If you own or operate a medical practice, digital marketing needs to be a central part of your communications plan

But which digital channels work best for medical practices?

This comprehensive guide tells you exactly which digital channels work the best for medical practices, and how to use them effectively.

Introduction

If you own or operate a medical practice, you understand that the life blood of your practice is a continuous stream of happy patients. In a competitive landscape, you need to keep your existing patients delighted with your practice, its service offerings and messaging

You also need to inform the general market just how awesome your particular practice is in order to win new patients and to ensure their referrals.

The above points all but guarantee that you need to have an effective marketing strategy firmly in place, and to execute that strategy to win the day.

As a marketing agency that specializes in marketing for medical practices, Arrow Northwest has helped practices just like yours throughout the West Coast U.S. achieve fantastic results. Through years of trial and error, we know what works and what doesn’t in the sphere of digital marketing.

Which Insights?

This guide provides you our insights into the following:

  • Which digital marketing channels are the most effective for medical practices.
  • How to use our prescribed digital marketing channels for maximum effect.

Your Results?

After reading this guide, and implementing our suggestions, you can expect to realize the following results:

  • A growing patient base
  • Significantly enhanced (and positive) word-of-mouth referrals
  • Increased likelihood that patients purchase elective services (if you offer them)
  • Dramatically increased goodwill in your community
  • Enhanced PR opportunities
  • Vast oceans of new growth potential
  • Significantly increased revenues and overall improved profit margins

A Quick Primer

Thoughts about your marketing budget

doctor-1228627_1920Before we get into our guide, we want to communicate that the following information represents our view of the most effective digital marketing channels for medical practices. There are other digital communication channels that one could utilize as well. If you have a sizeable budget, it might be a good idea to incorporate additional channels outside of the ones we present here. That will be up to you.

Where it regards your marketing budget, in our article, Medical Practice Marketing: Why? How Much? Your Results?, we provide you with some great insights into how much typical marketing budgets should be for medical practices under certain scenarios. We also go into greater detail as to why it is important for your practice to have marketing activities in the first place. Finally, this article details how you can quantify the results you should expect from you marketing budget overall.

Structuring your overall Marketing Plan

In another of our articles, A Simple Plan for Marketing Your Medical Practice, we provide you with a very simple 5-point guide for creating an effective Marketing Plan that will put you light years ahead of competing practices. These five points are the following:

  1. Creating a Brand Identity that outshines others in your field
  2. Creating Patient Personas that ensure your messaging is hitting the right nails on the head with the right people
  3. Creating your Medical Practice Marketing Strategy (which should include a clear CSR component)
  4. Implementing your strategy
  5. Measuring your results

Advice for Brand Identity and Patient Personas

Points #3 and #4 above are where you plan and implement your digital marketing activities. You will notice that these come after points #1 and #2. This is because in order for any marketing activities to be successful (digital or otherwise), you need to have a firm grasp on who you are as a practice, what makes your practice amazing and how this is going to be a compelling brand proposition (Brand Identity) for your patients.

After you have a firm grasp on your Brand Identity, you need to ascertain what certain categorizations of your patients want and need to hear from you. Developing your Patient Personas will help you be much more targeted with creating the messaging that your existing and prospective patients want to hear, while keeping true to what makes your Brand Identity head and shoulders above other practices in your field.

To be clear, if you have not detailed both the specifics of your Brand Identity and Patient Personas in advance of engaging in your digital marketing activities, you will be far less effective at achieving the results you deserve.

We’ve written two very detailed guides for how you can create your medical practice’s Brand Identity and Patient Personas. This information will help you get a firm grasp on both of these aspects so that you can move on to your marketing strategy development and execution with the utmost confidence.

