Pitfalls to Avoid When Starting a Medical Practice

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After the years and toil of earning a medical degree, the years of clinical training, and satisfying your state’s licensing board, it can seem as if the load has lifted. You’re ready to go. 

Now what? Uh oh. 

Figuring out how to bring in patients to build a new practice can seem more difficult than your coursework. This isn’t exactly your area of expertise, and it certainly isn’t a strength of most medical/dental schools to teach you these skills either. 

A call to us can make the process a whole lot easier. We’re MyAdvice, and for over 20 years we’ve been helping clients from across the medical and dental world become successful through their online presence. Over that time, we’ve seen many mistakes made from doctors, dentists, dermatologists, and other specialists when opening a practice. In this blog, let’s get into a few of those. 

You hired your friend’s son to build your practice website 

You’re a medical person, not a techie. But the son of a neighbor is a self-described computer guy, and he’s put together a few websites on the side. He makes you an offer to build your new practice website. 

Now that your new site is up, you can’t find it on any search page, no matter what your search keywords. Pages with photos take 20 seconds to load. The font, while artsy, is virtually unreadable. And you’ve found a few dead links. 

So maybe that wasn’t such a bargain after all. 

Building a good-looking, well-functioning website isn’t something to trust to just anyone. Your practice website plays a big role in your practice’s overall health. It will function as a combination of front desk person, tour guide, scheduling coordinator, procedure expert/authority, and other roles. And it must be optimized for search, meaning Google’s bots understand each page just as well as any rare visitor that happens by. 

It used to be the way to find a new doctor or dentist was to ask around at work or in your neighborhood, and that is still partially true. But more and more patients, particular younger patients, find providers through search and through online ratings. 

Plus, your neighbor’s son isn’t a designer. Yes, he knows the difference between ram and the Rams, but he can’t design his way out of a paper bag. Your site needs to be engaging, with lots of photos, videos, engaging writing, a modern layout, and easily accessed phone numbers and appointment booking options. Photos and videos need to be professionally shot and produced, not haphazardly snapped with an iPhone. 

Your site needs to be optimized for search. This means every page needs tags and descriptions on the back end that help Google understand what is on each page. It means the content has to be expansive and grammatically correct, as Google sees this as beneficial to the searcher. It has to have a sitemap that explains exactly what your site is to Google’s bots. 

In other words, this isn’t a job for those without any experience. 

You’re outsourcing your social media 

If you’re opening a new medical or dental practice these days, you’re no doubt versed in social media, but it may not strike you that social media should also be a marketing and customer relations tool for your fledgling practice. You have heard you need a presence on social media but you’re skeptical, so you turn it over to someone else. 

Bad idea. 

Sure, the person you hired is all over social media. She doesn’t go to the grocery without posting about it. If she gets a latte, there will be a post complete with photo. 

But when it comes to your practice, she started out posting pictures of your office and your staff. But lately her frequency has been dropping, and posts seem to celebrate obscure holidays like National Taco Day instead of your special on fractional laser resurfacing. 

Social media is where your practice can let its hair down, so to speak. This is where you show your patients/followers a different side, one without the scalpel or dental pick. Your practice Facebook page is a great place to post pictures of your staff both at your practice doing their thing, but also maybe out and about on their own time. 

It’s a bad thing to let someone else totally handle your posts because the person isn’t really involved with your practice. Sure, it’s wise to let a company like MyAdvice make sure your social media presence is active, but you have to engage as well. You or someone else in your practice needs to post two or three times per week. These posts can be anything — maybe a great recipe for Christmas cookies, or your aesthetician climbing Mt. Rainier, or a quick video of your new laser. This keeps your followers coming back for more, and, more importantly, it keeps them loyal to you. Your Facebook page is a great place to talk about next month’s special, to link to a story about the ADA approving electric toothbrushes, or to put up a poll about favorite places to use dermal fillers. 

Your blogging is, uh, less than punctual 

If MyAdvice built your website, it features a blog. If your cousin built it, probably not. Most medical professionals don’t understand the value of blogs on a website. They think a blog is something a 20-year-old traveling through Europe would write. 

So, let’s say you did have MyAdvice build your site, but you said you would write your blog posts. You started off strong with posts on new procedures and new methods, but you’ve begun to run out of ideas. Your last post was over six months ago. 

Being active on your blog is very important for your online presence. It builds your authority as an expert. It allows you to educate your audience about this procedure versus that. For instance, a dentist posting about why she no longer places silver amalgam fillings is a great blog topic. 

Plus, Google loves blogs. Its bots crawl your site, and they see all those keywords about procedures you want to be known for. They see additional content with every blog. They see new content with every blog. Google loves all of this and ranks you higher in search because of it. Plus, every blog makes your website bigger, adding more and more reasons Google should deliver your site to a searcher who typed in “What is laser tattoo removal?” Your site has four different  blogs, an expansive procedure page, and a few before and after photos on laser tattoo removal. Remember that Google wants searchers to feel the search results perfectly answer their query, and it looks like your site fits that bill for getting rid of a tattoo. 

We know you’re busy running your burgeoning practice, so you can have MyAdvice handle your blog posts. We have a stable of writers who know their way around the medical world and writing blogs about it. The important thing is to keep your blog active. 

Bottom line 

You’ve done the hard part — you’re now a medical professional! So why make the beginning of your career difficult by making the mistakes we’ve discussed in this blog. 

A great-looking website full of well-written content, great photos, enlightening videos, and easy contact features is critical to search ranking and to your visitors once they find you in search. You need to pay attention to your social media presence and use it to show your patients and potential patients a lighter side of your practice. And you need to blog regularly, both for Google’s sake and for the education of your site visitors. 

At MyAdvice, we’ve been doing all this stuff for over two decades. We were creating and optimizing our client websites for organic search long before anyone had heard the term “search engine optimization,” and we can do that for your fledgling practice. Fill out the contact form, talk to our chatbot, or give us a call at 800-260-9497, and let’s talk.

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