We all know Google. Their products and service offerings pervade everyday life, with everything from email to cell phones.
But the most useful Google tool for many physical therapy business owners has always been their original product: online search. The budget-friendly tool provides a “quick and dirty” means to research the industry, our own businesses, and those of competitors.
What many private practice owners don’t realize, however, is that Google offers many other free (read: budget-friendly) online tools that can boost online marketing efforts. Let’s look at three big ones to start taking advantage of right now.
Google Alerts: Stay on Top of Business Mentions
As more people are moving to the web to find information about healthcare providers, it pays for private practice owners to know what is being said about their practice in online news publications and throughout the blogosphere.
And with more and more print publications simultaneously funneling their news stories online, web searches now provide a means by which to search local print media who may be publishing information about a practice from recent press releases, sponsorships, or other local news stories.
Practice owners and managers don’t have the time to search the Internet daily for news stories or commentary about their practice. But you do have the time to have Google scour the web for them for you.
With Google Alerts, you simply enter the keywords you’d like searched, enter in a frequency of which you’d like the results sent to you by email, and you’re done. You’ll soon be getting email in your inbox telling you exactly what is being said about your practice online — a great way to keep tabs on your practice’s brand in a way that is efficient, easy, and effective.
I recommend putting in place a once-a-day Google Alert which you can then review at the start of each day. You probably won’t get a notification each day, but it’s good to be on the pulse of your business online reputation when something is said.
Google Maps: The Virtual Place to Be
Last time you were looking for a new pizza joint in town, how’d you find it? Did you look in the Yellow Pages? Did you dial the information directory from your phone? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess not.
I would bet that you did an online search for something like, “pizza, Tempe, AZ,” with your web browser or phone (probably through Google). There’s simply not a more efficient or effective way to find local businesses nowadays.
Google has an area of their search system dedicated to local searches: Google Maps. And it’s precisely what pops up when you type in “pizza, Tempe, AZ” or “doctor, Manhattan, NY.”
If you own or administrate a private practice, guess what? You need to be there, too.
A basic local listing on Google Maps is entirely free and yet entirely beneficial to your practice. It’s easy to do, and if you’re not there now, you may be missing out on that run club member who’s looking for sports therapy, or the senior citizens in the neighborhood who are having lower back pains.
If you don’t have one already, create your Google Business Profile. You just need to input your business’ name, address, and basic information. Once you’re done, you’ll be moments away from that coveted spot on Google Maps when someone types in your name or category.
Learn more about improving local online search results in our piece 4 Ways to Improve Local Online Search.
Google Reviews: Know What Patients Are Saying
Patients are speaking openly online about their healthcare experiences and in a candid manner. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as direct recommendations from friends, according to Inc.com.1 From the best of experiences to the worst, your patients have a voice through online reviews…and they are using them. One of the largest review platforms is Google.
Several 5-star ratings and your practice stand clearly apart from the crowd. One or two bad ones, however, and online window shoppers might decide that taking a chance on your practice isn’t going to make their “to-do” list. The good news is, you likely have many patients in your practice every day who would be honored to provide you with the highest of online marks if they only knew where to start.
The trick is to (1) Know what your patients are already saying, and to (2) make sure your most pleased patients are speaking about you online. Getting started is easy:
Step 1: Know what your patients are saying
Take a look at the Google reviews of your business by visiting your Google Business Profile and seeing first-hand what is being said about your practice. If you haven’t seen your reviews before, you may be surprised.
Step 2: Get your pleased patients talking
This part is easier than you might think. Simply start by educating your Internet-savvy patients on the benefit of online feedback for your practice. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your patients will flock to tell the masses about how you’ve cared for them, helped their families, or saved their life. If you want to make it a step easier, provide links to write a Google review on your email communications and website.
Take a look at Opportunity: The Operative Word in Online Reviews for Rehab Therapy to discover the untapped impact online reviews have on your business.
Leverage Google for Greatness
Everybody wants cheap advertising and leveraging Google for your marketing efforts is about as cheap as it gets. Start implementing these tools now (and don’t forget about these 3 Free But Forgotten Marketing Channels) to keep costs low while managing your online reputation and driving business.
If you’d like to learn more about how Net Health helps private practice owners manage their rehab therapy business’ online reputation and more, call to schedule a demo today.
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1 Inc.com, “84 Percent of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends. Here’s How to Manage What They See,” 2017.