If you’re looking to recruit new patients, what are the best approaches to use?

Sites like Zocdoc help new patients find a doctor near them who is in their insurance plan. Patients can also see how many stars the physician has received from current patients, how the physician ranks among those who are top rated, who has the shortest wait times, and the physician’s specialty.

Though many physicians will obtain new patients as a result of being part of a health network or through referrals, a Doctor.com survey suggests the importance of healthcare providers having a strong online presence. The survey reveals that 80% of respondents used the Internet to make a healthcare-related search, 63% chose one provider over another because of a strong online presence, and nearly 60% of respondents chose a provider because of their positive online reputation. It’s important that physicians and practices carefully monitor and manage their online reputations on sites like Healthgrades, Vitals, RateMDs, and even Yelp. Once you’ve gained a few good reviews on Google and some physician review sites, you may start to see a higher rate of new patients coming your way. Often, patients will decide to join a practice after reading online reviews or seeing their friends recommend a specialist on a social media site like Facebook.

Setting up a professional-looking website and an engaging social media presence, and updating both regularly, give patients easy access to your current contact information and office/clinic hours. Some websites allow patients to register and schedule their appointments online too. Many patients will engage in the search process digitally—to research physicians, make and confirm appointments, provide insurance information, receive test results—and expect all to be seamlessly integrated and easily accessible on their smartphone.

Hiring a reputable digital marketing company can help you get a better idea of the effectiveness of your online presence. Through the use of online tools like Google Analytics (free) and paid online ads with Google Ads, you can garner a complete picture of how potential patients are finding you online and what actions they take once they visit your website. This information can be leveraged to tailor the messages on your website and social media channels and help increase the chances that an online visitor will turn into a new patient.