Getting your Google My Business account set up

Google My Business is a simple and free resource to use. It makes sure that your practice appears in search results when people look for you specifically on Google. It will also provide a whole host of information about your practice for the benefit of the people who look you up on Google. Check out the following image for how our company appears when searched for on Google:

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 6.20.08 AM

If you do not know if you are set up on Google My Business yet, go to Google and type in your exact company name. If your practice appears the way our agency did in the graphic above, congrats, you are on Google My Business! If your practice did not appear, get registered ASAP by going to business.google.com/create. You will need a Google-based email address that is attached to your practice’s domain.

If your practice’s email system is not through Google, you can call Google My Business directly at 844.442.8695 for help in set-up.

 

Without further ado, let’s begin with our suggestions for which digital marketing assets and activities we recommend for specifically for medical practices.

1. A compelling and mobile optimized webpage

Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer. That said, in our experience far too many medical practices have websites that are not only uncompelling but are not mobile-optimized.

As a medical practice, it is a forgone assumption that you want to portray absolute knowledge and competence in your field. This is the only way to win the loyal confidence of your patients in a highly competitive field. Thus, the face of your organization needs to reflect these qualities, right? 

Let's start first by defining what "compelling" means. 

Compelling

A definition for the word “compelling” is, “evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way”.

In our experience, all too many medical practice websites are not only uncompelling, but are antiquated, unstructured, and generally low-grade quality.

With this as a context, ask yourself the following:

  • Can your webpage evoke interest, attention and/or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way? If so, how? Go ahead and name three ways for how it is better than the industry standard.
  • Does it reflect your Brand Identity? If so, how?
  • Does it integrate messaging and graphics that will appeal to your Patient Personas? If so, how?
  • Does it channel your visitors into becoming your patients?

If you cannot answer these questions with affirmative responses, it is more than likely you need to re-examine your website and identify the key and differentiated ways that you can create an undeniably compelling website.

Mobile Optimized

Here are some very important statistics for you to keep in mind:

  • Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones (source).
  • 61% of consumers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile optimized website (source).
  • 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site (source).
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead (source).
  • 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours (source).

These statistics alone should trigger you to ensure that your website is mobile optimized. If your website is not mobile optimized, it is time to get one that is.

Helpful Suggestions

  • IMG_4736 2-1A mobile homescreen that provides the following functionalities at the top of the mobile page:
    • Phone number
    • Get Directions
    • Request Appointment (this needs to access a form that visitors can fill out and submit)
    • Your social media channel icons
  • An easily navigable structure
  • An engaging welcome video that transmits the must-have elements of your Brand Identity.
  • Vibrant, high-definition imagery throughout
  • Vibrant, impactful coloring throughout
  • Text that is easy to read
  • Relevant key words for SEO purposes (more on SEO in the following point)
  • Testimonials, either written or in video format

Once you have a website that is both compelling and mobile-optimized, as well as comprising aspects of the additional above points, you are ready to move on to the next recommendation: Consistent SEO Activities.

2. SEO Activities

SEO means Search Engine Optimization. This means conducting activities that improve your rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. So, when a prospective patient is searching for a doctor in your field of medicine, your practice will appear higher on the search results.

Here are two critical points to help you understand the importance of SEO:

  • 94% of people who use Google for search will only look for providers on the first page of the first results (source).
  • Most of this 94% will only look at the top three results of the first page (known as the “golden triangle) when conducting research (source).
  • 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic search results (source).

Based on the above three points, you should highly consider incorporating SEO activities into the digital marketing activities of your medical practice.

But how do you incorporate SEO into your marketing activities? There are two relatively simple ways:

  1. Keywords
  2. Backlinking

Keywords

Keywords are the words that are most often used when people are searching for something online. So, if you think of the words that people will use when searching for the kinds of services your medical practice provides, what do you think they’d be?

To ensure that you are using the most commonly searched keywords for when people are searching for a provider in your field of medicine, use SEMrush. This tool will allow you to research the following:

  • The relevance of keywords for your specific market.
  • The volume of search with those words.
  • Related keywords so that you can ascertain which are the most relevant.

