There are many ways patients can find and stay connected with physician practices today. Viable Synergy enables our customers to effectively utilize the most important digital channels to ensure patients find and stay connected to your practice. Below we outline 3 of the top ways we are helping a multi-location, multi-state, opioid addiction practice reach and engage with their patients.
Digital Front Door
Today most people start their health journeys online. The internet has become the new front door for healthcare – a digital front door. Thus, it is more important than ever to ensure patients can find you online and that your online presence (your digital front door), accurately reflects the quality of care and positive experience you provide. Your digital front door is the culmination of your entire online presence which includes your Google Maps and Google My Business Listing, your website, physician rating sites like Healthgrades and WebMD, and social media profiles and business pages. The titles and descriptions of your online profiles on the Google search results page, is the first thing that most patients will see when searching for a health-related issue or for your name or practice online. It is imperative to ensure your practice provides a lasting and positive first impression.
A digital presence for a modern practice is made up of several key components. This includes your website, your local listings such as Google My Business, and your social media presence. A strong strategy and a focused execution plan is imperative for each of these digital channels. In this post we will discuss a few of them and share examples of how we are doing to help this opioid addiction practice reach and stay connected with more patients every month.
Local Listing & Reputation Management: Google My Business
One of the most important aspects to any local business, especially a physician practice is your Google My Business listing or also called your profile(s). Your Google My Business listing is often the FIRST thing a new user will see when searching for a specific doctor or treatment in their area. Taking control of your listing and making sure it is not just complete and correct, but also optimized for search is a top priority. Optimizing and keeping your listings active will boost your profile(s) ranking in the search which allows you to capture as many views as possible. If you are not familiar with or would like to learn more about Google My Business click here.
A Google My Business (GMB) strategy is the cornerstone of local SEO which is critical for any local business.
Some of our top tips for effective GMB execution include:
- Claim your profile – in order to ensure that only the business owner or his/ her designee is able to claim and make changes to GMB listing, Google has a process for verifying the business and the person who is making the claim.
- Update and correct all contact information and monitor changes in your GMB listing
- Google automatically creates a Google My Business listing for nearly all businesses. The information they receive to create your listing may be outdated and even completely incorrect. Wrong address, phone numbers, and office hours can create many avoidable issues for your office staff and frustration for your patients.
- Use as many keywords as you can to ensure that patient find you when searching for the service you provide
- Add photos to make your listing more engaging and attractive for your GMB users
- Monitor reviews and ratings to understand what your patients are saying in public and what other patients and potential patients will be seeing
- You can also encourage patients to provide reviews and ratings on your Google My Business listing and you can respond to reviews and ratings. We’ll cover this in a future post. We recommend this activity be part of a larger local SEO strategy.
- Post regularly on your GMB listing like you would with social media channels. You can share weekly health tips and news about your practice. This feature is really important to ensure that Google ranks your GMB listing high in search results when your patients and potential patients are searching for you and your practice by name AND when they are searching for the services you provide. You’ll need to post at least once every 7-days or Google will hide your posts. There are many ways to ensure your posts support your overall SEO and local SEO strategy. We’ll cover this in a future post as well.
Your website is the backbone of your digital presence. It is a place for you to explain what you do, allow people to contact you, and post high-quality content from the practice. Developing a website that has a simple and easy to use design can be the difference between a new patient deciding to schedule an appointment or not. It also can reduce unnecessary office calls if you include some of the most common questions patients ask that can be appropriately and easily answered on your website like directions, office hours, and holiday schedules.
A website is an ongoing project, always. Once you’ve launched your simple and easy to use website (which you may have invested a lot in to develop), it is imperative that practice information is updated, relevant content is added as pages and blog posts, and content is optimized for Google’s ever changing search algorithm.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We have mentioned the importance of keywords and Search Engine Optimization several times. In this section, we’ll dive a bit deeper. Optimizing your website for search engines (SEO) is imperative if you want Google to list your website on the first page when people search Google for your practice and services that you provide.
We leverage the latest SEO strategies like keyword optimization, user experience, website speed, updated web content, regular blog posts, and more to ensure that when patients are searching for opioid addiction treatment, they find our opioid addiction practice customer.
Like most marketing, especially digital marketing, activities, things change fast and so, it is important to track, analyze, and adjust your plans and activities. Automated SEO tools can help track performance and provide insights that allow you to improve your work by analyzing and visualizing how your audience and Google respond. A couple of our favorite tools are Moz and Ahrefs – these tools allow you to track your exact page ranking for specific searches, monitor how you compare to your competition, receive alerts when something breaks or is not working correctly on your site, as well as provide recommendations for ways you can improve.
Digital Patient Engagement – Staying Connected and Keeping Patients Thinking About You
It has never been more important or relevant to stay connected with patients between visits. Supporting them through their health journey outside of the office builds trust and loyalty.
One of our favorite ways to engage with patients outside of visits is with email marketing campaigns. We send out monthly eNewsletters with our latest blog posts, health tips like mindfulness, nutrition, and fitness, updates about our practice locations and office hours, and patient education.
Creating eNewsletters doesn’t need to be a big task either – you can simply share the content which you have already created. We share our latest original blog posts in our eNewsletters to keep our email list updated with our latest posts and get more users to the website. Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch and top of mind with your current and past patients. They are also a great way to make it easy for patients to share information about your practice with their friends and relatives.
To expand and innovate on the ways to engage with patients online, we are creating a new tool that we call Health Nudge. Health Nudge helps patients achieve specific health activities by breaking them down into simple steps and sending reminders or “nudges” on a regular basis. We’ll share more about Health Nudge in one of our future messages.
If you would like to learn more about our digital marketing strategy and execution services, click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.