The New Year is a great opportunity to pause and think ‘big picture’ about your medical practice. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running the practice – treating patients, managing staff, and putting out fires all day long. BUT what is the point of these daily efforts if ultimately they do not contribute toward a bigger, strategic plan?
At Red Castle Services, it is our firm belief that patient behavior is changing. Every year, more and more patients are searching for their next doctor ONLINE. Gone are the days when patients looked up the doctor’s number in a paper directory. Is this trend likely to stop? In a word, NO. So as a doctor, it’s very important that you are aware of this and start to strategically position your practice accordingly.
The good news is that the solution is really very simple and has just 2 basic components: First, make your practice easy for patients to find online. Second, make sure that what they find persuades them to schedule an appointment. But this is easier said than done. Below we explain some ideas which will help.
5 Ways to Attract More Patients Online in 2018
1. Medical SEO
It’s really very simple – with more and more patients looking for their next doctor online, you need to make your practice easy for patients to find online. One way to do this is medical SEO. In layman’s terms, medical SEO is the process of positioning your website at the top of online search results. It is common knowledge that Google is the most used search engine, so in terms of winning the most new patients, it makes sense to prioritize getting your practice’s website top of Google.
You are now probably wondering “how can I do medical SEO for my practice’s website?” There are several strategies, ranging from increasing backlinks to your site, improving your site’s content, changing backend settings, among others. However, a word of warning – be careful which SEO company you choose to work with, because using the wrong SEO strategies (essentially cheating the system) can lead to your site being blacklisted with Google. At Red Castle Services, we believe in authentic content creation – helping your site to have the best content, so that Google wants it to be at the top of Google. That’s why we have an in-house team of talented medical content writes who create content on the topics patients want to know about.
Read more about medical seo.
2. New Medical Website
So let’s say you successfully get your site to the top of Google. Thousands of patients are now visiting your site every month. BUT wait. Will patients actually like what they find? Your website is patients’ first impression of your practice – does your site really convey the image you want?
Plus does your site have the functionality which converts browsing into appointments? For example, is your site mobile friendly? As far back as 2015, Google reported that more searches take place on smart phones and tablets than on desktops. So if your site is NOT mobile friendly, then you are missing out on over 50% of your potential online patient referrals! Not sure if your site is mobile friendly or not? Here’s a free tool from Google to check.
3. Online Reputation
Let’s say it again: If patients don’t like what they find, then they won’t schedule an appointment. And this doesn’t just apply to your website. Try Googling the doctors in your practice now. Do you see that Google review which shows up? That’s exactly what patients see too.
Do you have a good rating? Doctors often come to us and ask us how to improve this rating. It can be very frustrating to them. Sometimes the patient was not even their patient and left a scathing review! It’s quite typical for happy patients to not post anything online, while unhappy patients tell the whole world!
The good news is that we have developed a system which collects real, authentic reviews from patients and posts them online, while simultaneously discouraging negative reviews from going online. Take a look at a sample of our work below:
Read more about Online Reputation Management for Doctors.
4. Social Media
I was never a big fan of social media marketing for doctors, because I never saw a big Return On Income. However, that was until I learned how much it helps with SEO. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have very high Domain Authorities. This means that they are sites which Google ‘respects’. In other words, links from these sites are quite valuable and help to move your site up the search engine rankings.
An added bonus of social media campaigns is that they can be used to build online followings and to reinforce your practice’s brand. Want to be seen as the leading practice of your specialty in your area? Social media can help.
Read more about social media marketing for doctors.
5. Google Adwords / Facebook Advertising
If you need patients and need them fast, Google Adwords is a great option. It will leapfrog your website straight to the top of Google search engine results in the sponsored section. However, it comes at a cost. Each time someone clicks on those links, you’re charged a fee (often around $2 to $10 per click, depending on how competitive your keywords are).
Facebook advertising is another option, although personally I think it depends on your specialty. For example, if you’re an urgent care center, then I don’t see the value in Facebook advertising. Anyone who is injured will come to you (Google you) and not be inspired by a post on Facebook to suddenly pay you a visit. However, for more chronic conditions, Facebook advertising can be a good option. Let’s imagine someone who has been suffering with arthritis for several months or even years. Seeing a post on Facebook about how arthritis pain can be cured may indeed persuade them to call you. So for specialties like orthopedics and pain management (among others) it can be a good option.
About Red Castle Services
We specialize in helping doctors increase their number of online patient referrals. We believe that doctors needs to position their practices for the future – and start attracting the 62% of patients who now search for their next doctor online. Read more about us or Contact Us.