Click, click, click. In the instant-gratification world of the Internet, people land on websites and do one of two things fairly quickly: Either they decide the site in question isn’t going to provide what they’re looking for and they click away or they decide the site looks informative or intriguing enough to warrant a longer stay.
You don’t have much time, which makes it all the more important that you convince them to stay right off the bat. As previously noted, employing the elements of good design can help but in a competitive field like aesthetic medicine, it’s arguably even more important that your practice website give visitors a good sense, not just of what you can do for them, but who you are and why they should choose you over the doctor down the street.
Consider the homepages for the five practice websites below. They’re all dedicated to aesthetics yet each takes a unique approach that instantly differentiates itself from the competition:
Scan the homepages of a dozen practice websites and chances are that 10 of them will have tabs or buttons listing specific medical procedures, e.g., Facelift, Breast Enhancement, etc. By contrast, the above homepage for Denver plastic surgeon Lisa M. Hunsicker, MD, FACS’ practice website highlights goals like “Ready For A Pick Me Up” for non-surgical procedures and outcomes like “Bringing Sexy Back” for surgical procedures ones. The women in the accompanying images underscore the difference, exuding renewed confidence as they go about their lives.
Speaking of confidence, you can’t get any clearer about what potential patients are looking for and what plastic surgeon Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS of Midlothian, Va., strives to provide: Front and center, his practice website’s tagline — “Confidence is beautiful” — is something every aesthetic patient can relate to. The full-screen background image may be of a model but a quick scroll reveals real patients’ photos with short testimonials that attest to their satisfaction.
A homepage, it turns out, is more than just a showcase of your work; in many cases, it should also help you stand out from the crowd and let visitors know they’ve come to the place that’s right for them. Consider, for example, the two images below, both of which are all about breasts yet take drastically different approaches.
The homepage for Simply Breasts in Beverly Hills features a slideshow that uses an ethnically diverse selection of models (potential patients like to see people like themselves) and buttons that emphasize choices (silicone vs. saline), financing options, and a “Request a Consultation” front and center. It will immediately appeal to a web searcher interested in the practical details of a breast aug.
No one is going to confuse the above site with the homepage for Houston-based plastic surgeon Michael E. Ciaravino, MD, FACS, aka, The Breast Doc, which, at first glance, could be mistaken for a lingerie catalog. Between the provocatively posed model at the top, the doctor’s professional head shot, and images of patients who have appeared in the likes of Maxim and Playboy, it takes a much more aspirational approach to augmentation.
Finally, consider the homepage for facial plastic surgeon Edmund Fisher, MD, FACS, of Bakersfield, Calif. Pairing artistic close-ups of women’s faces with angular images of L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, the site features text that talks about creating “an edifice of functional harmony and aesthetic beauty” and approaching each face “uniquely, showing individual shapes, angles and attributes.” The aesthetics-as-architecture approach is unmistakable and will clearly appeal to aesthetic consumers hoping to undertake similar “renovations.”
In a competitive field, doctors who differentiate themselves get noticed
With so many aesthetic consumers starting their research online, your practice website plays a crucial role in whether they reach out to you or not. And just as no practice can be all things to all patients, a generic homepage designed to appeal to all may very well fail to attract anyone. The five examples above, for example, can be seen as extensions of each practice’s approach and will, by extension, appeal to some visitors but not others. The key is to know your audience and use that intel to create online experiences that can help you differentiate yourself in a world that’s only going to get more competitive as time goes on.