As a healthcare practice operating in 2019, ensuring a consistent flow of patients for your healthcare practice can quite the challenge. Increasing consolidation throughout the medical industry increased the cost of acquiring a new patient, and prospective patients are becoming more selective about the type of care they demand.
With every passing year, practices are increasingly burdened to become more visible, more responsive, and more streamlined in an effort to stand out from the pack.
Unfortunately, the marketing efforts which were effective at the turn of the Millennium are no longer effective today. Worse yet, using outdated advertising efforts can make your practice look archaic, failing to attract a younger generation of healthcare consumers and giving your practice a less-than-stellar reputation.
While the landscape of physician advertising continues to become increasingly digitized, prospects of all ages are now starting and ending their buyer’s journey online. In fact, the latest statistics reveal that more than 80% of consumers conduct due diligence online before they will even consider trusting a company enough to become a client or customer. In addition, more than 90% of online behavior in general begins with online search.
With statistics like these, it’s quite likely that close to 100% of prospective patients have already searched Google for reviews and search results before they are even willing to pick up the phone and consider becoming a patient.
Perhaps the absolute scariest statistic, though, is this:
This means that a business who is not found on the first page of the major search engine results won’t even be considered as a viable candidate to do business with.
The good news, however, is that investing in the processes required to boost your search rankings, collectively known as “search engine optimization” practices, is one of the most well-established and cost-effective ways to bring new patients through the door.
In fact, not only can search engine optimization (SEO) for your medical practice be handled by an effective team of experts without you having to be involved in the process but investing in SEO comes with four main benefits which you won’t find through other advertising methods.
Benefit #1: Instant Credibility
Nothing establishes credibility and authority quite like being found on the first page of the search engines. Being a doctor with a high search ranking produces gives a form of social proof unlike other methods, and the rewards are disproportionately high.
Digital marketing studies have shown that search engine listing in the first position for major keywords ends up with more than 33% of the entire traffic for that keyword!
When you rank first for the major search terms associated with your practice (i.e. “Obstetrician”), then you will garner the majority of the traffic that is already searching for your services.
Online searchers know that a local healthcare practice would not rank highly unless it delivers exceptional service, so consider a high search ranking one of the best possible endorsements to establish credibility and authority among your target market.
Benefit #2: The Most Cost-Efficient Form Of Online Advertising
The job of the search engines is to deliver the most relevant search results for the keyword people are searching, regardless of how much money a business has invested in advertising. In other words, there is no “pay-to-play” structure to ranking highly in the engines. Furthermore, investing in search engine optimization produces cumulative results, meaning that high search engine rankings for your healthcare practice are likely to continue over time, thereby paying dividends long after the process is complete. Factoring in the increased visitor traffic that ranking on the first page provides, and combining this with the fact that more and more demographics are beginning their online behavior with website searches, the return-on-investment for such a low cost is unparalleled.
Benefit #3: A Platform To Spread Your Message
Think of your search listing as one of your greatest assets. The old adage in business dictates that the key to success is “location, location, location”. While this idea used to refer to physical real estate, the reality is that increasing the visibility of your website has become just as important as your physical office. The position of your practice website in the search engines can make or break your ability to acquire new patients, but it can do so much more.
Higher visibility of your website inevitably produces more traffic, increasing visibility of your message and all of your other content advertising efforts. For example, high search engine rankings can be used to effectively deliver a new blog article or company announcement to people who are already searching for similar services.
As a rule of thumb, producing a strong distribution channel with strong search engine rankings provides an advantage which is extremely difficult for other practices to overcome.
In summary, the advertising landscape has changed, and methods like billboards and newspaper advertisement are likely gone for good. No matter which demographic your practice serves, it’s inevitable that your prospective patients are searching online. They’re doing extensive research on your reputation and your company, and if they aren’t able to find you, they aren’t likely to trust you.
Search engine rankings provide the most dependable bedrock of a modern growth strategy, and there is no better place to invest. As with most important matters, the process is undoubtedly best handled by an expert who can show you what to expect and deliver tangible results.
Making the decision to hire a professional for help with your search engine rankings will cut down on complexity, produce a higher ROI, and help keep your focus on serving new patients.
With the number of online searches continuing to grow every day, there is no better time to start than today.