Once you have a clear idea which keywords you need to use, pepper them throughout the front and backends of your website in a reasonable and intuitive way. Do not force keywords into text where the flow may seem inhibited or overly manufactured.

Backlinking

A “backlink” is when another website, or blog, publishes content from your website (or blog). The more backlinks you have to your website, the higher your rankings will be over time in search engine results.

And how do you get other websites to backlink to your website? This is where the importance of having a blog on your medical practice’s website comes into play.

3. Blogging

Blogging is one of the principle ways that you produce digital content. Where it concerns your digital marketing strategy, producing and publishing a continuous stream of engaging content needs to be central to your digital marketing activities.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.52.28 PM

Content is the lifeblood of your messaging and keeps your practice top-of-mind for your prospective patients when they conduct search. Whatever content you produce, it needs to conform to your Brand Identity and be targeted towards your Patient Personas.

Blogging is intended to reach your patients-to-be through improving your rankings on search results, as well as facilitating loyalty with your existing patients with the kind of content they would enjoy reading and/or find highly informative.

Important statistics

  • You have a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines if you feature a blog as part of your website. (Source)
  • 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (Source)
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a directly with a business. (Source)
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. (Source)
  • Blogging interesting and/or helpful content also:
    • Creates legitimacy in the minds of your target market
    • Reinforces your brand as amazing (and therefore better than other practices in your segment)
    • Improves loyalty to your practice

Keep in mind

Blogging is only recommendable if you can put out at least 1-2 blog posts per month. In our experience, this can be difficult for most medical practices to do unless they have a dedicated marketing arm within their practice, or they have a marketing agency to facilitate this activity.

If you can manage to put out at least 1-2 posts per month, then go for it. If not, leave this option out of your digital marketing activities altogether as it is likely to become de-prioritized and lost in the shuffle.

Picking up from the previous section: The importance of Backlinks

To conclude the previous section (SEO activities), we discussed the importance of having backlinks to improve your ranking on search results (via Google, Yahoo etc.). We said that having a blog on your website was crucial to generating backlinks to direct people to your website and to enhance your search rankings altogether.

Again, a backlink is where another website or blog links your blog content to their blog or website.

Helpful suggestion

To get more backlinks to your website, create strategic alliances with organizations who A) Blog as a part of their marketing activities and B) Are willing to backlink your content in exchange for you backlinking theirs.

There are two main considerations in finding these strategic partners (other than that they write blogs and are willing to work with you). They must:

  • Have cultures that mesh well with your Brand Identity
  • Provide goods or services that match the interests or needs of your Patient Personas

Example

With one of Arrow Northwest’s clients, we have created alliances with different organizations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Portland that use their blogs as a part of their communications activities. In our client’s blog articles, we make positive mentions on a variety of topics that their alliances partners talk about in their blog articles. We then hyperlink these articles into our own blog posts where there are positive correlations with the content produced by both parties. They do the same for our client’s blog articles.

For example, the client of whom we are referring above has strong patient personas that enjoy the outdoors, being active and staying healthy. One of our client’s partners is a mid-size grocery chain that embodies what these patient personas find helpful and useful for their lifestyles. This grocery chain also really likes the brand identity that our client embodies, and our client finds their cultural philosophy to be a good fit with their own.

So, when our alliance partner, the grocery chain, blogs about a topic that has to do with enjoying the outdoors, being active and staying healthy, we write a blog that has to do with overall health. We then reference our alliance partner’s article by linking their blog post in our article.

Likewise, when we blog about a particular health topic that is relevant for our client’s particular medical focus, and can correlate it with enjoying the outdoors, being active and staying healthy, our client’s alliance partner links this article to a relevant blog publication of theirs.

