Many businesses create a website just for the sake of having an online presence, but you should never think of your website as a static entity that can just be left alone or neglected. You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 dental chair just to leave in the corner! The worldwide web is always changing and so is your business, growing and expanding; if you let your website become stagnant it will slowly decrease in effectiveness and rot over time.
We like to think that building a website is like having a child, the planning and development is like the pregnancy; the launch is like the birth; and once the website is live (baby is born), that’s when the real work begins! When choosing a partner to help nurture and raise your online presence (child) it’s important to ensure they have the right tools, knowledge and experience to ensure your website thrives and continues to grow with your business in the ever-changing digital world.
A supportive long term partner.
After your website goes live you want to ensure it receives the best quality of life a website can have, and if you’re not technically savvy or don’t have the right marketing background, the best option for you is to choose a suitable long term partner who can provide the correct support and guidance.
Most web developers and digital agencies will offer post launch “support” (usually at a fixed rate per month) but in reality that is just maintenance. Maintenance is the absolute basics to keeping your website running; ensuring the domain name is renewed, hosting environment is optimised, files are backed up, your security certificates are up to date, bugs/glitches ironed out or ensuring security loopholes are patched. This is a reactive method where your web developer will keep your website operational however only make changes when you request them to.
If you want to ensure your website continues to be an asset to your business, you need to ensure you get the relevant support from your vendor. Support is a lot more than maintenance, it’s about helping your website and business grow through continuous improvement and value add. An example of support might include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), so that your website gets better rankings on Google, increased web traffic, new leads being generated and thus more patients contacting your clinic for appointments. Other examples of support activities includes working on specific marketing campaigns/promotions to increase cosmetic patients through Google AdWords, tweaking landing page wordings to increase engagement etc.
There are many benefits to having a supportive long term partner however in order to get the best results and value it is vital you communicate with them regularly. Provide them with information of any business changes, ask for updates and progress reports and discuss goals and strategies for the future.
The proactive goal driven approach.
Most health practitioners are too busy running the day-to-day operations and often new opportunities are ignored, forgotten or left on the back burner. It is important to have a supportive partner who will take a proactive approach towards your website and always be on the lookout for ways to help it improve. For example, on our way to a meeting with a client we opened their website on our smartphone to get the address, we noticed it was fiddly as we needed to copy and paste the address from the website into Google Maps. This was an opportunity to improve the user experience on their website, so we implemented a simple ‘Get Direction’ button which opens the directions from their mobile friendly website straight into Google Maps with a simple tap of a button.
Don’t think support is just restricted to the online world either. For a business to truly thrive, the customer experience needs to be great across multiple channels. One successful case study includes assisting one of our dental clients with their recall process. Their standard process was to post recall letters by mail asking the patients to come back for their 6 monthly check up. This was costly, time consuming and ineffective. After a simple visual redesign with improved wording and health related incentives, the recall effectiveness improved by over 50%. Other beneficial activities can include activities like creating joint venture partnerships with other businesses that provides complementary services to your business or creating a custom marketing calendar so that your internal team have a clear idea of what they need to be doing every month with promotions.
A great way to remain proactive with your website and marketing activities is to create clear roadmaps that highlight what you want to achieve long term and short term with your website. These goals can be increased leads and market share, increase customer retention or to minimise empty bookings. Refer back to your roadmap regularly and update it when your business goals change, this will help you stay focused and assists you in measuring your return on investment.
Ask yourself this question: “When was the last time my web developer or digital marketer proactively contacted me and suggested or implemented something that directly impacts my business bottom line?” Take a moment and look back in time, is your website better now than what it was a year ago or is still the same? If it is still the same, maybe it is time to think about having proper support for your business and online presence so that it’s always improving, and thus is always an asset to your business and not a liability.
If you would like more information about the difference between maintenance and support please feel free to contact us. Also sign up for our FREE eBooklet for more practical ideas, real examples and useful tips on achieving more with less for your business.