Because medicine is a service-oriented profession, medical practitioners must embrace marketing today, including online marketing, in addition to practicing medicine. Lack of credibility is one of the biggest roadblocks any company has when conducting business online, and that includes those in the medical profession. Positioning yourself as a medical expert intensifies your credibility, and it helps prospective patients feel comfortable in choosing you and your medical practice for their health needs.
Take note of these 5 ways to increase your medical expert reputation in the eyes of existing and prospective patients.
1) Keep a blog. Whether you are a cosmetic dentist, orthopedic specialist, or vascular surgeon, if you don’t have a blog on your website, you're missing out on a opportunity to strut your stuff, so to speak. It is your chance to not only address frequently asked questions from your patients, highlight your treatment offerings, and give your opinion on industry news or trends, but it also helps to improve your website’s ranking in search engines — particularly if you update your blog with frequent, consistent, and engaging postings.
According to Social Media Today, small business that have a blog generate more than 125% more leads and more than 60 percent of consumers made a purchased based on a blog post they read. In addition, 81 percent of consumers indicated they trusted the information and advice they received from a blog.
2) Build a social media presence. Consumers today come to expect the companies they purchase from to have a social media presence — and that includes healthcare consumers. They enjoy following the companies they invite into their lives and do so through their likes of Facebook and tweets on Twitter. Keep your patients engaged and informed with practical and insightful information related to your medical specialty and you increase your credibility in the process.
Be sure that you and your practice are listed in all relevant and local directories, like City Search, Yelp, Switchboard, Foursquare, Superpages.com and White Pages, in addition to medical directories such as Vitals, RateMD.com, Health Grades, and Zoc Doc. Medical directories, in particular, that contain reviews and ratings are helpful in maintaining a healthy online reputation for physicians.
3) Publish press releases. Press releases are a fabulous way for medical practitioners to enhance their online presence, build credibility, create buzz, and market themselves and their practice. They are also an ideal way to deliver new developments about your practice or services offered, as long as they are not overly promotional.
Not sure what you could say in a press release? The list of topics for press releases are virtually endless:
- Did you purchase new technology or equipment recently?
- Did you participate in a local charity event?
- Are you offering a new treatment service?
- Has there been a recent study or finding regarding a condition you treat?
- Did you receive an award or other honor?
- Did you start a new blog or publish a downloadable ebook?
- Did your practice sponsor an event?
- Even things like milestones (5 year anniversary of your practice), holiday or seasonal specials, or the introduction of a free consultation offer are all press release worthy.
Online press releases can be distributed through many online services (free and fee-based packages), such as PRWeb, PRBuzz, PRLog, PRnewswire, 24-7 Press Release, PR.com, and 1888 Press Release.
4) Work with local media. Whether it’s a local-based radio or TV station or community-based newspaper, reporters and journalists look to local physicians as an expert source for health-related news segments. As a local medical practitioner, you can offer your insight into medical advances, treatment recommendations, and advice on preventive care. This type of exposure helps to establish yourself as medical expert in your specialty and community and helps build your credibility, which ultimately helps build your practice awareness.
5) Become an author. Regardless of your medical niche, chances are good there are trade journals and industry magazines that cover it. Being published in an industry trade journal can increase your expert status and help you gain the respect from your peers.
On the flip side, publishing an ebook not only helps you build credibility in your niche, but it also can help you build your email subscriber list by offering a free download for those that give up their email address. An ebook digs deeper than a blog post to help educate and provide value surrounding a specific subject. The reading of ebooks was up by 5 percent to 28 pecent of adults who read an ebook in the past year, according to Pew Internet.
The days of hanging your medical practice shingle and caduceus outside your front door and new patients will come walking in in droves are long gone. While providing quality healthcare and having a good reputation are still the cornerstones to success, in today’s increasing social and digital world, it’s not enough. Today, to grow your medical practice, you must also focus on building your brand, your image, your medical expert status, and your online presence. The above tips will help.