Marketing your medical practice online is becoming increasingly essential to insuring that your practice will attract new patients and thrive in the modern, digital age. After all, 35 percent of American health care consumers research medical issues online before calling their doctor and a growing number search for a new doctor online when they move to a new area. If you’re not present on the web and on social media sites, then you’re likely falling behind your competition. (Yes, practicing medicine should be all about helping people, but if they don’t know your practice exists, you’ll have no one to treat.)
Things to include in your digital marketing plan
1. Website. You website is the anchor to which all of your other digital marketing elements will point. Look at this like your building and your reception area. It’s the first impression most patients are going to get of your practice. Take the time to make it professional, informative, easy to navigate and relevant. You’ll also want to make the website reflect the personality of your practice.
2. Social media.Social media is no longer just for sharing kid and cat photos. Today, you’re as likely to find corporations (and medical practices) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like as you are individuals. These sites offer a host of advantages for physicians. They help to take the “scary” out of visiting the doctor by allowing potential patients to get to know you before they call for an appointment. In addition, such sites make great forums for sharing public health information and information about special events. 90% of adults 18-24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others in their social media networks. (Source: PwC Health Research Institute)
3. Paid advertising.A little online paid advertising can yield big results. Unlike traditional channels like radio, tv and print advertising, where you pay to reach thousands of consumers who may not need your services, paid digital advertising can be targeted to reach just those people who have expressed an interest in your specialty by searching for the information online. 81% of people click on a sponsored link when looking for health information (Source:Geocentric) and 77% of patients used search prior to booking an appointment. (Source: Google).
4. Accurate Directory Information. There are over 800 different directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, etc….It is impossible to identify which directories potential patients are using when locating a physician. Make sure your information is up-to-date and accurate so that whichever directory is being used, your information (location, hours of operation, phone numbers) is correct.
5. Claim Profiles and Monitor Review Sites. If you haven’t done so already, claim profiles on sites like Vitals.com, Healthgrades, RateMDs and MD.com. Monitor these sites (as well as others like Yelp and Google+) for reviews about you or your practice. Stay proactive and protect your online reputation. 94% of prospective patients said reputation of facility is important (Source:Google)
Online marketing for physicians doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. You just need a marketing plan that includes the elements mentioned above to grow your business into a successful medical practice.
*For more great statistics on healthcare search, here is the article that provided the statistics and sources.