7 Online Marketing Predictions (and 1 Wish) for Plastic Surgeons in 2014

2014-marketing-predictions

1. Content marketing will be the most important part of your online strategy

seo-monster-is-deadSEO is dead and has been (in its original form) for a while now. If you still think SEO is just a magical secret formula of keywords on a web page and a bunch of inbound links, it’s time to change your thinking.

To remain competitive in 2014, cosmetic practices will need to devote more resources to content marketing. Content plays the starring role in a successful SEO strategy. Yesterday’s keyword-stuffing, city-name-everywhere-on-the-page approach no longer works.

TIP: Choose an SEO team who works in partnership with you to create great content. Remember quality is key, not quantity. Be prepared to help them, they can’t do it all without you.

2. Successful content marketers will leverage reviews to drive conversions

content-monsterReviews build online relationships (i.e. conversions and phone calls) better than any other type of content. Not surprisingly, publishing reviews on your own website can increase conversions by 2x to 8x!*

Would you like to generate 20% more leads from the web than you did a year ago? As a direct result of changing their overall marketing strategy to highlight reviews and other related content created by patients, a practice in a highly competitive California market experienced a 20% increase in website conversions (number of contact forms completed) over the previous year.

TIP: RealPatientRatings.com (and some other review sites) give you easy-to-install embeddable review widgets that keep your website updated automatically with review content that will engage your visitors and increase conversions.

*RPR study

3. Expect doctor reviews to continue exploding in popularity

+52% more people searched for doctor/dentist reviews in 2013 than in 2012 accodring to brightlocal.com. Only restaurant reviews were more popular! We don’t expect this trend to change.

In 2014, consumers will also prefer reviews from trusted sources over older less-trusted websites, and prefer recent reviews older reviews.

4. Doctors will be inundated by salespeople offering newfangled methods of generating reviews

scared-doctorGuaranteeing your patient’s anonymity is the most effective way to generate truly authentic reviews and collect enough reviews to have an impact on your marketing.

All medicine, especially cosmetic surgery, is a highly personal experience and true anonymity is required to acquire honest feedback.

To decide on a system for growing your online reputation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will your patients feel safe enough to share their true feelings?
  • Will the patient feedback help your practice grow in a constructive way?
  • Does the system truly understand the business of medicine?

TIP: Don’t choose a method of generating reviews where patients write a review while at your office, and avoid any methods that require the patient to post online under their real name.

5. Keyword data will no longer be available to rely on

not-providedIn your Google Analytics reports, have you seen the numbers of “(not provided)” keywords growing like crazy? Changes to online privacy settings mean that our access to keyword data is dwindling and will soon be completely gone.

Although keyword data will be sorely missed by all, once it’s all gone we will have to shift our measurement of Internet marketing success to engagement statistics like pages per visit, time on site, and conversion rates.

(In this SEO’s humble opinion, this is a healthy and positive change.)

TIP: Download an Excel report of your entire keyword history for future use. Do this ASAP before it is gone forever.

6. Trusted sources of web traffic will be more important than ever

Your most important real-world relationships and affiliations will also be your most significant online relationships.

asps-find-a-surgeon.jpgFor instance, a surprising number of ASPS member surgeons have incomplete profiles on plasticsurgery,org. That means the 463,000 people who searched for a surgeon on plasticsurgery.org in the last year* never had an opportunity to see them. It also means these surgeons are missing out on the powerful benefits of links from plasticsurgery.org to their own websites.

TIP: Complete your plasticsurgery.org doctor profile and invest in an Enhanced Profile.

BONUS TIP: There’s only one way to show surgery reviews on your ASPS profile! Our official endorsement by ASPS means that RealPatientRatings members with ASPS Enhanced Profiles can display surgery reviews on their plasticsurgery.org profile for free. This important consumer content is available to help patients find vital information to help them make choices.

**Data collected between June 2012 and 2013. Statistics provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

7. Mobile and tablet users will account for more than 50% of your website traffic

phone-in-bedIf your site isn’t functional on smartphones or tablets, you may not have been affected much yet. This year, you will definitely feel it as the number of people using these devices to engage with content on your website continues to climb.

TIP: You don’t need a separate mobile website any more. Professional web development has already evolved past that! Responsive websites are the new standard and when built properly they automatically display perfectly on any device.

Not so much a prediction, but our wish for the future…
Surgeons will stop worrying about reviews and focus more on patient satisfaction

Everyone will routinely survey their patients

Nearly 80% of medical practices categorized as “better-performers” use patient satisfaction surveys, and send surveys out more frequently than other practices.***

Reviews aren’t something you can buy or beg for, they are a happy byproduct of patient satisfaction. Start by looking inward (surveying your patients is a great place to start) and the reviews will come naturally.

And stop trying to control the system

Doctors and consumers both truly hate the review sites that are suspected of gaming the system, and yet they still want to have control over the reviews that are published.

Just like SEO, there are no tricks or magic bullets to get solve the problem of meeting your consumer’s need for authentic reviews.

More resources:

Inc.com: 7 secrets to getting positive online reviews

KISSMetrics: The Future of Content Marketing: Trends and Predictions for 2014

Forbes: The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

EHR Intelligence: Most better-performers use patient satisfaction surveys

Mashable.com: Why 2013 is the Year of Responsive Website Design