Doctors and dentists who wish to increase patient demand or stay in high demand in 2016 must use an armamentarium of healthcare practice marketing strategies to engage and attract healthcare consumers where they live. And where they live is on their smartphones, tablets, laptops and the Internet. That’s where the collective world healthcare knowledge resides at their fingertips.
Today’s healthcare consumer has access to far more information than ever before. Choosing the right doctor no longer means relying on a friend or family member’s recommendation. Patients in 2016 have lightning-fast access to lots of information about virtually any condition, procedure, doctor or dentist online.
Patients today rely on online doctor or dentist reviews and social media to help them determine which provider they ultimately choose. Apparently, healthcare practitioners have received the message. Doctors are now one of the largest consumer segments moving toward more aggressive online marketing. More healthcare providers are focusing on SEO-optimized websites, mobile websites and social media and managing their online reviews to engage new and current patients.
Online reviews have become extremely powerful for healthcare providers. When it comes to making healthcare decisions, consumers place high value on the experiences and opinions of actual patients. The power of an unbiased review should not be underestimated. Your marketing strategies for 2016 should be based on real-world considerations.
More Healthcare Websites Help Consumers Self-Diagnose
Years ago, people ran to their doctor whenever they had a headache or cold symptom because it was the only solution. They did not have readily available health information and relied on their doctors for everything. Today, major healthcare sites such as Medline, Mayo Clinic and WebMD help people make simple diagnoses themselves. Healthcare consumers have ready access to huge amounts of information online, and this can be dangerous for patients who misdiagnose themselves. The best way to avoid a wrong diagnosis is a face-to-face meeting with a doctor. Patients still need to trust their physician beyond what they learn online.
Healthcare Consumers Rely Heavily on Reviews
Effective marketing can dramatically increase your success in finding new patients. With the help of online platforms like Healthgrades and Yelp, patients have a wealth of information at their fingertips. For doctors accustomed to getting new patients simply from referrals, signage and location conveniences, the challenge of attracting new patients will be even greater in 2016. With most healthcare consumers now using the Internet and online review platforms, doctors who don’t market put themselves at a critical disadvantage. A weak or nonexistent online presence simply cannot compete with the growing numbers of marketing-savvy doctors who market heavily online through web, SEO, social media and online reputation management.
Healthcare Consumers Want Natural Alternatives
More consumers in 2016 appreciate the value of natural therapies to replace prescription drugs and traditional treatments. Natural herbal remedies are increasing in popularity as the millennial population (ages 18 to 35) places greater emphasis on healthy eating, regular exercise, not smoking and treatment alternatives. Doctors who embrace and support such alternatives in their medical practice marketing will attract more patients. Doctors who carefully follow natural health and nutrition trends can more closely mirror the views of potential new patients. Doctors who ignore this new trend will alienate themselves from this new breed of consumers who prefer and support natural remedies.
Get expert help with your online medical practice marketing and dental practice marketing and improve patient engagement. Contact Practice Builders by emailing us at info@PracticeBuilders.com, calling 800.679.1200 or visiting PracticeBuilders.com. Request your complimentary Online Reputation Score by writing to info@PracticeBuilders.com.
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