Category Archives: Marketing Strategy

How Online Reviews Influence Prospective Patients

When you are travelling in an unfamiliar city, or when you are simply looking for a change of pace in your hometown, do you ever find yourself using online reviews to help choose a restaurant? Believe it or now, many people go through a similar process when choosing a new doctor. In fact, according to the 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, Medical/Healthcare is second only to Restaurants/Cafes in the importance of reputation when choosing a business.

The website has done research into how patients use online reviews, surveying patients in 2013, 2014, and again in 2016. The 2016 findings provide valuable insights into the importance of reviews, including:

  • 84% of respondents use online reviews to evaluate doctors
  • 77% of these people start their search with online reviews
  • 47% would prefer an out-of-network doctor with better reviews than an in-network doctor

Leveraging Online Reviews for Your Practice

Despite the statistics listed above, we find that some physicians are not comfortable being proactive about encouraging their patients to review them. These same physicians often come to us with a complaint: their new patients are rarely reporting that they found them online. Instead, these new patients tend to come from a personal referral, from an insurance company’s provider directory, or from other offline sources. In virtually all of these cases, the practice has at least one direct competitor who has a significant number of positive online reviews. Given patients’ tendencies to depend on reviews, is it really a surprise that doctors who have very few reviews are not acquiring very many of these patients?

The good news is that there are many ways to encourage happy patients to post positive reviews. These include low-tech options that will meet the needs of many practices, as well as technology driven options that help in even the most competitive of situations.

Want more ideas? Download “7 Steps to Positive Reviews“, or request a consultation.

How To Measure Urgent Care Marketing Results

Marketing, and medical marketing in particular, has become increasingly complex over the past few decades. Back before the age of the Internet, a simple yellow pages ad and/or a few good relationships with referral partners could fill a practice. Today, we have a plethora of both online and traditional marketing tactics to choose from.

How do we decide which tactics to use? The good news is that with the complexity, we also have new tools that allow us to track your marketing results. Not every marketing technique will work in every situation, and many that do work will need to be tweaked to be truly effective. Ultimately, when we establish legitimate metrics and systems for analyzing the results of our marketing campaigns, we can help create a thriving medical practice. To do this, we need to start by deciding on a set of KPIs.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Urgent Care Practices

The following are metrics that should be considered when tracking results of urgent care marketing campaigns. Not all of these are relevant or possible in all situations, but by choosing a representative sample form the list below, you’ll be on your way to creating a system that allows you to maximize the  return on investment from your advertising and marketing dollars.

  • The bottom line numbers:measure urgent care marketing
    • average number of patients seen per day
    • number of new vs. returning patients
    • P&L statement
  • Phone calls measured via:
    • mobile click-to-call
    • AdWords call tracking
    • Third party call tracking
  • Website visitors
    • Online checkins
    • Form fills
    • Newsletter signup
    • Lead magnet opt-in
    • Overall traffic
    • Percentage of traffic that is highly engaged (based on time spent on site and/or views of pages)
    • Directions lookups
  • Audience numbers
    • Email subscribers
    • Social Media followers/fans

Establishing the Value of a Conversion

The various indicators listed above will have differing values. Some, such as online checkins via your website, allow for a very detailed level of revenue tracking if you are using the right checkin technology. Others indicators, such as your website traffic numbers, are useful in evaluating the reach of your campaigns and the level of engagement with existing and prospective patients.

Curious about the best set of KPIs for your practice, or need help setting up a tracking system? Contact us for a free consultation.


Urgent Care Digital Marketing Quick Reference Guide

Online marketing is an increasingly complex, multi-faceted process that begins with your Internet presence. This presence includes your website, social media profiles, and directory listings. After building out your presence, the next step is to direct prospects there, using techniques that range from SEO to paid online advertising. Then, you’ll want to engage with your visitors, via your website content and calls to action, as well as through social media, responding to reviews, email marketing, and remarketing advertising campaigns. By nurturing your connections, you can convert them to patients.

