Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Website Design and Marketing for Attorneys, Doctors, and Other Professionals
Below are some questions many clients have when they first contact Foster Web Marketing about the online marketing world.
The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find your answers here, you should contact us for answers to any questions specific to your firm.
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Is the Cost of Zocdoc is Worthwhile for Doctors?
Zocdoc was founded in 2007 in New York City. The first version of the now-popular website covered only doctors in NYC. Now, the online physician booking and review site covers every major city in the United States, and millions of people book appointments through the site each month. Zocdoc is one of our top six directory sites for doctors, but before you rush out and sign up, there are a few things you should know about the site.
How to Determine If the Cost of Zocdoc is Worthwhile for Your Medical Practice
There is a fee to be listed as a Zocdoc doctor. Currently, Zocdoc charges doctors $300 a month to be listed. It is up to you to decide if the cost is worth the potential appointments you get. If you are considering signing up, be sure to do some research first.
When deciding if your practice would benefit from being part of the service, you need to determine which—if any—doctors in your specialty and area are listed. You also want to note how many reviews they have. Doing so will give you a good idea whether the Zocdoc system is effectively filling the appointment book for your local competitors, and if you could benefit from joining suit.
In general, we find that the doctors who benefit most from using Zocdoc are those in larger cities within a competitive market whose patients are between the ages of 18 and 35.
How to Claim Your Zocdoc Profile
It’s important that every profile you fill out is complete. However, on Zocdoc a robust, accurate profile is even more crucial. This is because people making appointments often have an urgent need; you’ll only get a minute, if that, to impress them. They are making a quick decision and will only choose you if your profile looks better, more complete and more professional than the other guy.
Your first job is to ensure that every piece of information you enter is accurate, especially your name, address, and phone number. Known as N.A.P., these key fields must be correct not only on Zocdoc but identical every place you’re listed online. For more on this (and to find out how a dash instead of a period could mess up your online presence) read our article, “Be Consistent for Better Local Search Results.”
Next, choose your profile picture. This should be a professional grade headshot, not a quick snapshot from your phone. After this is done, it’s time to strengthen your profile by adding additional images. All other images should be of your office, your staff, and any other high-quality images that will give potential patients a good feeling about your practice. Your goal is to show them just how professional, welcoming, and modern your office is.
You also need to be thoughtful in the information you post about yourself and your practice. Remember that this is the patient’s first introduction to you, so keep it professional yet warm—and, as always, get someone to check your writing for spelling or grammar errors.
Next, you’re going to have to decide how you want Zocdoc to book appointments for you. While doctors do this in different ways (such as updating open appointments daily) the easiest thing to do is sync your office’s appointment schedule with Zocdoc’s system. This way you offer patients the soonest possible appointment.
How Reviews Work on Zocdoc
Zocdoc has a unique review system: instead of anyone with a computer being able to write a review, only verified patients can leave reviews. This means no faking reviews and no random accidental reviews. They call this a “closed-loop” system. Also, unlike other review sites, you don’t have to do any legwork to get reviews (aside from being an awesome doctor with an amazing staff, of course). This is because Zocdoc does the asking for you, prompting patients to write a review after each of their appointments. This leads to a greater-than-average volume of reviews, a good thing for both you and would-be patients.
How to Improve Your Rating on Zocdoc
Since the review gathering process is out of your hands on this site, your only job is to do what we hope you’re doing anyway: offering excellent, on-time healthcare.
The only other suggestion we have is to make good on the appointments you offer on Zocdoc. Not only can canceling or changing appointments garner bad reviews, it can get your Zocdoc account locked. So only list appointments which will you have reserved for Zocdoc referrals or link your appointment booking system directly to Zocdoc.
Don’t miss a thing! Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn for the most current advice on how to improve your medical marketing so that it finally put you ahead of your competition.
What should I include in my email signature for the best client response?
Email signatures are meant to show your readers who you are and how to get in contact with you and your business. Although the signature is a crucial aspect of a letter, all too often it is neglected and inserted more as an afterthought than anything else. However, a good signature not only secures the reader’s attention, but also allows you the opportunity to gain more traffic to your site. On the other hand, a poor signature can make you look bad while also costing you a favorable response.
The trick is knowing the difference.
Signature Flair…Without Going Too Loopy
Email signatures should be concise, informative, and unique. Regrettably, many people focus on being unique above all else. The result: a mess of graphics that overwhelms the senses (not to mention the message), or a long-winded novella. Remember, the signature shouldn’t distract from the body of the text...it should enhance it by making the reader want to contact you (not grab a bag of popcorn or snuggle up for a long read).
