For many years medical professionals have relied on word-of-mouth and relationship referrals. By this, I mean that the specialist has formed a strong working relationship with local general practices, and having served patients well, the referrals kept coming. This has made it more difficult for medical professionals branching out into private practice to find local practitioners willing to refer their patients on to someone they have not yet formed a relationship with.
However, forward to 2019 and we have patients who are also tech-savvy consumers, with the ability to source and insist on the specialist of their choosing. Whilst word-of-mouth referrals from GPs and patients will always have their place, specialists can no longer rely on that alone.
Patient have already met you online
In 2017, the number of daily searches on 1Google equated to 3.5 billion per day! That’s 1.2 trillion searches occurring each year worldwide, with this number growing exponentially. With the increasing popularity of smartphones and mobile internet, 250.3% of all web traffic in 2017 came from mobile devices and 388% of searches for local businesses that were carried out on a mobile device called or visited the business within 24 hours. But what does all this mean to the medical professional? It means, quite simply, that a strong online presence is an absolute must to grow your practice. It also means that patients have seen your online profile before they meet you in person.
Until recently, many medical professionals considered online marketing strategies as being a sign of desperation, but now, not having a strong, relevant website and online presence, can put you behind hundreds of other practitioners.
Why is it so important to have an online presence?
1. Give patient Service 24/7
You cannot be open 24/7, but your website can be. Patients can access your website anytime of the day or night. Make sure your website answers the questions that potential patients will require: your services, specialties, contact details, costs, staff information, facilities, parking, testimonials etc. Be specific and make it easy to navigate. The more information you give, the better. Include a facility for patients to submit an enquiry or book an appointment if possible, and follow it up! Use this to market yourself and include professional photos of yourself, your staff, and facilities. You are the face of the business, so get your face out there!
2. Look at your website as an investment
The internet is not a passing fad; it’s here to stay and you will be left behind if you don’t get on board. Have a look at your competitors and ask yourself if your online presence is as strong as theirs. If not, do something about it. Don’t see the price of a website as an expense, see it as an investment. Don’t cut corners and opt for freebies; spend the money and build yourself a professional brand.
3. Send out great vibes
Whether you have a website or not, people are going to be talking about and reviewing you online. That’s both good and bad reviews. A strong website will not take away bad reviews, but it will offer prospective patients the chance to look at you as you want to present and brand yourself.
4. Stay competitive
When you think about all of those daily Google searches, remember that you will not be found if you don’t have an online presence. The above statistics prove that consumers use an internet search more than any other platform, so make sure you are online and accessible. Hire an expert who has the experience and know-how to market you and practice.
Whether we like it or not, the internet is here to stay, and used correctly it can make all the difference to your practice. Embrace the growing market, speak to the professionals and get yourself and your practice out there. Do you have any questions or want to know more about a great supplier of online web services, contact us or email [email protected].
1Smart Insights, “Search Engine Statistics 2018,” Accessed February 13, 2019. https://www.smartinsights.com/search-engine-marketing/search-engine-statistics/
3SEO Expert, “Google Local SEO Statistics That Every Search Marketer Should Read,” Accessed February 13, 2019. https://seoexpertbrad.com/local-seo-stats/