Three Crucial Tips for Your Digital Strategy
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
At first glance, investing heavily in SEO and advertising might entice doctors looking to grow their practices. But these tools alone will fall flat in the digital era. Doctors who want to gain new patients need to take a more holistic approach to their digital strategy.
The good news? Focusing on just a few key areas will give doctors a solid foundation to build successful campaigns upon. Before you spend on ads and SEO, address these things first.
1. Get your online presence in tip-top shape.
An ad is just a gateway to a broader search. Patients research physicians on sites like Healthgrades and Vitals, and nearly half would decide not to book an appointment with a doctor due to inaccurate or incomplete listings online. Since most patients consult two to three sites before making a decision, it’s important to take stock of your full web-wide presence to boost your visibility and credibility.
Think you can rely on the strength of your referrals? Think again! 88% of people will look up a referred physician online. Prospective patients will Google your name to find review sites and healthcare directories where they can validate the information they already have. SEO has even changed to reflect this new consumer behavior — meaning these objective third-party sites get prime real estate in search results today.
2. Make sure your online reputation accurately reflects your practice.
Your online reputation is a linchpin for practice success. 94% of patients read reviews on third-party sites before making a decision (and, for three-quarters of them, it’s their very first stop!). At the same time, over 64% have chosen one provider over another based on their online reputation.
If your SEO and online marketing are sparking interest in your practice but you don’t have the high ratings and positive reviews to back it up, you’re losing out on valuable patients.
3. Convert new patients through digital scheduling tools.
People are increasingly digital in everything they do. And just like they shop on Amazon, they “shop” for healthcare, too. Facilitate the last mile of that journey by giving them the “one-click-purchasing” experience. For physicians, that means supplying the tools to schedule or request appointments wherever they come across your practice.
Patients don’t want to change channels to book an appointment. In 2020, Accenture predicts that 64% of patients will book appointments through digital means. But online scheduling isn’t only a convenience on the patient side. It expands your office hours 24/7 so you capture appointments around the clock — even when your office is closed.
No matter how creative your ads or how great your SEO strategy, neither is a silver bullet for attracting new patients. All your efforts will be in vain if a solid online foundation isn’t already in place. Before you invest in additional ad spend, take the pulse of your web-wide reach to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward everywhere patients are searching for doctors like you.
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