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Top 7 ways to increase your organization’s online presence


Online presence s the digital footprint that a person or business has established through various online channels.

online presence word cloud | © lculig - Shutterstock.com

© lculig - Shutterstock.com

Online presence is more important now than it ever has been in the past. A recent study by PatientPop showed that 61% of patients search for doctors online, using a combination of reviews, provider listings, and individual business websites to choose their medical provider.

Ensuring your medical practice has an online presence is essential to keeping up with your competitors. In this article, we’ll review the top 7 ways to build your healthcare organization's online presence and best practices for maintaining high visibility to prospective patients.

What is online presence?

Online presence refers to the existence and visibility of an individual, organization, or brand on the internet. It is the digital footprint that a person or business has established through various online channels, including websites, social media platforms, online directories, and other digital media. An online presence can include content such as text, images, videos, and audio that is accessible via the internet.

Why is online presence important for healthcare marketing?

Having a strong online presence can help individuals and businesses to establish and maintain a positive reputation, reach a wider audience, and build relationships with customers or followers. It can also provide a means of communication and engagement with others in the digital world

A weak or negative online presence, on the other hand, can harm a person's or organization's reputation and hinder their ability to connect with others online. Managing and maintaining an online presence for a healthcare organization is essential for building trust in current and prospective patients, as well as other referring providers.

7 Ways to increase your healthcare organization's online presence

1. Build a professional website: A website is the foundation of your online presence. It is important to have a website that is professional, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly. Include information about your organization, services you offer, locations you serve, and contact details. Make sure your website is optimized for search engines by using relevant keywords in your content, titles, and meta descriptions.

2. Optimize for search engines: SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can be achieved through various techniques, such as optimizing your practice or clinic’s website content, using relevant keywords, and building high-quality backlinks. By improving your practice’s SEO performance, your information is more likely to be found by potential patients who are searching for healthcare services.

3. Claim and optimize online directories: Online directories are platforms that list information about businesses, including healthcare entities. Claim and optimize your organization’s profiles on directories that list healthcare organizations by region and by specialty. This can help to increase visibility and attract new patients who are searching for healthcare services in your area.

  • The top online directories for healthcare organizations are:
    • Google My Business
    • Healthgrades
    • Zocdoc
    • WebMD
    • Yelp
    • Vitals

4. Use social media: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be powerful tools for engaging with patients and promoting your healthcare organization. Share informative content, interact with patients, and use paid advertising to reach a wider audience. Social media can also help to build relationships with patients and establish your practice as a trusted healthcare provider.

5. Create and share quality content: Creating and sharing quality content can help to establish your organization as an authority in your field and attract new patients. This can include clinical blog posts, infographics, videos, and other types of informative content that are relevant to your specialty and offered services. Share this content on your website and social media channels.

6. Encourage patient reviews: Positive patient reviews on platforms such as Google and Yelp can help to boost your practice's online reputation and attract new patients. Encourage patients to leave reviews by providing excellent care and customer service. Respond to all reviews, whether positive or negative, to show that you value patient feedback and are attentive to your patients’ needs.

7. Use online advertising: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, can be a cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience and promote your practice. Use relevant keywords and demographic targeting to reach potential patients who are searching for healthcare services in your area.

By implementing these strategies, you can increase your medical practice's online presence, attract new patients, and establish your practice as a trusted and reputable healthcare provider.

Maintain a healthy online presence

Once you’ve built your initial online presence, a certain amount of effort is required to maintain it. Here are some best practices for keeping your online presence up-to-date and effective:

  1. Regularly update your website: Make sure your website is always up-to-date with accurate information about your organization, the medical services you offer, and your contact details. Regularly add new content, such as blog posts or news updates that are relevant to your specialty. This will keep your website fresh and engaging.
  2. Engage with patients on social media: Stay active on social media by responding to patient comments and messages, sharing informative content, and engaging with your followers. This can help to build relationships with patients and establish your organization as a trusted healthcare resource.
  3. Monitor online reviews: Monitor and respond to online reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades. Always respond to reviews, whether they’re negative or positive, to show patients you are attentive and committed to providing high-quality care.
  4. Regularly post quality content: Creating and sharing quality content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, can help to establish your practice as an authority in your field and attract new patients. Post virtual versions of the handouts you would typically give to patients in-office to encourage engagement and patient education.
  5. Stay up-to-date with industry news: Stay informed about industry news and trends by subscribing to relevant publications and attending conferences and events. This can help you to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible care to your patients.
  6. Continuously monitor and improve your SEO: Continuously monitor and improve your website's SEO to ensure that you are ranking well in search engine results pages. This can include optimizing your website's content, building high-quality backlinks, and monitoring your website's analytics to identify areas for improvement. While there are numerous tools to track and monitor SEO performance, a quick Google search of ‘your specialty in your city’ can give you a fast and free glance at how you rank in that SERP.

By following these best practices, you can maintain a strong online presence for your healthcare organization, attract new patients, and establish yourself as a trusted source for healthcare in your community.

Create a process for managing online presence

Creating and managing a presence online can feel like a daunting task, especially if you do not feel well-acquainted with the digital world. However, like any other task in your organization, maintaining your online profile can be broken down into a process.

  1. Define which areas your information exists online. Create a list of all entities, such as online directories, your website, and your social media accounts.
  2. Assign a trusted staff member or supervisor to manage these accounts. Make sure they have administrator access to all accounts and are set up to receive notifications when reviews or comments are left.
  3. Create a policy that ensures all reviews, comments, and questions are responded to within 48 business hours.
  4. Bring negative comments, valid questions and concerns to ownership meetings. These comments and reviews can be very valuable for improving process flows
  5. Set a quarterly budget for website updates and online advertising. Whether you are paying someone in-house or hiring an external company to manage your website, set aside a significant portion of your marketing budget that is dedicated to website updates.
  6. Track your online performance. Use metrics like search engine rankings, website traffic (Google analytics is a helpful tool for this), social media followers and interactions, and web inquiries made from your website. Use this information to build on your digital marketing strategy for the future.

Integrate online presence as a part of your ongoing marketing budget

Maintaining a reputable presence online is essential to the overall marketing efforts of your healthcare organization. It is important to dedicate a portion of your marketing budget to the maintenance and growth of your online profiles.

By utilizing the methods mentioned above, you can greatly improve your visibility online and put your organization in front of prospective new patients and referring providers. This is a marketing technique that will help to grow your organization into the future.

Anna Ohler is a small business manager, entrepreneur, and leader with 12+ years of experience managing multidisciplinary teams across different healthcare environments. Anna holds an MBA from Northwood University with a cognate in leadership. Specializing in small businesses specifically, Anna has used her knowledge to expand her skill set into leadership coaching and healthcare consulting for small practices.

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