You’re working hard to take care of your practice while simultaneously trying to attract new patients. You may be running digital ads on social media and Google, or maybe you’re sponsoring your kid’s little league team. You’re putting a lot of time and money into getting your name out into the community, and while those tactics are necessary, you shouldn’t overlook one of the easiest and least expensive ways to market your practice—your Google Business Profile.
The foundation for growing your practice starts with building a strong online reputation that builds trust through an accurate Google Business Profile (GBP) and positive online reviews. No matter how many ads or word of mouth recommendations people encounter, they almost always turn to the internet before making any final decisions.
72% of patients are looking up healthcare providers online1
Start by Building Trust with Search Engines
Growing your online presence goes beyond building trust amongst consumers. Nowadays, you also have to build trust with the search engines themselves.
Without an adequate amount of information on your online profile, why would an algorithm feel comfortable giving it a high promotion? Search engines are designed to provide their users with the best search results, and they have many checks and balances in place to ensure the credibility of the profiles they’re pushing.
Google is the leading search engine for a reason, and they take their recommendations very seriously. They have 75 data points that they use to evaluate your GBP before choosing where to display it in the search results. The more boxes a GBP checks, the higher up a practice or business appears in search results.
How to Improve Your Online Presence Right Now
There are immediate actions you can take to start building trust with a search engine and with those viewing your online profile.
- Add all essential information to your profile like address, phone number, hours of operation and a business description
- Include photos of your practice building, waiting room, exam rooms, staff and practice logo
- Automate patient review requests so email or SMS are sent within 24 hours of a patient appointment
- Respond quickly to online reviews—both positive and negative
90% of patients will read reviews about a provider before choosing where to get their care.2 Not only does reading what past and current patients have to say about their experience affect the view a potential patient will form, 56% of consumers say the way a business responds can change their perspective on the institution.3 Based on the results found while searching, half of consumers say they are willing to travel farther and pay more in order to support a business with higher reviews.3 Case in point, a high positive review count and considerate review responses can even attract people far away from you.
Don’t Forget About HIPAA
Of course, all of this would be for nothing if it weren’t abiding by the HIPAA rules and regulations. This is something you need to be very wary of when looking to market your practice as the repercussions from using protected information can be costly.
Practices can be charged up to $1,806,757 for a HIPAA violation in 2022.4
In addition to being the only one of its kind to integrate with most EHR systems, PatientPoint’s Automated Reputation Management solution is guaranteed to be HIPAA complaint. Any PHI that is shared throughout the process of requesting and obtaining feedback from patients needs to be kept private. That’s why any information that is shared through PatientPoint’s solution is stored in a protective dataset.
Negative Reviews Are ‘Good’ Reviews
There’s been a push to crack down on software that artificially inflates online reputations through ploys like review gating, and businesses that participate in these actions can face damaging penalties. Google has been known to delete all reviews off a violator’s GBP and the FTC has been known to send out some pretty hefty fines.
FTC sent over 700 companies a Notice of Penalty Offense saying they could be fined $43,792 per violation.5
There’s a better way to deal with upset customers than gating reviews. Many times, unhappy patrons simply want to be heard. They don’t want to publicly slander a business, but they feel they don’t have any other choice besides posting a negative review on social media or on a GBP. That’s why a good automated review management solution gives patients the option to share their feedback publicly on review sites, or privately with just the practice.
But there’s no business out there that will only have positive reviews. The absence of negative reviews raise suspicions. It’s how you respond to negative reviews that will help improve the authenticity and transparency of your practice. Plus, negative reviews help consumers make a more informed decision.
Getting new patients doesn’t have to be time consuming, but it is time sensitive. The quicker you act, the sooner you’re able to start building trust. Taking that first step can be as easy as setting up an automated solution and if you’re in need of a partner who can help you do this, then we would love to talk with you! Learn more about our solution here.