Additional helpful suggestions when writing blogs

So, what can you blog about? In our experience, your patients and your patients-to-be love to be inspired and feel good about their community and the people in it. They also like to be kept up-to-date about your practice. With that said, here are some highly effective topics to blog about:

  • Stories about the lives of current patients
  • Thoughts and insights from your doctor(s)
  • How the care you provide is important
  • Stories about your staff and their motivations to providing outstanding care
  • Updates about your practice
  • Special promotions

One final suggestion where it concerns your blog is to make sure that a “subscribe” functionality is present in both your website and on the blog publications.

4. Write Monthly eNewsletters

We cannot stress highly enough the efficacy of sending out monthly eNewsletters as key part of your medical practice marketing strategy. eNewsletters are simply newsletters that you send out via email.

Whereas blog posts are primarily targeted towards building relations and relevance with your patients-to-be and help you rank higher in search engines when people search your keywords, monthly eNewsletters keep your existing patients connected and delighted with your medical practice as a whole.

In our experience, there is simply nothing that patients look forward to more than receiving helpful, inspiring, informative eNewsletters. But do not take our word for it. Try it out for 6-12 months and see how many of your patients come in and tell you how much they enjoy your eNewsletters!

newsletter-2123473_1920

eNewsletters are important for the following reasons

  • They delight your existing patients
  • They are shareable, so they can be posted on your social media channels
  • They reinforce your Brand Identity
  • They give your patients what they want/need (which you have ascertained via your Patient Personas)
  • They improve loyalty to your practice

Now, it is more than likely that your practice’s patient management software (PMS) already has an eNewsletter functionality. We strongly suggest that you get to know it and use it consistently on a monthly basis. Once you get the hang of the system, you can produce highly engaging eNewsletter content like a pro.

If for some reason your PMS does not have an eNewsletter functionality, then by all means use one of the eNewsletter platforms out there. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are two of your options. Both of these platforms will have a cost, but it is minimal given the engagement they generate.

Helpful Suggestions

The following are key elements to include in your eNewsletters. In our experience, these elements will ensure that your patients not only read your eNewsletters, but begin to look forward to them as well.

  • Make sure your eNewsletters reinforce your practice’s Brand Identity and is targeted at your Patient Personas.
  • eNewsletters should contain a minimum of five story lines
  • Content should provide a good mix of the following:
    • Information that is helpful and relevant about health in your particular field
    • Inspirational/aspirational stories
    • Insights and information about your practice, doctors, staff and service offerings
    • ‘Did-you-know’ stories about people, happenings within your community (or world) at large
    • Guest contributions from any relevant third-party alliance partners that your practice may have
  • Make sure that you post your eNewsletters on your social media channels (where possible)

Again, your practice’s PMS should have an eNewsletter functionality for you to use. If it does, make sure to use it! Even rudimentary publications are more effective than nothing at all.

And again, if your PMS does not have an eNewsletter functionality, use a free platform like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.

If you would like some additional tips for the do's and don'ts of writing eNewsletters as an integral part of your medical practice marketing strategy, click here.

5. Use Social Media

Social media is a mission critical aspect of your content strategy in it that generates awareness for your medical practice’s brand and facilitates the active engagement of your followers. Social media channels are also important in that they:

  • Keep you connected with your existing audience by generating a multi-way interaction.
  • Allow you to reach potential patients with engaging content
  • Allow you to build a following of engaged followers
  • Allow you to continuously transmit the power of your medical practice’s Brand Identity
  • Allow you to target the interests/wants of your Patient Personas
  • Provide cross promotional opportunities
  • Provide educational opportunities
  • Open the world of highly targeted and effective paid advertising (read more in point #7 below).

But which social media should you use for your practice?

As a marketing agency, we can tell you that if you choose to run your own social media channels, it is very easy to get lost in the world of social media. Why? Two reasons:

  • There are a ton of social media channels out there, so using too many will cause you to lose focus and become less effective with your time and efforts overall.
  • Trying to come up with a continuous supply of engaging content to be transmitted through too many channels will get tiring very quickly and take loads of time.

