing software provider Visually suggests that video can amplify conversion rates by over 50%.
Your Site as an Informative Hub
The concept of “expert positioning” may be familiar to you. It entails showcasing your mastery in a field. In the context of a veterinary practice, this translates to demonstrating your authority and credibility as a source of reliable information concerning pet care.
Traditional approaches, which solely list offered services with minimal content, have become outdated. To captivate and engage visitors, your site must offer substantial, thought-provoking, and educational content.
Your clients’ trust stems from your showcased expertise during in-person consultations. Yet, as initial impressions increasingly occur online, it’s vital to translate this expertise into your website content.
Comprehensive, insightful content has proven to elevate search engine performance, driving around 70% of traffic to veterinary websites.
Creating this content might appear daunting. While partnering with GeniusVets provides access to a vast repository of Google-optimized content, you can also learn to craft high-quality content independently. The key is to initiate and generate content consistently – compose a blog post or service page weekly, and build upon this foundation. We’ve also devised efficient strategies for quicker content creation – feel free to reach out for more insights.
To excel with your content:
- Thoroughly address common queries, mirroring your approach during consultations
- Deliver general insights regarding health matters, procedures, choices, and potential outcomes
- Provide current recommendations and guidance
- Reference reliable sources and authorities
- Support your suggestions with recent, relevant data
- Consider offering “FAQs” addressing common procedure-related questions
- Develop blogs and videos discussing recent advancements
Robust content bolsters your reputation as an expert practice.
Guiding Visitors to the Next Stage
Efforts invested in content creation bear fruit when visitors convert, leading to new patients and augmented revenue. Remember, “conversion” refers to progressing to the next phase of the customer journey – in this context, prompting visitors to call or fill out online forms to schedule an appointment.
Achieving this goal necessitates a clear call to action.
Given people’s busyness and distractions, their attention spans may not accommodate deciphering the next steps. Consequently, explicit directives are essential in marketing and on your website:
- “Schedule an appointment now!”
- “Subscribe to our newsletter!”
- “Call us today!”
Every webpage should incorporate a call to action. Ideally, these should logically align with the content and correspond to relevant services. For instance, a blog post addressing canine halitosis could feature a call to action like “Is your dog experiencing bad breath? Book a dental examination now!”
Turning Plans into Reality
Transforming your practice’s website into a robust marketing tool isn’t an instantaneous process. It demands time, effort, and often a budget allocation. However, with suitable partners and a reasonable time commitment, progress can be made more quickly than anticipated. As with any new endeavor, initial challenges may arise, but as you generate more content and embrace your website as a platform to showcase your brand and ethos, the journey will become smoother.
Should you desire a more comprehensive understanding of creating a practice website yielding tangible business outcomes, please consider scheduling a demo with our team of experts!