Building Your Online Presence — Part 1 of a 3-part Article

At Doctor’s Direct Insurance, we spend a lot of time thinking about ways that private practices can implement steps to improve overall efficiency, make their practice attractive to new patients, and increase overall patient satisfaction. All admirable goals, but in order to grow a business, a doctor must also think about ways to increase their revenue stream. There are, of course, many different specific ways a private practice might choose to boost their revenue stream, but at the end of the day, probably the most basic (but difficult) way to generate more money is by seeing more patients in a day.

There are four overarching strategies (possibly more) for increasing the number of patients a doctor can see in a day.

  1. Capture New Business — Any business needs new customers to continue growing
  2. Patient Retention — Keep the customers you have
  3. Increase the number of visits per patient — Keep them coming in
  4. Improve Efficiency — Efficiency in visits and administrative duties can generate more time to see more patients.

In the coming weeks, I will discuss the first 3 points, dedicating an article to each, but please browse our blog for other articles as they relate to improving efficiency (Group Visits, Apps, Electronic Payments).

There are many ways to capture new business, some more expensive than others. Some private practices may find that marketing drives consumers to their doors, while others may implement cost-saving incentives. Some may pride themselves on word-of-mouth and referrals, while some may feel that advertising suits their budget and needs.

But I’d like to talk about one “marketing” initiative that is free, available twenty-four hours a day, and quite possibly, in this modern day-and-age, the most effective.

Building Online Presence

We’ve touched on this before in previous articles (Yelp, Millennials), but I want to go a little bit more in-depth here. An excellent article on Physician’s Practice states that the cheapest and most effective way to market to new customers is online. It’s not just about building out your social media platform, though that is also important. Physician’s Practice reports that seventy-three percent of adults use social networks, and forty-one percent claim that social media affects their choice of doctors. But modern private practices are also now using integrated websites to provide downloadable forms, online scheduling, and refill requests. Not only do these implementations improve office efficiency, but they resonate with an increasingly tech-savvy consumer who wants information at her fingertips on the screen of her smartphone.

Speaking of smartphones, many private practices are now providing mobile services such as text alerts and email reminders. We recommend choosing a website creator who specializes in medical practice websites, of which there are many. Barring that, make sure that your website developer is well-versed in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that your website finds its way to the top of your potential customer’s searches.

And finally, make sure you “claim” your business. We touched on this in our Yelp article, but it is important to be aware that even if you haven’t made a website yet, you are still “out there” on other search engine listings. To find all of your listings, conduct a Google search using both your practice’s name as well as those of your doctors, claim the listings, and make sure that all information is correct and up-to-date. After all, there is nothing worse from an advertising perspective than a consumer finding your listing, choosing to select your practice above the others, but then calling a dead phone line because the information wasn’t current.

And finally, make sure you “claim” your business. We touched on this in our Yelp article, but it is important to be aware that even if you haven’t made a website yet, you are still “out there” on other search engine listings. To find all of your listings, conduct a Google search using both your practice’s name as well as those of your doctors, claim the listings, and make sure that all information is correct and up-to-date. After all, there is nothing worse from an advertising perspective than a consumer finding your listing, choosing to select your practice above the others, but then calling a dead phone line because the information wasn’t current.

Next week, we will look at ways a private practice can keep patient retention high with referrals and preventative programs.

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