“If you are a physician, what can you do if your institution is not really helpful in promoting you and just has a static page that no one really checks?”
For starters, don’t make any assumptions. The provider relations team or the Web team should be able to share how much traffic a doctor’s profile gets and what typical providers in the organization get in general. It’s probably more than you think!
Of course, that’s only the start of the conversation. Keep in mind that your marketing team is on your side and, more often than not, their challenge is the difficulty in getting doctors to provide the type of information that engage sites visitors. We discussed some of this in the webinar but for those that missed it we’re talking about quality photos, personal statements or practice philosophy statements, medical interests within your specialty, engaging bios, videos – anything that helps a health consumer learn more about a doctor and decide if that doctor is right for him or her.
If you’re a provider reading this, I suggest you approach that conversation with a question like “how can I help you build service volume for my area?” Don’t approach the conversation with a set of demands! You don’t like patients coming to appointments with a set of demands, do you? You’d rather they talk about their issues and allow you to provide guidance on the best way to accomplish what they want – that’s exactly the same situation you find with your marketing and Web teams.
What else can providers do to help?
- Make yourself available for interviews in areas of your expertise (it may be worth bringing examples of the most common questions you hear from patients here)
- Offer to be on camera for videos for the website. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise to health consumers – a critical factor in their process for selecting a provider, particularly for proceduralists
- Be willing to be a guinea pig for other Web or promotional initiatives that your marketing team may be trying in the future
But what happens if there isn’t much that your marketing team can do for you?
First, the thing NOT to do is use some service that you learned about in a spam email promising to bring the patients in! These are typically scams using underhanded and misleading tactics to drive low quality traffic to your profile or personal website for as little cost as possible. These tactics not only won’t help you, but could damage the search engine ranking for the entire health system’s Web properties!
Instead, the thing to do is to get out in the market to demonstrate your expertise. Consumers are more likely to connect with you if you share information of value than if you bombard them with advertisements! Here are a few ways that you can do that:
- Are there local discussion forums talking about your area of expertise? Follow those groups and participate in discussions!
- Find local groups representing your target audience and offer to come out and speak with them. Are you a pediatrician? Find moms’ groups in the area! Do you have a passion for fitness, wellness and prevention? Put together a talk that you can take to local gyms. You get the idea.
- Create your own blog! It’s quite easy to publish your own expert content today. Focus on the topics that you get the most questions about within your practice. Don’t like to write? Do this as a video blog and talk to the camera like you would talk to a patient.
These self-promotion strategies take some extra preparations and setup but are a great way to get started. I suggest learning your organization’s policies around staff using social media and definitely include your marketing team as a guide to help you use tools like Facebook and blogs. Your marketing team is also a great source in general to help you determine ways to reach your target audience. .
We love to see that providers that are excited to take an active role in building business. An in sync marketing and provider team is a powerful force. If you haven’t checked out the webinar yet and want to learn more tips for promoting doctors online, be sure to check out the webinar: Online Physician Promotion: Increasing Conversions to Fill Schedules.