Monday, July 19, 2010

How to attract more patients: Get on the Internet!

Nearly 80% of Americans are on the Internet and 80% of those people turn to the Internet for health information (visit the Pew Research Center for updated stats). These people are looking for health care services you offer, so you’d better be where they can find you. In order to attract these potential patients, you must be on the Internet. I guarantee you, these people aren't pulling out bulky phone books or going to your newspaper ads to find the help they need.

How does it work? Most people start with a simple Internet search on the most popular search engine, Google.com. They type in keywords like, "assisted living dallas tx" to see what facilities are available near them. Or they may type the name of the facility they're interested in like "Sunny Nursing Home." Either way, you'll need a place on the Internet that will come up in their search results. This can be a website, a blog, a listing on a directory, a social media profile (like a Facebook fan page), or best of all a combination of all of these. The more the better because this helps you dominate the search results -- increasing the chance that you'll be found.

If the search engines see your site as relevant to the person's search terms, your site will be displayed in the user's results. There are many factors that go into determining whether your site is "relevant" and we'll discuss that in later posts. (Take a look at our 5 steps to get patients to your website). For now, your first step is to make sure you're on the Internet because you'll never be found if you're not there.

Creating and maintaining a website can be expensive, so a good alternative is to upgrade your profile on WhereToFindCare.com.
(Chances are, your healthcare organization is already listed and you can find it here. If not, you can add it here). Upgrading allows you to add all sorts of healthcare-specific marketing information and create a maintenance-free website that you can update any time. Best of all, the next time someone looks for healthcare facilities in your area, they'll find you!

Are you a healthcare provider already on the Internet? Share your link in the comments below and tell us whether your online presence has helped you find more patients.

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