New patients are the lifeblood of any practice and are vital in sustaining revenue. Many practices have begun seeing a decrease in patient volume, whether due to competitors or larger health systems gaining more market share. However, in almost any practice, there are definable reasons why new patients are not calling to schedule appointments. Below are two of the most common reasons.
1. Your Website
The website of your practice is the most important tool you have and it is where patients go to find information about your services, physician bios and physician experience. Even if a patient is referred by a friend of physician, almost 80% of patients will cross-reference a physician website before calling.
Sadly, many medical practice websites are dated and do not contain the conditions treated and procedures performed by the practice. This lack of information leaves potential patients wondering if you are capable of treating their condition. Rather than take the chance, potential patients will find another practice’s website that does convey the information they need and schedule an appointment with that practice. Remember, in the mind of a patient, if it’s not on your website- it’s not something treat.
Also, 70% of all medical journeys begin on a search engine and 60% of all internet traffic now comes from a mobile device or tablet. Due to this increased mobile traffic, as of April 21st, 2015, Google implemented an update that downgrades the organic search ranking of any website that is not mobile responsive. To see if your website is mobile responsive, click here (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/).
If your website fails this test, you can absolutely expect to see a decline in website traffic. Even if you have spent thousands of dollars on advanced SEO efforts, if your website does not meet these requirements it will be ranked lower in mobile search.
If your website failed the Google compatibility test, it should be your top priority to update or modify your current website.
2. You Are Using Outdated Means of Advertising
Still advertising in the local newspaper? Stop. When advertising your practice, the most important thing to consider is the demographic of the audience you want to reach and finding the means to reach that audience. Ideally, the demographic of patients that an orthopedic or spine surgical practice wants is the pre-Medicare aged patient who is insured wither privately or via their employer. This is not the audience that reads the local newspaper.
Newspaper advertising is essentially showing a small group of people an ad over and over again and hoping they finally respond. Also keep in mind that these people have not shown any active interest or need for orthopedic or spine surgical services. Instead, the practice is playing the numbers game and assuming that the more times the ad runs, the more chance there is for a response. This ideology is wrong.
But, what if you could serve ads ONLY to those looking specifically for your services. That is what Google Adwords does. When targeted and executed properly, patients searching for your services will be shown an ad for your practice that matches exactly what they are searching for. This ad shows as the first result in Google, which is the most trusted spot by users. Those in your area searching for transactional phrases such as, “orthopedic surgeon”, “ACL surgery”, “herniated disc surgery”, etc. will be brought to your practice website where they can learn about their condition, treatment options and make appointments.
As mentioned above, 70% of medical journeys begin on search engine. If your practice is not utilizing this form of advertising you are missing out on a large volume of patients. However, knowing how to properly set up, execute and maintain an effective Adwords campaign is a involved process and should not be executed by those who are unfamiliar with the platform.
Gold Medical Marketing specializes in Medical Marketing and Public Relations and is recognized as a leader in this area. Our unique knowledge of demographics, psychographics and patient profiles allows us to target marketing and public relations campaigns to the most desirable segments of potential patients.
Too often “marketing companies” focus on one single outlet such as SEO, Social Media, Pay Per Click or Print Advertising. The drawback to this is that patients consume medical information through several means and if your practice is not targeting all available outlets, you are missing out on large segments of the market. Primarily, this is a result of the company not having a familiarity in the Medical Marketing field and attempting to apply the rules of retail or product marketing to medical practices.
If your practice is looking to increase patient volume, please contact us for a No Cost Medical Marketing Review.