Your practice’s brick-and-mortar offices are looking sharp, operating efficiently, and providing the best customer experiences, but how’s your online presence? Are you connecting with patients and prospects before they even pick up the phone? Do you keep the engagement going long after the appointment concludes? In today’s digital landscape, online interaction goes hand in hand with conventional marketing in growing a strong, sustainable business presence. Learn how to step up your digital game with three timely tips from Audigy content specialist Patti White.
There was a time when a printed monthly newsletter, periodic print and broadcast advertising, and a few special events helped keep businesses connected to the communities they serve. But in today’s 24/7, crowd-sourced environment of consumer-driven news, views, and reviews, reaching patients and prospects requires meeting them online, too.
Did you know?
- There are more than 5 billion Google searches each day.
- 61% of global internet users research products online.
- Half of all mobile searches are locally focused.
- About 61% of local mobile searches result in a purchase.
Digital marketing drives sales with engaging content and conversations that help build brand awareness, good will, and customer loyalty. You can impact your digital brand with three simple tips:
1. Get on Social Media
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or another platform, you’ve probably already experienced the value of social media on a personal level in helping you keep up with friends, family members, organizations, and companies that match your interests. It only makes sense to maximize the power of these platforms for your business, too.
Social media can help your practice connect with patients and their friends, share your brand’s story and voice, and position your business as the go-to resource in your community and beyond.
- 52% of online adults use two or more social sites.
- Half of older adults use their smartphones to access social media.
When launching or refining your social media presence, it’s better to start small and focus on being great on one platform rather than being automated everywhere.
So where to start? Facebook. Here’s why:
- Facebook engages the most active user group.
- More than half of online adults 65 and older use Facebook.
- 31% of all seniors use the platform.
- The target demographic has already adopted the platform and wants to engage with you there.
Engagement is key, so keep in mind the importance of providing information that’s timely, relevant, thought-provoking, interesting to your target audience, and shareable.
Speaking of shareable: An estimated 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts are image based – images and videos rule. Sites such as www.canva.com offer an easy way to create your own image-based posts. Audigy also has several experts and resources to help you along the way.
With social media, communication goes both ways, so you can’t afford to let your presence go stale with old content, infrequent postings, or failure to respond to questions. Stay atop your social media presence with a few simple strategies:
- Appoint a social media ambassador to handle communications on a set schedule.
- Create a social media calendar, scheduling specific, timely posts in advance.
- Share others’ content as well, which can save time and enhance community connections.
- Use time-saving tools such as Facebook’s native app for mobile posting and other apps that facilitate automated scheduling of posts.
2. Blog Your Expertise
Blogging, the practice of writing and posting short articles on various timely topics, offers a great way to showcase your expertise in a format that’s educational, conversational, and credibility building. The best part? Your blog can reside on your own website.
Other crucial reasons to blog:
- Helps drive traffic to your website
- Can improve your search-engine results
- Helps position you as a leader in your field
- Facilitates better customer relationships
To maximize the blog medium, keep it simple, write in your own voice, and remember your audience. Getting too technical and promotional, appearing too impersonal, or running afoul of basic grammar can scare off readers. There’s no time like right now to start connecting with your community — and the rest of the world — through blogging.
Worried about finding topics? Consider this advice from Audigy member Helen Hallenbeck, Au.D., owner of Montana-based Vibrant Hearing:
Start blogging by writing about subjects that you know so well you don’t have to refer to other sources for your facts or figures. Just start writing. When you feel like you’ve written everything you can think of, you will probably have the material for four or five blog posts. You can also collect patient questions for inspiration. Patients ask questions all day every day. My desk is full of sticky notes with questions patients have asked. Collect enough sticky notes and you’ll find trends.
3. Manage Online Reviews
If you could have a hand in what patients, their loved ones, prospects, and others say about you online, would you take action? You already do take action by delivering the highest-quality care to the people you serve, giving them a positive experience to share with others.
In today’s digital landscape, however, curating a positive reputation doesn’t stop with providing the best patient care and top customer service. With customers increasingly assuming the role of ambassador of your brand online, you’ve got to go to the heart of consumer feedback: online reviews.
Says Audigy member Mary Caccavo, Ph.D., of Indiana-based Lafayette Hearing Center:
We are clearly seeing more traffic from our website. Our front-office staff always asks [patients] how they heard of us, and we are now seeing “patient referrals” and “Google” as the two top runners. One woman told us that she saw the reviews patients had written [online], and they were so good, she called. Most recently, a 50-something spouse Googled and found us. That is it — no muss, no fuss … just all in how you look!
Did you know?
- Baby boomers contribute the most product reviews online.
- Patients rely on the opinions of other patients.
- A strong online review presence influences purchase decisions.
- Positive reviews can win over patients before they’re even visited your practice.
The sheer number of consumer-review sites can seem overwhelming, so it’s important to maximize your time and gain the greatest value by focusing on one to three of them. Consider starting with one or more of the big three — Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Staking a stronger presence in your practice’s online reputation includes asking patients for feedback:
- Use social media, email marketing, and in-office materials to generate patient reviews.
- Work with the team at Audigy to help make the process for requesting reviews simple and seamless.
Optimizing your digital presence can be challenging at first, but it’s been proven that these tactics work in today’s online world. Social media, blogging, and online reviews can all add up to be a winning recipe in creating long-lasting relationships with patients and establishing yourself as an expert in your community.