Design and a plastic surgeon’s website

This is an excerpt taken from a talk I recently gave at Dr. Waldman’s Facial Cosmetic Surgery meeting in Las Vegas titled “Design and Patient Desires: a case for emotionally beautiful design”.

In the marketing industry we have some terms we use that we take for granted. So I want to start by defining them.

Target audience: the profile of a “typical” patient.

Call to action (CTA): what you want your viewer to do when they go to your website. Every website should start with your goal in mind.

Sticky: a site’s ability to keep visitors on the site once they get there.

Bounce rate: the percentage of initial site visitors who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages.

Usability: describes how easily visitors can use a website, in relation to navigation, design, and consistency.

To start to identify what a plastic surgery website should look like, we need to look at who your target audience is and what they need to see and experience in order to call you. You will want to specifically identify the target audience for your practice but to get started, the general target audience for most plastic surgery practices is…

  1. mostly women
  2. interested in style, good health, and career
  3. educated
  4. the desire for self improvement
  5. typically a higher income
  6. attracted to: art, music, clothes, nice car, stylish restaurants, and entertainment

So in order to attract this target audience, a good website for a plastic surgeon would include images that reflect improved self confidence and professional success. It would also present a physician that has the ability to connect with and listen to patient cares and beauty goals. And one that’s trustworthy, credentialed and experienced.

Every experience creates an impression good or bad. Good design contributes to higher levels of patient trust. When you see something that is well designed there is an automatic trigger in your brain that correlates good design to quality. People searching for a plastic surgeon are looking for a site they feel is genuine, one they can trust, and one they are attracted to. If your site has these qualities then it is “sticky”!

Does being a plastic surgeon make good web design more important to your success? The answer is yes. Did you know, you have just five seconds to keep or loose a viewer once the get to your site through a search engine? Generally, when people think about building a website, they give priority to the search engines. But it’s not search engine friendly alone that makes a site successful — it’s also getting them to stay there once they’ve found it. The difficult part about building a great website is the delicate balance between technology and design.

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. A site that has been coded JUST for search position is plain and actually quite unattractive. But think how such a site would look to someone looking for a plastic surgeon! Would you get them to stay there more than five seconds?

Traditional marketing such as TV, radio, and print advertising has been called “shout marketing”. Shout marketing is when your tell everyone – “this is what I do, these are my services”. Isn’t it irritating that for some TV ads they EVEN TURN up the volume! But a website isn’t traditional marketing — You have a unique opportunity with your website. People go to your site because they have chosen to. They stay there if they like what they see, they call you if it looks trustworthy.

I understand that 15 years ago the medical industry did not even need to think about having a website. But times have changed and today’s marketplace requires more frequent and more genuine reaching out to patients then ever before.

Too many times the quality of a surgeon’s website doesn’t match their surgical ability. This disconnect is then carried over to what their patients think the quality of work they do. I ask you to do this exercise; go through your website page by page and ask the question, what do my patients need to see and what do I need to tell and show them? And does the design of my site match my surgical ability?

It’s true, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Often times your website is the front door for a patient. With competition for patients at a all time high, you can’t afford to loose a potential patient with a poor first impression.

There is no better time than now to work on your Internet and marketing strategy. I hope this blog entry has inspired you to take a serious look at how your website looks through the eyes of a patient. I truly believe, that in marketing as in life, the cream rises to the top. Get up and be the best you can be every day and especially LISTEN to your patients, they will tell you how to be great.

Thank you for visiting our blog. I hope to hear from you soon!

Candace Crowe

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.

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