Skip to main content


Why Tel Links Can Help Your Healthcare Website Avoid a Bad Connection

Success! You’ve done it: Your healthcare website user is ready to convert. You’ve convinced them with your value proposition, made them feel valued and understood with your thoughtful tone, and motivated them to take action. As they scan for a phone number to reach you … nothing. No tel links. The user moves on.

That’s a tough break. And it’s one that you can easily avoid by using tel (telephone) links in your healthcare content. This simple step turns your phone numbers into HTML links that a website user can click or tap within your page, instantly connecting them to your contact center, office staff members or other team members.

Back in the bygone times of 2015, 62% of American smartphone owners reported using their mobile devices to search for health information. That rate has only increased since then with the rapid adoption of smartphones. Having a single-tap action available to connect your users to you is an essential part of successful conversions.

Missed opportunities for tel links equal missed opportunities for your consumers to connect with you and convert. It’s that simple. Let’s look at four of the top reasons you should be using tel links with every phone number you list on your healthcare organization’s website.

Tel links appeal to users who scan your content

We know most users are scanning your content, not reading it. That makes links an invaluable part of your content and conversion strategy. Almost no one is setting out to consume your content and stop without taking any further action. Their goal, and yours, is to take the appropriate next step in the journey.

As users are simply scanning your content for that next step, they are on the lookout for contact information — email addresses, form fills and, yes, phone numbers. You should definitely use a strong call-to-action (CTA) strategy on your healthcare organization’s website. But your users may not always notice your CTAs. This is sometimes due to the phenomenon known as “right-rail blindness” and sometimes due simply to distraction or inattention.

If the next step you want users to take is to call you, tel links give you a great opportunity to surface that conversion activity in a few relevant places — your CTAs, a “Contact Us” page and within the body of your webpage, for example.

Not all devices will automatically convert phone numbers to links

Some healthcare marketers believe the time of the tel link has passed because of the conveniences of modern technology. Most newer-model Apple and Android devices will automatically change numbers formatted as phone numbers to links. However, not all browsers will do so by default. In addition, some browsers don’t apply a hyperlink style to auto-detected phone numbers. That means the user may not know they can click or tap to call.

Another important use case is when a user is on a desktop or laptop and wants to call using Skype or some other voice over internet protocol (VOIP) system. In all cases, taking the guesswork out of whether your users can connect with your team through your posted phone numbers helps increase the odds that they’ll do so.

Using tel links on your healthcare organization’s website is easy

If you’re familiar with your content management system’s WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, applying a tel link is as easy as formatting an external link. In most cases, you can set this up with some version of the following tag:


Highlight the text you want to link for users to tap or click to call. Then set the link destination to the above. This assumes a U.S.-based phone number. If you’re using a phone number from outside the United States, just substitute your country code for the “1.” Make sure to include the full phone number, including area code.

If you’re more comfortable with tagging in the page’s HTML code, here’s the code snippet for your tel link:

<a href=”tel:+15558675309″>(555) 867-5309</a>

For the text after the “>” symbol, make sure you format it according to your organization’s preferred style for phone numbers. You can also use text if you prefer (e.g., “call us for more information”). However, providing the phone number is better for users who may not want to actually tap or click to call. The best option merges those two choices — incorporating CTA-style imperative verbs along with the actual phone numbers. For example, “Call us at (555) 867-5309” both motivates action and, with a tel link, provides the method for the user to take that action.

You can track engagement with your tel links

Understanding how your users are engaging and interacting with your healthcare organization’s website is key to your ongoing content strategy. Your analytics platform can let you view and track how much engagement your tel links are seeing over time.

Another way to track your users’ engagement with your telephone numbers, if you’re so inclined, is to set up unique phone numbers based on the channel in which your user encounters the phone number. For example, your website could have one number, while your direct-mail materials have another, and your paid digital campaigns have yet another. This can let you see what materials and messages are resonating with your audiences by seeing what phone numbers they use to reach out to you.

Hello – is it conversion you’re looking for?

You want to make it as easy as possible for your healthcare website users to take the next step. For many people, that involves picking up the phone and calling you. Tel links are a simple, straightforward and proven method for converting your website users into your next patients or members with just a tap on the screen. Once you have the framework in place to get users calling in, you can turn your attention to ensuring they have a good experience with your contact center.

We work with healthcare clients nationwide to help turn their websites into drivers of conversions. Contact us to learn more about our comprehensive healthcare content solutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Michael Adkins, Senior Content Strategist, Digital Health Strategy

As part of Perficient's Digital Health Strategy team, Michael partners with healthcare organizations to create informative, conversion-centered content for a variety of applications, including websites and blogs. Michael writes content that highlights clients’ service-line offerings, expertise in unique treatments, differentiators in competitive markets and additional factors that are important to patients.

More from this Author

Follow Us