To help you better understand the digital marketing process for urgent care, we’ve created a quick reference guide with a full glossary of terms. Get your free guide here:

Ghost (Spam) Traffic in Google Analytics

Over the past few months, a previously minor issue with Google Analytics has exploded into a huge problem. This GA referral spam, or ghost traffic, takes the form of fake traffic to your website. The apparent objective of these spammers is to get people to visit their websites, based on the fact that they show up as a referring website in GA results. The worst of them manage to show up in reports for almost every website that uses Google Analytics.  And it seems that medical practices have been hit at least as hard as sites in other industries.

This traffic isn’t even real – it never hits your servers. Instead, it tricks Google in order to appear in your reports. On a small scale, this issue started a few years ago, but it rarely made up more than a small percentage of total traffic until this past spring. It was a very minor annoyance at past levels, and easy enough to ignore. But now the problem has escalated. Over 50% of traffic to some sites is fake, which this gets in the way of using your data to make intelligent business decisions.

In general, Google has been fairly quiet on this issue, although they did recently add in a checkbox that allows you to filter out some of the junk. Unfortunately, they have not done a great job of keeping up with the spammers, although in recent weeks there are signs that they are getting better.

In June, a new spammer joined the fray, “”. For a few days in mid-June, traffic from this site exploded like nothing I’ve ever seen, for most  of the sites that we monitor. But then, on June 19th, it appears that Google cut them off. In addition, it seems that other referral spam slowed down at that point (although it is still too early to say for sure). So for now, the worst of this problem may be behind us.

Luckily, we are not completely at the mercy of Google on this issue. In addition to using the checkbox mentioned above, there are also 2 more technical options available to reduce, and nearly eliminate, this traffic. One method involves creating filters, which will eliminate all future junk traffic from hitting your reports. The other involves creating segments, which allows you to view a clean version of your data, while segmenting out the junk.

I won’t go into all the technical details here, as others have done a very thorough job already. has published this article on filters and this one on segments. And for a slightly different perspective, check out the filters and segmentsarticles.

Not sure which you need? Ideally, you should set up both. Segments will allow you to get clean reports from past data, but take a little extra time whenever you want to run reports, among other limitations. Filters can take a little longer to set up, and will not clean up your historical data, but they are more efficient going forward.

The Puzzle of Online Marketing

The online marketing process consists of a number of interrelated parts, which fit together like a puzzle.   The primary pieces of this puzzle are the same for all medical practices; however, the importance of each piece varies, based on market factors such as the level of competition you have, how many locations you have, and how long you have been around.  This is depicted in the puzzles below – they all have the same parts, but they are different sizes.

The two primary pieces of the puzzle are:

  • Your Website – this is at the foundation of the online marketing process
  • Reputation Management – this sits at the top of the puzzle, and relates to the way you are perceived based on information spread across all the pieces 

The other key pieces of the puzzle are:

  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Patient Reviews
  • Social Media
  • Paid Advertising (PPC)
  • Online news
  • Blogs

Over the next several weeks, we’ll address each of these items on our blog.

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Helping Patients Find Safe Online Health Information

Our clients frequently vent their frustration about the glut of health information online. While there is certainly valuable health information available on the internet, there are also articles geared to sell products, and other information that is just plain wrong. How do your patients separate the truth from fiction? Edward Leigh, founder and director of The Center for Healthcare Communication recently wrote an article with strategies for your patients to “surf safely“.

Should Our Urgent Care Center Offer Wi-Fi to Patients?

Alan Ayers wrote a convincing article on the benefits of offering free wi-fi to patients in an urgent care center in the February 2013 issue of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. The article offers some great tips for getting started and alleviates privacy concerns.

We always reiterate to our clients that urgent care is a retail business offering high quality medical services. Providing free wi-fi shows that your urgent care center is patient focused and respects people’s time. The urgent care model is based on convenience, but we all know that the best urgent care centers can have wait times over 30 minutes at peak volume times.

Wi-fi allows time-starved people to be productive and not feel that their time in your practice was wasted.  It increases the likelihood of a return visit.

Article: The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine _ WiFi in UC

What Is Google Analytics?

