This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #StartingABusiness
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In today’s digital age, both media and marketing play an important role in medical-practice growth. Patients are becoming more tech-savvy and more conscious of not only their health but also who they trust to treat them. That’s why many people check the internet for information on their symptoms, treatment options and reviews of doctors who can help them. According to a PatientPop report, about 74.6 percent of patients first turn to online reviews before booking an appointment with a doctor or healthcare facility. It’s clear that the patient-doctor relationship begins before they even meet. It begins online. In order for healthcare practices to start the relationship on the right foot, let’s take a look at five things that every practice should implement.
1. Establish a strong website and SEO presence.
Search engines have become a quick and easy way for patients to find answers online about their health issues. Hitherto, it’s important to establish a strong web presence to ensure they can easily find you. This doesn’t, however, mean you should simply get any site designed and leave it unattended. Website optimization should be one of your top priorities if you want to increase your traffic. Effectively optimizing your blog or site will ensure your practice appears in the top search results when a patient seeks out healthcare facilities in your area. Your site’s architecture, along with other factors like backlinks, also determines how it will register in those top results.
You can enhance your local search potential by creating a Google My Business listing to systematically add multiple business locations and get them verified. You can also create local pages on your site, while ensuring the data in those pages is optimized for local search queries. A detailed company profile listing to with your address, business name and phone number can help ensure patients obtain all the information they need with more convenience. The more you incorporate these techniques, the easier it will be for you to attract new patients and grow your bottom line.
2. Be active on social media.
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can have a significant impact on growing your practice. A survey conducted by DC Interactive Group found that about 41 percent of patients would choose a healthcare provider based on their online reputation. Pertinent data patients check via social media includes the level of quality care provided, customer experience and the overall reputation of that particular medical center. Thus, it’s important to ensure the material you share on social media is something that’s engaging to prospective patients and allows them to get a feel for the doctor’s personality. By taking the time to create engaging content, you’ll find it much easier to attract new patients and grow your practice in the long run.
3. Create cost-effective paid-advertising campaigns.
Although some doctors avoid this kind of digital marketing, the benefits that can be derived from Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns can make a big difference. PPC is a form of search engine-marketing strategy that can help you attract new patients, increase referrals and grow awareness of your practice. Paid ads through LinkedIn Ads, Google Adwords and Facebook Local Awareness Ads are very cost-effective, which means you can easily find a PPC campaign plan that fits into your budget. Paid ads actually work, and therefore, can be worth every penny for healthcare providers who want to attract more patients.
4. Invest in mobile marketing.
Becoming an entrepreneur in this digital age necessitates developing modern marketing skills. This means that your mobile phones will no longer be used for checking emails and scheduling appointments alone, but also for researching the valuable data that people share online. A report from the Pew Research Center suggests that about 52 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to search for health information online. Another group uses their mobile phone to inquire about a company’s product to weigh its benefits and whether it would be a great value for their money. Whether you’d like to increase doctor referrals or attract new patients, a click-to-call mobile campaign would make it easier for you to accomplish your specific goal.
5. Adopt all-in-one solutions.
Innovative all-in-one solutions tailored specifically for healthcare can make it easy for providers to thrive and compete in the digital world. Growth technologies allow healthcare practices to grow by managing their digital presence, online reputation and patient-scheduling, among other features. All-in-solutions provide practices with a singular portal to attract more potential patients, serve their patients better and manage their online reputation, ultimately saving the practice time and money.
Today’s patients are consumers, and they demand exceptional experiences. And evidence shows they’re increasingly dependent on websites and social media to make healthcare decisions. Thus, it’s vital for healthcare providers to stay on top of digital-marketing trends so that their medical practice can remain competitive. This would also ensure that their healthcare facility stays at the forefront and is able to attract and retain prospective patients with much ease, even as their demands change.