NEW YORK—With the rapid growth of mobile technology, the number of potential patients searching for your optometry practice's website via their mobile device is constantly increasing. Any eyecare professional can just take a look around the waiting room to observe the rise in mobile usage. Chances are, the majority of your patients are occupying their wait time with their handheld mobile device, whether it is a smart phone or tablet. In fact, according to a statistic recently published by Morgan Stanley, 91 percent of mobile subscribers have their phone on them 24/7.
Not only do studies show that mobile users are virtually inseparable from their devices, but also that they are using them to find and contact local businesses—such as optometrists. A 2012 Google-sponsored study of smart phone usage showed that:
- 94 percent of smart phone users look for local information on their phone and
- 90 percent make a purchase, contact the business or take another action after local research.
Our own exclusive research has found that over 25 percent of visitors to an optometry website are accessing the web from a mobile device each month.
This means that if you don't have a mobile website for your practice, you could lose 25 percent of the visitors to your site each month because they can't properly access it through their mobile device.
What is a Mobile Website?
Mobile web browsing is different from computer-based browsing both because of the functionality of the device being used and because of the different habits and circumstances of the user. While a mobile website should maintain the branding of your regular site, an effective mobile site requires different design, navigation and features than your regular site. If you don't adapt your site to these differences, you will quickly lose this growing population of potential clients to mobile-friendly competitors.
Mobile Websites Adapt to Mobile Technology and Usage
Smaller Screen Size
First of all, a mobile site needs to be formatted to be viewed properly from a smaller screen. This will often involve simplifying the layout and navigation, reducing the number of pages, increasing font size and eliminating any excess content or images that are not necessary. Mobile sites are often focused in on the core essentials of the regular practice website.
Mobile users are generally searching on-the-go, looking for specific details about a local business that will help them make a quick consumer decision or complete an action. When searching for a local business, they are generally seeking contact information—a phone number, an address or basic information about the Practice such as the doctors' names, photos and qualifications, insurance providers and a brief list of services offered. They may appreciate quick and easy-to-use online forms to make an appointment, order contact lenses or facilitate the registration process. They are not looking to read your extensive blog series on how to treat lazy eye.
In addition to limiting the amount of content you provide on a mobile site, you also want to ensure it can be accessed quickly. This means eliminating any bells and whistles that will prevent or slow the site loading, so this isn't the place to showcase professional slide shows or videos.
Your mobile site should have mobile specific features that will enhance the user experience—such as a click-to-call button, Google maps instant location mapping and a book an appointment button. Easy access action buttons will not only enhance the user experience but they can also increase conversions since you have made it so easy for them to take the next step toward action.
Dr. Richard E. Hults, recently used EyeCarePro's newest service—
ODMobile—to create a mobile site for his Ohio-based optometry practice. He was instantly able to see the benefit his mobile site had on his Practice's web presence and his bottom line.
"Our mobile site has had an immediate impact on our practice. In the past month, we've already had 10 visitors use our mobile site to click to schedule an appointment. We had over 1,000 page views to our mobile site. We know that our mobile website plays a big part in the ROI of our online marketing—a part that will only get bigger—and we can already see that it has paid off tenfold."
In today's instant access world, people have little patience for technology that isn't efficient, easy-to-use and up with the times. A mobile website can be quick and inexpensive to set up and can go a long way for your online image. Just as you want your physical office space to be easy-to-access, clean and inviting, it's worth the investment to create an attractive and welcoming space for your mobile visitors as well.
Daniel Rostenne is CEO of
EyeCarePro which is a leading web and digital media company geared to the needs of eyecare professionals. EyeCarePro's
ODSite allows doctors to easily and economically build a powerful optometric website without the need for a web master or site designer. EyeCarePro also offers
ODLite—a suite of marketing services to help optometrists promote their websites through SEO, SMO, GLO and similar tools.