When a potential patient lands on your website, put yourself in their shoes for a moment and think about what it is that they’re looking for:
- Types of conditions you treat
- Treatment options
- Contact info – hours, location, email, phone number
Now, once they absorb the information that they’re seeking, based on your website, why would they choose your practice over your competitor?
They may not even go to your website.
What patients see on popular doctor review websites is not all that they take in consideration when choosing a provider.
The entirety of your online presence helps a patient form an opinion of your practice before they even talk to you.
In addition to having a robust website with accurate contact information and helpful content that explains conditions and treatment options, here are a four other things that also influence your professional reputation (and whether or not a patient may choose you!):
- Awards and publications – recognition from local and national peers, press
- Media and press mentions – hearing, reading and or seeing your name in news
- Patient success stories – word of mouth on social media, stories on website
- Your medical content library – educational information found online and in your practice
Awards and Publications
Every medical field has awards for doctors and if you’ve seen your peers win one and wondered, “Why can’t that be me?”. Well, it can be.
Some people are a little uneasy about singing their own praises but if you can get over the distaste for self-promotion, applying for awards and winning them can be an investment that will reap ongoing benefits.
You will have to devote some time and energy into any awards process but there are some reasons why it’s worth the effort:
- Free press: The award presenter promotes the award, giving you free press by mentioning you in their press release, newsletter, and news articles.
- Higher profile attracts new patients: Awards are key differentiators between you and your competition. Award winning medical practices enhance the perception that patients should choose you over other doctors.
- Office morale booster: Winning an award can put a little extra kick in the step of everyone in your office. It feels good to be recognized and have something to brag about.
- Improved commitment: Winning an award for a specific treatment, for example, shines a light on what you do best and retrains your focus on why you do what you do which helps improve your commitment to providing that service.
Media and Press Mentions
An increase in press mentions for your medical office will create valuable backlinks to your website, drive more traffic to your website, generate awareness of your brand, give credibility to you and your office, and will ultimately lead to an increase in patients.
Advertising is expensive and if you don’t have budget for that, how else will people hear about you? Obviously part of the equation is having a strong website that drives organic inbound traffic based on your location and search terms.
However, being mentioned in a story is a lot more influential than simply telling people how great you are via advertising. And when you have multiple press mentions you can add a press section to your website that lists the publications that you’ve appeared in which adds more content to your site and establishes you as an expert in your field.
Patient Success Stories
Patient success stories are in some ways similar to a patient review, but they’re more detailed and more personal.
A review is a quick affirmation of what someone liked or, didn’t like. A patient story gives other prospective patients a glimpse into how other people were dealing with symptoms, what led them to seek treatment, and how that treatment you provided has made their life better.
Getting your patients to share their stories with you is an impactful way to showcase the quality of your work.
Here’s an example from Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky, Director of HandSport Surgery Institute, in New York City:
Your Medical Content Library
Creating a medical content library on your website is not as daunting as it sounds. It’s a repository of treatment and condition content that talks about what you know and how you can help people.
Creating your own online content is an opportunity to keep your patients from self-diagnosing themselves on sites like WebMD.
Content can include topics like how to prevent injury, common myths and misperceptions of disease and treatments, proper ways to recover after a surgery, and so on.
Patients don’t want advertising, they want answers to their questions and if you can provide that information they’ll feel more comfortable visiting your office.
Professional Reputation is a Collective Effort
There are many factors in why a patient chooses one provider over another so it’s best not to focus on just one tactic.
The strategy to improve your professional reputation is a groundswell of activities (awards, events) and content (press mentions, website content) that all help and contribute to creating a strong online presence.