Not too long ago, patients relied on word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends when looking for a healthcare provider. Others would browse through the Yellow Pages and find a hospital or practice closest to their location. Today, however, the internet has become a major force in patient decisions.
With volumes of information available online, it has empowered prospective patients to find the care they need in the moments that matter most. Patients no longer have to rely on their gut instinct, guesswork or their friend’s advice.
If you want to reach new patients, then you need to know how patients are looking for providers online. Use them to your advantage to convert those searching prospects into patients.
More than 3.5 billion people are using social media. 54% of them use it to research products, services, and even healthcare providers.
Although word-of-mouth still ranks high as a method for finding healthcare providers, social media largely contributes to how patients choose one. Many prospective patients, millennials in particular, are apt to solicit input through social media. They put a lot of trust in unbiased opinions and recommendations from other patients.
According to a PwC Health Research Institute report, 41% of patients said that social media content impacted their choice of physician or hospital. Always bring value to your patients and give them a reason to follow you. This is one of the best ways to establish a trustworthy reputation for your medical practice on social media. It can be as simple as giving tips on how to stay healthy, reminding patients of essential vaccinations or sharing information about current illnesses.
Patients turn to Google
The internet is a fantastic source of medical information. When patients do not feel well, they don’t usually think about scheduling an appointment with their doctor. Rather, they would consult Dr. Google first and research their symptoms to learn more about their condition.
Once they have a good understanding of their condition, that’s the only time they would search for a medical practitioner. They would key in keywords such as “cardiologist near me” or “diabetologist in Miami”.
If you want to reach new patients, then you want your page to rank well on Google. That means, your name must land on the on the first page of Google search engine results page. Otherwise, prospective patients won’t find you.
Use SEO to rank higher on Google. Start by dominating long-tail keywords. Research keywords that are relevant to your practice and create content based on that keyword.
Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for as the competition is lower. That means, it will take less time and money to rank compared the big and popular ones.
They read online reviews
Majority of patients would conduct online research even after receiving a recommendation or referral. They want to know what being your patient is like before scheduling an appointment.
88% of patients use online reviews as a step towards finding a new doctor. This helps new patients make a more informed decision about who to choose. They will quickly eliminate providers with poor reviews.
In the age of internet, your reputation is whatever Google says it is. If prospective patients do not find reviews online, they’d think twice about making an appointment. As a healthcare provider, you want to have a positive online brand reputation that earns the trust of patients.
A great way to improve your reputation is to list your practice on doctor review sites such as Zocdoc, WebMD, RateMDs, Vitals, and Healthgrades. These sites that can help you improve your reputation, generate new patient leads, and gain trust.
More positive reviews will ensure that you are listed ahead of competitors in search results and will drive traffic to your website.
Convenience is a key factor in selecting a new doctor. In fact, according to Healthgrade’s data, location is a highly significant consideration when a patient chooses a doctor or a hospital. Majority of them prefer physicians and healthcare providers within their area who can assist them with their needs.
Building your local search presence will help you gain a significant step over the competition. Google My Business is a great tool that can do wonders for your local SEO. It puts your business on the map so potential patients can find you.
It is also a good idea to optimize your website for local search. To boost your local SEO, make sure that you include your location in keyword phrases across your website. Instead of using keywords such as dentist, use dentist in Phoenix.