Internet Marketing As Enhancement Of Referrals And Network
Physicians, as well as hospital managers, know that the referral will always be one of the greatest importance. The referral is the physician’s best prospect. Yet, people qualify even direct referrals through the web. They do their homework on the Internet. They visit websites to check out the referred provider. They Google their desired solution and understand the marketplace by interpreting the results Google provides them. They research their need, and they educate themselves with content on the web. This is no fad. It is a fundamental shift in the consumer marketplace.
What can this mean to your medical practice? Well now even the straight referral often comes in an online method – by email, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on a review site, etc. Many consumers use the Internet as well as, or instead of, the yellow pages. They use the Internet after seeing a commercial on TV, after seeing a billboard 100 times. They use the Internet instead of the phone and instead of the pen. The Internet is ubiquitous, and being present in the search spaces with a professional appearance and something meaningful to say is not just a good idea. It is critical to success in today’s marketplace.
A hospital’s or medical practice’s use of the Internet must adhere to guidelines of the profession as well as HIPAA, while differentiating the practice in a compelling, effective way.
Technologies and Methodologies Can Be Overwhelming
When you are approaching the web from a local stand point, you will find a slew of technologies and an array of services and technical methodologies to sift through. Do you need a better website? Why aren’t you showing up the way you ought to in Google? Do you need Facebook? How do we use LinkedIn?
We find that a physician or even a marketing manager of a medical practice can become overwhelmed with all of the channels and media and options before her or him. One tends to become fixated on deliverables – we need a website, we need a Facebook page, etc. Yet, is the real solution a deliverable? You need a website so that you can… what? The real solution is not a deliverable. Strategic communication with individuals and groups in your marketplace is not achieved by a deliverable. It is achieved by a team.