Healthcare providers looking for new patients should concentrate their marketing efforts online. Why? Simply because the majority of patients begin their search for a doctor online. According to research, three out of every four people have looked up a doctor, a dentist, or medical care online. Sixty-one percent do so either occasionally or frequently. Healthcare practices that take advantage of digital marketing opportunities will have a better chance of attracting and retaining patients.
Online searches are the new normal
Patients looking for a new doctor in the past may have relied solely on word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends. They may also have chosen a healthcare provider who is affiliated with their health plan. While these are still common approaches, patients will frequently conduct their own research when selecting a doctor online. In fact, two out of every three patients who use their insurance company's directory also read other online reviews of the providers. Even when given a referral by a healthcare professional, 92 percent of patients said they always or occasionally conducted their own research to validate that recommendation. But, Where patients today search for a healthcare provider? Today, patients have countless online avenues to research potential healthcare providers. Some widely used options are listed below.
1. Your medical practice's website
According to our third annual patient perspective survey, more than half of patients (54.8 percent) said the healthcare practice website is very or extremely important when selecting a doctor. Your website should not only be visually appealing, but it should also be search engine optimized. Your website should include all critical business information, as well as details about the services you provide and the conditions you treat. Your website should also be mobile-friendly, which means that it should be easy to navigate on mobile screens and load quickly. Important calls to action, such as your phone number and online scheduling, can entice patients to choose you as their doctor.
2. Listings in online business directories
To choose a doctor, more than one in every three patients consult provider information on Facebook, Yelp, or WebMD. Creating profiles on well-known healthcare and local business leaders is frequently free advertising for healthcare providers. Even if you haven't created a profile on some of these websites, one may already exist for you or your practice. It's impossible that the information listed is incorrect if you haven't kept track of how you appear on these websites. This not only confuses potential patients, but it can also have an impact on your website's search rankings because Google may be unable to reconcile which information is correct.
3. Online patient feedback
When it comes to choosing a healthcare provider, 74% of patients consider online reviews to be very or extremely important. According to Software Advice, 71% of patients start their doctor search by reading online reviews. While online reviews have long been the most influential decision-making factor, patients are becoming even more picky in their provider search: 69% say they will not consider a healthcare provider with an average star rating of less than 4.0 out of 5 stars. As a result, it is critical for doctors to monitor reviews on popular healthcare and business review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and others. To protect your online reputation, it is also critical to respond to any negative reviews as soon as possible.
4. social media platforms
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly seven out of every ten Americans use at least one social media site. If your practice has a social media presence, it can help you attract new patients, especially if current patients are posting about their experiences. Social media sites are now more than just a place to share photos and opinions; they also serve as an online business directory. For example, healthcare practices can create a business account on Instagram, which prominently displays your address and location on the page and allows users to contact you via phone or email directly from the Instagram app. Furthermore, social media advertising can assist you in reaching out to patients in your area who are unaware of your practice.
5. Top doctor roundups
Special "best doctor" features in regional magazines have grown in popularity among patients who value nominations from a provider's peers. Because these listings don't provide much context for how a provider ended up on the list, patients may use this information as a starting point for further research. Conclusion Choosing a healthcare provider is a big step. Patients rely on online resources to make care decisions, so healthcare practices that prioritize their online presence while also providing patients with convenience and ease of access will be the most successful.