6 Ways to Leverage Online Marketing and Enroll More Patients
In current times, understanding online marketing is not a choice anymore, it’s a necessity. If a medical practice has basic knowledge of online marketing, it can be extremely useful. If your practice has hired a professional marketing firm, an understanding of online marketing can help you monitor results.
Although an online marketing program can be a little time consuming to set up initially, the effort will be well worth it. In an increasingly competitive world, the ability to manage your brand and make direct contact with your “consumer” is invaluable.
Online marketing allows you to control what people are saying about you. You can reach beyond your immediate local area and extend your services to the whole world if you please. Becoming an online expert and starting your own line of products are all very real possibilities.
The first step in online marketing for physicians is defining what your voice is going to be. You may not love Oprah or Dr. Phil, but you have to admire them for minutely controlling how they come across to the public. Your online marketing program will determine whether you come across as energetic, flamboyant, happy-go-lucky, down to earth, or crass. It’s important to let your real personality shine through because trying to be everything to everybody never works in the long-term.
Don’t be shy to share any awards, press mentions, or publications. You’re competing against all the physicians in your area. Just be credible and authentic, and patients will automatically gravitate to you. You can improve your credibility by appearing in the press as an expert. Many reporters seek expert opinions for articles they are researching and writing. By sharing your knowledge and answering their questions, you will likely get mentioned as the source, perhaps in a high-profile publication, you will increase your online presence and add to your credibility at no real cost.
“Don’t be shy to share any awards, press mentions, or publications. You’re competing against all the physicians in your area.”
- Understand online search behaviors: The greatest numbers of healthcare-related online searches are for symptoms and physicians in a patient’s local area. You can intercept a potential new patient by answering questions about symptoms and getting listed as a physician in a particular area.
- Keep an eye on your online reputation: Simply doing a Google search of your name can reveal interesting results. More or less, people are honest in their reviews. You should take a proactive approach to mitigating the damage from a negative review as well as capitalizing on a positive review.
- Invest in a professional website: Your website is not the place where you should be looking to save a few bucks. These days, a professional website is not that expensive or difficult to set up and maintain. Show some personality, but remain professional. Striking the right balance between personal and professional is critical. Remember, sometimes a less polished version of you can appear more “real” to prospective patients who will likely come from all walks of life. How you present yourself through your website will eventually depend on your target market.
- Get listed on physician rating websites: The three most important places people search online for physician reputation are Google, ZocDoc, and Yelp. If your practice is already listed, be sure you are in control of the information presented. Although some of these are paid services (ZocDoc, for example), you may find it a worthwhile investment.
- Pay attention to reviews: Don’t ignore either good or bad reviews. Dedicate some time (or delegate a member of your staff) to address concerns and answer questions from current and prospective patients. Respond in a timely manner with a personalized message. Post positive reviews and video testimonials on your website to increase credibility.
- Don’t ignore your competitors: Keeping an eye on what other physicians in your specialty and your area are up to can be an opportunity to become the leader of the pack. Are there three eccentric physicians in your vicinity? You can likely benefit from targeting patients looking for a more somber or laid-back doctor. Do the other physicians in your area have less than optimal websites? Ramp up your own website and instantly appear the most professional. The possibilities of leveraging online marketing to enroll more patients at your practice are endless, you’ve just got to get started.