More than 90 percent of Americans consider choosing a doctor a major life decision. Word of mouth is still a primary influencer, but consumers are now seeking those “words” online. In fact, nearly half of consumers are going online to research doctors before seeking care.
Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for by leveraging your hospital’s online physician profiles.
Emotions Rule When Choosing a Doctor
Our research shows patients are more likely to make appointments with doctors who show similar morals and values through empathy. We asked, “Which factors would make you more likely to schedule an appointment?” The responses:
- 26% selected “sharing similar morals and values”
- 23% selected “having a sense of humor”
- 21% selected “understanding why they became a doctor”
When it comes to choosing a doctor, emotional needs play as much a role, if not bigger, than rational thought. To be successful, online doctor profiles need to convey warmth and character, while also trumpeting a doctor’s background and expertise.
What’s more, social media has trained consumers to value other peoples’ experiences when making important decisions. To maximize visibility, physician profile information needs to exist beyond the virtual walls of your organization’s website.
Here are 9 Tips for Marketing Your Hospital Using Online Physician Profiles:
- Focus on experience and certifications: Potential patients care most about whether a doctor is qualified to care for their condition. In fact, eight in 10 say that a doctor’s experience with a specific procedure or treatment is an extremely or very important selection factor.
- Always include a professional headshot. Including a professional looking headshot can help new patients put a face to a name and relieve anxiety before their first appointment.
- Connect with consumers by using a short video. Video is a great method for getting beyond profile basics and letting a doctor’s personality shine. Another plus is that videos are 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive first-page ranking in Google.
- Claim and complete doctor profiles on third party review sites. Surprisingly, according to the SoftwareAdvice website, 62 percent of consumers use online review sites, such as Yelp and Healthgrades, as their first step in finding a new doctor. These sites pull information from licensing databases and public sources, which can lead to incomplete or outdated data, so it’s important to claim these profiles and keep them updated.
- Use LinkedIn to improve your findability in search. LinkedIn is likely not the first place consumers go looking for a new doctor. However, healthcare social media gurus, including Dr. Kevin Pho, are singing its praises because LinkedIn profiles get the highest rankings among social media platforms. This can push negative mentions of your brand further down on search engine results pages.
- Save information about insurance accepted for other pages. Don’t waste precious profile real estate listing out all the insurance plans with which a doctor participates. Over a quarter of insured patients are willing to go out-of-network if they feel they can get care that better meets their needs. To this end, focus on offering details about expertise and innovative treatments.
- Use language that conveys empathy. Users are more likely to make appointments with doctors who convey empathy through their online content. Do this by including words as “compassionate” and “patient-focused”. Learn more about our research in this area and other insights for Creating Better Healthcare Content.
- Optimize doctor profiles on your website for search. Don’t forget to optimize profile pages on your organization’s website for search. If any of your doctors have a strong reputation, consider using their name as a keyword since consumers may be searching for them this way.
- Keep doctor profiles current. Visit profiles periodically to verify information and make updates as necessary.