Updated: Feb 15
Protecting yourself and your practice online in 2022 will no longer be a choice; it could be survival of the fittest.
If you practice medicine, or work with those who do, we wont have to tell you how much the industry is changing, and not just through advancements in technique and with equipment.
The way medicine is practiced has been transformed in recent years. Better care, for more people, has made a healthier society overall, but there are other changes just below the surface.
Referrals are still a large part of any successful practice but in recent years the term “medical marketing” has been applied to new and innovative practitioners who are looking to increase market share, prominence and profitability.
The privatisation and corporatisation of healthcare in many sectors has seen more practitioners seeking to consult, or establish practices privately. In doing so they learn that specialists who once only had to wait for a long line of referrals, are increasingly getting overlooked by a well educated, choosy public.
The Importance of YESpbm’s Medical Marketing
As around, 97% of search engine users now look online to find a business. - socialmediatoday we are seeing those who don’t make at least some allowance for this market shift being left behind.
A recent study by YESpbm found that 77% of patients now use online research to find a private doctor, or to confirm their choice of specialist following a referral as a whopping 84% of patients say they trusted online reviews as much as a referral.
The creation and management of these patient reviews (amongst other things) is Medical Marketing.
Crucially, it takes between 1 and 6 positive reviews for a patient to trust their healthcare provider. An absence of reviews is not a good thing. Patients will turn away from providers who they feel cannot offer them this vital “social proof”.
Many of the surgeons we come in contact with are simply too busy to think about Medical Marketing. They have a busy practice and can’t imagine a day when it could change. Neither could Blockbuster Video, once the world's largest entertainment company when they turned down an offer to buy Netflix for a (relative) pittance.
Private practice is a business. With a higher calling certainly, but still a business. A golden rule of any business is the need for evolution to remain relevant. After all, the practice of medicine was once the domain of the local barber. A close shave and a limb removal all in one handy location. Fortunately, we’ve moved on.
To help you evolve, and stay ahead of the wave of new surgeons with an eye on social media and self promotion, here are some helpful ideas for establishing a solid presence online.
“Why should I care about online ratings?”
Online ratings can help shape your image in a digital marketplace. They may assist you with developing your brand, attracting new patients, increasing revenue, and educating you on business growth and improvement tactics. They offer vital feedback from patients and their importance is growing by the day.
Consumers refer to online ratings before making any purchasing decisions.
Ratings have evolved into a main source of information for consumers when deciding where and when to buy. According to one survey, 95% of buyers check online reviews before making a purchasing decision on products and services. - powerreviews. A lack of ratings online, for any professional, is now considered a negative by most consumers and can make them nervous.
Prospective customers gain trust in your brand because of ratings.
According to one study, 87% of consumers require a business to have an average rating of four to five stars in order to use it. Surprisingly, 11% exclusively sought out firms with a perfect five-star rating. - brightlocal
Online ratings drive more sales
Ratings do more than just build trust. They have the power to make or break your company's progress. According to a survey, 50 or more reviews can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. - reevoo
Online ratings create engagement
It's not a one-way street when it comes to engagement. One of the most difficult tasks for organisations is actively encouraging customers to submit reviews and give ratings. According to another survey, a businesses miss out on significant potential when they don’t as for reviews.
From one patient to another
Online reviews have become the standard method of quality control; in fact, 90% of 18-24 year-olds trust medical information given by others on the internet. - yourpracticeonline.
While the content of online reviews is ultimately out of your control, there is a lot you can do to improve your practice's reputation on these sites.
Here are some action points to get you started;
Claim your profile
Claim your profile on major review sites such as Yelp, Trustpilot, WebMD, and Realself. Many of these websites provide services (or free services with the option of paying for upgrades), making them a quick and easy way to boost your online visibility. It's also a good idea to encourage happy patients to write a review online or share the word about their positive experience with your practice. This not only improves your online brand but also helps to bury and minimise the damage caused by any prospective unfavourable ratings and reviews.
Create a Google My Business listing for your business.
There's no doubt that Google is the undisputed king of online marketing. While search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimisation (SEO) are critical, many medical professionals focus their time and efforts on these areas, ignoring several effective platforms and methods as a result. Google My Business, for example, provides a one-stop-shop for directory listing improvements for medical practices. The practice information is displayed on Search, Maps, Google+, and Google Places. This means that prospective patients may quickly find your clinic no matter where they are or what type of device they are using.
Mobile is Important
Approximately 89.84 % of the world's population now owns a smartphone, and out of that, about 7% of Google's daily searches are health-related. In reaction to these trends, Google modified its search engine algorithm in early 2015 to offer special privileges to mobile-optimised websites. Since then, any physician who wishes to improve his or her practice's ranking in Google's organic search results must guarantee that their website is "mobile-friendly." Copy/paste your current website's URL into Google's helpful Mobile Friendly Tester to determine if the website is mobile-friendly.