Building your practice is an absolutely thrilling experience. The rush of having your own clinic/hospital and the responsibility of treating patients efficiently, building trust and having them come back to you in future, is like two sides of a coin. Once the initial euphoria wears off, there comes the mundane. Let’s be honest, it does take more than a bit of effort to have consistent patient inflow.
In today’s competitive world you have to have some smart moves to stay ahead of your competition (and there’s enough of it out there, in the healthcare industry as well!) and keep patients coming in through your door. Not to mention the rules a medical practitioner must adhere to of not indulging in direct promotion of oneself. But let’s be practical. Although the medical profession is noble, it is also patient-driven and therefore money-driven to a certain extent.
“But does having an online presence help me with the patient flow?” is the first question that is asked to us at Docstokes – a digital marketing agency for the healthcare industry. The answer is a big YES! And we cannot emphasize this enough! Several statistics show that, in this modern age, the first thing people do (even while visiting a clinic or hospital) is to check them online.
Here’s how online marketing can help with increased patient footfalls:
1) Out of sight is out of mind: This is arguably the most important aspect that helps in increasing patient footfalls. A good online marketing plan always keeps you visible, makes your presence felt strongly when people look up for services similar to yours. It enables you to reach out to your prospective patients and generally keeps your clinic/hospital on top of your competitors because, in today’s world, one has to pay a very high price for being out of sight.
2) Builds Reputation and Trust: Referrals from your peers is the time-tested way of building a good reputation. This generally happens when your peers have confidence in your ability. With online marketing, it is possible to cross-refer yourself and your peers. This is visible to everyone and helps in instilling confidence in your prospective patients as well. Also, people are more likely to believe in other people’s experiences who have previously visited your clinic and have posted their reviews regarding your services. The positive reviews help in building your reputation which in turn helps in more patient footfalls.
3) Reach Targeted Audience: One of the major benefits of online marketing over other marketing tools is that you can reach out to an audience who are more likely to visit your hospital or clinic instead of targeting people haphazardly. For example, informing about your hospital/clinic to males who are aged 50 or more will not help in increasing patient footfalls if you are an OB-GYN. Online marketing can help you in reaching out to females in a specific age group and are residing in or near your clinic resulting in increased patient inflow.
4) Emotional Connect: It is the small things that matter. While all the efforts are made to increase patient flow, the importance of retaining old patients often gets neglected. Sending personalized emails, messages to your patients, be it a vaccination reminder or a follow-up appointment reminder or just wishing them good health on their special days helps in building strong relationships. The feeling of being attended personally beyond the profession will help you in retaining your patients and entice them into referring you to their friends and neighbours.
5) Power of Social Media: Before a patient reaches out to you for his / her problems, they prefer to gauge how approachable and patient-friendly a hospital is. Your social media presence is the most effective way to demonstrate your patient-friendly approach. Answering general queries, posting informative blogs and videos, debunking myths related to diseases, creating awareness through updates, etc. are trust-building exercises of online marketing that help you in gaining patients.
6) Easy Reachability: In times of distress, people want to connect with your clinic / Hospital in the easiest possible way. Nowadays, People rely on their smartphones to get contact details, directions to the hospital, know work timings, book appointments, enquire about Insurance support and so on. A good online marketing strategy ensures that the hospital is easily reachable so that you do not lose out on patients.
Reach out to a digital marketing firm, like Docstokes; who understands your expertise and is well aware of the rules set by IMA (since it is run by a doctor). It ensures that all campaigns are aligned with these rules. We also take care to turn complicated medical content into simple, SEO friendly content; which can reach out to a layman in the best possible way, thus connecting your audience with a regular source of simple yet important medical information and in turn keeping them engaged with your account on a regular basis.
In today’s time, not having an online presence and online marketing strategy in place is a cardinal sin, one where you lose patients.