In the age of digital health, online marketing for doctors is leaps and bounds away from the Yellow Page listings of old. Physicians today have an ever-growing list of effective online marketing tools. More and more, however, these tools are not optional.
As a doctor, you need to be taking advantage of marketing opportunities on all the major social media channels. The internet is a vast and complex marketing tool and doctors can’t afford to ignore it. Here are some tips to avoid the seven most common physician social media failures.
Fail #1: Hating patients reviews.
We estimate that over 10,000 doctor reviews are being written daily online. Reviews are unavoidable, so embrace them and use to your advantage. Word of mouth is how doctors traditionally earned new patients. This still holds true today, except the conversation now happens online. Embrace the internet and encourage happy patients to recommend your services. Using emails or postcards, guide happy patients to online review sites like Vitals.
Fail #2: Great doctor, lousy staff.
In addition to rating a physician, most review sites also allow patients to rate the courtesy and professionalism of the office staff. The attitude of your staff can have a surprisingly big impact on the reviews of a practice. Unhappy patients won’t even wait to leave the waiting room before posting negative reviews. Your staff needs to remember that they are your public face. After all, your receptionist is the first and last thing your patients see!
Fail #3: Ignoring patients.
Patients have the power to make or break a doctor’s reputation in a single keystroke. The doctor must make sure he provides patients with the following five key elements:
1. Reliability and Efficiency
2. Responsiveness and Timely Appointments
3. Expertise and Reassurance
5. A Clean and Modern Waiting Room
Fail #4: Lack of planning.
Very few doctors have a strategic marketing plan. This leads to most doctors never realizing their true revenue potential. Your internet presence must be included in all your marketing plans and materials.
Fail #5: No online marketing budget.
Did you know that you should budget at least 10 – 15% of your expected annual revenue back into your company’s marketing objectives? Your website is your number one salesperson! It never gets tired and never takes a day off. But most doctors never allocate a monthly budget for its maintenance, upkeep and promotion.
Fail #6: Lack of quality content.
Doctor’s websites often look more like ‘electronic brochures’ than online health resources. According to the American Medical Association guidelines, doctors are allowed to advertise their educational background, fees, and payment methods. But patients also want reviews, informative essays, and the ability to schedule online appointments. Having a website that is little more than a directory listing is, at best, an inefficient use of marketing resources.
Fail #7: No social presence.
We urge doctors to get involved and share interesting links to relevant health content on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Let your patients know that they should follow your social profiles, and give them something interesting to see once they get there.
While all this may sound daunting, sites like Vitals.com will do a lot of heavy lifting for your online profile. In the end, however, only you and your staff will determine what patients will write about when they review your practice.