From our significant experience, if you are going to manage your social media activities in-house, you need to keep your communications targeted and efficient. For this, the two best channels to use are Facebook and YouTube.

If you have a larger marketing budget and can outsource your social media activities to an agency like ours, we might also look into incorporating Instagram into your social media channeling to better reach younger prospects if the circumstances were right.

Whatever the case, for our intents and purposes here, we will stick with providing you our insights into Facebook and YouTube.

Facebook

Facebook is still the dominant social media channel. Most people are on Facebook, which will allow you to build your actively engaged audience more quickly.

In addition, you can post not only information, but information that is transmitted through imagery, which includes still images and video.

Finally, you can make use of Facebook’s incredibly effective targeting capabilities if you decide to engage in paid advertising (which we will cover in the next section).

Helpful Suggestions for Facebook

  • Post at least 1-2 times per week at consistent times
  • Make sure that you post your content on Monday-Friday during any of the following times:
    • 6-7am
    • 9am
    • 11am-12pm
  • Make sure your posts transmit your Brand Identity and target your Patient Personas
  • Content should provide a good mix of the following:
    • Information that is helpful and relevant about health in your particular field
    • Inspirational/aspirational stories
    • Insights and information about your practice, doctors, staff and service offerings
    • ‘Did-you-know’ stories about people, happenings within your community (or world) at large
  • Content should include images and videos, preferably featuring the services your practice provides.
  • Plan and schedule your content over longer periods of time (so you are not posting on a daily basis).
  • If you are going to post on multiple social media channels, look into using Hootsuite as a tool to help you manage posting to all your channels through one platform.

For more helpful tips on using Facebook as a part of your medical practice marketing strategy, click here!

YouTube

Have you heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, if a still image is worth a thousand words, how many words would a video story, complete with moving imagery and exciting subject matter, be worth?

Video is one of the most effective forms of generating engagement on the market today. In fact, YouTube is the second biggest search engine behind Google!

If you have a YouTube channel with relevant, engaging content, you will enable yourself to do the following two important things:

  1. Run paid advertising
  2. Use YouTube embed codes to place your videos on your website.

We will get into point #1 above in the next section. For now, let’s look at why placing your YouTube videos on your website is critical for your digital marketing activities:

  • You can better showcase your services in an easily digestible and comprehensible way
  • You will rank better on Google
  • You will more effectively portray your Brand Identity and appeal to your Patient Personas
  • Testimonials add great amounts toward your credibility

Helpful Suggestions for YouTube

If you do decide to publish videos on YouTube (and by extension your webpage) keep in mind the following statistics:

  • 8-out-of-10 people seek information and solutions when conducting their Internet research on a provider, not the provider themselves (source).
  • 90% of Internet search is centered around searching for information about a disease or condition (source).

Based on these statistics, make sure that the majority of your video content contains the following elements:

  • Solutions-oriented messaging
  • Your Brand Identity
  • Patient Persona interests

So, what kind of videos should you publish? Here is what we recommend:

  • A welcome video for your website’s homepage. This should include the following:
    • Your philosophy for patient care
    • Elements of your Brand Identity (e.g. what makes your practice amazing)
    • The kinds of results your patients can look forward to receiving
    • A warm and inviting vibration
  • Videos that portray the individual services that you provide
  • Testimonials that are fully authentic in nature, meaning that they are natural and portray your patient’s real thoughts and emotions about the care they received from your services. To exemplify this, check out the following testimonial video that we produced for one of our ophthalmologist clients who specializes in iLASIK eye surgeries:   

 

 

Final recommendation for your videos: Length

  • For videos that you place only on your website: 1-3 minutes in length
  • For videos that you use for paid advertisements: 15-90 seconds in length (more on that in the next section).

If you do decide to produce videos, place them on Facebook too!

Lastly, if you do decide to produce videos for your YouTube page, websites and/or paid advertisements on YouTube, you can upload these same videos to your Facebook page (which we highly recommend!).

