The definition of online presence is a combination of things including a strong website with an active blog, social media pages, online ads and reviews. But there is a lot more that needs to be considered when creating, supporting and managing your online presence.
Now, more than ever, your website’s user experience (UX) matters and this is especially true in the competitive healthcare industry. When someone arrives at your website, they are expecting answers to their questions and if you fail to meet their expectations, they’ll leave. Not only do you miss the opportunity to convert a lead, but you may also even damage your brand’s reputation in the process.
Establish an (Active) Online Presence
If you aren’t online, chances are many patients will not know you exist. It is important to make sure that your website is beautifully designed, easy to use, informative of why your practice is best, and finally, mobile-responsive.
According to Oberlo, about 90.4% of millennials, 48.2% of baby boomers, and 77.5% of Gen Xers use social media platforms. In 2020, more doctors will use social media to communicate with potential patients.
But an online presence is not just simply a modern-looking website. You will also want to make sure you:
- Submit your practice to online directories
- List your practice on Google
- Create a profile on major review sites
- Utilize social media marketing and have a strategy to reach your audience
Savvy healthcare providers are thinking beyond websites and developing innovative resources to meet their patient’s needs.
Post on Your Blog Regularly
It’s no secret that when people get sick, they go online to figure out what might be the problem. Typically, they’ll enter their symptoms in the search tool and see if there are any suggestions offering a solution. If you want to attract more patients, you must create helpful, high-quality content that answers patients’ medical questions.
A blog allows current and potential patients to see how you approach things like frequently asked questions, treatment approaches, and services that they may not know much about. You can also use a blog to post about any new updates to your practice, any upcoming events or anything else that you consider “newsworthy.” A blog is a very efficient and effective way to provide information to your local audience – and no, you don’t need to post on it every day; twice a month is enough! But you may find yourself posting more if there is more information that needs to be released.
Manage Your Business Profiles
As a healthcare provider, you should claim your business accounts online. Now, there are a variety of places where you can have a business listing. There are also important business profiles such as:
- Google Business profile
- Happy Hearing Care
- Healthy Hearing
- Health Grades
- And more!
First, you need to ensure your Google My Business account information is accurate. Potential patients who are searching for the services you provide may not click through to your website – instead, they may decide to call to schedule an appointment directly. You will want to make it as easy as possible for them to click to call your office. Or if you change your hours, you need to update the information, so people know when you are open. If you offer more accessible options such as tele-audiology or ecommerce, you will want to make sure those services are mentioned so it comes up in the search.
Once you claim your business pages, you will be able to manage your information efficiently and make sure your patients can find you!
Reputation Management and Reviews
People are always searching online to learn about your brand before deciding to work with you. Just as a positive online reputation can earn you more customers, a negative online reputation can deter them. Many businesses are turning to online reputation management companies to maintain their positive reputations or repair negative ones.
You may not think you have enough reviews to make an impact on your business, but do you know where your reviews are? If you have a negative review on a platform you don’t actively manage, it may be sitting there, unaddressed.
If you aren’t very active on social media (or not at all active on social media), you are also missing a whole slew of reviews that could be online about your business. Social media monitoring for your reviews and reputation is also very important.
Some things to consider about reviews and how you approach them:
- What if your product/service sparks criticism?
- What if your employees are not social media savvy?
- What if your competitors are more active online than you are?
So, what are people saying about your business? It is important to take a proactive approach. Monitoring your public reputation on a regular basis, and not just when you come to know about a specific event to deal with. Monitoring your business’s online reputation can be both DIY (Google Alert is an example of a free web monitoring tool accessible to anyone) and professional, depending on the size of the business involved.
What You Can Deliver and Anticipate Now
As patients search habits shift, it’s essential for your practice to position itself where they are. That means going beyond a website and creating a holistic digital ecosystem that amplifies your message and services. And this means being accessible to patient wherever they, or you, are.
Telehealth & E-Commerce
At this point, healthcare consumers demand excellent customer service and experiences because they’re fed up with long waits, confusing medical information, and poor communication. If you want to grow your practice, you must be able to deliver exceptional patient experiences because your practice’s reputation—and future—depends on it. Telehealth and eCommerce offer a win/win solution for you and your patients; It is an excellent solution for people who need more accessible options and you can treat more patients, expand your reach and target more areas.
Remote services offer new marketability options for your business. By increasing accessibility, you can capture more patients.
Social Media Management
No matter your industry or business or what you post, you must be conversational. Social media etiquette can get lost behind a screen, but at the end of the day, all social media channels are built on conversations. Picture a few members of your target audience as you create content: what do you want to tell them? Avoid constant sales pitches or you’ll quickly be perceived as spammy. And don’t be afraid to show some personality! We’ve talked before about the importance of every business having a story and a voice.
More and more users are flocking to social media to engage with businesses. By having a sound social media strategy that covers multiple platforms, you can increase followers, engage with existing patients, and showcase yourself as a thought-leader in your market. By maintaining an active presence on social platforms, you will be sustaining a low-cost way to engage with patients and raise brand awareness among prospects.
Search Engine Advertising
As social media grows, so does the advertising opportunity. But just throwing an ad on Facebook and sending them to your website won’t suffice. It’s about taking the patient on a journey from discovery to consideration and conversion, creating a singular exit point – contacting your business.
Although it sounds like a lot, expanding your business virtually doesn’t need to be difficult. With the right solutions you can automate your office, take back non-revenue generating time, and increase patient accessibility all while reducing overhead.
We know how important your patients are, and attracting your patients online is the bridge that will reconnect you. Whether your doors are open or closed, integrating virtual practices into your regular business practices ensures you will be able to offer your services regardless of the circumstances. If a patient can’t travel into your office for their appointment, virtual appointments help solve their transportation problem. If your patient needs supplies, they can easily buy them through your website. Plus, you can expand your business by offering virtual appointments to individuals who live remotely and don’t have a local practitioner available to them.
A new world requires a new way of doing business. Position your practice to not just survive but thrive.