Some medical practices are spending significant amounts of money on their marketing efforts, while others are cutting costs to get by. At Points Group, we’ve seen that there are a significant number of practices along this spectrum that have one thing in common – they’re losing money because of what’s happening (or not happening) online, some of which they are not even aware.
These elements may not have a set cost, but what they do is stop new patients from coming – patients that would lead to new revenue. Fixing these issues can stop patients from ignoring your practice and prevent revenue from going to other practices instead of yours.
We have found that there are 4 primary ways that medical practices are losing money online that they usually aren’t aware of that need to be fixed.
Bad Reviews. Almost every medical practice gets bad reviews along the way. We’ve extensively covered negative doctor reviews on the blog before, and have shown how we approach reputation management. What’s specifically important here is how much more it affects your practice than you realize.
Reputation management is important for prospective patients who know your name. They may have been referred to you by a friend or another physician, or may have been doing their homework and came across you online. People want to know who will be taking care of their health, and they will almost always Google a physician before seeing them. Think about it, most people Google TV reviews before they buy one, why wouldn’t they do that for a surgeon? When someone Googles your name, what do they see? If you don’t know, do it right now! We’ll wait here.
Many review sites have a rating system with stars. If there is more than one full star missing (4/5 stars or 3/4 stars), it puts question into a patient’s mind. If more than half star is missing, you can bet they won’t come to see you unless they have to. When you go to the review site, what reviews are written? Do they talk about you in a negative light? These all need to be addressed.
For example, let’s say that you’re a surgeon who makes an average of $2000 for each new case. With negative reviews online, it’s reasonable to assume you lose 2 new cases per month. That’s $48,000 per year in lost revenue just because you haven’t addressed or were not aware of negative reviews. In addition, many surgeons make more than that per case, and may be losing more than 2 patients per month due to their online reputation. And that’s money lost every single year. Address these issues now if they exist and stop the bleeding.
Outdated Maps/Address Listings. Outdated map listings cause excessive frustration for patients who cannot find your office. When the phone number is outdated or incorrect, you run the risk of patients calling someone else instead of you, as it is improbable that they will do the legwork to find a correct number.
Another step beyond this is that Google uses a consistent name, address, and phone number as an important ranking factor for searches with local intent (a category in which most medical practices fall). Having inconsistent addresses and phone numbers sends mixed messages and causes your listing to not show as prominently, resulting in potential missed leads.
Do a Google search for your practice and confirm that all your information online is accurate. Even if you haven’t moved, if one site or user makes a mistake and puts up the wrong information, many other sites “scrape” this information and use it on their sites/listings. Things can snowball from there and cause multiple incorrect listings without you noticing. This can be an easy fix, but it’s certainly much easier if you deal with it early.
Lack of Contact Information. When a user gets to your website, you have one goal for them – that they contact your practice for additional information or set up an appointment. Your contact information should be highly visible and easy to get to on your website. Unfortunately, some websites have contact information that is so hard to find, it might as well not be there at all.
Prospective patients usually have a lot on their mind due to their situation. As they read information on your website, their first thought isn’t always “I need to contact this doctor,” it’s “I need this information.” It’s the job of your website to make the connection from information to contact.
Some tips for improving your contact information’s effectiveness:
- Contact information (Name, Address, Phone Number) should be in text, not an image
- Every page needs a phone number and a link to a contact form if the contact form is not on the page
- Put contact information in header and footer
- Use contrasting colors to make sure the call-out (“contact us” or “schedule an appointment”) drastically stands out and catches the user’s eye
Just like practices lose business from negative reviews, many lose potential contacts because of lack of contact information. If you can just add 2-3 patients per month that visit your website and contact you instead of leaving your website and looking elsewhere, it adds up.
No Relevant Information. Lastly, you need to make sure that your site has relevant information. Do you describe the conditions you treat as well as your procedures? Many practices are intentional about describing procedures, which can be helpful, but ignore the need of patients to see the conditions treated. If it doesn’t look like the condition of the patient is treated at your practice, they are highly likely to look elsewhere before asking. Make sure you that you include relevant information about what you treat on your website so that patients know your practice is the one they should be going to.
And, it should go without saying that if you have no content about a condition on your website, your chances are little to none that you’ll ever be found for it in searches.
Time to Start Increasing Your Revenue
Simply addressing the items here can stop you from losing patients that are already interested in you, and are far down the sales funnel. These prospective patients, the ones that are already close to becoming a patient, are highly valuable, and you can’t afford to lose them. Even better, the cost to address these issues and retain these leads typically has a very significant ROI.
Need some help getting started? Let us know. We can give you a free online presence audit and help you plug the holes in your revenue stream.