Simplify appointment scheduling
Patients don’t want to wait until business hours to call your office and schedule an appointment. Instead, modernize appointment scheduling by taking it digital. Patients won’t have to wait on hold, answer personal health questions over the phone, or remember to catch your office during business hours.
Plus, it’ll streamline the process for your team and potentially reduce the number of scheduling mistakes you’ll have to make up to your patients.
Offer a patient portal
Build a thorough digital patient experience by giving them a portal to access their healthcare information. Provide them with a single place to schedule appointments, fill out forms (also reducing in-office wait times), communicate with physicians or nurses, and access their healthcare records.
Providing this level of convenience will go a long way in meeting patient expectations. And giving them an easy and organized way to communicate with the doctors will improve overall patient satisfaction.
Healthcare marketing trend #3: Tried-and-true online search
One of the healthcare marketing trends that isn’t going away anytime soon is the need to be found online. More than being searchable, you want to appear in the top search results or risk being ignored altogether.
For instance, only the top 3 Google search results get 75% of all clicks, according to backlinko. And if you’re on the second page? Forget about it.
Before you get overwhelmed with SEO’s ins and outs, narrow down your focus on these 3 factors.
Optimize your site
If you’ve heard of SEO, you know the emphasis is often on content. While content is absolutely a key factor, the mechanics of your website also play a part. Start with these 2 action items:
- Ensure your website is mobile-first or mobile-friendly. It’s an increasingly important factor in the Google algorithm—and for your web visitors. In fact, 59% of all Google search traffic comes from mobile devices.
- Increase your site’s loading speed. Another concern of Google’s (and your site visitors) is how long it takes your website to load. Google recommends a load speed of under 2 seconds.
Focus on local SEO
Marketing online for your local practice isn’t like marketing a product. Your business is entirely dependent on your local community. This, however, gives you an SEO edge. Instead of relying only on your website for SEO results, you can also take advantage of other local online directories, too.
Local search focuses on a specific geographic area. Think “dentists near me” or “orthopedists in [city] area.”
Users who type this into Google search get location-specific information from directories like Google Business Profile, Yelp, and more. Ensure to claim your practice and update your information in each. We’ll talk more about how to do so in the next section.
Photos are often left out of the SEO thought process, but they provide a great opportunity to capture more web traffic — when done right. Selecting photos for your site shouldn’t be an exercise in stock photography selection. Instead, you need your own photos that showcase your practice, your location, and your people, all while driving traffic to your site.
Healthcare marketing trend #4: The importance of online business directories
Patients use the web to find and research potential healthcare physicians, and your website isn’t their only resource. Just over a third use information found on search directories like WebMD, Facebook, and Yelp. That doesn’t even include your Google Business Profile.
This is a top trend in healthcare marketing that will continue into 2023. In order to make the most of these search directories, you need to claim your practice and ensure all your information is accurate across directories. Here’s where you should start:
Google Business Profile
Easily the most used search engine, Google offers a free business profile that your practice can claim. People searching for your practice, or one of your top-ranking keywords, on Google Search or Maps can quickly view your profile. Adding information, photos, logos, links, and reviews will make you easier to find and add to your legitimacy and appeal.
It’s also important not to ignore reviews on your Google Business Profile. They’re highly visible and deserve a quick response—especially the bad ones. It’s vital that your reviews are positive, recent, and many in order for a person to book an appointment.
Other practice listing websites
When looking for a healthcare provider, patients rarely access just one resource. It’s important to search the web for alternative directories (and even Facebook) to manage your practice’s reputation, no matter which sites your patients use to find you.
Not only will having your practice’s name and information across sites make it easier for patients to find you, but it’ll also improve your search rankings in Google. Just make sure your information is consistent and up-to-date across all platforms.
Healthcare marketing trend #5: Patient reviews are driving new bookings
Reviews are critical — which is why we keep repeating this. Nearly half of people said they trust online reviews from other patients when choosing a doctor, dentist, or healthcare professional, according to Tebra’s 4th annual Patient Perspective survey.
And there isn’t just one important review factor that influences patient decisions. Tebra research found that there are a few.
- Overall rating. Whether out of 5 stars, 10 points, or 2 thumbs up, your overall rating matters the most. 67% of patients admit that they won’t book with a new physician if they have less than 4 out of 5 stars.
- The review content plays a role, too. It’s not just about stars — 75% of patients will read between 3-10 reviews before deciding on a provider.
- The number of reviews determines whether patients think your reviews are credible. This means you need to work hard to incentivize patients to leave a review — 88% of patients want to see up to 50 reviews posted to determine the trustworthiness of a practice.
- The recency of the review. Even positive reviews aren’t enough to turn a web visitor into a new patient if they’re all outdated —43% of patients say how recently reviews are posted is the most important factor they look at when looking at a provider’s online review. You can’t just get to a certain number of reviews and stop asking. You must consistently solicit reviews from patients to keep the marketing engine running.
- Where the review is posted matters, too. Some sites are more credible than others. For example, your rating on Facebook might not be as credible as your rating on Google. According to Tebra research, 58% of patients look at Google for reviews, 34% look at the practice’s website, and 31% look at WebMD. Only 16% of patients look at Facebook for reviews.
- The number of negative reviews. Over half of patients (51%) will move on to another doctor if they see 1-3 negative reviews posted online.
With reviews such a key factor in new bookings, here’s how you can manage them.
A surprising number of practices still don’t ask for regular patient reviews. Asking for reviews immediately after a patient visit is the best way to get accurate information quickly. Create a simple review form and schedule it to go out automatically after each patient’s visit.
Respond to good and bad reviews
Whether publicly or privately, it’s important to respond to all reviews from your patients. It shows existing patients that you’re actively reading and taking in their complaints and/or praises. They’ll feel more engaged in your practice, and you’ll have a more 360-degree view of the patient experience.