On March 27th, nearly two decades ago, marketing in healthcare changed dramatically with the launch of Viagra, a drug that made a social stigma into a medical condition. There was an expert marketing campaign featuring former presidential candidate Bob Dole as a spokesperson. It changed the marketplace.
But that’s not all that changed. For me, as I began to use email as a necessary part of my life, March 27th marks the start of those spam emails for online pharmacies trying to sell Viagra.
Not unlike those emails that offered an inferior product masquerading as a just-as-good, but cheaper option, so too do online marketing companies sometimes deliver subpar products determined to copycat leaders in the space. Here are some promises made that you’ll want to get a second opinion on before buying into the hype.
Sites that offer to make your entire healthcare website “just work” with one line of code should be scrutinized as much as the contractor promising to build an addition to your home in just a week. You’ll end up with without a roof over your head and your contractor asking for a change order to complete the work.
Good site optimization ensures building within a framework that allows optimization of the structure and content delivered to search engines. “One line of code” solutions deliver content through a script, which likely increases the load time of your site and may not be crawled by Google. If your site’s primary purpose is to get new patients, do you really want to outsource site enhancement to a single line of code?
There are a host of profile sites out there – WebMD, Vitals, and HealthGrades to name a few. But be aware for an up-and-coming listing service promising to create a profile for you on their site. Usually, they promise to promote your profile, but ultimately that promotion is alongside your competitors. Some may even suggest they’ll get reviews directly from patients at your office with a computer they provide. Be aware that in their posting guidelines, Google calls out a review kiosk as a conflict of interest, stating they’ll remove reviews from a review hub set up in the office.
Put your best foot forward on your own site, where you own the testimonials posted by your patients, then focus on improving your online identity on third party sites that actually rank for your specialty. If you want the feedback, you should be asking for it and acting on it as necessary to ensure your patients have a great experience at your office.
South Shore Chiropractic showcases positive reviews with a review widget.
Designers that say they can make your current site mobile with very little work are often selling you a separate website. In some cases, they build the website on a subdomain like m.yoursite.com. However, even those sites that might redirect your primary domain to a new directory such as yoursite.com/mobile aren’t doing you any favors.
Since the fall, Google has been talking about a mobile first index. If the site that’s being sold to you is a one-page summary of your entire domain so that it can fit into a mobile-friendly UI, then that’s the primary content Google will use to deliver search results. And, if you end up with only a fraction of your content mobile optimized, it’s likely that only a fraction of your business will be visible online. Google is doing this because more and more, a mobile site is the only site that customers see.
Avoid single page, alternate “mobile” versions of your website. Presumably, you’ve worked hard on your site, so be sure to find a way to show it off to everyone, regardless of the device being used. Google representatives have already mentioned that if your entire site is responsive, it’s ready for the mobile first index.
As you investigate solutions for your practice, think about the key information you want your patients to access:
Try to avoid solutions that steer customers to a profile page that highlights you and your competitors in their tool built for search. Invest in your site, since it is the only place on the web you can fully control. A clean, professional website with the right technology will ensure practice growth for the future.
Instantly see how you compare to other practices in your local area and specialty.