You know, or should know, that many potential clients use a smartphone to check out your practice. The experience that they have on their smartphone can spell the difference between getting a new client or losing a potential client.Learn the simple steps that you can take to understand and improve the mobile experience so that you can win more clients and stay competitive.
Enable clients to book an appointment from their phone
Once a potential client is ready, finally, to take the leap and book an appointment – make it easy for the client. Enable clients to book appointments, or at least request an appointment, through their smartphone. Schedule > Bill > Deliver is a great solution that supports booking, messages and even payments from desktop browsers, phones, tablets and from Facebook. Click here for more information.
Know the numbers for your site: who uses a smartphone to check out your practice
Do all potential clients use a smartphone to check out your practice all the time? Of course not. But many do. Our numbers indicate that mobile device visits account for at least 1/4, and in most cases for between 1/3 to 1/2 of all visits to therapist websites. The percentage of visits varies from practice to practice. In a sample of four therapy practices managed by TherapyEverywhere, we found between 25% and 52% of the visits were from mobile devices. In every single case the percentage of site visits on mobile is increasing.
- East coast practice: 1159 visits, 38% on mobile
- Midwest practice: 803 visits, 33% on mobile
- West Coast practice: 458 visits, 25% on mobile
- UK practice: 844 visits, 52% on mobile
You can use Google Analytics to review the numbers for your site to determine how your potential clients use a smartphone to check out your practice. If you are using Google Analytics, look for a report that looks like the report shown here. You can get a breakdown by operating system and by other parameters.
Not all visits to your site are created equal
While the percentage of visits to your site from smartphones and tablets are almost surely increasing, visitors are still likely to be more engaged with your site when they come to visit on a regular browser. Even as the number of site visits from smartphones creeps up, in most cases we expect smartphone users to spend less time on your site.
Looking at the numbers for Therapy Everywhere sites, visitors referred to a therapist’s web site from Psychology Today are more than twice as likely to fill out a contact form if they started with the desktop version of Psychology Today compared to the mobile version. Our experience with our clients is borne out by Search Engine Watch, looking at behavior all over the internet.:
Engagement metrics for Google reveal noticeable difference in user behavior patterns for these two visitor types. Visits from desktop lasted more than three times longer, with more than three times more pages viewed and two times lower bounce rate.
Even when people read more substantial content, they behave differently on mobile devices. Visitors to the New York Times website on desktop spent, on average, more than 17 minutes compared to under two minutes when visiting from mobile devices.
If visitors are more engaged on desktop devices, can I just blow away mobile?
While it is certainly the case that it’s easier to engage on desktop, many potential clients who check you out on mobile initially will return – on a mobile device or on a desktop device to check you out again before scheduling an appointment, calling, or filling out a contact form. The quality of that initial encounter on their smartphone will determine how likely they are to return. The client who uses a smartphone to check out your practice is more likely to return if they have a good initial experience.
Is it true that Google penalizes me on search results if my site is not mobile friendly?
Yep. Google is interested in providing the best browsing experience, and if your site is hard to read, slow to load, or fails to display video on a smartphone or tablet, Google will give you lower search ranking. Consider potential clients who use a smartphone to check out your practice is a good idea for improving your search results, and a good idea for the user exeperience.
So, what do I do now?
- The first thing that you can do is use this free Google webmasters tool to check out just how smartphone friendly your website is.
- Your next step should be to check out if your mobile site loads quickly. Many visitors on a smartphone are using slower connections and they will become frustrated very quickly. Use the “Speed” sub-section of Google PageSpeed Insights to discover if your page has any speed issues.
- Make sure that you are not sabotaging yourself with unplayable media. Animations or videos that require Flash, for example, are not supported on many mobile devices. Unplayable content, when featured on a page of any website can be very frustrating for users.
- Schedule a session with TherapyEverywhere to get a free evaluation of your site. No cost. No obligation. Click here to schedule now.