Like other businesses, in order to be successful, proper marketing strategies must be implemented. Most medical practices choose to combine different marketing strategies in the hopes of increasing revenue and gaining a competitive advantage. While there are countless strategies to choose from, nothing can compete with a long-term approach to increase awareness and credibility.
Word-of-mouth referrals are the most powerful source prospective patients utilize. If your current patients are satisfied with your services, they are more likely to spread the good word about your practice and refer their family and friends. However, when prospective patients do not have referrals, chances are they will resort to the internet for help. Today’s tech-savvy consumers are likely to check out your practice’s reviews to see what other patients have written about you before booking an appointment. Reviews do not always tell the whole story, but they do give you a glimpse of someone’s experience. For this reason, it is important to portray accurate and professional information that highlights your positive patient reviews.
Use the right tools to manage your reputation efficiently
When it comes to managing your reputation, time is of the essence. There are hundreds of websites that capture and distribute reviews: Healthgrades, RateMDs, Vitals, Yelp, Google, and much more. These websites allow patients to share their experiences and seek feedback from others going through the same things they are. You must establish and build your presence if you are to gain a competitive edge. Google yourself or even your competitors and see what activity comes up. This should give you a better understanding of what others see and provide you with ideas of websites or platforms that are most applicable to your target market.
Healthgrades displays patient reviews, and it can be a great indicator of how satisfied or unsatisfied patients are with their care. For example, if most of the reviews you get are positive, you know you are heading in the right direction. However, if your medical practice receives an abundance of negative reviews, it may be time to reassess your performance and consider changing a few things. If you have a number of patients who mention a similar issue, accept the complaint and try your best to improve your performance in that specific area. Be sure to thank your patients for their positive reviews and try to resolve any negative ones. Most importantly, do not share any private information about your patients. After all, patients want to know you are trustworthy and there to help them, not publicize them.
Create a healthy feedback loop
40% of patients have stated that information on social media networks affects how they deal with their health. This information is especially useful in reaching out to a younger audience (ages 18-24), because they are twice as likely to use social media for health-related discussions. If you ever want to add more content to your practice’s website or even start a blog revolving around wellness tips and local health events, social media is the way to go. Consider asking questions to get the discussion going or even putting together a “Frequently Asked Questions” article based on the feedback you get. If you are redesigning your website, ask patients what type of information they would like to read or the types of features they would like to see. This way, you can get a better idea of how your patients feel about the use of technology in your practice.
Make your voice heard!
More and more patients are searching the web to address their medical concerns and to find recommended doctors in their area. Social media is a great tool that can help you understand which health issues raise the most concerns and help your patients find you. Over 85% of patients have stated that patient reviews affect their decision when it comes to picking a doctor. Take a survey of your most trusted, long-term patients. Ask them how they feel about your medical practice and the services you provide them. Encourage your current patients to share their experiences in an online review. Put out a sign at your front desk, mention it during a conversation, or even send your patients a follow-up email thanking them for their visit and encouraging them to review you online. When your reviews get syndicated to your profile, make sure to take the time to respond to both complaints and recommendations. This will give prospective patients more confidence in you as a doctor before walking into your office.
Encourage patient reviews
More patient reviews means a more accurate rating. If you have one unhappy patient review, your rating will be very low. But if you have fifty patient reviews, and only one is poor, that review will not affect your rating much at all. It is important to facilitate an environment that encourages patient reviews for that reason. The FindaTopDoc Review Kiosk is a very effective tool for this.
Now, more than ever, millions of individuals are searching online for information about pretty much anything, including picking a doctor. Building an online reputation, and a credible one, requires providing the exact kind of information readers are looking for. This means providing patients with information such as your educational background, biography, contact information, the medical conditions you treat, and your areas of specialization. The more information you provide, the less likely prospective patients will look somewhere else.
In the age of Healthgrades and Vitals, you can’t be afraid of what patients might say about you. Accept their feedback and respond whenever you can. The quality and quantity of reviews is a must. If you show your presence in search engines, this can greatly determine whether or not patients choose you. With the rising influence of online patient reviews and feedback in the decision-making process, take a moment to assess whether you are growing your medical practice by making the most out of your online reputation. If you are not, it isn’t too late to start.
Get engaged and strive to have your practice listed on all popular online directories and review sites. By exceeding expectations and finding ways to surprise and delight your patients, you are likely to build patient loyalty, increase patient satisfaction, and drive more traffic to your practice. Remember: patient reviews provide valuable feedback and help connect referring physicians and prospective patients to doctors like you. The more positive your reviews are, the more likely you will get more calls from prospective patients. Not to mention, your credibility will increase among your current patients, and that is always a plus.