[Part 2 of our 2-Part Series: Search is the way to a patient’s heart]
Woody Allen once quipped that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” While it’s unclear whether Woody was talking about Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, he should have been.
Studies have shown that healthcare consumers spend two weeks researching before booking an appointment, visiting multiple websites along the way, typically found via search engine queries. If a healthcare provider wants to convert these consumers, a huge part of that success is getting consumers to land onto that healthcare website during their research. This is done by simply showing up.
The ZMOT begs an answer to that scary question: Are you showing up when your customers are searching? Because if you’re not, someone else is. Read our previous article to understand why this is so critical.
Okay, so you’ve addressed the problem by investing in quality SEO and SEM. Your healthcare solution is showing up where patients are searching and there’s an increase in traffic on your website. You’re scot-free, right?
Unfortunately, there’s an even scarier question to answer now: what do you do with them now that you have them?
You invest every marketing dollar you have into building the perfect website, right? Not exactly.
There is no perfect website, only constant learning
This may sound like an eastern Zen mantra to be repeated as you continually rake pebbles, but it’s true: there is no perfect website. There is a widely believed myth that there is such a thing as a perfect website based on industry, design, and marketing best-practices, and that if you have enough money, you can just go out and buy one.
Believing this myth typically has one of two effects: Either companies spend an exorbitant amount of money on a website that has a modern look and feel and then sit on their laurels, or companies stick with their poorly designed website because… well, they’re poor.
Neither is better off than the other because the fundamental problem is the same with both: apathy. No matter how effective your website is, or how cutting edge the design, it’s important to either begin or stay on top of your user experience (UX) on your website.
While there is no perfect site, and no defined best-practices that result in a rote product, there is a fundamental process map for designing a great online user experience. Before anyone gets too excited about a paint-by-numbers approach, each website design will be different based on everything from organizational goals to user expectations. Data is a pillar of this process, from beginning to “end” (it never ends).
UX process gives your patients a perpetual voice, via data
Notice the vital role data plays in each step of the process. A quality UX depends on the data-driven cycle of listening and innovating.
- Discovery & Exploration
It’s important to begin a UX design by stepping back and learning about the website’s current data, culture, and users. From a qualitative perspective, this phase is equivalent to sitting in a mall and learning how shoppers shop by observing individuals’ decision-making habits. Quantitative discovery and exploration requires digging into existing data sets from the current website to observe habits and trends on a larger scale. All of this data gives users a voice.
The next step involves taking those qual and quan learnings from step one, and crystallizing clearly defined opportunities and problems with clear measurements of success. Metrics are another often misunderstood part of the process that are commonly believed to be rote best-practices, but the truth is not all metrics are cookie-cutter for every website. “Bounce rates” and “conversion rates,” for example, can be horribly misconstrued if merely taken at face value. Metrics like those are typically thrown around without understanding why they are important for each particular website/user-base, and can even sometimes be completely irrelevant. Discovery, exploration, and finally, validation are the key ingredients to defining why and how success is measured for each website. Defining metrics needs to be rooted in a greater strategy, or else they have little to no use.
- (Never-ending) Validation
Do your solutions solve the problem they were designed to? Will people use the site or engage with it (first time, return, ongoing)? If the answer to these questions is no, it’s time to readdress earlier steps. If yes, is the site intuitive and how can you improve it? User tests and behavioral observations, of the qualitative and quantitative variety, are useful tactics in validating the site you’ve built. There are many elements that need to be validated. At ImConnect, for example, we’re passionate about the role search plays in a website UX, but how search plays into your particular website requires constant validation and innovation.
The problem is that most stop the process before the final step, treating a website as an out-of-the-box product that is finished upon implementation. And not only do few validate even once, but the key is to never stop validating. Constant validation gives your users a perpetual voice. Never stop listening and your patients will tell you how to convert them.
A great website is one that is constantly listening and improving based on ongoing data learnings. A great website cannot be bought; it can only be sought. Come on, those pebbles aren’t going to rake themselves!