As new solutions and technologies are released, boosting productivity and streamlining business processes, medical practices are finding more and more reasons to expand. Workflows are becoming more efficient, and clinics can leverage technological advances to allow them to handle more patients. The challenge comes in determining how to bring in those new patients to build the practice.
Growing your patient base isn’t a simple undertaking. Fortunately, there are a few practices that medical practitioners can follow to help them along.
Optimize your practice’s website for online search
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when attempting to bring in new patients is getting your practice noticed, and there’s no medium quite as effective at doing so as the Internet. According to a Pew Research Center study, 72 percent of Internet users in the United States have sought health information online, and of those, 77 percent began their research with a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
According to another study, about a third (32.5 percent) of all traffic from those searches goes to the first result that comes up, and that number gets progressively lower the further down the list you go, from 17.6 percent for the second result to 11.4 percent for the third, and on down the line. If a medical practices is intent on building traffic and bringing in more patients, it would be a wise investment to learn proper search engine optimization (SEO) practices to improve the website’s ranking, anywhere from keyword optimization to link building to improving your site’s load times. This SEO Glossary from the medical marketing platform PatientPop can help get you started as you familiarize yourself with some of the common terminology.
Develop and encourage positive reviews and referrals
As Internet users search online for health information, they will undoubtedly come across review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, ZocDoc, and others. A study of more than 2,000 people in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that just under two-thirds (59 percent) of Americans consider online ratings for physicians to be somewhat or very important as they decide whether or not to use a particular physician; meanwhile, 35 percent reported that they had chosen a physician based on their good ratings while a similar amount (37 percent) had seen negative reviews and consequently chosen a different physician.
When patients give you positive feedback after a visit, encourage them to post a positive review online. Not only does this serve as an easily accessible source for positive information about your clinic, but it can also serve to dilute any negative reviews (which are inevitable) that may have been left by a disgruntled patient.
Build outreach with social media platforms
According to Facebook’s newsroom, there are more than 1.1 billion active users on Facebook each day. While it’s obvious that the vast majority of those likely live outside of the range that your clinic typically handles, the number still demonstrates just how broad Facebook’s audience is. As you post information about your practice on a dedicated Facebook page, particularly posts that showcase your patients who might be on Facebook, it provides an opportunity for those patients to share that content with their friends and families, which puts your practice at the front of their minds and generates buzz.
While Facebook is certainly one of the most popular social media platforms, the potential for medical practices to interact with patients online, along with potential, patients, does not stop there. Creating a blog and keeping it updated with content that is informative and relevant to your field can bring additional traffic to your website, and that content can then be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram and Pinterest. The key to a successful social media campaign is to engage your audience. Provide them with something to discuss and share with their friends. As the content and discussion spreads, so will the word about your practice.
Dennis Hung is an entrepreneur and product analyst specializing in mobile technology, IoT and healthcare.