Nowadays, people are overwhelmed by choice—whether they’re deciding which kind of yogurt to buy (have you seen how massive the yogurt section is now?) or choosing a movement-based healthcare provider to help ease their aches and pains. With so many options, patients have the freedom to be extra choosy—which means the smallest misstep can lead a prospect to leave you high and dry in favor of your competitor. The worst part: you won’t always know why a prospective patient chooses another provider. After all, you probably won’t even know it happened in the first place. With that in mind, here are the seven hidden reasons a patient might select one provider over another (and how to overcome ’em).
1. You’re difficult to contact.
Often, online searchers look up businesses simply to find their contact info. So, it follows that your biggest digital downfall could be your NAP—that’s your name, address, and phone number—or the lack thereof. Even if a patient is super interested in your practice, he or she probably isn’t going to hunt for your phone number—especially if the PT down the road has his or her NAP readily available. So, polish up your contact information by heeding the following advice:
- Place your NAP at the top of every page of your website.
- Ensure your NAP is correct (and complete) on Google, Yelp, and other review sites.
- Consider creating a contact form so patients can request an appointment without ever picking up the phone.
- Think about using landing pages—if you use digital ads, that is. A minimalist landing page with a concise call to action (CTA) makes it easy for prospective patients to contact you. Plus, they don’t have to dig through your entire site to know that you offer exactly what they need.
2. Your practice doesn’t have patient reviews (or worse, it has bad reviews).
It doesn’t take a marketing degree to know that patients are more likely to choose a highly-rated provider over a practice with bad reviews. But here’s something that may come as a surprise: having no reviews at all is just as much of a disadvantage as having bad ones. In fact, it might even be better to have a couple bad reviews that you can respond to than no reviews at all. That’s because, according to BrightLocal, “89% of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews,” which means the way you handle negative client feedback could affect a prospective patient’s decision to come to you. Of course, having lots of good (and recent) reviews is still super important. The same BrightLocal survey found that 57% of survey respondents will only patronize businesses with four or more stars—and 40% of respondents take only recent reviews (i.e., those written within the past two weeks) into account when researching businesses. Fortunately, with the right strategy (one that involves tracking patient loyalty and then tapping your happiest patients for reviews) you can resolve this issue—lickety split.
3. You aren't marketing to the right patients.
Okay, so maybe you’re marketing hard. Let’s say you’ve even gone the extra mile by leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, and you’re dishing out to place ads on Google search engine results pages (SERPs). And yet, it seems like it’s hardly making a difference. Maybe you need to give it time. Or, maybe your listings and ads aren’t appearing to the right people. If so, you might need to adjust your keyword settings or double-check your geo-targeting options. After all, if you’re located in Chicago, you don’t want to advertise to people in Milwaukee. Not only is this ineffective, but if people are clicking on those ads only to navigate away, then it’s also a waste of money.
4. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly.
If you’ve ever experienced a website that isn’t optimized for mobile, then you know how frustrating it can be to navigate. When a website isn’t formatted for mobile browsing, it can be challenging to so much as scroll through a page—let alone click any links or buttons. A bad site experience can convince potential patients to turn away in favor of another clinic with decent reviews and a killer website.
5. Your website doesn't effectively sell your value (or clearly say what you do and who you serve).
That said, the user-friendliness of a website means little if your homepage doesn’t communicate the value of your services. After all, if you don’t explain how valuable your services are, patients won’t know why they should pick you—and that’s particularly important if you’re in a heavily saturated market. If you’ve received any awards, accolades, or special certifications, your website is the perfect place to tell folks about them. (Don’t worry—it’s okay to talk yourself up!) You can also use testimonials from past patients to further demonstrate your value as a PT. Just be sure to get permission first!
In addition to demonstrating your worth, your website should also clearly explain who your target demographic is. Be sure to:
- Write a mission statement or an About Us page that explains your practice’s goals and who you serve;
- List the services you offer and the issues you treat; and
- Include a list of accepted insurances.
Also, keep in mind that some online visitors may land on your social media profiles before they check out your website. So, be sure to fully explain who you serve there, too.
6. Your competitors (including non-PT providers) are out-marketing you.
Marketing automation has made effective marketing—from referral tracking to sending out newsletters—easier than ever before. As a result, healthcare marketing has never been more competitive. So, if your competition has already caught on to the value of SEO, email marketing, and patient relationship management (PRM), they might be capturing prospective patients before they ever have a chance to hear about your clinic. We could write an entire blog post on best practices for each of those strategies (and in fact, we did here, here, and here), but here are the essentials:
- Make sure your page titles and descriptions on Google are nice and tidy using the Mozbar extension for Chrome.
- Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track the impact of your SEO efforts.
- Automate email communications (e.g., newsletters, promotions, and patient satisfaction surveys) with an email marketing platform—ideally one that’s healthcare specific.
7. You’re unknowingly providing a sub-par patient experience—and as a result, missing out on word-of-mouth referrals.
When a patient unexpectedly leaves mid-episode of care, it’s hard not to take the loss personally. But (to add insult to injury), if he or she did leave your care because of a bad experience, not only do you lose that patient, but you also lose any other patients he or she might’ve sent your way. (You also lose out on the chance to add another positive review to your online repertoire.) However, if you track the patient experience at regular intervals throughout the course of care, you’ll know in near real time when a patient isn’t happy. Then, you can start taking steps to address the issues that could drive the patient away.
There are lots of little reasons a potential patient will pass your practice by. Fortunately, most of those reasons can be addressed by smart marketing. So, if you’re looking for actionable strategies to bring more patients to your practice, then attend our upcoming webinar, where we’ll discuss how to get more patients using the Internet. And of course, if you have any questions or suggestions, drop us a line in the comment section below!