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Healthcare Marketing: How to Get Your Practice to Show up Online

Consumers have become exceptionally accustomed to finding just about every type of product and service online, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Modern healthcare consumers don’t only search for medical practices online, but for all sorts of health-related information, from unusual symptoms they may be experiencing to the latest treatments and health trends.

Since favorable reputation and positive reviews are crucial decision-making factors, patients now rely upon online information to locate providers and navigate the healthcare system. In other words, if you lack a significant online presence, potential patients may instead opt to rely on your competitors for the care they need.

So, to keep up with contemporary demands and engage with new patients, let’s explore a healthcare marketing approach that ensures your practice gains the deserved traction online.

Is Your Practice Keeping up with Healthcare Marketing Standards?

With a wealth of information online, it’s challenging for patients to trust providers whose online information is inaccurate, unfavorable, or incomplete. For potential patients to determine whether your organization is up to the task of providing the greatest care, you need to pursue a strong online presence. 

It’s estimated that 94% of consumers use online resources to find a new doctor. This means establishing a relationship of trust with patients — before they’re in need of a doctor — increases the chances they’ll choose your medical practice when their needs arise. It’s important to recognize that marketing isn’t the passive practice it once was, where simply creating a website and a few digital ads was enough.

Navigating the healthcare marketing landscape can feel overwhelming and the lack of tracking  may have you questioning your investment. But healthcare marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be effective. An effective strategy will increase your visibility, establish a strong online presence, and help you acquire new patients who keep your schedules full. Here are some of the strategies to improve and maintain your online presence.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

More than 90% of people default to Google for online search. When they search for a doctor, the first results they see often include a digital PPC ad at the very top, along with the top three relevant Google Business Profiles (GBPs), as shown in the illustration below. Many users don’t scroll past the first 3 to 4 options, often making their choice from this small pool of results. Below these options, where few dare to scroll, are the organic and aggregated search results. This section is often where your website and 3rd-party review sites end up. 

While digital ads are the best way to consistently show up at the top of search results, relevant and well-optimized GBPs appear higher in search results than even your website can — regardless of how much money you spent building it.

One of the most critical search relevance factors for this type of search is location. To determine your proximity to a patient searching for healthcare services, Google relies on the data provided in verified Google Business profiles. 

The strategic takeaway here is that you want to focus your SEO efforts on local search — and a crucial step in doing so is optimizing your Google Business profile and keeping it active.

Using a variety of techniques such as listing your services, hours, contact information, providing an option to book an appointment directly through Google Business, building your reviews, providing access to virtual visits, using photos, posting regularly, engaging with the community, and verifying your information in a timely manner will help you establish a fully optimized profile that boosts your online visibility. 

Your potential patients want easy access to relevant information in one place, as well as the ability to call you, book an appointment, or access your website with one click. Comprehensive Google Business Profiles for your locations and providers will help you convert people into patients while continuing to build up the reviews that strengthen your online reputation.

The Importance of a Healthy Brand Reputation?

Reputation management is one of the most essential practices you can employ to protect your online reputation as you build it. A healthy online presence is crucial for medical practices and an available history of positive patient testimonials shows prospective patients that you’re a trustworthy practitioner.

The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business and 82% of patients who conduct their medical practice research online say reviews are one of the most important factors in their decision making process. Ensuring your reputation looks great on Google, as well as other sites like Healthgrades and Facebook, is a proven strategy for growing your practice.

Ensure Your Patients Leave A Review

Customer reviews are the backbone of your online reputation and the basis to your reputation management strategy. Therefore, ensuring you actually get those reviews is the first step of the process. 

A good review acquisition strategy shouldn’t solely rely on casually reminding patients to leave a review on their way out. Afterall, weak efforts like these often generate weak responses. Instead, try including a timely, HIPAA-compliant reminder in the form of text or email, or go the extra step and verbally remind patients to look for these texts and emails that include a review invitation. A concise message containing a link to the review platform of your choice will improve patient experience and yield a greater number of reviews for your practice. If you can make it easy for patients to leave reviews, they’re more likely to do so when asked.

Engage With Your Patients Online

Continuing a conversation with your patients after they leave your practice lets them know you’re at their disposal, reliable, and ready to listen. Making patients feel heard and taken care of even after the appointment also makes retention efforts easier. Furthermore, successfully managing and responding to both positive and negative reviews helps reassure potential patients who are researching and considering your practice that you care about what your patients have to say. Lastly, actively engaging with your audience is one of the key factors in achieving and maintaining relevance necessary to rank high on various search engines.

Different challenges such as analyzing reviews, manually responding, or managing reviews from multiple locations can make this process rather complex. So how do you effectively handle healthcare reputation management?

Consider Automating Your Reputation Management Processes

More often than not, manual implementation of reputation management strategies takes time and may feel overwhelming while not being as cost effective as you’d hoped. Automation, on the other hand, removes these and other roadblocks and can help you improve the patient experience, increase appointments, and vastly improve your online presence in an efficient manner.

Feel The Pulse: Identify High-Value Patients and Target Them

Chances are you’ve already invested in advertising of some kind and — chances are — you’re not too satisfied with the results. Relying on advertising without a well thought out strategy simply can’t yield the ROI you want.

Targeting high-value patients that best fit your specialized expertise is how advertising can bring true value to your practice. To be effective, this process should integrate predictive analytics, search terms, conversion data, and social platform audience demographics. Search engines have been powered by AI for a while now in an effort to learn how to tailor a personalized experience to each user.

Predictive analytics tools provide actionable data that help you drive strategic growth for your practice and, with the right platform in place, you have access to lookalike audiences of your most profitable patients. This information helps you shape an impactful advertising strategy that has a strong reach and, consequently, a high ROI.

The Right Prescription for Improving Your Online Presence

The healthcare field has experienced a gradual but imminent shift toward the digital space, becoming more of an online industry than ever before. Patients are more invested in their healthcare journey and make a point to thoroughly research specialists and the practices where they work, especially when trying to find a new provider.

Increasing your practice’s online visibility and implementing healthcare marketing strategies play a crucial role in building a strong healthcare brand and providing value to target audiences.

The most effective healthcare marketing strategies rely heavily on automation to reach, educate, and attract new and existing patients while retaining efficiency, optimizing the use of resources, and increasing ROI with the ultimate goal to stay ahead of competition.

Improve your healthcare marketing efforts, drive growth, and focus your efforts where they’re needed the most with SocialClimb’s HIPAA-compliant healthcare marketing platform. It automates just about everything you need to manage, monitor, and grow your practice, allowing you to improve your reputation, attract high-value patients, and effectively measure your results.

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