Practice Development | Jul/Aug '16

Build Your Website for the Millennial Mind

Millennials thrive on interaction. They are the kings and queens of multifunctioning: watching TV, browsing social media, listening to music, etc., all while carrying on a conversation. Therefore, millennials need interaction on a website in order to engage them. Your practice website must give millennials the most user-friendly, error-free experience, both on and off their mobile devices. Time is of the essence, as their attention span on a website averages only 4 seconds!1

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

Your practice website should load in 3 seconds or less. Additionally, it should feature eye-catching visuals and interactions in order to keep millennial visitors a captive audience (sub-par designs are a big turnoff). Be sure to have a visually appealing design and high-quality photos and videos paired with essential educational content to allow visitors to take the necessary next step.

Content should be written for the average individual—AKA, no technical talk. And don’t be stingy with your content, thinking that people will call you for more information. Believe me, they won’t. They will simply find another site to give them said information. Give your audience all the information they need to make an informed decision. They want it NOW.

SELF-SERVICE OPTIONS

To engage web visitors, you must be able to provide fast, efficient website self-service options that give them answers at their fingertips. Fifty-seven percent of consumers will abandon their search or purchase if they aren’t able to get immediate answers.2

Incorporating a live chat feature proves beneficial for this reason alone. Every page should have multiple next steps for the site visitor to take, including:

  • Call your practice;
  • Take a self-evaluation;
  • Read an eBook;
  • Schedule a consult; and
  • Join your eNewsletter.

SPEAK TO THEIR LEARNING STAGE

Prospective patients are at a variety of learning stages. Depending on whether they are just starting their investigation or are ready for a consultation, those next steps should speak to them, so consider their stage of research and readiness. A lot of practices fail at this by only giving their site visitors the option to call the practice or request an appointment. If that visitor is in his or her investigator mode, which approximately 40% are, you have left him or her to simply read your site in hopes that when ready, he or she will come back to you. However, on average, it takes 3 months to 3 years from the onset of interest for an elective surgery patient to undergo surgery. If you are capturing patients at the forefront, you can be the educator, the trusted source of information, and, ultimately, the provider they turn to when they are ready.

GO RESPONSIVE OR GO HOME

Researchers predict that millennials will outspend baby boomers (and every other generation) by 2017.3 Mobile is the platform of choice for these individuals and the majority of other generations, in fact. That, along with Google’s latest algorithm requirements, shows that your site must be responsive on mobile platforms. It used to be that we would build a site for desktop and then transition to mobile. Now, we build for mobile first because that is where your audience is or soon will be.

Being mobile-responsive goes beyond changing your screen size. You are in the customer service industry and should want to create the best possible experience from start to finish. This starts with the experience on your website, and, hopefully, if you have done your job right, it will continue through patients’ undergoing a procedure and on to referring their friends. Make your site’s navigation simple. Visitors should be able to find what they want within three clicks or pages. Add video to educate them and for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

DON’T FORGET SEO

The final and probably most important thing to remember is that the best looking website will do nothing for your practice if you don’t continue to work on your SEO. Search is the #1 driver of website traffic, beating social media by more than 300%.4 Do yourself a favor and analyze how your site is positioned on search engines, how it compares to practices around you, and, overall, how your site is performing. Your future depends on it.

1. Weinreich H, Obendorf H, Herder E, Mayer M. Not Quite the Average: an Empirical Study of Web Use. ACM Transactions. 2008;2(1).

2. It’s time to give virtual agents another look. Forrester. December 18, 2009. https://www.forrester.com/report/Its+Time+To+Give+Virtual+Agents+Another+Look/-/E-RES53258?al=0. Accessed August 12, 2016.

3. Millennials are about to outspend the baby boomer, catching the retail industry off guard. October 24, 2013. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131024006116/en/Millennials-Outspend-Baby-Boomer-Catching-Retail-Industry#.VADDeWNgNnV. Accessed August 12, 2016.

4. What can SEO do for your business. 1st on the List. https://www.1stonthelist.ca/infographics/seo-for-business/. Accessed August 12, 2016.

author
Brandi Musgrave
author
Jonathan Solomon, MD | Section Editor
  • Refractive/Cataract Director at Solomon Eye Physicians & Surgeons, metro-DC area
  • Director of Lens-Based Surgery, TLC Laser Eye Centers
  • Director of Research, Bowie Vision Institute, Maryland
  • jdsolomon@hotmail.com; Twitter @jdsolomonBVI

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