Best Practices for Marketing Your Private Practice Online
Now more than ever, patients are looking online when they need a physician — and the only way to get your practice in front of them is by having a strong digital presence.
Don’t have the time or resources to build a comprehensive marketing plan? That’s OK.
Focusing on a few simple best practices can go a long way when it comes to managing your online reputation. To help you get started, let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends in patient research — and how you can use them to your advantage.
1. Make sure your practice shows up in search
Your website plays an especially critical role in practice marketing. Why? Because seven in 10 people use search engines to start their patient journey, and an estimated 70,000 health-related searches are performed every minute.
That makes search one of the most influential channels in practice marketing today.
However, there is a catch: 75% of people never scroll past the first page of results. So unless your website shows up on the first page of Google, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential appointments.
What to do: Optimize your website for search engines.
Optimizing your website is critical for getting patients to your website, and it begins with creating a site with information that your visitors need.
If your website is 5-10 years old – or (gulp!) even older – it probably won’t cut it today. Today’s patient-consumers can tell if your site is outdated, and won’t stick around if the site lacks the information they need to make important healthcare decisions.
Rich, engaging optimized content is key. At a minimum, your website should include:
- An about page that tells patients about your staff and areas of expertise
- Before and after photos
- Patient FAQs
- Credentials, awards, and certificates
- Patient forms for online bookings and paperwork
In addition, be sure to include a title tag and meta description for each page. These show up in Google and can have a huge impact on whether or not someone will choose to click over to your website.
2. Make it easy for patients to find you
When it comes to attracting new patients, convenience is key. Over half of patients choose doctors based on location.
Yet nearly a third of healthcare providers do not have local listings for their practices, and an astounding 48% of healthcare websites include mistakes with their addresses.
This lack of basic location information puts private practices at a major disadvantage. Why? Because nearly half of all patients won’t book appointments with physicians whose online listings are incomplete.
What to do: Claim your Google Business Profile and Yelp Business Listing.
An estimated 94% of weekday calls to local businesses come from Google Business Profiles that appear in search results. In fact, businesses with optimized profiles are seen in as many as 1,000 searches each month.
To capitalize on these searches, your practice will need to have a complete and thorough profile. If you haven’t already, start today by verifying your practice’s listing.
Once you fill out the basic information and tell Google how you’d like for your business to appear in Google Maps, you can add additional details to showcase the value of booking appointments at your practice. For example, you can add:
- Links for booking online appointments
- Details on the services you provide
- High-quality images to show patients what to expect before they arrive
In addition, more than 80 million people look for businesses on Yelp each month, and 57% of them reach out within a day.
Once you verify your Yelp listing, you can:
- Receive messages and requests for appointments
- Provide more information on your practice to help encourage patients to reach out
- Respond to reviews
3. Keep a close eye on reviews
Patients have long relied on recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers when looking for a new doctor. But these days, they’re looking online.
In fact, six in 10 will check a provider’s online reviews even when they’ve been referred by a trusted physician. Turns out, online comments from other patients are second only to recommendations from friends and family.
That’s not all.
More than two-thirds of patients say that the quality of reviews is a key factor when selecting a doctor important, and 84% won’t even consider a provider that has less than four stars in its overall rating average.
What to do: Regularly monitor and respond to patient reviews on sites like Google and Yelp.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that make it easy to see what patients are saying on social media, review sites, and discussion groups. You can use these tools to:
- Respond to positive reviews to show you care for patients
- Respond to negative reviews to let people know you’re listening and willing to address issues
- Look for opportunities to extract quotes that can be used as testimonials on your website
While these best practices aren’t the only strategies for maintaining a strong online presence, they’re three of the most important. To remain relevant to patients and stand out from competitors, it’s imperative to maintain robust business listings, optimize your website, and regularly respond to patients on review sites.
Here at omo, we want to make it as simple as possible for your practice to master these strategies. Through our Practice Marketing program, omo members can take advantage of a wide variety of services designed specifically for independent physicians — website development, review monitoring, local listings setup, professional photography, social media campaigns, paid advertising, and more.
Visit our Practice Marketing page to learn how our highly skilled specialists can help you rank higher in Google and stay ahead of reviews.