We get it. You can instantly distinguish between an actinic keratosis and a basil cell carcinoma. You understand “The Mask of Pregnancy” isn’t an Edgar Allan Poe story. You know when a mole merits your attention or when it’s the harmless Cindy Crawford variety.
And you’re surely not going to confuse contact dermatitis with contact your dermatologist.
But it’s that last part where your dermatology practice runs into difficulty. You know the human body’s largest organ, the skin, but digital marketing can be as much a mystery as to why people believe 100 SPF sunscreen should cost five times as much as 30 SPF (it shouldn’t!).
You left a group practice and set out on your own. But now you can’t rely on the group’s other doctors to refer you for skin problems. Now you have to make this work on your own. To do that, you need an online presence where people looking for their friendly neighborhood dermatologist find you.
Your website and digital presence has taken over much of the job formerly done by yellow pages listings, newspaper ads, even radio commercials. Today’s successful dermatology website must act as practice tour guide, educational reference, and salesman. Your dermatology practice marketing plan has to include a social media component. It has to work hard in local rankings. It has to have consistent information across directories and listings. And, like it or not, your dermatology practice marketing needs to manage your online reputation.
Optimizing your site
In the old days, many dermatologists could build a practice based on a few successful acne treatments. Teens can really spread the word about the doc who cleared up their moonscape complexions! While word of mouth is still unbeatable, there’s more competition today and your website has to tell potential patients you are on the cutting edge of the best practices in dermatology.
If a person puts in a long tail search, “What if my mole is asymmetrical?” Google takes it very personally to return search results that deliver answers to that question. A salon that offers skin care products isn’t what the searcher is looking for, even though they backloaded a bunch of dermatology keywords into the back end of their site. Google wants happy searchers that can actually find an answer to their question.
Words are like smooth skin without age spots
Today, Google values content for search. The days of keywords boosting your site in search are over. Sure, keywords still are important to help the massive Google algorithm understand what your site is all about, but content is even more important. Detailed pages on each service you offer give the algorithm plenty to chew on when your website is crawled. That way, if you want to be known for skin cancer detection, treatment, and excision, the more those terms show up on your site the more likely Google will rank you higher in search. Google will be very happy if a person searches for “Will skin cancer kill me?” and then it searches your site and finds a blog on that very topic.
Google now rewards sites with extensive information. Don’t bunch your injectables all on one page. Have one page for Botox, maybe another for the Juvederm line, maybe another for the Restylane line. And Google wants to see your site is continually updated and provides fresh content, such as new blogs.
For most dermatologists, writing new web pages and monthly blogs isn’t something they feel comfortable with. That’s where our stable of Advice Media writers come to the rescue, not unlike you freezing a patient’s pre-cancerous actinic keratosis before it becomes a basil cell carcinoma!
Social media is not like a blemish
Whether you personally use or like social media isn’t the point. Your current and prospective patients are using it. Imagine a blemish-prone 15-year-old high school girl trying to get help with her blossoming acne. Her Mom brushed her off, muttering something that sounded like Clearasil. But when she’s online, she can easily find some of your happy patients bragging about their clear skin on your practice Facebook page.
Social media has become a tool for potential patients to find medical practices, especially for specialties like dermatology. Current patients also use it to get to know more about the practice. For instance, an Accutane treatment isn’t a one-appointment deal; the whole process takes months. Patients like to see when the person who checked them in got a new dog. Or when another patient who actually went through the Accutane process posts about how well it worked on your page.
We understand this may not be your forte. That’s why at Advice Media we offer our Social Power service that includes three posts per week on Facebook and/or Google+. Or, if you want to handle this stuff, we show you what to do and how to do it.
Everyone’s a critic…or maybe a fan
Today everyone’s a reviewer. Did you see “Black Panther?” Write a review and post it on Rotten Tomatoes. Were you checking out cars at the local dealership and the salesman gave you an obnoxious hard sell? Tell the world about it on Yelp!
The same is true for the medical world. There are plenty of review sites, from Yelp! to Healthgrades to RateMDs, and everything in between. Your dermatology practice reputation matters out there because potential patients use ratings to narrow down potential practices they may investigate further.
It’s important for your practice (and in search) to have lots of ratings and for your practice to respond to any negative ratings. If you receive a less than stellar review, but you address the problem and the original reviewer amends the review telling how you listened and responded to his or her concerns, this goes a long way with a potential patient.
At Advice Media, we’ll show you how to (and not to) respond to reviews on the various sites. We’ll help you keep track of reviews. And we’ll show you various ways to get your patients to submit reviews, which tells Google your practice is vibrant and popular.
Name, address, and phone
When Google uses an algorithm that has some two billion lines of code, you wouldn’t think it could get tripped up by a hyphen versus a dot or “Drive” versus “Dr.” There you’d be wrong. Google is like an obsessive decorator who needs every knick-knack in exactly the right spot. If the NAP (name, address, and phone) for your dermatology practice is different in different locations across various directories, Google gets confused. If in one listing you’re on 321 Elm DR, but it’s 321 Elm Drive on another that’s inconsistent. If your phone is (321) 321-3211 in one listing, but 321.321.3211 in another that’s inconsistent.
Making sure your contact information is the same across all directories can get pretty tedious, but we can help you with that. At Advice, we have a tool we call Local Power that provides a dashboard ensuring all of your information is the same across the web. Plus, it allows you to post changes to holiday or summertime office hours and other issues that can otherwise create inconsistent listings.
Dermatology practice marketing is definitely a brave new world in some regards. The digital aspects such optimizing your website for organic search can seem bewildering. That’s as it should be — you know skin, not keywords or site directories.
At Advice Media we have a stellar reputation for building beautiful dermatology practice websites, and then staying on the cutting edge of how to optimize those sites so they are seen by patients and potential patients. From providing the content that Google craves to corralling your online reputation, we’re the industry leader for a reason. Let us put our expertise to work for your dermatology practice marketing.