Category Archives: Online Marketing

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:

How To Increase Facebook Community Engagement

In this webinar, you will effectively learn how to use Facebook to connect with prospects and build relationships with existing clients.

  • How your business can interact with community members on Facebook
  • Increasing exposure on other local community pages.

This webinar will take place Wednesday, November 19th at 9:30am PST

Please register here »

All participants will receive a PDF summary of our Facebook Marketing Best Practices!

We also offer a deeper look at the best practices for Facebook community building.

  • Schedule posts in advance
  • How and when to reuse posts more than once
  • How to increase engagement, in the form of likes, shares and comments.

Over time these techniques will become second nature, and you will discover the ease of intentional, scheduled social media management.

Reputation Management for Doctors and Medical Practices

Over the past decade, the rising use and importance of online reviews and social media have changed the way in which patients learn about doctors and medical practices.   Many people trust and depend on the information they find online, using this to compliment or even replace the word-of-mouth recommendations they might have depended on in the past. These new ways of communicating create the need to manage one’s online reputation.  This can be done with a 3-step process:

  1. Discover existing reviews and monitor the web for new ones
  2. Address the reviews
  3. Encourage more positive reviews

Review Discovery and Monitoring

In order to find existing reviews, the first step is to check the main review sites.   Google Local and Yelp are the two most important review sites for businesses of all types, including medical practices.   Search these sites for your practice name and the names of each of your providers, and you’ll have a great idea of what people are likely to see when they begin to learn about you online.  In addition, Healthgrades and Vitals are important sites for reviews specifically about doctors.  Make sure to search for all providers affiliated with your practice on these sites.

As you locate your various directory listings, you should create a documents to keep track of all the sites.   We like to use a spreadsheet, where you have one column for each location of your practice, and one column for each provider.   Then, you’ll have an easy way to check in on the most important sites.   The simple way to monitor is to manually check each site.   In addition, there are many services on the Web to help you monitor changes – you can read about 5 of these monitoring tools here.   There are even free tools to help you specifically monitor reviews, such as  Or, you can work with an agency – like us 🙂 – to get help in gathering this information.

Dealing with Reviews

Once you find your reviews, the next step is to address them.   If you have negative reviews, the first thing you should do is determine if you can get them removed.   Every review site has its own terms of service.  If you are able to identify any way in which a reviewer breaks the terms, you can request that the review be removed.   In cases where removal is not an option, a response often is the best approach.

By responding to a negative review, addressing the complaint, and offering a solution, you can help humanize your practice and show others reading the review that you are a business that will solve problems should they occur.  You can also respond to positive reviews.  This can be equally as valuable as responding to and fixing a negative.   By responding to the positives, you have a chance to reinforce the things that the reviewer mentioned.  Also, you will help that positive review take up more real estate on the review page, possibly pushing any negative reviews further down the page.

One important note:   always be sure to avoid getting into a discussion involving any PHI.   If in doubt, post a general response, and suggest that the reviewer contact you offline, as you are not permitted to discuss their personal information online due to HIPAA regulations.

Encouraging Positive Reviews

The last step in the reputation management process involves encouraging positive reviews.   Depending on your practice, the personalities of your providers, and other factors, some combination of the following can be used:

  • Ask your happy patients personally
  • Include a review “tip sheet” with instructions for posting in the checkout materials you give a patient
  • Include links on your website to review sites
  • If you send any type of practice newsletter, include a request there
  • If you have a profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media sites, post a link to your review sites

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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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

Help Dealing with Online Patient Feedback recently published a fantastic article titled “Online Patient Feedback: What to Do“.   This article goes into fairly extensive detail on how to deal with negative patient reviews, and is very similar to the process we use for our clients here at WebForDoctors.

The article covers:

  • the importance and appropriate ways to respond to reviews
  • methods for removing reviews from some sites
  • ideas to help you encourage positive reviews
  • use of online alerts to track reviews
  • ways you can learn from your reviews
  • the value of reviews for search engine marketing

As online reviews have become more and more widespread, they have become one of the most important aspects of medical online marketing.   Use this article to get started, and if you need help let us know!



