Ajay Prasad is the CEO of GMR Web Team, a full-service healthcare digital marketing agency focused on patient acquisition and retention.
In today’s digital world, patients have access to a ton of health information way before making a healthcare decision. Before picking up the phone to call a medical specialist, more patients have done their research and already know what to expect of their prospective medical provider.
So how do you reach out to, impress and retain the loyalty of patients who now have the information and power to select their own medical providers?
Here’s a practical plan: Strengthen the three pillars of healthcare marketing success. The three pillars are:
• A growing, loyal patient base.
• A stellar online reputation.
• A strong online visibility.
By strengthening these three pillars in their healthcare digital marketing plan, various small and medium-sized medical practices we’ve worked with have witnessed firsthand impressive growth outcomes.
MORE FOR YOU
1st Pillar: A Growing Loyal Patient Base
You need your patient numbers growing steadily as these are the primary source of your healthcare business revenue. This is the first crucial factor for your medical practice’s growth and success. To grow your patient base, it’s important that you first figure out effective ways to boost patient satisfaction rates. Satisfied patients can accelerate your medical practice’s customer base and profitability growth in ways such as:
• Increased patient loyalty and retention: Your patient base can’t grow fast enough if you have few or no patients with repeat visits. For more patients to keep you as their preferred provider, you have to impress them each time. The higher your practice’s patient satisfaction rate is, the more patients you can retain.
• Patient referrals: When patients refer others to your medical clinic, you grow faster without spending a dime. In one study, a healthcare provider discovered that information from a single satisfied patient reached four others.
• Profitability growth: Each time an unsatisfied patient fails to come back, you lose revenue and your profitability declines. If you are spending money to attract patients, you also need to keep them to remain profitable.
To boost patient satisfaction rates, work on improving the patient experience. There are several ways to do this, and regular communication with patients is one of the most critical. Thanks to modern technology, it’s a lot easier to show you care by sending personalized emails to patients or keeping them up to date with newsletters.
You can send birthday or national holiday wishes, such as Independence Day or Thanksgiving. Keeping in touch with your patients and providing great care helps increase their satisfaction and loyalty.
2nd Pillar: A Stellar Online Reputation
What previous or current patients think about your healthcare service quality and reliability matters a lot. This is why you should make a stellar online reputation a priority to drive success for your medical practice. Staying on top of online patient reviews is a crucial component of building a positive image to attract more customers.
Patients Value Reviews
Reviews matter to patients when making key healthcare decisions. According to data, nearly 60% of patients find physician rating sites crucial when choosing a provider. About 37% of patients won’t see a poorly rated doctor. These statistics show that having positive reviews can help grow your practice, while negative reviews can hurt your growth.
Not Generating Reviews Can Hurt Your Reputation
When you’re offering quality care and have a lot of happy patients, it’s easy to sit back and wait on positive reviews to naturally come up and boost your reputation online. However, not asking patients for reviews can have grave consequences on your online reputation. The problem is that many satisfied patients don’t feel the need to write a review.
Most of the patients writing unsolicited reviews on Yelp, Healthgrades, Google, Facebook, etc., are people with complaints or negative sentiments. Left unchecked, the negative feedback can easily outweigh any few positive comments about your service. You can counter the bad reviews by soliciting positive evaluations from your happy patients.
From our interactions with healthcare businesses, practices need to be proactive in their online reputation management by encouraging their patients to provide post-care feedback. You can integrate the main physician rating sites such that, when a patient writes a review, they are asked to write a review on online platforms.
Responding to Negative Reviews Protects Your Online Image
Ignoring negative reviews will show new prospective patients that you are not paying close attention to your current patients and how you can improve the experience. Responding to reviews will show your attention and give you the opportunity to explain any miscommunication. Having an online reputation management plan in place enables you to quickly spot and act on negative sentiment before it’s posted online.
3rd Pillar: A Strong Online Visibility
Besides checking out physician reviews and ratings, many patients also search health information to inform their medical decisions. A recent study showed that up to 81.5% of the population researches health insights online. Several strategies can help increase your practice’s visibility to patients looking up medical help online. These include:
• Search engine optimized content that provides the health information patients are searching for online. This technique can help boost the search results page ranking (SERP) for your healthcare business and traffic to your website.
• Paid ads can help increase traffic to your medical clinic’s website.
• Facebook marketing lets you engage your patients on a regular basis, manage your reputation and grow your patient base.
• Mobile-friendly website design and apps make your medical website accessible across multiple platforms, increasing your web visibility and traffic.
The digital revolution underway in healthcare has delivered better-informed patients with plenty of choices in front of them. Will your health services be the modern patient’s most preferred option? It depends on whether you can leverage robust online visibility, establish a stellar online reputation and increase overall patient satisfaction. Implementing a healthcare marketing plan anchored in these three principles will help your practice boost patient acquisition and retention rates and grow in this highly competitive digital age.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Go to Source
Author: Ajay Prasad, Forbes Councils Member