This is the Reason Your Sexy New Healthcare Website’s Failing

Cole Wiebe
February 22, 2020
Read time: 5 minutes

The ROI on most websites is terrible… even the drop-dead gorgeous ones

The majority of healthcare professionals and health and wellness site owners follow the ‘common wisdom’ of the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” The website is expected to dramatically increase patient onboarding and sales simply because it exists on the web. So when the first website doesn’t get much traffic, generate leads or increase revenue, most owners will give it another try.

They email the local talent with another request for a proposal, pick one of the cheapest "designers", work with that designer to get it ‘prettier’ this time, and with the latest features, bells and whistles. But alas, the brand new site is usually no more effective than the last design. Crickets…

So in 1 to 3 years, they’re building another site. I’ve met clients who wanted me to build their 6th or 7th website. Yikes! Maybe it’s not a “design” issue.

If you can relate to this, don’t despair. Statistics suggest that about 97% of business websites will not deliver a return on investment. You’re certainly not alone. It’s the process that’s hopelessly flawed, and re-building your site yet again with the same copy and content that failed spectacularly last time is not the answer.

There must be a better way, right?

The good news is that Google doesn’t care if you think your sexy new site’s prettier than the last one. And neither do your prospective patients and/or customers. Google ranks web pages, not websites. In other words, they rank the ‘content’ on the individual pages their algorithms move into the top-5. So, in most cases, a website re-design will not help, and it’s a waste of money.

So what do your readers and the search engines respond to? Extremely valuable content! Any web designer who promises “SEO optimization”, but does not also include a fresh infusion of regularly published, well-researched and written, high-value content, is misleading you. Seriously; if there’s no valuable content readers crave posted on the site, what exactly is the designer going to “optimize”?

You will never earn top-5 rankings on Google for the content your website does not have.

A re-design is no substitute for the useful content that will attract a steady stream of new visitors to your site and get them to join your email list, so you can influence their future decisions. And a re-design won’t onboard new patients or close any sales. Advertising legend John E. Kennedy said that copywriting is salesmanship in print.

Am I against web design? Not at all! I’ve been designing/developing websites for over 23 years. But there needs to be something wrong with the site’s architecture before I’d start there. On successful websites, copy always leads design. There is no magic number of re-designs of the header, footer and navigational interface that will replace amazing content.

People engage with the message; not the 'container' it's in.

Fixing a broken model

The vast majority of websites have no content or conversion strategy, no sales funnel(s), no way of tracking and analyzing results or split testing… Visitors are expected to magically appear, explore the menu and then take themselves through the necessary steps of the sales process, close themselves on the value of your offer, and ask to become a patient or customer. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t happen very often.

And they’re also expected to want to add themselves to your email list, with no ‘ethical bribe’ or reasonable incentive, or evidence that there would be any value in being on your list. The last thing anyone wants is one more “buy our service or stuff” newsletter clogging their inbox. But an email update that’s loaded with incredibly valuable information that will improve their lives; that’s something they’ll welcome.

The good news is, all of this can be fixed with powerful ‘conversion’ copy, a customer journey strategy with ‘leak proof’ sales funnel(s), and regularly published amazing content to attract new qualified readers.

Are you trying to 2x, 4x or 10x your website results this year?

It’s actually very simple. Let’s say you want to 4x your results this year. You need 2x the qualified traffic to your site, and then convert 2x more of those visitors into patients or customers. But just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy. The execution can be painfully challenging for non-copywriters. Telling isn’t selling, and most of the copy on business websites is terrible.

Imagine having fresh leads, patients or sales in your inbox whenever you check your email.

My career in marketing began in families’ living rooms, pitching vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias in the evenings. I was on the front lines of direct sales. By the mid-80s, I’d moved up to selling computers and then printing services to businesses. It was on a print sales call that it was suggested to me that as a pitchman, I should be in advertising. I was invited to come work for their magazine publishing firm, and I have been writing copy and creating content for over 33 years.

The advertising industry used valuable content consumers wanted – magazine and newspaper articles, or radio and television programs – and then sold advertising spots. There are still companies today using that model, like Google. Google's valuable content is its search results.

For most businesses, we've just moved all the valuable content to their individual websites., cutting out the middle man. Many companies did not notice this critical shift and haven't jumped on board, publishing incredibly value content of their own on a regular basis. But, if you want results from your website, it's not optional.

Your website hasn't removed the need for salespeople and good old fashioned marketing either. With my sales roots I still believe that if you've got a great service or product, someone needs to be out there pitching it. As a conversion copywriter, I'm a salesman behind the keyboard.

Does design matter at all?

Copy leads design… always. Good design is more about creating a great user experience than aesthetics. I involve myself in the design of the content and the medium, whether that’s an infographic, white paper/ebook or landing page. And if the user experience (UX) on your website is pretty bad, I custom build a fresh solution that aligns with our content strategy and better serves the audience and ideal customers.

I believe that a good website loads quickly, makes it incredibly easy for visitors to find and engage with your content, and fully integrates with your customer journey and lead generation funnel strategies.

Final thoughts

It doesn't matter how many times you give your website a visual facelift; it isn't going to attract an audience unless it delivers incredible value. You will need a content strategy and brilliant, useful content your target audience craves.

Customers still need to be sold on the health services and products you offer... even in 2020. You need 'leak-proof' sales funnels that convert your visitors into subscribers, leads, patients and customers. If you already have traffic, but very low conversion, a copy audit would be a good place to start.


Cole Wiebe, direct response copywriter, Vancouver, BCCole Wiebe is a direct response health copywriter, content strategist and writer, and online marketing coach. He is also a UX (user experience) web designer and developer of over 23 years.

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