Online visibility. You know it's important for businesses. You know it could help your practice grow and compete with other local healthcare offices. But do you know how to apply this knowledge to your practice in a practical way?
If not, that’s just fine: you’re not alone. “Online visibility” - that is, the overall online presence of a company, group, or product - is a very complex type of modern marketing. The trick behind it is that while an online presence represents a single business or product, it doesn’t rely on a single method of exposure.
Put simply, being visible online does not mean having a website, or a Facebook page, or other singular things. It refers to a web of factors working together to ultimately drive customers to take action. In your case, that action is scheduling a doctor’s visit. But that first appointment will never happen without a strong, visible online presence. Why? Because:
Statistics Show That Patients Use The Internet To Research Their Healthcare
In the medical community, being visible online is an imperative step in acquiring new patients. Where patients once found medical care through word-of-mouth and medical referrals, now they find them through Google. In fact:
- 80 percent of Internet users, or about 93 million Americans, have searched for a health-related topic online, according to a study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. These searches include information about medical issues, treatments, insurance, and - of course - specific doctors and hospitals.
- Studies also show that 70% of Americans say their current choice of doctor was influenced by online ratings and reviews. Additionally, 41% admit to checking out a doctor online - even when another provider referred them.
So patients are without a doubt searching for healthcare information online. They want to find you. They want to get to know you. But do you know if they can find you - or, more importantly, if you’re ready for them to get to know you?
In Other Words: Are You Visible - And Are You Helpful?
To reach more patients and succeed in this digital era, practices need to make an exceptional first impression throughout the web via the power of their online presence. Harnessing this power requires actions that fall into two primary categories: being visible, and providing the helpful options that patients want from their searches.
To be visible, you need to take the following actions:
Maintain your business listings.
There are hundreds of business listing websites on the Internet today. Did you know Google indexes about 60 of them to determine a business’ credibility? So even if just one of them has inconsistent or inaccurate information, that business - may be your own practice - loses online visibility and becomes harder to find.
Have a fast website.
When Google generates search results, it prioritizes faster websites over slower ones. So the longer it takes for your website to load on average, the harder it will be for a patient to find that website.
Have a secure website.
Google also prioritizes secure websites in its search results. If your site isn’t adhering to these recommendations, you are losing credibility with Google - and that hurts your online visibility.
Have a mobile-friendly website.
With mobile Internet use becoming more and more popular, Google now recommends mobile-friendly websites above all others. So if your website isn’t registering as mobile friendly with Google, you’re making yourself harder to find.
Both external business listings and internal website functionality play a critical role in supporting the visibility and online presence of practice. There’s more to online visibility than these factors, however. It’s also important to consider the content that patients are consuming, and to ask if that content is helping your prospective patients - or hurting you?
To provide helpful information to patients, you need to:
Give them easy access to the information that they want
Having a website will not help your practice if it doesn’t answer a patient’s questions. And patients want to know things like office locations, staff member’s backgrounds, available services, and so forth. Making this information easy to find is a critical part of boosting your online presence.
Remember: patients want reviews from other people who have visited the practice and met with you. Curating reviews will help to provide prospective patients with what they want. (It will also boost your credibility in Google search results!)
Offer online booking.
Patients are as busy as you are. They don’t want to waste time on the phone - they want to get their appointment booked fast and to go about their day. That means failing to provide an online booking option may be driving away some of your patients.
That’s A Lot For You To Do. We Want To Help You Do It All.
Your head may be spinning after reading about the complexities of your practice’s online visibility. Seeing the digital factors that create an online presence highlights how easy it is for patients to get lost in transition as they look through Google, reviews, and websites alike. We want to help clear the way to a practice's potential growth - and we want to help patients find you more easily. Our solution is PracticeBeat.
PracticeBeat is a cost-effective, software-powered one-stop solution providing all the tools necessary to gain more patients online. PracticeBeat works by creating a seamless patient experience through content, email, and social media services. The result? Your practice’s brand looks great everywhere and anywhere that patients are looking for doctors! Manage the patient's entire care seeking journey in a single solution.
SEE HOW YOUR PRACTICE PERFORMS in less than 60 seconds!