Every day, more and more people are using the internet to research and find doctors near them. There are several websites out there such as Healthgrades.com, Health.USNews.com, RateMDs.com that allows users to read user-generated reviews about each of your physicians. According to SoftwareAdvice.com, who surveyed a total of 4,515 patients, patients are most likely to use online reviews as a first step in finding a new doctor. In addition, Healthgrades is the most popular site for physician reviews, but Yelp is the most trusted. Unfortunately, sometimes even one disgruntled patient can ruin the reputation of your doctor and steer prospective new patients to another physician. According to NBC News, of 2,137 polled, nearly two thirds said that doctor ratings were “somewhat important” and 19% of those surveyed said doctor ratings were “very important.” Below is an example of a doctor that has received less than stellar reviews from Healthgrades, which is the number 2 and 3 rankings. Users are more likely to click the top 1-3 listings than to scroll down further, so this could be detrimental to this particular physician and health system in terms of generating new patients and even retaining current patients. We have been working with health systems and physicians to improve their reputation management by using sponsored listings (i.e. paid advertising) to:
- Push negative reviews further down on Google
- Generate incremental patients by sending users to specific pages where they can easily schedule an appointment
- Inform prospective patients or existing patients of a new doctor for a specific health system/hospital
- Inform prospective patients of a new doctor practicing medicine in their area
By using paid advertising through Google AdWords, we bid directly on a doctor’s name (and variations of the doctor’s name) to seal the number one position above any organic listings such as healthgrades.com. This tactic is very cost-effective, averaging around $0.25 per click! In conclusion, celebrate National Doctors Day by minimizing your physicians’ online negative reviews (if any), leverage positive reviews and also help bring in incremental patients with these paid search marketing tactics.
Check out the marketer’s guide to hospital acquisition to take the headache out of rebranding: