Modern advertising has taken a gentler turn. On the one hand, ads are everywhere – from concrete expanses like buildings like buses to the omnipresent sidebars of your Facebook. But these ads are increasingly sophisticated and subtle.
Once upon a time, an ad came right out and said what it was trying to accomplish. “Buy our delicious potato chips.” Today, a sidebar ad for the same product might show a picture of a potato chip accompanied by a purposefully vague, intriguing tagline (that inspires the viewer to click it).
As we move in this direction, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that your business’ marketing is never obnoxious. Thus, getting the physical word out about your business (we’re talking mouth-to-ear, doctor to patient to patient) is a bit complicated. You want patients to be talking about your practice online and in person, but you don’t want to seem like you’re forcing them to do so.
This post details a few ways to manage your online authority – and bring in new patients through a bit of carefully-targeted work.
Medical professionals bear a special kind of burden. When someone’s health is at state, they’re incredibly picky about the kind of treatment they’re looking for. And they’re especially grateful when they receive some personal advice as to which doctor could be right for them.
Patients always value their friends’ and family’s opinions, and trust their recommendations more than the ones they can find online. They know that these people are for real, and they know the standards that their healthcare needs to measure up to. For this reason, we recommend that you embrace one tried-and-true method of inspiring patient-to-patient communication: social media.
When you’re active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and other social platforms, you’re tapping into your patients’ social circles. They’re already connected with their friends on these networks. When you get even one patient to share content that you post, review your practice on the social site, or even mention you, your name and services are exposed to everyone they know. And it’s that kind of publicity that makes patients really take notice.
As we mentioned, recommendations from people your prospective patients actually know are the most valuable. But that doesn’t mean that review sites like Yelp are out of the picture.
Yelp, and other sites like Google Places (which is responsible for the top-of-the-page, abbreviated listings that come up when you Google your business name) are closely tied to your online reputation. Every time someone tries to find you through a search engine, these listings come up at the top of the results. And patients are almost definitely going to check them out before they call and schedule.
It’s important to remind your existing patients that Yelp exists, and that you’re on it. Once they receive great treatment, they’ll then be able to tell the rest of the world about it. At the same time, you never want to seem desperate for reviews. Try not to engage in outright solicitation. Begging for reviews not only makes you look desperate, it suggests that your online reputation is lacking.
Your current patients care about you, and they want to help you succeed. They feel loyal to you, and they’ll take pleasure in being a part of your practice’s growth. The best thing you can do is continue to provide them with superior treatment. They’ll do the talking (and typing) on their own. Just offer great treatment, and then provide online venues for your patients to follow up.
Have any other questions? Get in touch with Dr. Web for advice.