Shahrain K M
Every patient you see has probably searched their symptoms on Google before coming to you. They come in with information from WebMD and pepper you with bad questions. Instead of viewing this as a headache, treat their interest in information as an opportunity for you to move your practice forward and attract more patients.
Patients are increasingly choosing their doctor based on what they read online. Not having a modern online presence puts your practice at a disadvantage. A site that looks like it was built two decades ago, loads slowly, and has outdated content won’t appear at the top of Google for queries related to your field.
Similarly, if you don’t keep in touch with existing patients, you won’t be top of mind when a family member of theirs asks for a physician referral. The patient relationship doesn’t end the moment they walk out of your office. Practices that invest in constant patient communication make their patients feel cared for and report a positive experience.
Most businesses in 2021 have adopted digital marketing, but it’s still lagging in healthcare. A 2015 Nielsen survey commissioned by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the Bipartisan Policy Center discovered that the majority of medical providers in the US still don’t use email to communicate with patients. These practices are hurting themselves and missing out on double-digit patient growth for a few hours of effort a week. There’s a clear opportunity to stand out.
The average healthcare newsletter from a medical practice sees 26.8% of their emails opened regularly, which is much higher than most other sectors like eCommerce. People care about what their doctors have to say.
Word-of-mouth referrals will always be a driver for new patients, but an increasing number of patients are approaching practices cold after researching them online.
A 2013 survey conducted by the American Osteopathic Association discovered that after word of mouth or through their insurance provider, 42% of patients discover doctors online. This matches studies from Google that identified digital content as the key to decision-making for patients, with 83% of patients visiting a practice website before scheduling a visit.
If you’re an Ophthalmologist in Philly, and you want your site to appear high up on Google when anyone searches anything related to eye issues within 100 miles, Google needs to think your site is relevant for the patient’s question. To achieve a high ranking, you need content on your site with the most relevant answers to frequently searched questions. Google would rather show a website with 50 pages of high-quality content around LASIK procedures than a simple website that answers no questions.
The best way to get your medical practice website to show up in Google search results is by making it SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly. For specializations like Plastic Surgery, Ophthalmology, or Dermatology, you can share your expertise, answers to common patient questions, and the latest research in your field publicly on your blog. When a patient in your area is researching their symptoms, your articles will show up at the top of their search results if you produce the best content on the topic. For example, if they search for something along the lines of “orthopedic doctor near me”, “nose job plastic surgeon san diego“, or “dermatologist for acne”, you want your medical practice’s site to show up at the top of Google’s search results. You need to produce high-quality tailored content consistently on your blog to get there.
Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages (pages of a website that Google has visited, analyzed, and added to its database) than websites without them. The more valuable original content you have on your page, the higher you'll appear on Google for relevant searches. Content is the gift that keeps giving. You can never have enough. Websites with at least 400 blog posts get three times more patient leads than websites that have 100 blog posts.
75% of people do not scroll past the first page of Google, so you’ll need to publish enough relevant content to get a high ranking. You can prioritize the content to write based on what the most popular searches are. For example, if 1500 people research for LASIK in Pennsylvania every month, you should focus your content around that.
Having a blog boosts your credibility. Your website looks fresh and up to date. You showcase how you’re a thought leader in your field concerning patient well-being and the latest treatments. The information that you share with your audience, be it a fellow doctor, an existing patient, or a potential patient improves your reputation.
This in turn means more new patients, more referrals from other doctors, and fewer ill-informed questions from patients on something they read off WebMD.
If you want to understand what a patient journey looks like on Google, read this piece where we simulate a patient search for help with back pain and discover some medical practices through blogs that show up on Google.
Your blog helps you get new patients, but how do you connect with existing patients or doctors in your network? That’s where email newsletters come in. They help you engage and retain your existing patients and generate word-of-mouth referrals.
You should run separate newsletters for your patients and for other medical practitioners. Let’s start with how a newsletter can improve care quality for your patients.
Newsletters let doctors keep their patients up to date with medical news or content from your blog that might be relevant to them. Keeping patients educated elevates the level of care you’re providing. Not staying in touch with patients is a missed opportunity to build ongoing trust and make them feel cared for.
Patients will appreciate the fact that you’re educating them on how to best manage illness. This is especially true for patients with chronic conditions and those in clinical trials, vaccination programs, or surgery recovery. This deepens the patient relationship so that they stay loyal to your practice and refer their friends and family.
The goal of sending newsletters to fellow doctors is to get them to trust their patients in your care. If you’re a cardiologist, you’d want general physicians to refer patients to you because you’re constantly educating them on your practice and the latest in your field.
If you want to stay top of mind for referring physicians, you need to keep them informed. You can center your newsletters around case studies and how you’re improving patient experiences. This CME (continuing medical education) is always valued by your referring providers.
Effective patient communication is essential in any successful practice. If you are interested in growing your patient base, engaging them with meaningful information at the right frequency is important.
Most patients today find your practice online. In addition to reputation management and a professional website, it is important to keep your website ranked at the top when searching for physicians in your specialty in your area. An up-to-date blog with original SEO-optimized content can get you ranked at the top of search results and attract new patients.
If you’re thinking about starting or revamping your blog and newsletter to make it professional and drive practice growth, we can help at Letterdrop. We offer an all-in-one medical practice marketing platform that helps you manage your blog and email newsletter from start to end - everything from content ideation, workflows to make sure content is published on time, hosting and designing your blog, and sending your email. Letterdrop's workflow is optimized so that it takes as little time as possible so that you can spend that seeing more patients. A few hours a month spent on content could grow your patient base by 20%.
You can hire a dedicated marketing agency but unless you vet them well and monitor them closely, they’ll produce the same generic content that doesn’t perform for all their clients. We believe the best content for your practice comes from you. With a platform like Letterdrop, you can manage it yourself affordably.
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