4 Ways to Optimize Your Integrative Medicine Website for Smartphones

I heard a story once about a young nurse who, in keeping with hospital policy, pushed a wheelchair into the room of a patient who was being discharged. When she entered the room, she saw an old man sitting on the bed. He was dressed in a suit, a bag of his belongings at his feet.

When she explained that she’d have to wheel him to the front door, he argued that he was perfectly capable of walking the distance himself. They went back and forth for a bit, but the old man finally relented. “Fine,” he said, “But this is ridiculous.”

When she got the man wheeled down to the front door, she asked him if his wife was picking him up. “No,” he said. “She’s still in the bathroom upstairs getting changed out of her hospital gown.”

I tell this story because I think it’s a great illustration of how many integrative healthcare organizations miss the mark when it comes to their website. Most of the attention is paid to the desktop version—getting it to look great on larger screens. But, when it comes to the mobile version of their site… well, they leave it upstairs changing out of its hospital gown.

The fact is that your mobile site is just as important as the desktop version. In fact, it’s probably even more important. Almost 70% of adults own a smartphone these days, and 80% of Internet users do so from a smartphone.

And if your mobile site isn’t up to snuff? More than 57% of people report that they won’t recommend a business whose mobile site is buggy or looks poorly designed.

So, it’s important.

Fortunately, here are four things you can do to optimize your clients’ mobile experience. Make these changes and you’ll draw them in—not bounce them out to look for solutions elsewhere.

1. Design for mobile

In the website development world there’s an adage that goes, “Always start with mobile” when designing a site.

This principle still holds true.

There are two options here. The first is to create separate sites—one for desktop and tablets, and another for smartphones. Sometimes this is the best option.

The other option is to create a “responsive site” that adapts itself to whatever screen it’s on. Which option works for you will depend on what platform your site is built on, who’s doing the design, which themes are being used, and a number of other factors.

However you get it done, just remember that the mobile site needs to be killer. Nothing shreds credibility faster than showing your potential clients something that gives the appearance that details don’t matter to you.

2. Think Social

Social media is (obviously) a huge deal these days. And of course, you’re going to want to be posting, commenting, and interacting on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and (if necessary) LinkedIn.

However, since we’re talking about mobile optimization here, a lot of businesses across the healthcare world are starting to wake up to the idea of spending more time and resources on mobile-only apps. Snapchat and Instagram are probably the two biggest players in the category.

And if your audience skews a little younger, these two platforms could be huge for your marketing ROI.

For example, each day 41% of Americans between 18 and 34 years of age are on Snapchat.

And 60% of younger American adults check their Instagram feed at least once per day.

That’s a lot of people. And with new features being added to these platforms almost daily, new ways to reach them creatively increases as well.

3. Keep Your Content Smartphone Friendly

The biggest difference between desktop and mobile, apart from actual screen size, is the difference in how the content appears.

Tiny pictures with tons of text around them aren’t going to fly on mobile. Instead, the great stuff you deliver needs to be easy to navigate. It should be image-heavy, with short headlines, and shouldn’t rely on “clicking” links. Scrolling is much easier to do, and that consideration is going to affect how your mobile site is laid out.

People will still read longer articles on mobile. But how they’re presented is what matters.

Make it big, bold, and touchable.

4. Content is Nothing Without Context

Another difference between desktop and mobile search is a question of intent.

By which I mean: People will search for things on both. But they do it for difference reasons.

Recent reports have shown that people tend to save their “browsing behavior” for their desktops. The screen is big, they’re probably sitting down, they’re comfortable and ready to click around a bit to see what they might find.

Mobile search, however, tends to be a search for an answer to a specific question. Where the nearest yoga studio is, or which vegetarian restaurant on this street has higher Yelp reviews.

So what does that mean for your mobile site?

Well, it’s going to depend. It’s going to be different for every integrative healthcare organization.

But it’s a question that needs answered. It’s also an opportunity to find more ideas for generating content.

Here’s an example. Let’s say I’m an acupuncturist. I know that my target audience is probably going to skew vegan/vegetarian. Now, it doesn’t make much sense to offer, say, a list of all of those types of restaurants within my local community. But… what if I included something like that on the mobile version of my site? Suddenly, that makes a lot of sense. You’re solving a boots-on-the-move problem, and doing it in a way that promotes your brand. And when those satisfied vegans need an acupuncturist? I’m suddenly on the short list.

That’s one example. Get creative, and you’ll easily come up with a ton more.

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