In order to show professionalism without going overboard, you need to be able to find a balance between personal flair and necessary information. You need to know what your signature should include, and what needs to be dropped before it distracts and alienates business.
Items to Include
- A distinct separation from the body of the text.
- Your name.
- Position: managing partner, M.D., D.P.M., etc.
- Contact information: phone number, email, etc. Don’t go overboard! Your clients don’t need 50 ways to reach you; one or two will suffice and allow them to get in contact with you through your preferred medium.
- Trackable links to your professional website.
- Trackable links to your business’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ profile. Remember, less is more—choose one and stick with it.
- Design flair. Make your signature unique by adding your own personal touches to the closing (“Cheers”…“See you soon”…“I’m here for you,” or something similar) or by adding a small image or logo.
Signatures for private and some public organizations may require more information, such as company telephone number, or business address. You should be alert to local regulations.
Items to Drop
- Your resume, skill sets, or life achievements. When your signature is longer than your email, you have a problem. Leave the CV for your bio.
- Home phone number or address, unless your work is your home.
- Personal Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram details. Although it’s nice to share your vacation photos and memes with your friends, clients and other businesses don’t need to follow your personal life.
- URLs other than your business home page.
- Random quotations, jokes, or proverbs. There’s just too much risk of offending clients.
- Animated images.
- Logos that attempt to cram all the signature information into it. Small logos are fine and can showcase your personality, but a single image that replaces your signature isn’t wise.
Umm…Not So Much
Foster Project Manager Director
Facebook | Blog
Director of Everything
Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Upright
I’m Completely Awesome
10555 Main St., Suite 470A
Fairfax, VA 22030
…and about ten more lines of text!
The next time you’re writing an email, before you click SEND, remember to check your signature lines to make sure they’re exactly what you want them to be. Otherwise, you could jeopardize the entire point of the letter.
For more information on correspondence and content formatting, feel free to browse our highly informative (and often uniquely chuckle-worthy) blogs.
The ideal customers I’m trying to attract are young and trend following. I want to speak to them in a way that’s natural to them. Is it okay if I swear on my website?
You recognize that, conventionally, it is not okay.
But you want a special exemption, because you’re trying to attract a young, hipster clientele. You think naughty talk will appeal to them. Well, guess what? It’s still not okay.
Changing Standards of Acceptable Discourse
Let’s start by acknowledging that, sure, what is acceptable language in a business environment has changed over the years, just as what counts as permissible in public conversation has liberalized. This is not a new observation. As long ago as the 1930s, Cole Porter could satirize popular dismay over changing language standards by writing, “Good authors too, who once new better words / Now only use four-letter words. / Writing prose, / Anything goes.”
A few decades earlier than that, it was scandalous to refer to the “legs” of your piano (or any other item of furniture), because that word might inflame lustful passions. Your piano had “limbs,” and they were decently covered with a dust ruffle or cozy to hide them from the gaze of any gentleman who stepped into your parlor.
Since then, the influence of mass media culture has helped desensitize us to language that once may have been called “salty,” profane, or obscene. That trend has even entered the workplace. Swearing has become acceptable in some workplaces in both spoken and written communications between colleagues. Likewise, some employers don’t object to swearing between employees and clients in private conversation.
It’s essential that you notice that workplace swearing is limited to private conversations, however: those between coworkers, and those between worker and committed customer. Work-related communications of a public nature still demand prim word choice. The greater the public exposure, the less likely the business owner or manager will permit unfettered cussing. You won’t find swear words used in advertisements in glossy print magazines, or in customer-service scripts at fast-food order windows—and you usually won’t find them on a business webpage.
The Benefits of Naughty Talk
You protest, “My case is different. I’m trying to attract customers who have no aversion to swearing. It’s their natural speech. If I can sling the lingo too, I’ll have a natural advantage over my competition.”
Balderdash. Of course, it’s always been true that what you have to say—rather than how you say it—is more important in converting readers into customers. The idea that adding profanity will enhance your message simply doesn’t seem reasonable. In fact, there are three key reasons why you’re unlikely to gain any lasting advantage from swear words on your website:
- You can’t do it convincingly. There’s no way to mimic authenticity. Any attempt to sprinkle expletives into your regular writing will seem stilted and phony. Your preferred clients are more likely to mock you rather than flock to your door.
- Swearing undermines your message. Each page of your website should be dense with informative content. But swear words carry little or no informational value. In fact, expletives tend to short-circuit learning by deliberately triggering emotional responses. Swearing deliberately tries to shock or offend, and that’s not helpful to your website’s goals.
- You’re pursuing a “cool factor” that just isn’t there. Nobody chooses a skilled professional based on how often he or she swears in public. Nobody.
