Only 10% OF Podiatrists Do Online Marketing Effectively
Once podiatrists understand the true benefits of treating their practices like a business, then they are finally ready to move full steam ahead. But how should they get started?
Having too many options available can result in decision-paralysis, and we love helping people cut through all of that noise that is out there.
There are 5 main elements that you need to get a good handle on in order for your practice to get noticed online:
- Have a modern and professional website
- Add high quality content
- Work on your local search engine optimization (SEO)
- Develop a reputation management plan that is responsive
- Having a go-to method for evaluating your return on investment (ROI)
So let’s take a closer look at how the 5 pieces all fit together into one effective and helpful marketing program.
A Modern and Professional Website
When we say modern what do we really mean by that? To begin with, we are talking about a website that will work well on all devices. An increasing number of patients are using mobile devices these days, and they want to be able to read the content on your website right away instead of having to wait until they are at home. People don’t behave that way any longer. If they don’t immediately see how your website can meet their needs, then they will just leave and look for another website that can.
You might be thinking that you aren’t that tech-savvy and that is an issue more for metropolitan areas.
However, you would most likely be surprised.
We are seeing from 30% to 40% on average of a practice’s web traffic coming either from tablets or mobile devices. Even for podiatrists working in small communities this is true. People’s behavior has changed already, so you need to ensure you are ready for these changes.
There is more to a website than its mobile compatibility. The actual content is also important. What do you have to say about the specialties you provide?Do patients have a good understanding of what you do? Whenever they visit your website, does the online presence you have say you are like all other podiatrists?
A major goal of your website needs to be to get those kinds of questions answered as fast as you can. No matter what kind of device is used, Internet users don’t like having to spend a lot of time searching for those answers, and they really shouldn’t need to. They should be able to locate those basic answers to enable them to get their appointment booked. For podiatrists that is particularly true, since patients can have different reasons to get an appointment booked. Some are searching for solutions that are more cosmetic in nature, like hammertoe correction or bunion removals, while others are searching for assistance with a painful condition such as plantar fasciitis or ingrown toenails. If the focus of your practice is on one of these and not the other, then it’s very important to make this clear to allow your patients to be able to decide if you are the best podiatrist for their needs.
Quality content can help get patients over to your website. This is due to the fact that search engines crawl through your website regularly to index its content. They are searching for your pages’ subject matter. Your website ideally should have a lot of original content on all of your specialties. However, you should still have patient education content as well. Patient education can supplement the original content on your site and will help you explain those aspects of complex procedures that are more in-depth. The main problem is that it isn’t specific for your practice, and given that numerous other podiatrists will have access to this same content, usually the search engines consider it to be duplicate content. On the other hand, original content can help to improve your search rankings. Patient education and original content can work together so that your patients are well-informed.
It is important for local patients to know where you can be found and to get in touch with you to get an appointment booked. It is easy for patients to locate your name, phone number and address on your website? These are basic and every single page needs to have them visible on them.
Local listings is another thing you need to focus on. Most likely, a majority of your patients find your office location and phone number through conducting searches online. If they are unable to locate your phone number or utilize the GPS that is on their smartphones for finding your practice, it could lead to them getting frustrated.
In addition, quality local SEO work can also help the search engines have a better understanding of your location. This will enable your site to show up more frequently in searches that are geographically relevant. Focus on managing your listings, to ensure they are accurate and thoroughly filled out. This should provide your practice with many benefits when it comes to local searches.
Reputation Management for Physicians and Podiatric Practices
Most likely your website won’t be the only place where your practice is discussed, unless you are a fairly new practice. Increasingly patients are relying on review sites like RateMDs and Yelp for posting their opinions regarding their doctors as well as reading the thoughts of other patients before they book an appointment. It is absolutely critical for you to know what is being said about you online by patients. You can have great content and a modern website, but it is still possible for negative reviews to stick with prospective patients more than any positive content you create.
When it comes to your online reputation, it is essential that you take a proactive approach for managing these kinds of problems. If you check online review websites on a regular basis and respond to reviews regularly as well, it can really help your online reputation. For positive reviews, be sure to thank patients, but even more importantly, negative reviews need to be responded to. Be careful in your responses that you don’t discuss any of a patient’s private information, how do you best to get the issue resolved and if necessary have the patient get in touch with you offline. That won’t make negative reviews disappear, however it will demonstrate to other patients that you really do care and do whatever you can to make things right.
It’s very important to avoid negative reviews to begin with as much as possible. Be very attentive to the concerns of your patients and get whatever issues resolved that you can. At times, feedback from patients can help to bring certain issues to your attention that you might not have been aware of. Keeping your patients happy will increase your chances that they will share positive content – both online review sites and through their online friends, which can help attract more patients to your practice.
How To Measure Your Marketing ROI
It is critical that you know whether or not your marketing effort is really worth the money and time you are putting into them. If the return on your investment is not that good, then that’s a sign you need to make some adjustments to whatever you are doing currently. There are various ways of determining your ROI.
Good site traffic and search engine ranking are definitely important factors in how successful your practice’s marketing is, however there are other things you should look at also. You could be ranking in the number one position in your area for “podiatrist” and have lots of people visiting your website, but it won’t mean anything ultimately if patients don’t end up booking appointments.
You may want to track how many calls you are getting and determine how many of these calls result in appointments. Another thing you can do is ask your new patients how they were able to find your practice. Try to include this question on all of your sign-up forms. Make sure that one of the options is “online.” Patient surveys and call tracking can give you a good idea of how many and which of your patients are discovering you online.
So that’s the basic idea for a podiatric practice having a strong online presence. Quality local SEO and content will lead individuals to your optimized website. They can then learn more about the services you provide and book their appointments. You can gain valuable insights regarding patient opinions from your reputation management. When it is done correctly, it can help with solidifying the confidence that patients have in your practice. When you measure how effective your efforts have been, it can help you with making adjustments to your strategy as you go alone. When all of these pieces are working together, they can help with strengthening each other.