6. Paid Digital Advertising

Finally, there is paid digital advertising as a key component for your digital media activities (and as a part of your medical practice marketing strategy as a whole!).

If you are going to pay for digital advertising, and in the view of keeping things simple and manageable for you, focus on the following platforms:

Google

The entire purpose of paying to advertise on Google is to get ranked more highly on search results. If you pay to get ranked more highly, an “ad” sign will accompany your advertisement, which simply means that you have paid to get that advertisement there. See the below graphic as an example for a simple search result when typing in “eye doctor San Diego”:

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 5.50.03 AM

Now, paying to advertise on Google may indeed be a great way to get exposure for your practice, but not always.

When you pay to advertise on Google, you may not always appear more highly on search results. It all depends on how many other practices are paying to advertise and how much they are paying.

The more practices are paying to advertise on Google, the more highly they will rank. The more practices there are in your market who are paying to advertise, the more it will cost to get ranked more highly and more consistently.

Helpful suggestions

So, do a simple search on Google. Type in the key words that people type in when searching for care in your particular segment. If you are unsure, use SEMrush. Again, this tool will allow you to research the following:

  • The relevance of keywords for your market.
  • The volume of search with those words.
  • Provide you related keywords so that you can ascertain which are the most relevant.

Once you have done the above, how many ads are there with the key words you used? And is your marketing budget high, moderate or low? Here are our suggestions based on a variety of scenarios.

Many ads/High budget: If your find that there are a lot of other practices in your field who are advertising on Google, it will be an expensive proposition to advertise on Google. If this is the case, and you have a significant marketing budget, it makes sense to advertise on Google as one of your marketing channels.

Many ads/Moderate budget: If there are many practices in your field with paid advertisements and you have a moderate marketing budget, then there is a grey area of whether you should advertise on Google or not. You may find it more effective to focus your budget on the other suggestions we provide in this guide, which includes SEO and blogging activities, placing video on your YouTube page and embedding select YouTube videos into your webpage. This will help you rank more highly in organic search results on Google.

Many ads/Low budget: If there are many ads when you do your search, and your marketing budget is low, channel your focus and activities on the other suggestions we provide in this guide.

Less ads/High-to-Moderate budget: If your find that there are less practices in your field who are advertising on Google, and you have a high-to-moderate budget, by all means, advertise on Google.

Less ads/Low budget: If your marketing budget is low, you might consider advertising on Google. Just remember, you do not want to put all your eggs in one basket and allocate your marketing budget towards one channel.

You may find it more effective to focus your budget on the other suggestions we provide you in this guide, which includes SEO and blogging activities, placing video on your YouTube page and then embedding those videos to your webpage. This will help you rank more highly in organic search results on Google.

Facebook/Instagram

When you advertise on Facebook (and by extension Instagram) you can be incredibly precise and effective at reaching, and building, long-term relationships with your target patients. Your budget also goes a much longer way in generating continuous exposure for your practice than if you were to advertise on Google.

If you have super engaging messaging, along with fantastic video, graphics or other imagery, you can use these assets to build your Facebook audience fairly quickly.

Helpful Suggestion

If your medical practice offers elective services, using Facebook’s lead generation functionality can be incredibly helpful in generating warm leads for your sales team to follow up with (and significantly increase your elective services sales). Facebook’s lead generation functionality provides you amazingly detailed analytics for your to be as efficient as possible in targeting your patients-to-be at the lowest cost possible.

Caution about Advertising on Facebook

We will repeat ourselves here. Unless you have a whiz kid who knows the Facebook advertising platform inside and out, as well as who can be allocated the time to place, manage and measure the efficacy of your advertising, we recommend using a digital media agency like ours to help you.

Facebook’s advertising platform is complex and constantly changing, so it may be best for you to leave it to the people who know how to navigate this space to save you the time and the headaches associated.

If you do in fact want to give the Facebook Ads Manager platform a go on your own, we can help you get it set up in no time!