And the Downside to Your Plan
If your ideal client is young and cutting-edge, then it’s almost assured that your bread and butter client is the opposite: older and more conservative. These may not be the clients or customers you most want, but they provide a steady income stream. And you can bet that they will definitely be offended when your website becomes laced with profanity—quite possibly outraged enough to stay away for good.
So, on the one hand you have a minimal likely reward from your ideal customers; on the other hand, a harsh penalty from existing customers. By any rational calculation, swearing on your website is too risky for both your current and future business health.
Foster Web Marketing is the premier marketing company for law firms, medical practices, and service and product sales organizations of every sort. We know how to help you attract your perfect customer or client—and to avoid alienating other potential clients along the way. Check out our testimonial pages to see some of the hundreds of satisfied business leaders we have helped.
Is this plugin right for my site?
"Plugin" is a broad term, so let's narrow it down first.
What is a Plugin?
A plugin is essentially an extension to existing software applications. The purpose is to allow a third party to make an addition, add a feature, or change the functionality of your site, browser, or whatever software you are integrating the plugin with. They can be incredibly useful depending on what you are trying to accomplish- or they can be a huge detriment and slow down load speed of your site. If you don’t know what a plugin is for, do not add it to your site!
Functionality- is integration possible? Do we support it?
If you are interested in a feature or option for your site, determine exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. DSS offers functionality that may not be blaringly obvious upon first glance, but you don’t want to start making additions without first checking to see if you already have the feature. Many of our best features are not made public on your site, because we want that information to remain exclusive to you! For example, your DSS dashboard gives you a glimpse into how your site is doing. It can offer a nudge when it’s time to update your content, and it lets you know what your bounce rates look like per page. However, if you want to get more in depth, you do not need an extension! You’ve already got it through Google Analytics (Control Panel>Reporting>Visit Google Analytics).
It’s important to note if integration is possible, as well. While you may not be able to tell the difference between HTML and Script plugins, our customer service team can answer your questions, as well as give suggestions for your specific needs. There are plugins we do not support for a multitude of reasons, but specifically they are generally written for WordPress sites. If you don’t know why DSS is a superior product, check out this link!
There are pros and cons to many of these plugins but the bottom line is DO YOUR RESEARCH! If there is something you want to see, be sure it is recommended for SEO purposes, check to see if it is something DSS already offers, and be sure it is truly beneficial to your goals.
What is usability, and why should lawyers care?
Usability refers to the learnability of a human-made object. Here, we are talking specifically about the usability of your law firm's website. Website usability ratings attempt to judge how easy a website is to use, and these ratings take into account:
- Site navigation
- User frustration
When a site's usability rating is high, it's easy for anyone, even a first time user, to navigate the site. There is no confusion about what each button does. All links work as they should. All pages load quickly, and users leave the site with the information they were looking for.
When a site's usability rating is low, the user is easily confused by the layout of the pages. Navigation is difficult. Load times are long, and links are often broken.
We've all been to websites that are difficult to use, and we all react the same way—by clicking the “back” button on our browser and finding another website that is easy to use.
Why Lawyers Should Care About Website Usability
If your website is difficult to use, you are losing more clients than you know. People go to the internet to shop for more than shoes; they shop for doctors and for lawyers. So, when potential clients visit your site, they immediately judge your skills as an attorney based on what they see on your site. If your site is difficult to navigate, and if they can't find the information they need, they will assume that it will be hard to get in touch with you or that you don't have the answers they are looking for. All of this will happen in mere seconds.
Find another attorney.
It will take just slightly longer than it took you to read the above bolded text to lose a client. And, unless you're running a law firm for the heck of it, you can't afford to lose clients.
Want someone to take a look at your site, give it a usability rating, and suggest ways to improve it? For free? Get your free site audit today. Our team will carefully comb through your attorney website site and give you the best practice attorney web design and SEO tips to help improve your site and get more clients. It's free, and it works. Call today at 888-886-0939.
Do I need to buy special equipment to get call tracking for my business?
Many people assume that call tracking will involve purchasing and installing hardware for your office or otherwise altering the phones or phone systems. This is simply not the case. Call tracking doesn’t require you to buy or attach any special equipment; the process just consists of pointing different telephone numbers to your office (or to whichever existing phone number you would like, such as your marketing department phone number or even personal, cell, or home phone number).
While you might not notice anything different at the office, our call tracking system will be busy collecting and compiling data at a remote site. You can access this data at any time from any computer with our web-based reporting—including the number of calls you are receiving, when the calls come in, and where the calls are originating from. Because there is no difficult setup, it is easy to add new numbers to track, change the phone numbers that your calls are pointing to, or change the strategy with which you are handling your calls.
