Our practice consultants routinely speak with doctors and come up with highly logical and reasonable conclusions about how the web works, especially for new patient acquisition. While plausible, these impressions are often completely wrong or greatly misinformed.
I would imagine doctors feel the same way about patients that diagnose themselves via symptoms the read about on health blogs.
In no particular order, here are some examples of common misdiagnosis:
“Testimonials Are The Same As Reviews”
Providers believe their website is the best place for a potential patient to find credible content about their services, especially testimonials. But this article – 2016 Is The Year Of Reviews – illustrates how reasonable, logical perceptions are far removed from reality.
The article echoes what we see with our current clients: patients just DO NOT CARE about testimonials on your site. Testimonials are those cherry-picked patient quotes, often anonymous and undated – that some doctors put on their web pages. They lack credibility and are ignored by patients.
Your patients want honest, unbiased feedback or “social proof,” preferably published by third parties. We’re talking about real patient reviews published on local business review sites like Google, Yelp, and healthcare-specific sites like Wellness.com, Vitals.com and, of course, Doctor.com.
If you have only testimonials on your website, you owe it to yourself to see a free demonstration of our exclusive technology that will collect REAL patient reviews right in your office, then publish those reviews on the top healthcare websites. Best of all, you can also publish those reviews on your own website.
Reach out and send me a message and start publishing real patient reviews – not just testimonials – on your website.
“I get most of my new patients from referrals. I don’t need to be on the web.”
You can no longer take granted that every referral will result in a new patient. An increasing number of potential new patients will “google” you by name when they get a referral from another provider or a friend.
If they don’t like what they see – you simply will not get that call. This referral leakage is a growing problem.
Common turnoffs include:
- Invisibility. Simply stated, it is unacceptable to NOT be on the first page of search results for your full name + town. Most search engines do a credible job of identifying you from available information. Getting a referral to an “unknown” provider is a real turnoff to a new patient.
- Inconsistent, erratic business listings that signal you are inattentive to your online presence. For example, you have multiple listings showing different addresses, different phone numbers, transposed first/last names. At best you look sketchy to a potential patient.
- Bad reviews: if you have bad reviews – or few reviews – a prospective patient is likely to be turned off. Despite the referral, the new patient may feel spooked and ignore the recommendation. [Note: this cuts both ways. The next time YOU make a referral to another provider, check out their online profiles. A poor online reputation reflect badly on YOU, not just the target provider.]
- Ugly, neglected listings: this one is a bit more subjective but listings with poor, dated photos, ugly graphics, sparse information is just not adequate. This is especially true in competitive fields such as cosmetic dentistry, cosmetic surgery or dermatology. Patients have multiple choices that will show up when they are looking for you by name.
- Sparse, inadequate listings: even if you’re a world-class expert in your field, if your online presence doesn’t confirm this fact to a lay audience, you will not get all the referrals you deserve. Patients are not well qualified to make a judgement about the quality of your professional credentials. However, it is fair to say they patients are persuaded by the quantity of your accomplishments. Make sure your online presence reflects the fullest extent of your skill.
“Marketing is a waste of money. I only get junk new patient calls.”
In the business of using the internet to get new patients, there’s a sobering statistic that resonates among marketing agencies and paid lead generation (lead gen) services: “70% of lead gen calls go unanswered.”
Think about this: you spend hundreds of dollars each month on advertising, pay-per-click, social media, blogging, etc. The phone rings but no one answered!
And, contrary to your best hopes, new patients shopping around are not compelled to leave a voice mail. They hang up and try again
Even when someone does answer the phone, it is rare that person is a gifted sales person. Far too often its a harried receptionist or practice admin who’s juggling the billing system, the scheduling system, filing, and a full waiting room. And likely that person is NOT earning a commission on new patients booked and never received any sales training on how to handle new patient calls.
We recommend practices invest in a holistic inbound marketing process to make sure every call counts:
- Get a call tracking solutions that record calls (with proper patient notification), so that you (as the practice owner) can listen to how calls are answered, and coach your staff on the basics of phone etiquette and salesmanship.
- Script common calls, and especially how to handle “junk” calls like insurance or price shopping.
- Invest in staff training, or consider a dedicated receptionist for inbound new patient calls. There’s an art to answering some basic questions while getting the patient to step in the door. If you’re current staff doesn’t have the time – or skill – to talk this talk, find an outside service that does.