Establishing credibility cannot be done overnight, but medical practices and medical spas can engage in strategies along the way that will help in building practice credibility in a more effective manner.
1. Establish Credibility with Your Website
Back in the day, you typically bought a large ad in the Yellow Pages. This was a very expensive strategy, but your alternatives were limited and just as expensive: radio, TV and billboards. Yellow Pages are for the most part a thing of the past, Google is the new Yellow Pages.
97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. 73 percent of all online activity is related to local content, according to data released by Google. It is most likely that your patients are going to Google you or the services you offer, and when you come up, you better have a modern, mobile-friendly website. The website is like your digital lobby, and just like your lobby, first impressions are everything! It’s also important that your website is easy to navigate and clearly shows the website visitor what you do (procedures), who you are (credentials), and where and how to contact you.
2. Highlight your Credentials
When building your website, be mindful of the message you want to relay, you want to build trust with your patients. You want to not only let them know which procedures you offer, but also that you are the person that can deliver the results they want. In an IAPAM consumer study on aesthetics, 78% of women rated “Medical Credentials” as Very Important. So it is imperative that you clearly communicate your background, training, and industry memberships. The “About Us” page is an important page, make sure you have the bios and certifications of everyone on your team. Photos also go a long way, but rather than use that hospital id photo, perhaps hire a professional photographer to come to the practice to take more engaging photos of your each staff members.
The web is a very visual medium, and it is always best to have images throughout your website. A key way to make your site more visual and build your practice’s credibility is to have the images of the medical associations you are members of, including the AMA, your State medical association, and specialize associations like the IAPAM, ASLMS, etc. Many association have created a special website code so that you or your web developer can easily place in your website to show credibility. What does this code look like? Here is an example that the IAPAM gives its members:
<a href=’ http://iapam.com/iapam-botox-certification’><img src=http://iapam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/IAPAM_Member_Good_Standing.png ‘ alt=’IAPAM Botox Training Member ‘ width=’180′ border=’0’ /></a>
3. Communicate your Procedure Expertise
When prospective patients click on one of your procedure pages, you want to have more than just the basics and there are two reasons for that. First, you want to be able to clearly show patients what you can do, and what procedures you offer. The second reason, is that the more content you have on your pages the more likely Google will show your website when people search on those results (it improves your SEO rankings).
To help you in building practice credibility, make sure on your procedure pages, you should not only have a description of the procedure, but also what to expect as well as several before and after pictures of patients you have personally treated. When new, you may need to rely on your vendors’ before and after photos, but you will want to replace these with your own patient pictures once you get more established. This certainly will help build your credibility. Obviously, make sure you have each patient’s written consent, and try to keep the patient’s identity hidden if possible.
4. Building Practice Credibility with Social Proof
You cannot just assume that since you went to medical school, you have all the credibility you need (but it sure helps a lot!) People like to avail of services that are known and have a good reputation as good businesses, and one way they do that is with Social Proof. The biggest source of social proof is through their Facebook network of friends. Often your patients will send out a message to their friend network and ask about tattoo removal, Botox®, weight loss or other procedures to see if their friends have any recommendations.
In general, people don’t necessarily follow brands on Facebook. So it’s important that you have a social media posting strategy for your practice. You can’t just post about your procedures and specials, but you need to have some good general interest stories, maybe something from the New York Times on how Botox® can stop sweating. For every 2 or 3 general posts, you can highlight a procedure you offer. This is an important part of our marketing strategy, and the IAPAM is working on a monthly social media marketing plan to help our members out with this laborious task.
5. Make it Easy for People to do Business with You
This sounds like common sense, but it is amazing how many people don’t do it! On the bottom of every procedure page, you need to tell the patient what to do, for example “to find out if Botox® is right for you, call ###-###-#### Now for a Free Consultation!” As well, on the top header of your website, you need to clearly display your practice’s phone number. When it is in the header, it will display on every page automatically. The Contact Us page should include your address, Google map, email and phone number. Many practices also allow for live chat. I like ProvideSupport.com, for only $99/yr we can offer a “chat now” button on our website. You may also want to have an answering service answer the phones before and after you open (I use CallRuby.com at our clinic, it runs about $260/m). For those of you looking for a phone system, that can seamlessly connect your patients to your practice or any phone you wish (including your mobile phone), services like Grasshopper and RingCentral are good bets.
Getting Started Check List:
- Easy to navigate, mobile-friendly website
- About Us section includes photos and bios of team
- IAPAM logo added to your website to boost credibility
- Procedure page includes before and after photos (preferably yours)
- Posting 2-5 times a week on your Facebook practice (business) page
- “Contact Us” page needs to have your address, Google map, phone number, and contact email
- Practice number in the header section of your website
If you keep the above tips on building practice credibility in mind, I’m sure they will help you improve your patient engagement, and build credibility for your aesthetic/weight loss practice!