The digital world is the place to be – there’s no question about it. It’s where your potential prospects are and where they go to find information about their ailments and answers to their problems. But, if you’ve tried promoting your physical therapy clinic online, then you know that it can be a pain to keep up with all the new emerging trends. But alas, it’s what you have to do to stay afloat.
Think about it for a second: how do you keep bringing in new patients to your PT clinic without a strong online presence? Sure, offline, traditional marketing means can still work, but you have better chances of growing your clinic’s reach through online marketing strategies.
Four new movements are making some serious buzz at the moment: HTTPS, AMP for email, geolocation and voice search, and if you don’t know anything about them yet, you’ll definitely want to keep reading. While some are more in the now than others, there is no ignoring this new wave of online trends.
Let’s tackle them individually:
HTTPS means “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure,” and you can spot this acronym at the beginning of URLs if you divert your eyes to your browser’s bar and check the first part of the link. Or, you might see the ‘HTTP’ acronym, the non-secure alternative.
HTTPS signals that the site you are browsing is secure, while the HTTP acronym means it’s not. A secure website encrypts all the data sent between your browser and a particular website, which means third parties with unholy intentions cannot understand it.
Simply put, an HTTPS website means hackers can’t intercept data transmitted between your website and the patients’ browser. Patients can securely navigate your site, or fill out forms with personal information without fearing that someone can steal their data. If you currently have a non-secure website, then your platform is vulnerable in case of an attack.
But apart from data security, HTTPS connections are also one of Google’s top priorities. In its attempt to provide searchers only with the best, most relevant information, the search giant is favoring secure websites. In other words, if your physical therapy clinic’s website does not have an HTTPS connection, Google might rank it lower than others even if you have a stellar strategy in place.
This one’s easy, mainly because there’s no going around it: convert your website to HTTPS. You don’t necessarily have to design a new one from scratch. But your patients will feel more at ease knowing your PT clinic’s website is secure.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source framework designed to help mobile pages load faster. While initially meant to help publishers, AMP’s potential today goes far beyond that and can significantly improve a user’s experience.
This is why AMP went from web pages to email. Google wants to integrate AMP into their Gmail features and let it become a creative way for developers “to create more engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.”
AMP allows certain tasks to be completed directly in the email. For instance, with AMP for email, your patients might be able to book an appointment quickly, fill in a survey, or confirm payments directly within the email message without having to click on a link that redirects them to a different page to complete the action.
With this technology, you can keep your patients up to date quickly and, in turn, your patients can become more engaged. Your physical therapy clinic won’t send subscribers boring texts with information patients have to go through to understand the next course of action. Your email will become engaging, straightforward, and less time consuming to go through.
Not much, at least not yet. Google is still figuring out the kinks of AMP for email, but you can sign up now to get the developer access and try out some of the functions before they fully integrate them. But a lot of people are very excited at its potential, so it’s wise not to ignore it.
Voice Search technology isn’t entirely new. The world of digital assistants has been growing, and more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon by frequently relying on the help of Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, and others.
A definition: voice search is a speech recognition technology that gives users the possibility of searching a particular topic by merely stating out loud what they’re looking for, no typing required. You can even speak emojis for this option to work. Here are some uses:
With this technology, your physical therapy clinic can easily provide patients with the information they require. Especially in the case of a new patient navigating your website for the first time, it can take them a while to get the answers they are looking for (particularly when they don’t know what that is).
Voice search can keep them on your website for longer and lower your bounce rate. Patients can research your clinic’s services faster and book an appointment with one of your specialists, or jump from one topic to the next without problems. It’s a win-win.
With voice search on the rise, the impact on SEO is becoming more and more visible. In traditional queries where patients type keywords to get relevant information, the SERP displays a list of websites the SE thinks best suit a user’s request. You can then optimize your website to ensure you are at the top of the results, increasing your chances of bringing in new patients.
However, when the user says their request out loud, the results tend to be more straightforward so the PT clinic with the most voice-optimized website may take the lead. If you’re already using SEO practices, then just a few tweaks may do the trick. If not, you have a lot more work to do.
But here’s a useful tip: use long-tail keywords. When your patients are saying their query out loud, they tend to be specific, as if in a real conversation. So, if they’re looking for a physical therapy clinic in their area, they will say something to the likes of “where to find PT clinics in Baltimore,” or even go more specific if they are looking for a particular type of service. Make sure to use these keywords to increase your chance of being voice-search friendly.
Geolocation shows the geographical location of a device connected to the internet. When a person uses a tablet, mobile phone or another device to surf the web, they can choose whether or not to activate their location sharing feature.
Some websites and application ask the users upfront to share their location if they want to proceed using their services. Sometimes it’s for the sake of the very purpose of the app (like in games such as Pokemon Go), sometimes it’s just for websites to show their users the best results based on location.
Physical therapy clinics can have two big benefits from geolocation. For one thing, they can market their services directly to those patients located in their area. Most of your patients won’t look for clinics all over the country; they’ll typically want something that’s near them.
Moreover, you can improve the user experience, particularly if you have PT clinics in multiple areas. Let’s say a potential patient finds your website through a SERP and is interested in your services. When they click on the link, you can use the location to redirect them to the page of the clinic nearest to them, instead of relying on patients to navigate to it.
If you’re a little tech savvy, you can use countless online tutorials that explain how to use geolocation. If not, it’s best you find some help because this feature can enable you to target your audience and get better results. It’s already being used by a lot of websites and apps, so you have to catch up.
It’s understandable if you’re a bit reserved at this point and not jumping up and down at the thought of embracing these trends. It’s possible they won’t be widespread for quite some time, and it’s even more possible something else will come along the line.
But when the competition is stiff, you have to take on whatever future trend you can to stay afloat. Every business has to, otherwise:
It’s imperative to stay on top of these web trends (and those to come) to keep your PT clinic in the game and to grow your practice. Thankfully, you don’t have to rush and do all these things overnight, but definitely include them in your future strategies. And, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. At PatientSites.com, you can find a team of experts that can help you navigate the complex world of online marketing and conquer it.
And, if you want a final argument, here’s one: go on a website built in the 90s and take a step back to see how far we’ve come. Now imagine if the site’s you now visit had ignored web trends and remained in their bubble. We’d certainly be dealing with a different online world.
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