Use online marketing to attract more patients to your physician practice

Here are five ways to get more patients to your practice using online marketing:

Understand how people search  According to several articles, from sources including the American Medical Association and Pew Research Center, a significant amount of people are searching online for symptoms and a physician close to their home. So with this information, you can "intercept" them in two ways: provide answers to their symptoms and be the doctor that's close to them. There's a lot that goes into both of these and it's beyond the scope of this blog post, but it's important that you understand that these opportunities exist for you.

Find out what people are already saying about you  Google your name and figure out what people are saying about you. You should care because people, more or less, leave honest reviews. This will be material for you to either capitalize on or mitigate depending on how positive or negative the conversation.

Get a professional website and video  Professional design is imperative in 2014. Most of my physician clients use Wordpress. It's relatively easy to set up and maintain. Look professional on the front page, but don't be afraid to show some of your personality. Strike the perfect balance. A less polished version of your brand can actually be much better, because it provides "realness" to you online. Also having a video of yourself being yourself helps people "warm up" to you before meeting you.

Get on Yelp, Google, and ZocDoc  These are just three but they are the most important for you to get on. Google did some updates where local listings aren't shown, but it seems that the local physician queries haven't been affected. Your practice might already be on these websites so it's important that you claim the reins. ZocDoc is excellent but is a paid service of $250 to $300 a month. I am in no way affiliated with Yelp or the other two sites.

Nurture your reviews  Your reviews are your lifeblood online. Here are four tips on how to get the most out of your reviews::

• Dedicate once a week to responding to good and bad reviews (either yourself or by a member of your staff).

• Personalize the message. No cookie cutter stuff here.• Respond in a timely fashion. You don't need to respond all at once or as they come up, but even once a week is good enough.

• Post reviews on your website. Get video testimonials of your patients, if possible.

One more bonus tip is to look at what your fellow physicians (both local and national) are doing.

Have questions? I’m here to help.