The healthcare industry is becoming more and more competitive – and that’s not about to change any time soon. That’s why today’s healthcare providers must be even more conscientious than ever when it comes to their online presence and attracting patients.
It might have been enough for you to simply put up a basic site with a list of your treatments in the past.
Those days are long gone!
Web-savvy patients demand more from their healthcare providers in terms of engaging content, helpful advice, plus they want the ability to contact them on the platform of their choice – and at a time that suits them!
What is an online presence?
Online presence simply means how your business appears online and across the internet.
You should always tailor your online presence to fit your potential new patients’ unique needs. It’s never enough to simply tick a box and publish a few pages on the web – online presence, done right, requires you to be flexible, open-minded and patient-centric.
What are the types of online presence?
- Your website and blog
- Google my business
- Review sites
What is a strong online presence?
Having a strong online presence for your healthcare business means keeping your website and online accounts/social profiles up-to-date and informative – but not every practice is doing this.
So, if you want to attract more high-value patients, then you can set yourself apart from the crowd by following these tips.
To preserve your credibility, the information you put online must be accurate, consistent, and easy to understand across all your platforms, whether that’s social media, your website, or your blog.
By being consistent, you’ll use the power of repetition to help potential new patients remember you and build that all-important know, like and trust.
7 ways you can have a strong online presence
#1 Make Sure Your Website Is Easy To Use!
Is your website fit for purpose? Websites are a powerful tool for creating a great impression, and you can’t keep using that temporary website you’ve made 10 years ago!
Your website needs to be:
- dynamic (working well on any device)
- user friendly
- with relevant and up to date information
Have a look at your local competitors. How does your website compare to theirs? Look at what you can do to improve but also what you do well and what differentiates you.
‘Contact Us’ buttons, or booking forms are a must! They make it easier for potential patients to contact you or book an appointment at a convenient time for them and help you capture their details to communicate with them in the future. Always ensure you follow the rules about data protection and GDPR when sending sales emails!
An online resources section on your site is helpful because patients can help themselves before contacting you.
A report by Percifient shows that globally, 68.1% of all website visits in 2020 came from mobile devices.
So, it’s essential that your website is mobile-friendly if you’re going to attract new patients. Ensure there are no design elements on your site that can’t be navigated easily with a touch screen, ensure all buttons and links work correctly, and you’ll need a clickable phone number.
#2 Start Blogging
Blogging used to be a way of journaling that allowed people to share their thoughts and ideas with others online.
But blogging has evolved, and today the term is more about creating valuable content that communicates your authority and helps your audience – and for healthcare businesses, that means your new potential patients.
If you haven’t already, setting up a blog on your website is an absolute must to engage with potential patients and keep Google satisfied with your website.
Adding fresh new content to your website is a key factor in helping your search engine optimisation (SEO).
However, there are only so many details you can change regularly on a website, which is why a blog is a perfect way to keep that great content flowing.
When writing content, you need to understand your target audience to develop your blog’s content strategy. But you can’t simply create blog content about whatever you feel like talking about.
If you want your content to have the most value (to you and your audience), it needs to answer questions that good fit new patients are actively searching for online.
It’s one thing to have a well-functioning, helpful site, but you can’t rely on just your website. It’s vital that your site also turns up in search engine results, and you’ll need to incorporate relevant keywords in your articles too.
#3 Keep Google happy!
It’s common knowledge that Google is the most popular and influential of all the search engines. It constantly refines the way it serves results to users, so you need to make sure your website appears in their search results and satisfies your potential new patient’s need for answers.
The good news is there are many ways to ensure you achieve high search engine ranking without resorting to expensive advertising.
Google is looking for well laid out websites with straightforward navigation and a healthy amount of new unique content. The new content indicates that your website is both active and an authority on your subject matter – remember that was one of the ways your blog is super helpful!
Google Business Profile:
Formerly Google My Business, a Google Business Profile is an easy-to-use tool that company owners can use to manage their online presence. Use it to create and change your business profile, respond to feedback, post frequently asked questions and connect with patients using the chat feature.
It’s a fantastic approach to convert Google Search and Map visitors into new patients.
Keep in mind that as a local healthcare practice, you’ll need to have separate accounts for each of your locations so you can build your online presence in each of your areas.
#4 Make the most of social media
Like everyone else, your patients are going to be active online.
A good social media presence is essential because it’s proven to be one of the most common ways patients find healthcare businesses, so it’s crucial to have a strong representation across all the leading platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are great places to share news with your followers, talk about how your services benefit patients and interact with existing and potential new patients.
You’ve got to keep all of your online profiles up-to-date with regular social media posts with interesting information about how you can help patients.
But don’t forget the importance of responding to patients who are reaching out to you on social media channels! Make sure that you’re constantly engaging in conversations people are having about your healthcare practice online.
When you’ve earned the attention of a new patient on social media, you can direct them to your website for more information and help about how you can improve their health.
Not all social media platforms may be effective for your healthcare niche, so limit the number of platforms to only what you can handle.
#5 Optimise your videos for YouTube
According to a report by Statista, Youtube is the second most popular website after the Google search page because it’s effectively a search tool specifically for video content.
Videos are extremely popular with patients who are looking for healthcare businesses online.
If you have videos, you should host them on YouTube because that’s where many potential patients will look
first – make sure you’ve optimised your video correctly to ensure it shows up when people search for what you offer.
#6 Have accurate contact information
Your contact information needs to be up to date on every platform you have an account, paying particular attention to your official business name, address and phone number.
#7 Offer plenty of social proof
Social proof is when people automatically assume that the actions of others are probably the best actions for them as well.
It is used to justify decisions, and it’s a shortcut we use to help us make faster decisions about how to act or think in various situations.
The role of social proof in healthcare businesses is extremely important. It helps to build trust among potential patients, which can lead to more people seeking treatment at these businesses.
Historically, we all know how important word of mouth is. You can think of online reviews as the modern version – or ‘digital’ word of mouth.
Having good online reviews is crucial for the online reputation of your healthcare business. It’s something that healthcare businesses can continually improve on – ask your happy patients to leave a review of how you’ve helped them, and make sure you respond to any comments or questions people leave.
Most people check for online reviews and feedback before engaging with a business and are more likely to buy when they read a trusted review from your patient.
In a local consumer survey by Brightcove, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81% in 2019.
This means that healthcare businesses must focus on building positive word-of-mouth among their patients online to maintain their reputation and achieve growth.
Testimonials are a type of social proof that comes in the form of a quote from a patient about one of your treatments. They’re often used on websites to help people decide whether they should choose your practice.
Posting written or video testimonials from patients talking about how your services have helped them get the transformation they wanted is really powerful.
Social proof helps potential patients decide and then feel confident about that choice.
Before And Afters
Whilst before and after pictures are not allowed in Facebook ads, they are highly effective when used on your website.
Potential patients can see what kind of results you’ve successfully delivered – and can get an idea of what your treatments will look like for them!
Go forth and flourish!
The online world is a vast space that you can’t afford to ignore. If your healthcare practice isn’t up-to-date with a well-managed online presence, then it’s time for some changes!
In this article, we’ve given you some ways to boost your digital presence.
Now you’ll be able to have your healthcare practice flourish online!