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.
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.
What is Avvo?
Avvo is one of the social media websites that you can take advantage of to enhance your search engine marketing. Avvo claims to be “the world's largest online legal directory.” The site contains every US attorney and provides a rating. Through this, their 2.5 million visitors can browse through the profiles and choose the one that best fits them. Use this profile to its highest ability by using Avvo's free advertising solutions: claim your profile, answer questions left by visitors, and publish Legal Guides to spotlight your expertise. Your Avvo profile is also search engine optimized, so potential and existing clients will easily find you on Avvo and search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Avvo is another internet footprint needed to cover your bases in the web marketing world. You don’t want your future clients to miss you in any corner of the World Wide Web. Your website, along with your social media outlets, is what you need to have a successful search engine marketing plan. Foster Web Marketing is here to help your plan! We will work closely with your Avvo profile to help you receive positive feedback from your client list. Satisfied testimonials from them are a great thing to have to garner future clients.
Could an Infographic Be a Powerful Marketing Tool For My Law Firm?
An infographic can be a powerful marketing tool for your law firm - if you take the time to design a thoughtful visual and if you know how to use it to your full advantage once it has been created. Great content on your website will always be rewarded, and a striking visual image that is unique and relevant will be of interest to your readers as well as other people in your field. A great infographic will be shared, linked, and blogged about - but keep in mind that a poorly conceived or slapdash infographic will have little impact. In the same way, a great infographic that is not properly marketed won't result in better traffic and exposure for your attorney website, either.
How can you help get your law firm infographic noticed on the web?
Write a blog post about your infographic.
Share your infographic with industry bloggers.
Write a press release about your infographic.
Share your infographic on Flickr.
Share your infographic on social networking sites.
Make a PDF of your infographic available for download.
Would you like to develop an eye-catching and relevant infographic to help market your law firm and attorney website? Let us help. Here's an infographic we created for our own marketing purposes: The Road To Social Media Success.
Should your law firm hire a marketing director?
Depending on how involved you are in your marketing, you may find that you need some help. Foster Web Marketing offers plans for lawyers who want to hand their web marketing off to someone else, as well as tools for the do-it-yourselfers.
If you like marketing and want to be involved in the marketing of your law firm, you will likely find that it's hard to balance practicing law with marketing your firm effectively. You may even consider hiring someone to help you. We'd strongly recommend getting yourself some help, but you'll need to make sure you hire the right person for the job.
First, consider what kind of help you need. If you want to really explode your practice, you might consider hiring someone with 5-10 years of internet marketing experience. They should have strong copywriting skills and be highly motivated, energetic, and able to take complete control over your firm's marketing.
This may not be realistic yet for your firm. Attorneys like Ben Glass take advantage of local universities to hire interns. If you screen them properly, interns can help your marketing tremendously. The trick is to find the good ones. Give them a test before you hire them. This test could be as simple as writing an article about a legal matter or as complex as writing a follow-up sequence. You want to know if they are intelligent, can learn quickly, follow directions, and meet deadlines. For more information on hiring marketing help and sample job listings, email our marketing director Zach.
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