For years, you’ve been on the fence about ZocDoc and similar sites like BetterDoctor, Healthgrades, and Vitals.com. You hear they’re essential to a modern medical practice’s marketing, but you’ve always wondered if there’s actually a payoff.
A payoff for you, your staff, and your patients, that is…not just a payoff for ZocDoc.
The numbers don’t lie. ZocDoc sees millions of unique visitors every month, from patients searching for healthcare providers, insurance companies, and answers to medical questions. And we know that over 50% of patients in the US use the Internet to research health issues and medical professionals (and that percentage is significantly higher when older patients are excluded).
The simple fact is, if you aren’t using sites like ZocDoc to your advantage, your practice is missing out on a whole lot of potential patients.
Grow Your Reach
The most obvious advantage to provider-profile sites like ZocDoc and Vitals.com is growing your reach—making more patients in your area aware that you exist. Third party sites are already profiting by having a profile for you; take control of your digital identity and take advantage of the opportunity to boost your profile.
You can all but guarantee that at least a handful of patients in your area, looking for a healthcare provider with your specialty, are searching on these sites every month (statistically speaking, it is guaranteed, but we don’t want to get angry letters from the outliers).
If you aren’t there to be found, or if you aren’t taking an active role in your profiles to maximize your chances of being found, patients won’t have a clue you’re available. Not being on these sites is the same as not being listed in the phonebook twenty (or thirty) years ago—you’re basically saying you have no desire for new patients and don’t care if anyone knows you’re still practicing.
And if that’s the case, by all means stay away from ZocDoc. For everyone else, though, it’s a good idea to get involved.
Build Your Reputation
Along with growing your reach, making sure you’re well-represented on the major doctor-listing sites is hugely important for your online reputation—and yes, your online reputation matters. According to research conducted last year, at least 60% of patients read online reviews when selecting a healthcare provider, and like all things Internet-related you can expect that number to grow rapidly in the coming years.
ZocDoc encourages patients who book through the site to leave reviews there, too; active, positive responses from you can boost those reviews which can in turn boost your prominence in ZocDoc searches.
While you can’t directly control the reviews you receive (aside practicing outstanding medicine and patient care), you can exert a fair amount of influence on the conversation about your practice as a whole. Following up with both positive and negative reviews with a tone that is professional, understanding, encouraging, and affirming can help others see the real you, even if a “problem patient” is painting a different picture.
Improve Your SEO
Indirect effects can be powerful, in medicine and in marketing. Adding links to your medical practice’s website from your ZocDoc profile isn’t an instant ticket to SEO success, but it will definitely help. And when you have a profile patients love, the click-throughs will start to mount up, creating a traffic boost that will boost your search engine rankings even further. Partner all of that with a well-designed website and content that keeps your prospects on the page, and Google will show you plenty of love in return.
Create Convenience for Your Practice
One of the last and possibly best reasons to sign up with ZocDoc has nothing to do with SEO or patient outreach at all—not directly, anyway. Not only is your third-party profile on ZocDoc a good way for patients to find you and learn more about you, it also gives them a way to schedule an appointment without contacting your office.
They manage the scheduling system, they manage the basic contact info for your patients, and the make sure their site is working all the time. No tech for you to set up, no “system down” nightmares, no worrying about a website scheduling system that frustrates patients or fails to keep you informed.
It’s outreach with an inroad built in—how can that be bad?