Top 5 Ways to Connect with Your Patients Online

[and Not Annoy Them]

Do you remember AT&T’s old slogan, “Reach out and touch someone?”

Well, even if you don’t and we’re just making ourselves look old, the words still ring true when it comes to connecting with your patients.

Having an online presence is good in itself, but the more you actively reach out toward prospective patients, the more likely they are to engage with you. It pays to reach out about their needs and interests in a way that resonates with them.

A good strategy that connects with patients makes an impact. It’s like the difference between having a road sign pointing to your office and a parade leading to your front door!

Let’s take a look at some important elements of connecting digitally with patients, and some examples of how they can be used.

Purposefully Written Content

The information you present on your website provides visitors a one-stop place for knowing what you do and what you specialize in.

It’s not just a passive library you set up and forget, though!

People can come in and peruse your blogs and pages, sure, but you are missing out on a powerful tool if your content is not being planned and used in an active manner.

Are your blogs reaching out to people based on local interests and the types of conditions you wish to treat? Are your articles being referenced and linked to in other correspondence you send out, or linked to by other reputable websites?

Angling and promoting your content in appealing ways toward the patients you seek will more likely increase the engagement of these patients on your website. This, in turn, increases your likelihood of Google ranking your pages higher for related searches, drawing even more potential patients into your funnel. We love a good snowball effect!

Email Marketing

 
Your database of patient information should include their email addresses, and you should be putting them to use!

Email marketing can have multiple purposes and benefits when it comes to connecting with patients, both before and after an appointment is scheduled.

The best part of an email marketing strategy is that you can reach a high number of people directly and over long periods of time with just some up-front effort.

For example: we can build a new patient campaign that contacts someone right after their appointment, asking for feedback and even providing some post-visit advice. Then a week later, or a month later, or several months later—whenever you’d like—am automated follow-up email can ask how the patient is doing and whether they have any additional concerns or needs.

How about being a bit more specific? An orthotics recall campaign can contact only people you have tagged for receiving orthotics. They can receive an email update several months after they were entered into the system, asking if their orthotics need adjustment or refurbishing. Another can be sent a year later, and another one even longer after that.

Email marketing campaigns can provide long-term reminders, keeping your practice in a patient’s mind while also demonstrating that you care.

Of course, you can also use email marketing to send monthly email blasts to whichever patients you wish, as well as monthly newsletters and other updates.

We can help you determine the best email marketing strategies that will reach out in responsive ways to patients without coming off as spam. We do it all the time.

Texting

Texting is an incredible tool when you want to be even more direct and timely with patients!

Our Integrated Local Solutions platform can include texts sent from your office to patients who have granted you permission.

Texts are a great way to send appointment reminders—and one that a lot of patients tend to ask for!—but they can also be an essential follow-up tool for providing feedback. Patients are more likely to tap a link on their phone to head to a review site when it’s looking them right in the face.

Used sparingly (you don’t want to feel like a parent checking in every day), texts can make patients feel more connected to your practice and make your practice come off as even more technologically modern.

Feedback

We’ve already mentioned review sites both in email marketing and texting, but this is another area where being active instead of passive really pays off.

Encouraging positive reviews is one thing, but the real connections to be made with patients come in the responses that are made to reviews—both the positive and the negative ones.

This may feel a bit more out of your “comfort zone” than everything else we’ve mentioned, and it is. But think of it like this:

A review response is not only aimed back to the reviewer, but to everyone else who’s reading the review.

People don’t expect perfection from anyone, but they do want to know that they will be listened to in the case that they do have a complaint or even just something to say.

At VMD Services, we have ways to stay on top of your reviews and feedback, and can provide the responses you need or advice on leaving responses of your own. It’s not always the most fun part of an outreach strategy, but the impact it can have is enormous.

Social Media

OK, now on to something that is a little more fun!

Posting to social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a good way to promote the content and services on your website.

We’ll be honest: people don’t go on social media just to learn about bunions and ingrown toenails. If they follow you, they likely want to know more about you, and the people at your office!

An effective social media strategy marries the topics you want to reach out to potential patients about with photos, videos, and other points of interest to build cultural touchstones. What’s more memorable: that you’re the place for fungal toenails, or you’re the place for fungal toenails whose receptionist also sings opera?

Your Multi-Reach Tool

All of the above methods for reaching out to patients are good in themselves, but are truly powerful when they are working hand-in-hand with each other. Get that content out through email and social media! Let people get to know the office staff members who send them texts!

VMD Services has years of expertise in forming comprehensive digital strategies that best play to the strength of each practice we serve. Give us a call at 833-823-3335 if you’re ready to take your plans to the next level.

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