July is Health and Medical Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing best practices and strategies specifically for marketing your practice and driving more new and repeat business.
Not a medical professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!
Online presence is the hub for all your digital word-of-mouth marketing. Oftentimes, practices can make the mistake of assuming that patients will find them, based on referrals from existing patients and their reputation, alone. However, even the best practices need to devote some time and effort to establishing and maintaining a strong online presence, in order to drive more new and repeat business. Make sure that your digital marketing is in perfect alignment by incorporating these tips to fortify your online presence.
Your online presence begins with your website.
Unfortunately, many prospective patients do judge a book by its cover, and in this case that’s your website. It’s important to invest in this area to create a site that has a modern and intelligent look and feel. Two of the most important technical aspects of this are a fast load speed and mobile responsiveness. And expectations are higher than you might think. 47% of consumers expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% are even less forgiving, abandoning a website that takes three seconds or more to load. When it comes to optimizing your site for mobile, 33% of potential sales fail when the site is not responsive on mobile, and 40% of consumers will move on to a competitor if the first result doesn’t have a good mobile experience.
Additionally, be sure to include testimonials from your happy patients, as these have
been known to improve trust in a practice, and when placed in the top third of your homepage, can even increase conversions by 33%. But you don’t need to stop there, include different quotes, or even video testimonials on every page, just make sure the layout doesn’t make them too obtrusive, or make it difficult to access the information searchers are looking for. Your office hours, address and directions, information about your treatment philosophy and approach is also helpful to assuage any doubts or fears patients might have over starting such treatment.
It’s also helpful to include a page with bios for all your doctors. This helps create a connection, and further reassure potential patients that they’ll be in good hands. In addition to education, experience and approach you can also include what your favorite hobbies are, which provide good icebreakers, humanize the people behind your practice, and pave the way for forging a connection. With any specialty in the health field, it’s (unfortunately) oftentimes necessary to dispel any common misconceptions that get propagated by friends and family recounting tales through the grapevine. Portland Chiropractic Group did an excellent job of doing just that with the “Mythbusters” section of their website, which attempts to set the record straight for patients who might be apprehensive about beginning treatment.
Search: Getting Found Beyond Your Site
Once your website is optimized, you can focus on getting more potential customers to this hub. While many would lead you to believe that SEO (or search engine optimization) is the magic bullet, it is constantly evolving and many factors remain a black box at best. While investing resources heavily in such an option wouldn’t be recommended, there are some steps you can take in order to improve your chances of claiming those coveted prime rankings on search engine results.
Starting a blog to share insights in your field, not only helps position you as a knowledgable expert, but also contributes to your SEO efforts. Incorporate the same keywords that you’d expect potential patients to be searching for, and longer phrases always tend to help with specific intent. Terms such as “how to alleviate lower back pain” or “exercises to help with arthritis in my neck”. Instructional posts on how to do those two things and more, are a show of good faith, and patients will be more likely to contact you, if they’ve already received value from your practice in this form.
First, it’s important to get hyperlocal in your efforts. What this means is instead of going after generic keywords like “Ohio Chiropractor”, try for “Low-force chiropractic technique, Malvern “. Get as specific and as local to your community as you can, as people usually are looking for local solutions, and indicate in their search criteria. Focusing on the literal pain points of your target patients in the content you create, whether blog posts or videos, will help attract the right audience.
Discoverability: Safeguarding Your Online Reputation
Consumers are better informed than ever, and perform more due diligence prior to making any healthcare or treatment decisions. Third-party review sites, like Yelp, ZocDoc, HealthGrades have become a crucial resource and starting point for this research phase. In order to convince patients, you’ll need to show off reviews that are:
- Positive: Hopefully a healthy amount of 5-star reviews!
- Plentiful: You’ll need more than one to convince them
- Recent: If your last review was more than 6 months ago, you risk losing credibility
First, make sure that you set up profiles for your practice on at least those three sites (Yelp, ZocDoc, HealthGrades and any others you think your patients might be referencing). Yelp estimates that businesses with a free profile see an average increase of $8,000 in revenue, annually. All your business information should be formatted consistently (e.g. don’t use “Floor 3” and “3rd FLR” interchangeably). Decide on one version, and stick with it. Otherwise, this could affect your SEO negatively.
Next, do what you can to drive current patients to these sites and leave you more praise! Unfortunately, this process is never as automatic for patients as we’d all hope. Do everything in your power to make this process as easy and frictionless as possible. Put links on your website to your practice’s profile on the various sites, and encourage patients to check out what others are saying about you. This is a good way to remind current patients to leave you good review.
Don’t stop there, add these links to your email signature, and include them in any automated emails or SMS/text messages you send out to patients for appointment reminders. You can also include signage in your office, and remind patients who come in, how important those reviews are to your practice. More often than not, satisfied patients will be more than happy to oblige, especially if you convey the impact they have.
Finally, don’t forget to keep an eye on these profiles once you claim and set them up. In the event of a less-than-stellar review, you’ll want to take action in a timely fashion to mitigate any damage or backlash. Oftentimes, disgruntled patients just want to have their concerns and voice heard. So, be sure to approach with empathy and attempt to take the conversation offline to find an agreeable solution. Comment on their review, expressing your apologies, and reaffirming your commitment to patient satisfaction. This has been proven to really turn things around, so make sure to check out this post for more ideas on how to respond to negative online reviews. Whatever you do, take a deep breath and don’t make the situation worse. Escalations of that sort, in such a public sphere can continue to cripple any business, long after they occur.
As a Chiropractor, you probably didn’t get into this line of work because you love marketing. Unfortunately too often doctors are so fully immersed in their critical medical duties and obligations, that it can be difficult to also manage or maintain a steady pipeline of new and repeat patients. Enacting a comprehensive strategy to optimize your online presence is the first step to positioning your practice for success. If you can’t dedicate the time it takes to get the ball rolling, find out how Mia, an AI-driven marketing assistant can take this work off your plate (while also driving more five-star reviews, referrals and repeat patients), by taking a quick demo, today!