Healthcare marketers – what are people saying about you?

The landscape for a healthcare advertiser just keeps becoming more and more complicated.  Budgets are tighter, huge shifts have been made due to the Affordable Care Act, and ways to target the consumer has become increasingly fragmented.  So what else could be piled on to your already busy job?  Your online reputation.

These days, the everyday consumer has become a researcher.  Not only are they researching their symptoms, conditions and treatment options, but they are researching your practice or hospital.

According to Pew Research, 47% of Internet users search for information about health professionals.  And because giants like Amazon have taught them to read consumer reviews before they purchase, they are looking at reviews of medical professionals as well.

If you’re not paying attention to what is being said about you, now is the time to start.  Keep a watchful eye on Google, Yelp, Healthgrades and other relevant sites, and respond immediately to any negative comments.  There is plenty of software that will help you monitor the activity.  But while it’s important to stay on top of current reviews, it’s just as important to encourage good reviews from your satisfied patients.  A practice with thirty 5-star reviews will garner more interest than a practice with only ten.

As a consumer, I read online reviews before any purchase or decision, and that includes physicians.  In fact, I recently was referred to a specialist by a physician and instead chose another because of online reviews!

At the end of the day, you can spend money on a great advertising strategy and a stunning campaign.  But much of your efforts can be thwarted by a few poor reviews.