Practices are exploring digital options to increase client numbers. Are you?
In recent years, it has gotten harder and harder to maintain client loyalty. More options are available and accessible for clients to choose a different practice than they have to date. As well as this, the patient loss is an ongoing reality. People move away, pass away, or simply try somewhere different for their next appointment.
Ultimately our purpose is to help patients achieve better health outcomes. A first step to achieving these better outcomes is through search engine optimisation (SEO), and making it easier for clients to find you online at the beginning of the treatment process. The more patients that can find you at the beginning of the treatment process, the more people you help.
2020 is the time to learn more about powerful digital tools
SEO is one of the most effective tools for attracting clients online. Patients have access to websites and apps and expect to be able to search, book and review almost anything online. It is the modern consumer expectation, and things like directories and yellow pages are an outdated approach.
Be tech-savvy and attract new patients with this checklist
1. Re-engage lapsed patients
Patients may be lost temporarily, but it doesn’t need to be forever. Those that take the necessary actions, can gain them back. Use practice management software tools to send consistent correspondence, SMS, app notifications, or following up with patients and encouraging check-ups.
2. Consistently modernise your website
In this day and age, most clients expect a tech-savvy experience. If your website is difficult to navigate or isn’t mobile-friendly, potential patients may look elsewhere.
3. Use social media
In addition to advertising, use social media as a platform for customer reviews online, as a tool for measuring customer satisfaction, and attracting new patients.
4. Use SEO to be found more easily
Review keywords and phrases to ensure those who are looking for something specific to the service you provide, find you first. This is where ranking high on Google is advantageous, both for your practice and for prospective patients trying to find you.
SEO – what is it?
Simply put, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is how well you rank and get found on Google. It is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. There are a number of factors that go into SEO, here are a few you should know:
Keywords are useful
When it comes to SEO, keywords are the phrases that potential patients type into Google when searching for a specific need. Therefore, if you’re a health service provider in Melbourne CBD, there will be a number of keywords you can work into your web content that will help you get found on Google when patients search this. As an example; a keyword may be ‘Health Services Melbourne CBD’ or ‘Melbourne CBD Doctor’.
Note – ‘keyword stuffing’ is becoming an outdated way to ranking for SEO. Google prefers pages with quick load speed and other websites that link to your website over a page full of words that related to the term you want to rank for.
Content quality and consistency
The overall quality of your content is another factor of SEO that is important to be aware of. Your website should have clear information on your services, events and classes, health tips, and everything a potential patient may be looking for. These should be professionally written and presented as Google takes note of this quality. Consistency throughout your site should also be taken into account. For example, if your website has inconsistencies such as ‘appointment and ‘apt’, Google picks this up, and will penalise you for it.
Online reviews: measuring customer satisfaction
As you can see so far, impressing Google is vital to website effectiveness. We have discussed incorporating SEO keywords to impress Google, however, we need to also consider the importance of patient reviews. On average, consumers read up to 10 online reviews before they trust a business. These statistics really prove the importance of customer satisfaction, and online review can really help your practice in 2 ways:
- Get found on Google – Google is interested in quality websites and reliable businesses. If you have lots of positive reviews, or even helpful responses to negative reviews this shows you care about your patients, and Google will rank you higher.
- Attract new patients – Just like in any industry, clients or patients trust each other. If you provide a platform for measuring customer satisfaction on social media and your website, potential patients will see that you care.
90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day
Your website is the first impression you make with clients searching online
If you’re easy to find on Google, and a prospect client clicks on your website, that first impression you make may be crucial to ensure that the client makes an appointment. Therefore, the quality of your website should reflect the quality of your practice.
In 2020 consumers will make decisions based on your online image. If your website is ranked low, navigates poorly, or has negative responses to complaints, patients are going to go elsewhere.
More and more, practices are being expected to treat their patients not just as patients, but as customers too. Meaning they need to provide a great customer experience from the second they are found on Google to the time a patient books a repeat appointment.
To help our communities improve their health and wellbeing, we need to help people find and access the services they need, which is why SEO is so important. Without this first step, we can’t achieve the health outcomes we aspire to.