The Doctor’s Dilemma
Online Reputations Are Changing Medicine
The most experienced and respected doctors in the US have built successful practices based on referrals and word of mouth from happy patients. They have earned their superior reputation through excellent patient outcomes. In the past, it took less experienced doctors at least a decade of practice building to begin to compete with the top in the field. Today, there has been a peculiar shift in the market because of the internet. Less-established doctors are now able to create great online reputations nearly overnight.
A doctor’s online reputation is now one of the most important factors for the growth and sustainability of their practice. With a disconnect existing between real world reputations and online reputations, many of the best doctors find themselves in a dilemma that will impact the future of their practice.
How Did This Happen?
Technology & Marketing
Our culture has developed an ever increasing dependence on the internet. We have developed a habit of approaching everything with a Google search. Healthcare was not immune to this trend and a significant amount of patient research is performed on the internet. Another trend that developed over the past years, started by the pharmaceutical companies, was to bypass the doctors and market straight to the patients – “ask your doctor about …”. This trend has now become pervasive in medicine and online review websites are taking the place of referrals by established doctors.
A Conflict of Reputations
The doctors with the best reputations in the real world do not necessarily have the same reputations online. This conflict of reputations creates confusion for patients on the internet. “If he is the best, why is he on page 3 of Google?” “If she is so great, why does she only have five reviews?” “OMG, look how dated their website is!”
Confusion Regarding Specialties
There is significant crossover of specialties for certain procedures compounding the confusion. Using facial surgery as an example, there are Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ENT), Cosmetic Surgeons, and Maxillofacial Surgeons who are all performing the same procedures but with very different backgrounds. Many doctors don’t even fully understand the differences between these specialties. With all of this confusion, how could patients possibly understand the details of the decision that they are making?
Why Most Online Campaigns Fail
Most Doctors attempt to present their real world reputation to the internet by hiring generic “Web” companies. They are commonly left with a very expensive website with little traction that acts more like a digital business card than a source of business.
- Improper Design – Websites created by non-SEO designers are typically slow and not optimized. Adding “SEO” after the fact is not a solution. The infrastructure of the entire website needs to be both user and Google friendly.
- Activity Instead of Accomplishment – Most internet marketing companies sell activity instead of accomplishment. They sell homework assignments and individual tasks instead of promising results.
- Conflict of Interests – Most internet marketing companies do not provide exclusivity, and therefore have their clients compete with each other in the same market.
- Lack of adequate SEO expertise – Search Engine Optimization is a specialty of internet marketing which requires significant training and constant learning and experience. The field is constantly changing. General internet marketers typically outsource “SEO” (sometimes overseas) or provide basic services without a full understanding of the entire process.
- Vague Goals Produce Vague Results – What exactly do you want your online presence to accomplish? What procedures will you focus on? Who are you targeting? Who are the demographics, and what do they look for online? What is your message? These questions need to be hammered out in significant detail.
Once the efforts to obtain a top online reputation have failed, the doctor finds themselves in a dilemma with two “standard” options.
- Pour more time, money, and resources into the ineffective online campaign and divert all of those resources from other areas of the practice.
- Leave their online presence as it is – average – and get back to doing what they do best, knowing that they are losing an increasing amount of patients each year.
The Impact Solution
Our mission is to eliminate the conflict of reputations for top doctors. We provide the best doctors with an online reputation that matches their real world reputation.
To do this, we work exclusively with only a select group of the best and most experienced doctors in their fields, and we work with only one doctor per procedure in a large geographic area (usually an entire state or major city). We function more like an extension of the practice than an outsourced service. We work as a team together with doctors and their office staff to ensure that every aspect of a doctor’s online reputation is as good as their real world one.
Our success is measured by accomplishment not activity. We use cutting edge technology, testing, and data to get there, but at the end of the day, our results come in two metrics – a top online reputation and more patients.