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.

Patient Education Pages as Landing Pages for PPC Campaigns

This is a followup to last month’s blog article about “Reaching Patients Who Don’t Know About Urgent Care“.  In that post, I discussed how a Patient Education library can optimize your website, helping you reach people searching for information on diseases and conditions.  Today, we’ll look at how those same pages can help with your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) online advertising campaigns.

When you search the Internet, Google, Bing, or Yahoo will provides free (also known as organic) results.  These results are influenced by SEO.  In addition, you will see sponsored links or ads, which are sold on a pay-per-click basis.  Each time someone clicks on a sponsored link, the advertiser pays anywhere from a few cents up to several dollars.

You can choose which keywords will trigger your PPC ads, and then decide what page on your website to link the ads to.  While many people direct all ads to their homepage, a much better practice is to send people to a page on your site that is closely associated with the keyword they searched for.  For example, if someone searches on “arm puffing up after bug bite”, you would be much better off sending them to a page that describes the symptoms and treatment options for insect bites, along with a call to action for when someone should see a doctor. This approach has both human and technological advantages.

From the human perspective, if someone clicks on an ad related to a condition, and your ad sends them to your homepage, they may not have a full understanding of the service you can provide.  But, if you send them to that a condition page instead, educating them about their situation and explaining how you can help, you will increase the chance that your website visitor will become a patient.

From the technological perspective, the search engines use a concept that Google calls your “Quality Score”.  This score is calculated based on the correlation among the keyword a person searches for, the words used in your ad text, and the content of the landing page linked to the ad.  The higher your Quality Score, the lower you actually have to pay for an ad.  In other words, if you and a competitor both bid the same exact price for a keyword, but your quality score is higher than their’s, your ad will appear higher than their’s.

Reaching Patients Who Don’t Know About Urgent Care

Many of our recent clients already have a website before we meet them.  Some of these practices come to us for a redesign, but many have a different priority – their web traffic has plateaued, and they are looking for ways to reach more prospective patients.

Often, these practices have websites that are optimized for their “core terms”.  For example, urgent care websites may appear on the first page of search results for terms that include the physician and/or practice name, or common generic phrases such as urgent care, walk in clinic, and occupational medicine.   The traffic obtained from these searches is obviously valuable — yet, it only scratches the surface of available search traffic.

Recently, we redesigned a site for a client that had a 10 year old website.  They had been tracking their traffic for years.  Since the beginning of 2011, they had been averaging about 600 visitors per month; this was about double their total from 3 years earlier. That increase is typical, given the growth of the web in general.

The redesign involved only minor changes to their existing content, as well as one key addition:  we integrated the WebForDoctors  Urgent Care Patient Education Library into their site. And, after 2 months, the client has already seen their traffic double to 1200+ visitors per month.

How Does This Patient Education Library Help?

The reason this content attracts so much traffic is that most people don’t just search for your core terms.  Many people don’t even know that something called urgent care is even an option for their health care needs.  But, searching for health information is one of the most common activities online.  When most people search, they are looking for information on something specific, such as a symptom, disease, condition, treatment, or procedure.

In the course of their self-diagnosis and research, many people will eventually consider some sort of treatment.  At the same time, many of them have no experience with an Urgent Care practice.  When they are ready for treatment, these people would typically start at either their primary care physician, or the local emergency room.  By effectively using optimized patient education content, and Urgent Care practice can connect with these prospective patients, educating them about the topic of their search, and introducing them to their own services at the same time.

Can Your Patients Find You Online?

According to a recent survey by Insider Pages and Harris Interactive, 2/3 of patients who search online for information on physicians  wish they could find more comprehensive information, and over half agree that it is hard to find what they are looking for.

To help your prospective patients find you:

  • Develop a website and include a biography for all health care practitioners in your practice
  • Claim or Create your listing on local directory sites on search engines, online yellow pages, and other local directory websites
  • Verify and optimize information on physician directories
  • Participate in social media related to your local community