Traditional marketing avenues aren’t as successful as they used to be. In the past, a satisfied patient told a friend, who told another friend, and that led to two (or more) visits from new patients. That referral based marketing model for physicians delivered business consistently. Also, potential patients would simply contact their insurance providers to learn about physicians in the area and set an appointment.
In both of those instances, however, the Internet interrupts the basic marketing model. Whether referred to you from a friend or an insurance company, potential patients will research your practice and you specifically on the Internet. Often these potential patients are looking for online reviews of doctors, but just as frequently the goal is just to find the address of the practice, and in the process of looking for the address, they read online reviews and everything else about you on the internet.
Consequently, to get more patients, you need to utilize Internet marketing techniques, because whether you are intending to or not, the Internet is affecting the flow of new patients to your practice. According to Google, people look for doctors more than 24,900,000 times each month!
So here are the top 5 ways to get more patients from Internet marketing:
1. Create A Website
Websites define your presence online, explain who you are, add a dash of credibility (because everyone has a website these days), and are tools for promoting your marketing your services to your local community. Last, a website is a fantastic opportunity to own a key slot on Google, Bing, and Yahoo for when potential new patients look you up.
2. Get Positive Online Reviews
Everyone goes online to learn more about what they’re looking for. The presence of third-party reviews sites like RateMDs, Vitals, Yelp, and others has provided tools for patients who visited you to voice their concerns in an unregulated area. Search engines index these reviews sites, resulting in your potential patients reading these same reviews. To best way to protect yourself against unfair reviews is to get MORE positive online reviews. HIPAA compliance is important here – feel free to email Matador Solutions with any technical questions.
3. Control More Space On Search Engines
The Internet is the wild west of public opinion, and it’s important to remember that the mass public doesn’t carry licensed medical expertise! Consequently, many physicians with whom we work argue rightfully that their reputations online are affected by poorly informed opinions. One solution is to limit what’s visible on the front-pages of major search engines by populating with them content you control. That requires a number of minisites and blogs dedicated to your credentials and testimonials from patients.
4. Use Social Media
Not only are statements on social media indexed well by search engines (i.e. Facebook and Twitter primarily), but these are also venues you control and opportunities to connect with your most satisfied patients. We’re not suggesting any type of non-HIPAA compliant dialogue (really, we love HIPAA!), but you or your office manager can always thank patients for their kind words, express apologetically for a bad experience, or just suggest follow-up information if you’d like to address the situation directly with patients. Social media used in this way demonstrates transparency, candor, and (most importantly) professionalism in the eyes of potential patients.
5. Get A Marketing Partner
It might sound like we’re tooting our own horn here, but really you want an Internet marketing partner who specializes in physician and overall practice marketing to guide you in these endeavors. As you know, specialization and focused experience has its benefits: first, your knowledge is guided by deep experience and learning; second, working with a true professional yields results with fewer headaches; third, mistakes are costly (ever seen a bungled $100,000 practice marketing program? We have and though those physicians make great customers, we wish we were around earlier).
We deliver value. This complimentary blog post is an example – if you’d like to learn more about HIPAA compliance in relation to your Internet marketing goals, or maybe it’s time to move on building the new website, fixing the unfair reviews, and controlling what’s said about you online, then contact us.