Archive for September, 2010
One of the most effective ways to reach out to patients and book more appointments is to make sure you have a solid online presence. Increasing your online visibility is simple when you invest your marketing resources in online tools that are trackable and generate high-quality leads.
Having a website isn’t enough to attract patients on a daily and weekly basis, because more and more doctors in your specialty are reaching out to these patients with online profiles, pay-per-click advertising and earning high placement son the major search engines — all of these approaches help to capture the interest of patients who are ready to book an appointment.
Some of the most effective online marketing tools for physicians and surgeons include:
Listings on specialized online directories ? make it easy for patients to find you with a basic online search by adding your practice and information to a directory. Directories that offer you the option to create profile pages make it easier for you to share information about services and procedures. Some allow you to track how many patients are viewing your profile and converting into an appointment. This can be a powerful marketing tool that can help you build your practice in the long-term.
Pay-per-click campaign (PPC) ? PPC campaigns are designed to target patients at the precise moment that they are looking for certain services, procedures, or want to book an appointment. Pay-per-click campaigns offer some of the highest returns on your investment, and everything is trackable.
Blogging or updating your website content ? fresh content on your website or blog gets the attention of the major search engines, and increases the chances that you will be found easily when someone does a search for certain keywords and phrases. Keep your website and blog up-to-date with quality content to generate more traffic and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
If you’ve joined an online surgeon or physician directory to showcase your services and provide more information about your practice, you need to make sure all of the content on your profile page is always up-to-date, add pictures, and add important details about your practice.
Online profiles that contain descriptive content, keywords and phrases that your patients are using to find you on the major search engines, and high-quality pictures are the profiles that get noticed, rank high on the search engines, and attract more patients.
Some of the most important elements of an online profile include:
- Accurate description of services, procedures and treatments
- Practice hours
- Key benefits of the practice
- Payment options available
- Doctor’s educational background, affiliations and certifications
- Before and after photos (if applicable)
- Most asked about procedures and treatments
- Information about staff members
- Quality photos of the practice/office environment
Online profile pages that are complete and thorough will deliver all the information that a patient who is searching and comparing doctors or surgeons in your area needs. Make sure you are providing information that piques the visitor’s interest and encourages them to contact you right away for the first appointment.
When a patient books and completes a consultation with you, the next step is to secure an appointment for their procedure or treatment. Many patients may hesitate to book an appointment because they are still in the “shopping around” stage. How do you increase the chances that you will be selected as the surgeon or physician for their treatment?
The key to booking that appointment lies in how well you build and establish trust with the patient. Patients who feel that they can trust you will be more likely to book an appointment with you when they’re ready to proceed.
Building trust involves direct communication and follow-up calls in the days and weeks after the consultation. You can create this relationship by:
- Following up with a “thank you” phone call the day after the consultation
- Sending a “thank you” e-mail that encourages the patient to turn to you if they have any questions or wish to see you again for more information
- Adding the patient to your newsletter e-mail list (include this in your intake form)
- Encouraging the patient to follow you on Twitter or “Like” your Facebook page so that they can stay connected online
- Providing the patient with your website link, link to your blog and e-mail address so that they can get in touch with you easily
- Sending a flyer or postcard within a week after the consultation with more information about your practice, and a special offer for booking an appointment within a specific time frame
Staying in touch with patients after the consultation is essential for building our practice, and there are several creative ways to build this relationship. Use these tips and ideas so that you can start booking more appointments after the initial consultation with ease.
Making sure your practice stands apart from other practices in your area goes beyond delivering great customer service and having an attractive website. When patients are searching for information about treatments and procedures that you offer, you need to make sure that your practice gets noticed and prompts a phone call or the completion of an online form. An eye-catching website is an important part of your online marketing strategy, but it’s not the only element to focus on.
Here are just three ways to increase your practice’s online visibility:
1. Promote special offers for new patients. Don’t be afraid to extend a discount or special offer to new patients. Many prospective patients are very price-conscientious, so a special deal on something they are interested in will help to pique their interest and increase the chances of booking a consultation. Promote these offers on your online profile pages and on your website.
2. List your practice on major directories. Generate more interest in your services, procedures and treatments by making sure you have a highly-visible placement on a major physician or surgeon directory. These directories attract highly-targeted traffic every day, and can help you get noticed by patients who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
3. Stay active on Twitter and Facebook. Social networking tools are only effective when you engage with your community and followers regularly. If you want your social networking efforts to pay off, you have to stay active and provide insights, news and quality updates. If you decide to use Twitter and Facebook, make sure you have the resources to stay active for the long-term.