- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On January 15, 2016
- Mobile marketing
Patients want to engage with their healthcare providers on their phones, but hospitals and health systems that haven’t adopted a mobile-first mindset are limiting their ability to do so, and most that have still have room to grow. Here are six areas to be mobile-friendly in 2016 and beyond.
Google’s mobile-friendly search algorithm update in April 2015 underscored the fact that every business needs a website that looks and works great no matter where and how it’s viewed—big smartphone, small smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, portrait mode, landscape mode.
Patients only have 60–90 seconds to interact with your site during micro moments throughout their days. If your mobile site limits their ability to complete common actions, many of them will give up before finding a phone number or making an appointment. Here are some questions to ask about your website that go deeper than just having a “mobile-friendly” badge in search results:
Are your CTAs finger-friendly? Buttons should be big and obvious so patients don’t have to hunt for them or tap more than once to activate them.
Is text easy to read on all devices? 11 or 12 points may be fine for a printed document, but the recommended size for web copy is 16 pixels.
Are there any large photos or videos that are breaking the responsive layout? If you’re using WordPress, the newest version automatically makes all images responsive, but other CMSs could require images to be a certain size or aspect ratio. And embedded videos from YouTube or Vimeo are notorious for breaking responsive layouts if you just copy and paste the standard embed code.
Are you using interstitial ads to promote your email list or an app download? Google updated its mobile-friendly algorithm in November 2015 to penalize sites that use this tactic.
2. Landing pages
A responsive design won’t necessarily make a landing page that performs on desktop computers perform on mobile devices as well. Mobile users don’t have as much patience for reading copy, and no one likes to fill out more than a few text fields on their phone.
Is the length of your landing page appropriate for mobile? Keep it short and to the point. Consider replacing text with a video.
What about the form length? If you want users to sign up for your email list, you probably shouldn’t ask for more than their email addresses. If it’s a registration form for an event or seminar and you’re asking for details like addresses and phone numbers, consider allowing users to sign up with just their name and email.
Are there design elements that are unnecessary on mobile devices? Eliminating needless scrolling past elements that don’t help users complete the desired action will only hurt your conversion rate.
3. Local search
According to Google, 77 percent of patients use search before making an appointment, and more than a third use mobile devices to research health topics or book appointments on a daily basis.
The basics of local SEO—claiming and optimizing Google My Business listings and making sure names, addresses, and phone numbers are consistent in other important directories—are imperative if you want prospective patients to find you when they’re looking for a doctor, but you need to do more if you want to stand out in local search results, especially if you’re in a competitive market.
Can patients post reviews easily? The star ratings in Google’s snack pack significantly impact click rates, but they only appear when you have five reviews, and patients will go to sites like Yelp and Healthgrades instead of Google My Business if your profiles aren’t set up. In addition to monitoring reviews, you should actively seek new reviews by emailing patients and asking them to rate you.
4. Social media
Mobile users are nearly twice as likely to share content on social media as desktop users. Engaging those users is key to expanding your reach and growing your audience.
Do your posts look the same on mobile? Facebook cuts off text after a certain number of characters in mobile news feeds, so the initial text has to convince users that the rest of the post is worth tapping to view.
Are the links you share mobile-friendly? All the links you share to your own website need to be optimized for mobile devices, but curated content should be as well. Check pages from other sites on your phone before sharing them.
Are your social sharing icons easy to use? Make it easy for website visitors to share content they love with their family and friends.
Are you trying to promote a mobile app? Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all let you create ads that promote app downloads or engagement with a specific section of an app. If it’s only for iOS or Android, you can target users of the appropriate OS so you don’t waste your ad budget.
More than half of all emails were opened on mobile devices in 2015, making mobile email design more important than ever. If you’re seeing good open rates but less-than-ideal click-through rates, a poor mobile experience could be to blame.
Are your emails responsive? Emails need to adapt to different devices just like your website. Email behavior isn’t nearly as exact as website behavior due to differences between clients, but showing a desktop layout on a device with a 4-inch screen is a good way to get people to delete emails or unsubscribe.
Are your calls to action visible? Simply having a responsive template isn’t enough if you’re using jpg calls to action that are hidden by default in many email clients. Alt text stands in if you have it, but “bulletproof” CSS buttons are a better solution. Campaign Monitor has a tool that automatically generates them.
The average American spends 39 minutes a day watching video on a smartphone or tablet, compared to 24 minutes watching video on a desktop or laptop. Marketers know it works, because mobile video ad spending increased 70 percent in 2015 and is projected to double by 2017.
Are you engaging followers with video? Facebook and Twitter have both enabled native video in their apps, and video consistently engages more users than other post types. Video testimonials show real patient stories that connect with users emotionally and drive action—according to Google, 30 percentm of users who watch a hospital video make an appointment.
Can you do more? Some hospitals have used live streaming apps like Periscope to grow their social followings. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center got a lot of attention for live streaming an Achilles tendon repair surgery in 2015, and the Mayo Clinic attracted nearly 500 live viewers for a tour of its historical suite.
What’s in your 2016 mobile strategy? Download our free ebook, 13 Imperatives for Hospital Marketers from 13 Top Experts, for more ideas.