Have you noticed that lead generation – a primary marketing focus in many industries – has been slower to gain traction in healthcare? Could it be because viewing potential patients as sales leads seems counter to healthcare’s focus on service? In today’s world of consumerism, you’ll need to adopt a viewpoint if you want to get better results from your marketing efforts.

lead funnel

Your website as a lead generation tool
Once you’re able to view prospective patients as healthcare consumers, the focus of your hospital website should naturally shift towards generating and nurturing leads.

When optimizing for lead generation, it may help to think of your hospital’s website as a store (yes, a store!). In this scenario, your providers would be the top product you’re selling, followed by locations, services, technology, expertise, and supporting events.

As you design your hospital’s website, you’ll want to prominently feature your “top products” on your website to make them appealing, engaging, and promotable – ultimately enticing potential health consumers to “buy.”

When it comes to optimizing your healthcare website for lead generation, be sure to focus on the following areas:

Functionality: For a hospital website, keep in mind that a user expects to intuitively access physician information, images, video, ratings/reviews, and a streamlined online scheduling experience. User experience (UX) must be top of mind when planning your site design (relevance, accessibility, ease of use, speed, etc.).

Value: Every piece of digital content should provide value, which could translate into creating a personal and engaging bio for every provider, as well as a video discussing philosophy of care. This type of easily accessible information is what the consumer needs to make comparisons and decisions between providers.

Satisfaction: When humans interact with technology, the interaction can elicit an emotional response. As marketers, we never want the response to be frustration, anger, or confusion. Designing for user experience (UX) means creating an interaction that leaves a consumer feeling content, satisfied, or happy.

Conversion optimization: In healthcare, reaching the “buy” (scheduling an appointment) can often mean multiple clicks for the consumer just to find a page with phone numbers. Such an experience can lead to frustrated website users (and lost leads). To combat this problem, you must streamline the appointment scheduling process and make it easy for the consumer to engage and convert.

Personalization: Personalization in healthcare can be as simple or complex as you’d like. Depending on the goals you’re trying to support, whether that’s driving demand for procedures or leverage capacity in new facilities, etc., you can serve up different calls-to-action, events, or service line pages based on users’ clicks, form fills, and more. The idea is to guide consumers down a preferred path based on what you know about them.

Supporting tech with the right team
Keep in mind that an upgrade in technology is not enough to optimize your site for lead generation. You’ll also want a good services team to help steer your efforts around:

  • Building personas,
  • Mapping the healthcare consumer journey, and 
  • Implementing key lead gen/nurturing touch points.

According to Hubspot, websites that use marketing personas are 2-5X more effective and easier to use by the targeted audience.

Before moving into the design and content strategy phases, a good services team can help you develop a keen understanding of your primary and secondary target audiences – including their expectations, needs, thought processes, and emotions.

Once you have a clear understanding of your audience personas, you can begin mapping the healthcare consumer journey and planning where you will implement key lead generation/nurturing touch points for those personas. When you build from that foundation, you have a much better chance of creating compelling, integrated digital experiences on your hospital website that convert qualified leads into loyal patients.

Want more insight into building a healthcare website that converts prospects into patients? Download our Definitive Guide to Healthcare CMS.