We get it – you are a busy doctor and you don’t waste time or money. That’s why we have put together 5 quick and easy actions you can do TODAY which will help increase your number of new, online patient referrals.
1. Google My Business
Even if you haven’t heard of Google My Business, you have definitely already seen it. Remember the last time you Googled “pizza restaurant” and a map appeared with 3 restaurants to choose from? Well, that’s Google My Business! And it doesn’t just happen when people search for pizza…It also happens with doctors. Try searching for “orthopedic surgeon orlando” or whatever your specialty and city is. You will see three practices, or doctors, appear on that map at the top of search results.
Are you showing up on the list? If you are, great!
If you are NOT, your are probably wondering this: “HOW CAN I GET MY NAME, OR MY PRACTICE, ONTO THIS LIST?”
The answer is relatively simple and can be done in three steps:
A. You need to create a Google My Business account. For your convenience, here is the link to create a Google My Business account.
B. Set up the listing well, so that it is easy-to-find on Google searches. In particular, make sure you:
- Select the right category. Note: More than one category is possible. So, if you are an orthopedic surgeon who also offers physical therapy, you should pick ‘orthopedic surgeon’ AND ‘physical therapy’;
- Add a description;
- Add the services you offer. This was recently added by Google in 2018 and allows you to specify what services you offer;
- Ensure your address and contact information is correct;
3. Get as many positive reviews as possible. This is important, because it is believed that businesses with higher rankings are more likely to show up in the top 3 results. Read about how to improve doctor’s online reputations.
2. Request for negative reviews to be removed
Have you tried Googling yourself? What do you see? You’ll probably see 10 results about you, including several companies rating your online reputation. The usual ones are: Google My Business, Healthgrades, Yelp, and Vitals.
Now imagine you are a patient: Would you really choose a doctor or practice which has less than 4 stars? After all, is your health something you want to risk? Of course not. That is why doctors with higher ratings are more likely to get more patients.
BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? Answer: You can request for negative reviews to be removed. The ratings sites mentioned above all have policies with regards to whether or not a review is allowed. For example, most of them do not allow the use of abusive language. It is often the case that these reviews break such policies, in which case, giving you grounds to request for the review to be removed. If you find any negative reviews, there is usually an option to FLAG the review and request for it to be removed.
3. Respond to negative reviews
If a review does NOT break any policies, then you will be unable to remove it. However, the next best thing is to reply to the review, so that other prospective patients can better understand your side of the story. Replies should NOT be defensive, but instead should politely explain the circumstances, without breaking HIPPA regulations by revealing any patient-specific data.
4. Check your website is mobile-friendly
As mentioned in our previous blog post about the importance of a mobile-friendly website, the majority of Google searches are now done on smart-phones or tablets. This means that, if your website is not mobile-friendly, then you are missing out on over 50% of potential new patients! The good news is that it is quick, easy, and free to check if your website is mobile-friendly. Ask Google to check my website’s mobile-friendliness NOW.
5. Start tracking how patients found out about you
If you are spending any money at all on marketing your practice, then you need to be tracking what is working and what is NOT working. For example, perhaps those flyers you mailed out are bringing in 80% of new patients? Or perhaps, despite costing less, your online marketing is bringing in the majority of patients. Or perhaps word-of-mouth is the biggest source of new patients. Regardless, you need to be in an informed position. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest way is to train your front desk to ASK EVERY PATIENT HOW THEY FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU. This will soon begin to paint a picture about what is working, and what is not.
Once armed with this knowledge, you should (logically) increase the marketing which is working, while decreasing the marketing which is not. This will mean that every marketing dollar is being put to the best use.
Other ways to increase patient referrals
Red Castle Services specializes in Online Marketing for Doctors, in particular Medical Websites and SEO for Doctors. We offer month-to-month contracts, because we believe doctors should stay with us because they LOVE our results, not because they are locked into a contract. Depending on your specialty, you may be interested in the following services:
- Medical Website Design
- SEO for Doctors
- Online Reputation Management
- Social Media Marketing
- Workers’ Compensation Marketing
Questions? Contact Us Now.