7 Surprising Things That You Can Learn from the Patients That Don't Convert

The reasons why your patients aren’t converting and tips on what to do about them.

Here is a story physical therapy clinic owners know all too well.

You’ve worked to create a website that is optimized for SEO. You create content on a regular basis and get a steady amount of traffic.

There’s just one problem.

All those new visitors that land on your site, look around, read some of your articles but leave never to be seen again.

In spite of your best intentions, your prospective patients aren’t converting.

What is it that you’re missing?

Instead of falling into despair, ask yourself if there is anything that you can learn from the patients that come, look around, and leave without converting.

Why Aren’t Visitors Converting?

Different businesses understand conversion differently. By definition, conversion means turning a visitor into a customer. But, for some, conversion translates into buys, while for others it means getting an email address or a download.

Either way, conversion requires an exchange of value. You are offering somebody access to valuable information in exchange for personal data, for example.

But, why aren’t your visitors taking advantage of your offers?

To be frank, the main reasons visitors leave your PT clinic’s website without converting is because you are probably making a lot of mistakes. Maybe your website is difficult to navigate, or your content is difficult to read.

However, this article isn’t about the mistakes you might be making, but about the lessons you can learn from the patients that don’t convert. 

Lesson #1: Your Message Is Confusing

What is your first thought when you read the following tagline: “Just Do It”?

You immediately think of Nike, the famous sportswear company.

Some of the most successful brands today were also responsible for creating some of the most popular taglines. Based on this, you might be led to believe that to get visitors to subscribe, you need to come up with a catchy slogan.

While it’s true that a clever tagline might grab your patients’ attention, this strategy is unlikely to work for you. And, here’s why.

Your physical therapy clinic is fairly new on the market. So, while you spend time and effort trying to come up with catchy taglines, you prospective patients are just trying to figure out who you are and what you can do for them.

Nobody is going to convert if they don’t understand your offer. And, if you think visitors are going to spend their precious time trying to figure out your message or to look you up, then you should think again. In fact, you only have about 8-10 seconds to make a compelling case for your business, so you better make them count.

Conduct a focus group and have your audience take a look at your home page. Ask them “Can you tell me what this business offers?

If they can’t answer this simple question, then you’ve learned a valuable lesson – your visitors aren’t converting because they don’t understand your business.

Lesson #2: You Don’t Know Your Audience

You just discovered that your patients aren’t converting. Naturally, the first question you ask yourself is why.

That’s a great start that can help you learn a lot about the clicking habits of your patients or the way they engage with your content. But, do you know what would be an even better question?

“Who are my patients?”

Here’s the hard truth: Without defining your audience, you will end up creating content that will attract a large array of visitors that won’t convert. Why? Because most of them just happened to land on your page, but aren’t looking for anything in particular.

When you know who your audience is and what problems they have, you can start speaking their language.

Build a buyer persona to create the profile of your ideal patient. Don’t limit themselves to generic information, such as “men, age 25-35”, but rather create a detailed persona.

Here’s an example:

Louis, postal worker

Louis, aged 53, is a father of two underage girls, who lives in a small condo three blocks away from the clinic. His wife works as a nurse. Their yearly income allows them to live a decent life, but they can’t afford any luxuries. Louis has insurance through work.

Louis likes music and hiking. He doesn’t watch too much TV but uses the internet to keep himself informed. He suffered a leg fracture three years ago and went to a physical therapist to speed up the recovery period. He had a good experience.

Patient goal: to be able to take his eldest daughter hiking for her high school graduation.

If you aren’t confident in your ability to create a complex and insightful persona, then it would be best to work with a professional who is experienced at doing this.

Lesson #3: They’re Not at the Right Point in the Buying Cycle

Patients don’t always convert, and that’s OK. Do you know why? That is because they are not at the right point in the buying cycle. In other words, they are not ready to take action - yet.

The buying cycle is the process customers go through before purchasing an item/service. It features three stages:

  • Awareness: Your target audience became aware that they have a problem that must be fixed;
  • Evaluation: They are considering various places that can help them fulfill that need and they evaluate the best and safest decision;
  • Conversion: They decided and are ready to make a purchase

Understanding the buying cycle is an essential lesson because it will help you realize that non-converting patients aren’t forever lost. They might just be at a different stage of the buying cycle. But, they might return and convert.

Lesson #4: You Don’t Test

A few years back, Mozilla was trying increase downloads of their Firefox browser. They looked at their Call-To-Action (hereafter CTA) buttons and decided to try something new. So, they started with a simple A/B test, changing the CTA copy from “Try Firefox 3” to “Download Now – Free.”

The results were stunning. During just two weeks, the Firefox customized page got nearly 30.000 clicks to download, and the conversion rate grew from 9.73% to 10.7%.

The moral of this story should be pretty obvious: testing is important.

Don’t limit yourself to testing only your CTA button’s copy. Test anything and everything, from headlines and images to opt-in forms. Examine the results and see what you can do to improve user experience or the quality of your content. Maybe your patients aren’t converting because your CTAs aren’t strong enough or because your opt-in forms are too long.

Lesson #5: You Neglect Conversion Optimization

You know the importance of gathering qualitative and quantitative data. You know how much time your visitors spend on the page before bouncing, what type of articles they prefer, what links or buttons they click, and so on. But, are you using this data to improve your PT clinic’s website to get more prospects to convert?

Smart PT clinic owners know that conversion optimization is extremely important. Rather than guessing what might work, they take a scientific approach to optimizing their website and to getting more visitors to convert into subscribers and customers. So, they test different versions of a landing page, compare them and use the one that drives more conversions.

It may come as a surprise to you that even the smallest changes, such as a tweak in the headline, can have a huge impact on the number of people who subscribe to your newsletter or purchase your services.

Sure, non-converting visitors are a hassle. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t find new ways to make them more likely to convert. 

Lesson #6: More Traffic Doesn’t Mean More Conversion

You worked day and night producing great content, optimizing and generating quality backlinks. Your hard efforts are paying off, and you start to see an increase in traffic number.

And, then what happens?

Nobody converts.


A common mistake is believing that traffic equals conversions. It makes sense, right? The more people visit your website, the better the chances of making a sale. But, that’s not always the case.

Online users have different purposes when reading content: navigational, informational and transactional. Navigational and informational users are at the top, and middle stages of the sales funnel. They are aware of a problem, and they are looking for solutions. But, they are not ready to decide yet.

A boost in traffic might mean that you are attracting navigational and informational patients. Use conversion optimization tools to improve their experience and turn them into transactional patients.

Lesson #7: You Don’t Ask Them to Convert

It may seem a little obvious, but patients won’t take action if you don’t ask them to do it. In fact, according to one research, nearly 70% of small businesses websites don’t have a call-to-action on their website.

Many physical therapists believe that telling patients what to do is invasive and annoying. But, the reality is that users need guidance. They need you to tell them what buttons to click or what links to follow. They will decide if they want to take action, but without any guidance, they won’t know what to do next and bounce. Not to mention that they don’t have the time to figure out what you want from them.


Not all of your patients will convert immediately, and that’s OK. In fact, it is an opportunity to learn what is not working on your website and how to fix it.

If you need help creating a PT website that will provide patients with a seamless experience and persuade them to convert, then you should consider what PatientSites can do for you. 

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