Web analytics are crucial to ensuring that your site is maximizing the return on your investment. Who is visiting your site? How are they finding it? Which pages are most effective? Which pages are driving customers away?

Google Analytics is a powerful, cost-free tool that provides comprehensive data about your site’s visitors. It works by adding a small tidbit of code to the backend of your site that is invisible to your customers and offers a rather helpful across-the-board analysis of your traffic, making it a highly effective way for medical practice owners to track results of online and even offline marketing efforts.

The service allows the user to generate reports about a specific timeframe in the site’s traffic history. The most recent 30-day period is the default setting, but you can change the setting (found on the upper right of the site) to any interval, from one single day up to every day since you first added the Google Analytics code. A flexible graphing tool allows you to view the results at different intervals, in order to better track trends: on a daily basis, if you are analyzing a 30-day interval, or by day, week or month for longer periods.

The Dashboard report, a useful high-level overview of all traffic, is the default report when you log in.  The Dashboard report should be viewed on a regular (usually monthly) basis, and Google Analytics will allow you to set up a schedule for generating PDFs that are automatically sent to your email.  But this initial report only scratches the surface of the possibilities, as the system includes dozens of reports, most of which can be examined in multiple dimensions.  In future blog posts, we will examine specific reports that are valuable for medical practice marketing.

Using Patient Testimonials to Enhance Your Medical Practice Website

Many people believe that word of mouth is the most potent kind of marketing you can find. The Internet has only strengthened this impact, as patients find it even easier to share their opinions with a large number of others. It may come in a different form than it used to, but testimonials–the online voices of satisfied clients–can still boost business and credibility.

Efficient use of patient testimonials requires keeping a few points in mind:

  • highlight your best ones throughout the site (on the homepage, in the header, etc.) in addition to the one page where they live
  • match your testimonials with specific conditions, services and treatments
  • match your testimonials with specific staff members

We’ve discovered that the most effective testimonials are the ones that are as specific as possible. They mention the particular doctors or staff members by name (and do not use the whole practice name). They get into the details of their skills and assets; mention exactly what service they provided and why it was such a positive experience. When a patient sings your praises in an honest, heartfelt and credible manner, it instills confidence in others and makes your practice stand out.

How to Create an Effective Occupational Medicine Phone Script (Part II)

Please see part I here

A powerful telephone script should achieve three major goals:

a) Find out who the real decision maker is at the prospective company.

Don’t waste your time talking with someone who doesn’t have the power to hire you. Learn about their company’s decision-making process, the financial chain of command. Utilize a series of gently probing questions: How are decisions made about occupational medicine? How often is the issue revisited? Should we include another person on this call?

Keep in mind that this process can take multiple calls, but once you get to the top of the totem pole–to the person who makes the final decision–you can take full control of the message they are hearing, and your ultimate job will become a lot easier.

b) Establish dissatisfaction with their current provider.

Once again, a clever list of questions can subtly introduce an element of doubt in your prospect’s mind about their current occupational medicine provider. What kind of medical services do you require? Are onsite injuries a major concern? Do you have a drug-testing program in place? How important are pre-employment physicals? Once you get them thinking hard about their current quality of service, you can hit them with the big ones: Tell me what is most important to you in your company’s relationship with your medical provider?

A delicate balance of open-ended and closed questions will help create a well-rounded portrait of the client’s priorities. Closed questions require a simple response and revolve around basic facts that will help you learn more about their company without seeming too forward. Add to that a few open-ended questions to elicit more thought-provoking answers–get them talking more candidly and try to draw out their opinions. What is the most important factor in choosing an occupational medicine provider? Be sure to take thorough notes during the call, so that you can then form the most potent and relevant pitch.

c) Make sure there are “next steps” to follow.

Once you establish an interest in your services, however minor it may be, you can start to explain the benefits of a switch. But don’t let them off the hook. Schedule a facility tour or a follow-up meeting. Leave the call with a specific action item in place that requires them to respond directly within a defined period of time–anything from signing a contract to filling out a questionnaire.

WebForDoctors also provides outsourced services for occupational medicine sales, so feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance.