These days, attracting new patients requires optimizing your medical practice’s “web presence” across multiple digital channels — here’s what you need to know.
It is safe to say that by now, most healthcare industry professionals recognize the value of providing a strong web presence when it comes to attracting new patients and maintaining existing ones. The internet, and especially search, has profoundly altered the patient's path to treatment, enabling patients in healthcare to perform their own research and make their own decisions while finding treatment options.
Many medical practices are struggling to build their online presence — but it's important to remember that in an increasingly competitive local health market, just throwing a website up and a few digital ads won't cut it anymore.
Here are five ways that Medical Private Practices can optimize their digital marketing efforts and stay ahead of the curve.
1. Patient Reviews
Peer reviews have become the gold standard in quality assurance — in addition, 90% in 18-24 year-olds claim they trust medical knowledge posted on the internet by peers. Although the quality of online reviews that be out of your hands at the end of the day, there is a great deal you can do to gain a positive rating on these platforms for your work.
Claim your profile at famous review sites such as Yelp, ZocDoc, Healthgrades, and Vitals. Many of these websites offer "freemium" services aking them a fast and easy way to increase your online visibility. It is also a good idea to encourage patients who are happy to go to any of these places and spread the word about their successful experience.
2. Get a Listing on Google My Business
There's no doubt Google reigns supreme when it comes to digital marketing.
While search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are of course vitally relevant, many medical marketers are investing all their time and energy in these fields, thus ignoring a range of impactful platforms and tactics.
One such platform, Google My Business, is a medical practice’s one-stop-shop for directory listing optimization. Subscribers’ business information appears on Search, Maps, Google+, and Google Places. This means that prospective patients can easily find your practice, regardless of where they are or what kind of device they’re using.
3. Mobile Matters
Approximately 90% of American adults currently own a smartphone, and about 80% of those users report using their mobile devices to check for health information. Google revised its search engine algorithm to offer mobile-optimized websites preferential treatment.
Any medical practice owner who wants to boost their practice’s ranking in Google’s organic search results must ensure that their website is “mobile-friendly.” Check if your current website is Mobile-Friendly.
4. Start Blogging or Blog More
Consistent blog posting is not only a great way to assert more online real estate, but also to strengthen patient trust in your brand and build yourself as a pioneer in industry thinking.
Write blogs that will connect with your target audience and demonstrate your specific areas of expertise. Boost the SEO value of your content by producing keyword-heavy titles and interlinking your site with other pages and blog posts.
5. Harness the Power of Social Media
The activity generated on social media around ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘retweets’, can have a significant impact on where Google searches for your site appears. Although it's difficult to pin down the exact SEO impact of social signals, there are many ways to easily increase your online visibility by clever use of social media.
Post content that people would like to "like" or, preferably, "share" on a regular basis. Each share will introduce your post to new potential users, while at the same time improving your ranking in Google searches. Remember: you are trying to communicate with patients and your material needs to cater to people outside the medical profession.
As with blog posts, you can regularly post to keep your followers engaged.
Ultimately, make sure all the big social networking platforms are used: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.