Set your practice up for success with an intentional digital strategy.
I think it’s fair to say that the first thing potential patients want to know about you is whether or not you are qualified and experienced in their particular condition or treatment. But that doesn’t really help them narrow things down much. There might be a dozen other doctors in your area with roughly the same qualifications as you. So all things being relatively equal, what is going to help set you apart when they’re searching for a new provider online?
Honestly, it often comes down to thinking like a brand instead of a medical professional. For you, that means shoring up your web presence using tricks that consumer brands have long known to be successful in standing out.
1. Get Specific About Your Positioning
Your practice can’t be all things to all people. So what are you really about as a medical professional? As a practice? Who are you here to help, and why? The clearer you can be about your position, the more you’re going to relate to prospective patients looking for that very thing. For example:
Premium specialization – Practices perceived as “premium” or specialists in a particular service or treatment
Unique approach – Maybe you use a particular type of treatment method. Or maybe you’re “the high-tech practice” with the absolute latest technology. Perhaps you’re known for wearing Hawaiian shirts every day. Silly or serious, don’t be shy about touting what makes you unique.
Compelling story – Do you have an interesting story about why you became a doctor or started your practice? Patients don’t need to know your life story, but showing your human side can help assure them that you’ll see them that way, not just as a list of symptoms.
2. Have a professional, modern website
I’ve talked to medical professionals who set up their site years ago and figure that as long as the information remains the same, they didn’t need to touch the site. Oh boy.
I get this mindset. I really do. You’re a medical professional. People just need to know what type of medicine you practice and how to find you, right? Maybe this was true once, but today’s patients have much higher expectations of doctors on the web.
These are the four biggest reasons to update your website:
Looks matter – Outdated websites give the impression that you’re not up on new technology. Patients may think that if your site is that outdated, maybe your methods are too.
Users are impatient – Make it easier to find useful information. This will increase conversions and cut down on your staff having to answer the same questions over and over.
SEO changes – Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms. If you’re not proactively updating your site and engaging in search engine optimization, you’re losing out on valuable search ranking.
Mobile rules – More than half of all internet usage comes from mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, you’re missing all those search opportunities. Not only that, but Google actually penalizes websites that aren’t optimized, burying those links in the search rankings.
3. Actively Improve Ratings and Reviews
72% of patients use online reviews to find a new doctor. If you aren’t actively monitoring review sites, responding to reviews and promoting great reviews from patients, you’re missing out on a whole conversation that’s happening online about you.
You can take back control of that conversation with a reputation review strategy that involves your entire medical practice. Post signs in the waiting and exam rooms encouraging reviews, have your front desk staff remind patients and send follow-up email with links to popular sites such as Google, Yelp and Healthgrades.