Online reputation management for doctors is attracting more interest from clinic owners and managers as well as medical organizations, physicians, dentists, plastic surgeons, and other representatives of the medical industry who do not want to lose customers but only acquire new ones. This isn’t surprising, because online reputation is becoming an increasingly important criterion for customers. It determines your place in the personal healthcare services provider rating of every potential client. Just take a look at the statistics:
- According to a national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in 2013, 77% of online health seekers begin to look for medical information and healthcare services on search engines.
- The patient journey survey infers that 60% of respondents have chosen one medical provider over another based on a positive online reputation.
So let’s dive into the world of healthcare’s online reputation management and explore the rules of this field so you can enhance your overall marketing strategy and expand your client base.
What is online reputation management for doctors?
Online reputation management shapes the information about your brand or yourself that appears on the Internet and makes it work on you, not against you.
Many people mistakenly believe that physician online reputation management is only a fight against negative reviews and unflattering mentions on the internet. In the narrowest sense, sure. But so many other factors affect your online presence, not just bad reviews and mentions in online media. Indirectly, your online reputation and perception is influenced by many factors.
Such a factor can be, for example, your lack of a blog or the low-quality, outdated, and uninformative content within it. Your competitors will have so many useful and topical articles! Under this condition, against the background of them, the level of your online reputation decreases, because you did not use the opportunity to emerge as an expert in your industry.
The same can be said about the presence of your clinic page in local listings or regular mentions of your clinic in press releases. Also, your website as a whole can be attributed here – it should not just exist. It should tell everything about you as a specialist, contain all the necessary information about your services, and be user-friendly.
And, more importantly, your site should be easy to find. Subconsciously people think that the best services Google will show them on the first pages of search results. Here SEO specialists come into play. But in fact, they do part of the healthcare online reputation management work in this way.
What is the conclusion? Everything that may damage or improve your brand or personal reputation on the web matters for your online reputation score.
The benefits of online reputation management
Medical online reputation management, if performed on an ongoing basis and captures all possible factors and points of contact with the client and potential client on the Internet, provides such benefits:
- It drives more new clients.
- It helps to maintain long-term relationships with clients so that they choose your services every time.
- It helps to build an overall brand image and increase brand awareness.
- It builds trust and credibility, which are extremely important for those who provide services in the field of healthcare and medicine.
- It provides you with smart business insights – when you work with customers’ feedback, you clearly see what needs to be improved regarding your marketing strategy.
How to improve online reputation for the medical or healthcare business
To develop and maintain a good online reputation, the wisest approach is to leverage the following tactics:
Creating a good website that addresses medical online reputation management issues
To make your site work for the benefit of your online reputation, be sure that it:
- Contains an in-depth “about us/about me” page or bio section which highlights all your specialties, credentials, achievements, and experience in your medical niche.
- Includes positive reviews from your patients.
- Has a detailed description of your services.
- It is easy to find your contact information on it and get in touch with you: provide addresses, phone numbers, e-mail, and the ability to leave a request directly on the site.
- Has a blog with fresh and expert content that aims to help users.
- Allows users to submit questions and comments easily.
- It is well-optimized and pleasant to use in general. It is not spammed with ads or irrelevant information, adapted for viewing from mobile phones, and its pages do not take forever to load.
Launching a professional medical blog
As mentioned early, an expert blog is one of the keys to you being perceived as a professional well versed in your field. Besides the fact that through the blog you bring benefits and value to people, you also maintain communication with patients online by answering their questions even before they ask them.
Creating a Google My Business Page
Claiming your local Google business listing and managing it is crucial for local SEO, as it allows you to be found in one click while presenting all the necessary information to a potential client. Thus, you simplify the way of finding a potential client for the services they need, increase your visibility in local search, and win one more point to your online reputation score.
Respond to all reviews found on the internet
Negative reviews are normal. Ignoring such reviews, however, is not. Neglecting negative reviews may cause severe damage to a doctor’s online reputation. Responding to reviews means that you care about patient experience and your image, you have fixed the identified problems, and are making efforts to keep patients satisfied, even after the service has already been provided, which is highly appreciated when choosing a doctor or clinic.
When dealing with negative online reviews, two rules must be remembered as your own name:
- Do not submit responses while under the control of emotions. An aggressive tone will not help you. Give professional answers while avoiding expressing personal opinions and value judgments.
- Do not mention case details in your answer so as to not violate HIPAA compliance laws and medical ethics.
Create profiles in healthcare and medicine-related directories
Such profiles provide summary information about your clinic, being a free way to reach some new clients looking for medical services and improve online reputation for doctors. Some good directories for doctors and websites to claim a profile are Doximity, WebMD, Vitals, RateMDs, and Healthgrades.
More ideas on how to improve online reputation include developing powerful social media profiles for medical organizations or individual doctors, publishing visual content on YouTube, creating podcasts, and answering questions on specific medical and healthcare topics relevant to your niche on Q&A websites and forums.
The Internet never forgets
The main reason why online reputation matters is that the Internet never forgets. Your every online action, as well as your inaction, is a contribution to your online presence and reputation.
Work on medical online reputation management proactively. Practice proves that it is much more difficult to whiten an online reputation than it is to maintain it. Medical companies that perceive healthcare online reputation management as a necessity and go in for a great online reputation permanently, are privileged by their brand awareness, patient loyalty and retention, and higher profitability.