Technology and the internet have transformed the way people access information and do business online — there’s no denying the new normal in 2018.
Despite this, businesses today run the gamut of how tech-friendly they are, from completely online retail shops at the one end to traditional brick-and-mortar shops that still advertise in the yellow pages on the other.
Medical practices are no different. And while doctors are pulled in a thousand directions while at work, gone are the days when they could ignore marketing and strategy and still expect to grow their business.
As the heart of a practice, doctors are in a unique position to understand the new trends and steer their practice in the right direction. Here are three things that business-savvy doctors know and understand about their online strategy, helping them stay well ahead of the competition:
1. It’s not enough to just have reviews. They need to be recent.
At this point, it’s mandatory for a practice to publish their online reviews. Need proof? Just 2% of consumers are likely to choose a business with absolutely no reviews. But to truly stand out to consumers, the reviews need to be consistent and recent. 44% of consumers say a review must be written within the last one month to be relevant. This makes sense, because the patient can feel secure that the experience they’re going to get at the practice will reflect what they’ve read about. A few scattered, inconsistent reviews from six months ago and three years ago doesn’t inspire such trust, and the patient doesn’t know what to believe.
2. Offices close. The internet doesn’t.
77% of patients feel that the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important. If a person goes online to make an appointment after hours and you don’t have this capability, you may miss out on acquiring a new patient. Online booking is the new normal, and by 2019 nearly 40% of all medical appointment will be self-scheduled.
Also, from a more holistic standpoint, doctors know illness strikes round the clock—keeping an option open for patients is comforting and helps build trust. Patients can go online and learn about you and your practice, and then make an appointment for the very next day to ease their minds.
3. SEO is no longer the be-all, end-all.
Search engine optimization (SEO), despite many claims, is not dead. But it’s definitely not the powerhouse to your online strategy that it once was. This is primarily because of changing trends in the online landscape and evolving consumer habits. One in 20 Google searches are health related, so it’s safe to say the healthcare field is having a significant impact on search engine trends.
What this means for patients however, is that Google and Bing are leading them to third-party review sites and other healthcare directories as well as your practice’s site. In fact, many doctors see as much as 10x more traffic coming from their Google Knowledge Panel than their own site. And depending on your site — for example, if you don’t have reviews available on your profile — they’ll go elsewhere to find them. So all the work your SEO specialist is doing for you may not have the ROI you think. Things like listings management and amenities on your site, like reviews and appointment scheduling buttons, are much more valuable.
If you’re looking for more ways to stay on top of your online marketing strategy efforts, contact one of our representatives or visit doctor.com/solutions to learn more about what we offer.