YouTube

Finally, if you have created engaging video content that is between 30-90 seconds long, allocating a small budget towards advertising on YouTube will go a long way in reaching your intended audience. This is where YouTube can be a valuable platform for placing advertisements, getting noticed and building top-of-mind brand awareness for your practice.

In advertising your promotional videos on YouTube, you can be quite targeted in whom you want to reach, and when. That said, in order to get your advertisements up and running, you need to get a few things set up before being able to proceed (Google My Business being one of them). As with Facebook, unless you have a team member who can run/manage your ads, and who can be allocated the time to do so, we recommend using a marketing agency. 

If you want to try to run and manage your own ads on YouTube, we will soon release a how-to guide for advertising on YouTube. Again, to sign up to receive this information when it is ready, click here.

#7. Reviews

Getting a continuous stream of positive reviews for your medical practice is incredibly important for winning new patients. According to a BrightLocal study, medical practices are the third highest ranked where it concerns what types of businesses people read reviews for. The below graphic demonstrates this perfectly.

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If this is not compelling enough evidence, check out the following statistics:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews (source)
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (source)
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business (source)
  • 40% of consumers form their opinions after reading one to three reviews of a business, versus 29% in 2014. (source)
  • People place star rating as their #1 factor in judging a business (source).
  • 68% of consumers say that they trust a business if they have positive reviews (source).
  • 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading 1-6 reviews, only 12% read 10 reviews or more (source).

With all that said, it is clear that getting great reviews needs to be a part of your digital marketing strategy.

Now, which ratings platforms are the most influential where your medical practice is involved? In our view, there are four platforms upon which you need to generate and publish positive reviews: Your website, Google, Facebook and Yelp.

Google

If you are going to get your business set up on Google My Business (which we highly recommend) the public will automatically be able to give star ratings for your practice and leave comments along with their review.

Helpful Suggestions

Your PMS provider may provide you an option that is specifically designed to not only help you generate more reviews, but ensure that the reviews you do get are at least 4-5 stars. For example, Solutionreach has just such an option: The Smart Reviews app. Here is how it works:

  • You pay a subscription fee (for Solutionreach it is around $99 per month)
  • With your fee, you can download the Smart Reviews app
  • When a patient finishes an appointment, you simply open the app on a smartphone or tablet, find the patient to whom you want to send a review request. All of the appointments scheduled for that day, as well as the appointment times, are listed in chronological order.
  • Find the patient to whom you want to send a review request
  • Tap on their name
  • If they have a mobile number associated with their patient information, you can send a review request direct to their mobile via text.
  • The patient can then follow a super simple process to leave you a review via their mobile
  • Only reviews that are 4-5 stars will find their way to your practice’s Google Reviews!

This methodology for getting great reviews is incredibly effective!

Real life example

One of our clients uses the Solutionreach Smart Reviews app. After several years of having a Google My Business account set up, this practice was only able to generate 16 reviews with a paltry aggregate score of 3.1 stars.

After implementing the Smart Reviews app, this practice increased their 4-5 star reviews on Google to 80 reviews in just 9 months. This is a 500% increase in total reviews, and their aggregate score is now 4.5 stars!

In addition, we have tracked why new patients chose this client over other practices. A full 61% of new patients specifically cited the positive Google reviews as being the deciding factor in choosing our client over competing practices.

Facebook

With Facebook, you can choose if you want the reviews functionality to appear on your practice’s Facebook page or not. If you have a steady stream of great reviews, and your average star rating is 4 or above, then by all means keep the reviews functionality visible to the public. If you are below 4 stars, you should remove the reviews functionality from your Facebook page.

Helpful suggestions

In order to get some quick reviews to your Facebook page, and you feel that you will get some fantastic reviews, you can do the following:

  • Turn to your friends and family for reviews
  • Create and publish a post to your Facebook page asking your followers to give you a review.
  • In the newsletters to your patients, you can request that readers give a review and then make it easy for them to click on a link that takes them directly to your page.

