5 Secret Ways Your Competition Is Profitably Stealing Your Patients

The Internet has been both a blessing and a curse for many healthcare practices. For those without a website or any online presence, it’s been a curse. They find themselves struggling to attract new patients online while their competition gains more market share. On the contrary, those with websites and a strong presence across social media and doctor review sites find business better than ever.

Blessing or curse, the challenge for most is navigating the online landscape and seeing where the opportunity lies for growth. One of the best places to look for those opportunities is right over your shoulder. Observe your competition’s behavior.

In this post, we will cover five powerful ways your competition could be taking business from you online…

1. Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a platform where advertisers write online classified ads that display when a visitor types a specific search into Google. These ads can send visitors to any page on your website (as long as it is compliant with their advertising policies) and are paid for on a per-click basis. What’s amazing about Adwords, is the level of control you have over your budget, keywords, location targeting and ads. Is your practice currently advertising on Adwords? If not, it should be, because chances are your competition already is.

2. Facebook Fan Page Targeting

Most practices have a Facebook fan page, but that’s where they stop. There are ways to use both your fan page and Facebook’s advertising platform to attract new patients. For example, did you know that you can show ads for your fan page to people who like your competitor’s fan page in your local area?

Yes, that means you can potentially siphon patients from the fan pages of nearby competing practices and win them over. Don’t forget, though – your competitors can also do this to YOU. It’s best to beat them to the punch by implementing it first.

3. Brand Jacking

Have you ever searched for a business in Google and businesses with very similar names show up in the search results? In some situations, smart competitors will create content or ads around a competing practice to essentially intercept the user and send them to their websites. Now, this doesn’t work every time. However, it works often enough for it to be a common tactic used in online marketing.

How can you protect yourself against competition benefiting from people searching for your brand? The most effective way is to optimize and promote all related profiles and sites about your practice to the point where if someone searches for your brand, you are the only practice that shows up.

4. Retargeting

Have you ever visited e-commerce stores, like eBay or Amazon and then after you leave you see ads all over the web for the products you were just perusing? This is called retargeting. It is a marketing tactic that works by only showing ads to people who have previously visited your website.

Smart business owners and practices are jumping into retargeting because of the enormous ROI it generates compared to traditional display advertising. Across multiple industries, some companies are seeing as much as a 5 to10 times return on their ad spends. The reason this works so well is because you are advertising to people who already know about you but maybe weren’t ready to take action yet to call or visit you. The benefit is turning more of those website visitors into patients by bringing them back or showing them a different message.

The best way to figure out if your competitors have implemented a retargeting strategy is to visit their websites. Then, browse the web and see if any of their ads pop up. If you see their ads, they are retargeting you. Chances are, they are retargeting the prospective patients that could also be looking at your practice.

5. Doctor Profile Sites

Love them or hate them, you must be using them. Patients often use sites like HealthGrades, RateMDs and Vitals to evaluate a doctor or practice prior to making a decision. If your profiles are unclaimed or outdated, then you are potentially missing out on patients that end up going with your competitors instead. Try searching for your doctors’ names in each of these sites and see where they rank. If it’s anything less than the top three spots within your local area, you have some work to do.

Increasing Your Online Presence and Beating Your Competition

Although the thought of your competitors taking patients from you with a stronger online presence and better marketing strategies isn’t a comfortable one, being aware of this and doing nothing about it is even worse.

At Points Group, we specialize in helping healthcare practices expand their online presence, manage their reputation and grow their practice through strategic online marketing campaigns and consulting.

Contact us today to learn how we can help put your practice in a position where YOU are the ones your competition fears taking business away from THEM.

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This document was last updated on July 24, 2014