7 Effective Website Design Attributes for Integrative Health Brands

By Glenn Sabin

Plan.

h5. If your website is not effectively designed and optimized to ‘immediately’ engage visitors, you may be losing more prospective patients or clients than you think.

Fact: over 60% of us first research a product or service on the web and make purchasing or engagement decisions prior to ever placing our actual email or phone order. Today’s healthcare consumer is certainly no exception; she’s visiting your site as well as physician rating sites. Bottom line: consumers are now well-armed with external brains at their fingertips. Literally. Think smartphone + Google search.

Your website conveys both your brand identity and company ethos. Thus, it’s arguably the most critical component of both the information gathering and decision-making process. Overtime, under-performing websites negatively impact the businesses’ bottom line health. Perhaps this is currently happening with yours.

Here are 7 must-have features for attracting new integrative health and medicine customers with your website:

h4. 1. Communicates Quickly with a Clean and Simple Homepage

Less is more; KISS principle reigns supreme. Use large (but not schlock and stock) images, modern design and concise messaging. Website engagement studies show your site has less than 15 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention, guide them through the key sections and on through the ‘sales funnel’ where, ultimately, you hope they take action: i.e., make an appointment, purchase a product/service or subscribe to your newsletter.

A well-designed, effective homepage doesn’t offer ‘everything but the kitchen sink’. In fact, showing the world everything your organization does is usually counter-productive. Instead, clearly and succinctly communicate your organization’s value proposition: that is, what you do best. Be thoughtful. Be selective.

h4. 2. Well-Organized Navigation Bar(s)

The KISS principle also applies to your website’s top (header) and bottom (footer) navigation bars. Use drop-down menus to condense the number of tabs but provide depth of information. For example, your About US page might feature a drop-down menu including a short history, mission and vision statement as well as a list of providers and staff. For your Conditions Treated section, consider providing a drop-down menu list linking to other pages featuring value-rich content (hopefully yours) pertaining to various pathologies. Your Services page can be similarly handled. The basic rule of thumb is to keep sections abridged and text pithy. Linking to longer content and informative older posts can be very effective. Create headers that spawn additional windows of content on the same page so viewers can selectively read about each service. But remember to keep it short!

h4. 3. Exclusive Content in Exchange for Lead Generation

Lead generation is the vitally important process of converting casual visitors into valuable leads and, ultimately, customers. Creating and offering a high quality exclusive piece of content (i.e., an eBook, guide or directory) in exchange for permission to email updates or newsletters is a great way to develop a valuable list of potential customers.

Again, your homepage must feature an effective mechanism to capture valuable leads. Remember, not everyone visiting your site is immediately ready to contact you or purchase a product or service. However, to the extent someone likes what they see and read, they’re more likely to revisit your site later. In any case, you want to capture these viable leads to constructively keep in touch. Helpful outreach, especially in the form of delivering a newsletter chockfull of useful content, creates an important channel by which you can keep in touch with your community. Properly nurtured, this list becomes your most viable group of potential customers.

Download FON’s eBook: Grow Your Integrative Medicine Business By Telling Bigger Stories

h4. 4. Built on Platform Enabling In-House Staff to Manage and Update

OK, so it’s not design-specific but I need to point out that it’s highly ineffective if not downright counter-productive to have an outside webmaster perform simple updates like tweaking static content pages or uploading new content and images. Every business needs in-house capability to perform basic updates in real-time. Platforms like WordPress featuring built in content management systems make it so easy that anyone can do it with a little guidance and practice!

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h4. 5. Showcases Testimonials

Most businesses, integrative health brands notwithstanding, spend too much space on their sites describing how great they are. Think about it from a consumer’s perspective. What’s more compelling, hearing self-praise from a clinic leader or kudos from an actual satisfied fellow customer? Exactly. Ask your patients to submit short testimonials using only their first name or, with permission, their entire name. Better yet, produce a high-quality short video testimonial. While you’re at it, transcribe the video narrative and feature as text accompaniment to each video segment.

h4. 6. Multiple Options for Patients and Clients to Contact You

Minimize communication obstacles by making it easy as possible for people to contact you. Today’s prospective customers prefer to connect by a variety of modes. Not everyone’s comfortable with completing extensive website forms asking personal questions. Rather, in addition to providing your phone number consider including a link to a simple email contact form; offering a live email chat option with a nurse practitioner; medical assistant; or customer service agent.

h4. 7. Optimized for Mobile Devices and Tablets

Your attractive website may communicate well on a laptop, but how does it look on a tablet or smartphone? If you’re using WordPress, it may already be optimized. When is the last time you viewed your site on multiple devices? Since we’re now accessing the Internet with e-readers, tablets and smart phones more than we are with laptop and desktop computers, it’s seriously worth taking a good look to get this right. Called ‘responsive design’ in Web jargon, how a page renders on various e-devices is a quickly growing area for developers.

h4. Bonus: Don’t Forget the Basic Legal Stuff

Though this post focuses on website homepage design attributes, I want to point out some basic legal matters that over the years, unfortunately, I’ve noticed many of FON’s clients do not have in place prior to engagement. Nailing these “101” legal matters within your site can help preclude a lot of potential problems down the road.

* Medical Disclaimer
* Terms of Use
* Privacy Policy
* © Copyright Line

 
 
If nothing else after reading this post, pay heed to the legal items mentioned above. You’ll typically find these at the footer of your homepage and linked to separate pages. Your medical disclaimer can also be spelled out along the footer area and within other select sections of your site, including your blog and various key content areas.

Now’s the Time to Get Started!

If you haven’t updated your website in several years for whatever reasons including time and money, chances are that you’re unintentionally sabotaging your enterprise’s long-term growth potential. Make sure to get started now!

About FON

FON is a leading integrative health and medicine business development and strategy consulting firm. FON specializes in custom solutions for growing patient volume, developing programs, and increasing product sales. Our practical business models are driven by innovative marketing, clear messaging, and customer engagement via branded storytelling.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your business development or personal brand needs.

 

Glenn Sabin Author: Glenn Sabin

FON’s founder, Glenn Sabin, is a nationally recognized thought leader with a reputation for successfully positioning integrative health organizations for sustainable growth. Combining media, marketing and business development expertise with an extensive professional and personal integrative health and medicine narrative, Glenn is deeply passionate about advancing the field as the new standard of care—accessible to all.
Read Glenn's story.

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