Yelp

Yelp is super relevant in some areas of the country, and not at all relevant in others. If Yelp is indeed relevant where your medical practice is located, and people use Yelp to research medical practices such as yours, there are 5 ways to generate positive reviews:

  • Move positive reviews out of the filter (an explanation for how to do this will follow)
  • Turn to your friends and family for reviews
  • Ask your happiest patients to rate you
  • Ask your vendors to rate you

So, with the first point, how do you move positive reviews out of the filter?

It can be the case that reviews people have left are stuck in a filter. You can ascertain if this is the case, and the number of reviews stuck in your filter, by finding the “filtered” button right below you overall reviews (see graphic below).

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Yelp often filters reviews from people it deems as possibly not being authentic (even if they are). In order to get some of the reviews that are in the filter unstuck, you can do the following to get them published:

  • Click on the filtered button
  • Check out which of the reviews are high enough to add value to your overall score
  • “Follow” the people who left the review (this may be enough to get the review unstuck and post to your overall reviews)
  • If following a person who left a positive review does not get their review unstuck, message them directly, let them know you appreciate their feedback and request additional feedback to give you a better insight into how your practice provided them great service. If they provide more feedback, this may be enough to get their review unstuck

One final helpful suggestion

Once you have a lot great reviews on your website, Google, Facebook and Yelp, you can specifically reference these quotes in your marketing activities. This can be done via “shout-outs” (extending appreciation to those who left a positive review) in your blog publications, eNewsletters and social media channels.

When you do this, you can prompt others to leave their reviews on your Google, Facebook and Yelp channels by telling them that you want to hear their story too!

This will facilitate enhanced, active engagement with your existing patients, as well as get you even more positive reviews that will bolster your medical practice’s reputation.

Conclusion

At the beginning of this article, we outlined why your medical practice needs to have a marketing strategy. We also indicated that digital media activities are a critical component of your medical practice marketing strategy overall.

As a marketing agency with significant experience in helping medical practices like yours, we understand that marketing for your medical practice may seem like a daunting task. There are a plethora of different ways in which you could transmit messaging through digital media. That said, in our experience, there are only 7 forms of digital media that you really need to focus on to be successful:

  • A compelling and mobile optimized website
  • SEO activities
  • Periodic blogging
  • Monthly eNewsletters
  • Social Media
  • Paid Advertisements
  • Reviews

Through the lens of a well thought-out Brand Identity, and focused towards your Patient Personas, if you can dedicate the necessary time and focus towards feeding these digital media channels, you will be highly effective at:

  • Winning new patients
  • Delighting existing patients
  • Ensuring patient loyalty all around
  • Generating significant referrals from your happy patients
  • Increasing your revenues
  • Increasing your overall profit margins

We hope you found the insights and recommendations in this guide helpful!

About Arrow Northwest

 
Born in the refreshing beauty of Oregon, Arrow Northwest is an award-winning marketing, creative and digital agency. We specialize in providing world-class communications services for the medical, renewable energy and high-tech sectors in the San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Eugene markets.
 
We were founded to bring a more refreshing, pioneering and inspired  form of communications to organizations that truly want to aim higher with their marketing activities. 
 
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Our entire team is made up of individuals who embrace our mantra: "Marketing to Humans, as Humans". This philosophy not only creates a feel-good effect for the target markets of our clients, but ultimately delivers more powerful results over the long-term.
 
Our 1-2-3 methodology provides targeted strategies, vibrant graphics and digital placements that will get you noticed for all the right reasons, and then channel your customers directly to your doorstep.
 
For more information about what we can do for you, check us out online at www.arrownw.com. Or, to contact us directly to schedule a free demo, email us at info@arrownw.com, or simply call at 858.634.0859.

You will love how your communications feel. You will be thrilled with the results. Begin the journey today!
 
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