Call tracking can be an excellent opportunity to measure the success of your advertising campaigns and to accurately understand their return on investment (ROI). To learn more about how call tracking may be able to help your marketing plan, call Foster Web Marketing today at 888-886-0939.
Should I choose a local number or a toll-free number for call tracking purposes?
There are different advantages and disadvantages to picking a toll-free number for your attorney website and for call tracking purposes—and those advantages depend heavily on your law office and your goals.
If you practice the law across state lines or nationally, a toll-free number may be the right choice for you. A long-distance number sometimes means that clients will hesitate to call; a toll-free number overcomes that resistance. A toll-free number may also lend authority to your law firm. In addition, a toll-free number conveys that you practice law over a wide area and not just locally.
If you are a small, local practice that focuses on helping those in your community, you should choose a local number for call tracking. A local number will be encouraging to those who are also in your area code and may even cut down on out-of-state calls that only take up your time. A local number will also help save on your marketing budget.
Also keep in mind that a growing number of Americans now have mobile phones, smart phones, and cell phones with flat rates and national calling plans. This means that many potential clients won’t hesitate to call a long-distance number, even if they do not live in the area.
In some instances, tracking both local numbers and toll-free numbers may be the right choice. To learn more about call tracking and toll-free number set-up, call Foster Web Marketing today at 888-886-0939 to speak with a marketing expert.
What is call tracking, and how does it work?
A call tracking system records certain information about who calls your business and which marketing campaign they were responding to. The specific information a call tracking system collects varies, but generally a call tracking system can record:
- How many calls you receive
- Which numbers have called your line
- Where your callers are contacting you from
- When your callers contact you
- Which advertising campaign your caller got your number from
- Whether you have missed calls—and, if so, when those calls came in
- Whether you have had repeat callers
What can you learn through this information? The major benefit of call tracking is that it can help you better understand your potential clients and better understand which marketing strategies are working for your business. Although it is relatively easy to track what works on your website or what is working when it comes to your pay-per-click advertising, it can be difficult to track phone calls without a call tracking system.
Call tracking is a simpler process than many people are led to believe. It doesn’t require any special equipment on your end, and it doesn’t affect your existing phone numbers. In fact, as far as marketing analytics tools go, call tracking is a very straightforward and easy-to-implement process.
How call tracking works can be broken down into two major parts:
- Call tracking setup. When we set up your call tracking, you will get to decide whether you would like a toll-free number or a local number. You will also get to decide where you’d like the calls to be sent: directly to your office, to your marketing department, to a third-party answering system, or even to your home or cell phone. Finally, you will decide which marketing campaign to tie your number to.
- Information collection. Each time someone calls your number, it is fed through a proprietary phone system that monitors and tracks the incoming call. Your call tracking system will note the time of the call, whether the call was answered, the length of the call, the origin of the call, and identifying information about the caller.
Make Certain Someone Picks Up When Potential Leads Dial Your Number
Call tracking doesn’t just help you count how many people are calling from which pieces of advertising—or where they are calling from. Call tracking also shows you when people are picking up the phone and whether or not someone picks up on the other end.
When you look at your call tracking data, make special note of the peak times that people call your numbers—and also any times when significant numbers of people are getting your answering machine or answering service. If a large number of people are calling when you are out of the office, consider having these callers forwarded to a different number during certain hours or extending your office hours. You may also consider hiring an answering service or finding an alternative solution, such as receiving calls personally.
Without call tracking, it can be difficult or even impossible to fully understand when your clients are calling or when you aren’t around to take their calls. A missed call could be a missed client.
Do you wonder if your law office could benefit from call tracking, or do you have more questions about exactly how call tracking systems work? Contact Foster Web Marketing today to learn more.
Will changing my domain name affect my search engine marketing plan?
Yes, the domain name does have an effect on a lawyer's search engine marketing plan; however, there is a way to curb the damage. Of course, Google is one of the front-runners in dealing with this situation and has spelled out exactly what to do in order to get your site indexed quickly with almost no interruption. Unfortunately, not all search engines follow the same procedure as Google.
The main and most critical element is taking the time to make sure all your links on your prior page from directories and other websites are correct. They must have your new domain name.
There are also other, very technical steps. If you are not a system administrator, then you should contact your system administrator and ask them to take over the switch so that your page ranking does not drop and your attorney website stays as popular as ever.
Call Foster Web Marketing today, and take control of the success of your website. Also, order your copy of the report, The 5 Biggest Mistakes 99% of Lawyers Make with Their Websites, before you hire anyone to help you with Internet marketing for your law firm.
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