Nowadays, the internet has drastically altered healthcare, allowing patients to manage their health online, schedule appointments, pay medical bills, read doctors’ reviews, research medical conditions, and seek out treatment options. A majority of healthcare professionals are beginning to understand the significance of building a strong online presence when it comes to attracting new patients and retaining existing ones. However, in this increasingly competitive health market, having a simple website is not enough. You must be able to make a good first impression, engage users, and share your knowledge. You must be able to show what sets you apart from your competition. If your doctor website represents what you and your practice have to offer, can prospective patients find it easily? Here are a few ways in which you can modernize your website, optimize your marketing efforts, and establish a positive online reputation.
1. Claim Your Profile On Review Sites
Reviews say a lot about you and your practice. According to a recent survey, around 80% of patients go online before booking a doctor’s appointment. Moreover, 90% of young adults have stated that they trust health-related information on the internet that is shared by their peers. While reviews that users post online may be out of your hands, you can use doctor rating websites to your advantage. For instance, websites such Yelp, Healthgrades, and Vitals offer free services to rate a doctor and increase your visibility online. Encourage current patients that are satisfied with your services to go some of these websites and spread the good word about you and your practice. Not only will you be able to direct users to your website and bury any potential negative reviews, but you can also lead prospective patients to your office.
2. Get Listed On Google My Business –
When it comes to marketing, Google is the way to go. One specific platform, Google My Business, is growing in search engine optimization for businesses. Your practice’s information will appear on Google+, Search, Maps, and Google Places. This indicates that prospective patients will be able to find your practice, regardless of where they are or what type of a device they are using.
3. Include a Blog
Including a blog to your website can do wonders for your business. It can help validate your expertise in a specific area and heighten patient engagement. When it comes to health, a lot of patients dread going to the doctor. A blog can show prospective patients your ‘human side’ and get them to feel comfortable around you, both as an individual and as a professional, before walking through your door. Moreover, consistent blogging is a great way to address common questions and concerns, maintain an engaged following, claim more online visibility, and increase your SEO value. “I believe that creating and maintaining an active blog is essential to the development of an effective online reputation. Blogging allows you to publish your thoughts and opinions, makes you the expert and allows readers to get a sense of who you are and what values you hold close. If you do not create your own story you remain at the mercy of what others say and create digitally about you — much of which may not be true” wrote Kevin R. Campbell, a cardiac electrophysiologist.
4. Include Social Media
In today’s day and age, the importance of social media cannot be stressed enough. Likes, shares, and tweets all weigh heavily on where your website will appear in Google searches. Each share of your post exposes you to prospective patients, all the while giving them the chance to learn more about you and your practice. Through social media networks, not only can you engage with current and prospective patients, but you can also boost your ranking, increase referrals, and demonstrate that you are on top of your game. Above all, social media is a low-cost platform that allows you to demonstrate your professionalism and decipher and share accurate information to a large percentage of the patient population. “Outcomes may be improved by writing informational pieces about how patients can effectively participate in their own care and co-manage certain disease processes. We may be able to set realistic expectations for patients before they come to the office by publishing a digital guidebook that describes office operations and procedures and exactly what to expect during a visit. However, social media can just as easily be used by unhappy patients, former employees and competitors in a negative way that my sully and in some cases completely ruin a reputation. This is where managing an online reputation is critically important” wrote Dr. Campbell. If you can manage your online reputation properly, it will pay off in the long run – guaranteed.
5. Add Pictures and Videos
Sometimes, it is not just about quantity, but also about quality. If your website is cluttered with tons of pieces of health-related information, chances are that users will get lost. You can be a leader within your field, but if you do not add ‘zest’ to your website, you will lose followers. Pictures and videos are both fun and effective ways to increase engagement and showcase information in an entertaining way. For instance, patient success stories, displayed with pictures and videos, can show how your services have made a difference in their lives. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is just a thousand pictures in rapid series.
6. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
One in three patients are smartphone owners who use their phones to look up health-related information. Is your website responsive and mobile-friendly? Nowadays, having a mobile-friendly website can greatly affect how you appear in search results. In fact, did you know that since 2015, Google has updated its search engine formula and is giving mobile-optimized websites favored search rankings? If your main objective is to grow patient volume and keep patients coming back, it is time to look at your online presence.
7. Enable Online Scheduling
Over 40% of patients prefer to make their appointments online through an app or website. If your website does not offer online scheduling, it is time to change this. Moreover, research shows that over 30% of patient appointments are made after office hours. So, online scheduling can benefit both your patients and your business. What’s more, your staff members will not have to spend so much time answering phones, thus allowing them to work more efficiently.
Today, 97% of users are using the internet to find local businesses, including yours. In order to target patients to your practice, you need to optimize your website so that it can be found easily in search results. Moreover, your website should consist of a modern and organized look to influence how visitors see you and your practice. If your website is outdated and cluttered, visitors will not book an appointment and you will lose prospective patients. They will get a sense that since your website is not updated, neither are the tools that you use and the services that you have to offer. That being said, in today’s competitive health market, an online reputation can make or break your practice. Update your practice’s website to adapt to how patients (both local and global) are managing their health and use your digital footprint to modernize the patient experience.
“Medicine and the delivery of care is rapidly changing. The Internet has provided both patients and physicians with instantaneous information, feedback and opportunity. As physicians, we must embrace the fact that our patients and our potential customers use the Internet for screening and evaluation of providers as well as to gain information about their particular medical problems. It is essential that today’s physician develops his or her own online reputation now. Put your best cyberfoot forward” wrote Dr. Campbell.
- Create and maintain a blog
- Establish a social media presence
- Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly
- Enable an online scheduling option