February 27, 2015
How to Attract Local Patients to Your Aesthetic or Medical Practice, Part 1
By Kim Virrueta, Aesthetic & Medical Marketing Expert -
For plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and dermatologists, the need to be found online is more urgent than ever. The old Yellow Pages days are long gone, Google constantly changes how they rank websites in their search engine, and demands from tech savvy patients are growing (such as having a mobile-friendly website).
What can your aesthetic practice do to maximize your exposure online? There are five areas that immediately come to mind for me. Here are the first three ways to attract local patients. Next week, I'll cover the last two elements.
Online Patient Reviews
What past patients are saying about you can make or break whether future patients pick up the phone to set an appointment. A practice should have a system in place to collect feedback from patients asking them some of the following questions:
- Was our website easy to use?
- How were you treated when you spoke with our receptionist?
- Were you greeted as soon as you arrived for your appointment?
- How long was your wait time to see the doctor?
- Did you feel that the doctor answered your questions and addressed your concerns?
- Did our office follow up with you after your first appointment?
- How do you like the results from your treatment or procedure?
Considering that online reviews are one of the most important factors that Google is now using to measure a local business' value to their community, having lots of positive reviews is crucial. This is how your website and local business profiles can gain higher placement in Google so that more local patients are finding you.
Social Media Activity
Google is now also using social media cues as one of their many indicators of online worth. This means that your practice's website will get higher placement in Google rankings if they see that your website pages, blog posts, and social accounts are all very active with likes, shares, and comments. Some ways to ensure you're hitting the mark is to have a social media calendar planned out ahead of time with what posts you'll be doing.
I recommend two posts a day, seven days a week. Your practice should be active in your accounts through posting new content, liking & sharing others' content (relevant to your industry), and interacting with your fans & followers. Make custom graphics to catch their eye and have a clear message regarding what that post offers them.
Engage fans by:
- Asking them to like, share or comment
- Ask their opinion about the topic
- Ask them if they agree or disagree
- Ask them to choose between one thing or another
- Only promote your practice 50% of the time
- Offer funny, interesting, useful, trending topics the other 50% of the time
- Be creative; the sky's the limit!
Organic Google Rankings
Obviously, since most aesthetic patients use Google to search online, you need to be sure your practice is at the top of page one. Over the last three years, Google's ranking algorithm has changed dramatically. It's no longer possible for an SEO professional to make some on-site adjustments to your web pages and blog posts and expect high rankings to come as a result. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn't being truthful.
In fact, studies done in the last 12 months or so indicate that on-page ranking factors (or things you can do to your website pages) make a 10% or less difference to your Google ranking position. If your website was "SEO Optimized" more than 6 months ago, the methods that were used at that time could be out of date, causing your site to be penalized by Google and hurting your rankings. Get that checked out! Today, Google's algorithm looks at real-life indicators of your business' online presence.
Some of these factors include:
- Online Reviews
- Social Media Activity
- Backlinks from Authority Sites Relevant to Your Industry
- How Long People Stay on Your Website
- Whether They Visit Additional Pages After They Get There
- Bounce Rate (Are They Staying on Your Site or Exiting)
- How Often You Add Fresh Content to Your Site (i.e. Weekly Blog Posts)
Though these certainly aren't all of the elements that Google considers when ranking websites, you can see how they've shifted their focus to rewarding businesses that offer high quality content that people are finding useful (staying on your site) and sharing (social media cues). This is why it's so important to have a well designed, mobile friendly website with social sharing buttons to make it easy for your high quality content to be shared.
That's all for now! Next time, I'll cover the final two ways to attract new patients online:
- Publishing High Quality Content
- Video Production & Marketing
Expert Aesthetic & Medical Marketing Services
I hope you found this post helpful to your practice. If you've looked over this article and found that there are some gaping holes in your aesthetic medical marketing, give me a call. I'd love to chat with you to find out where I can help you improve so that we can get you back to growing your practice.
Check out my new Marketing Essentials resources, which includes 5 free downloads:
- Marketing Checklist
- Social Media Planner
- SEO Optimization Guide
- Video Marketing Infographic
- How Video Marketing Works (Powerpoint)
To Helping You Attract More Local Patients,