What are the Benefits of Your Own Personal Brand?
Every healthcare professional -- doctors, assistants, hygienists, therapists, technicians -- each need to have their own personal website. Every one. No exceptions. Now!
When I first started designing websites for medical and dental practices in 1999, there was hardly a practice that had any sort of web presence. And very few practices were even interested in getting one, at least initially. The typical reaction was "We don't need a website. All our patients come from referrals."
Getting clients back then was often a challenge!
A few specialties -- plastic surgery, ophthalmologists (LASIK, especially), cosmetic dentists -- jumped on the idea of websites because many were already marketing their practices with traditional advertising methods. Although it took a while, just about every practice or clinic now maintains a website.
As far back as 2001 healthcare providers and administrators were astonished to learn how many patients regularly visited their practice website by entering a doctor's name into Google or Yahoo! Provider names would account for as much as 15 - 20% of all traffic, representing scores of inquiries every month. This is before smartphones and WiFi or high-speed Internet access.
Today, name inquiries for healthcare professionals represent the majority of traffic to a practice website in many cases. Patients immediately search a provider's name whenever they receive a referral. They anticipate seeing that referral at the top of search results, with plenty of accolades as well.
Patients validate referrals by seeking information on a provider's reputation, and they search out professional credentials and reviews by other patients.
So why should a provider rely solely on what their practice or health network publishes about them? While it's great (and expected) that your basic biography is maintained by where you work, ultimately it's your personal professional reputation that the patient is researching. And the same is true for other providers who might seek to refer their patients to you as well.
A personal website greatly augments your online identity, probably better than any other vehicle. Unlike profiles found on provider directories or bios on a hospital's website, a professional website of your own is under your complete control. You can feature your education, highlight your accomplishments, publish patient reviews, list accepted insurances, and educate your patients as you decide. Further, you can accept appointments online, provide access to a Patient Portal and send calls directly to your front desk or scheduling center.
You can stop patients from getting lost when they're trying to find you because directories send your patients to other providers.
Your personal website makes it easier for your patients to interact with you and stay connected, long-term. And keep them as your patients.
Isn't that what a doctor-patient relationship is about?
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