Even if your practice is located in a small town, you are likely competing with other practices for patients. To really stay ahead of your competition, you have to be aware of what they are doing.
Every business should do periodic competitor reviews, and medical practices are no exception. You might learn a few things that can take your practice’s marketing to the next level.
As a medical practice, these are some of the questions you should aim to answer with your competitor research.
1. How effective is their content?
Beyond the basics like office information, a list of specialties, and physician bios, medical practice websites should have content that explains how the practice can help patients. Website content should show off a practice’s expertise and put patients at ease. The content should also explain the practice’s specialties in a way that a patient could easily understand.
If your competitor’s website outranks yours in search results, it’s highly likely that they have more of this type of content than you do. Your competitor’s content may not even be very good, but if their website has more content than yours, they may still outrank you.
Take a look at your competitors’ content, and see if you can improve upon what they’re doing. You might even find a few content ideas that you hadn’t thought of. Just remember, when writing your own website content, make sure it’s original and unique to your practice. You want to make your practice stand out, rather than look like a carbon copy of your competitors.
2. What do their reviews look like?
Review sites like Healthgrades, RateMDs, Vitals, and many more are showing up in search results for medical practices. For this reason, we strongly encourage practices to be proactive about their reviews and be aware of what patients are saying. It can also be helpful to learn what patients are saying about your competitors.
Star ratings are important with online reviews, since the overall rating is usually the first thing patients see. However, you can also learn a lot about your competitors by reading the written comments on your competitors’ reviews. These comments can show you what your competitors are doing well, and what they aren’t doing well. You can then use that information to improve your practice’s operations and marketing.
For example, if patients frequently complain about your competitor’s office staff, it could be a chance for your practice to shine. If you know that patients love your office staff, you can emphasize that fact on your website and other marketing materials. Likewise, if patients are praising your competitor for their state-of-the-art facility, you might want to look at ways to modernize your own practice.
3. How do they interact with patients?
Online reviews can give you a glimpse into your competitors’ interactions with patients, but there are other things you should look at, as well. Do your competitors interact with patients on social media? Do they host community events or produce newsletters for patients? Practices that go above and beyond to help patients can have a great advantage over the competition.
If your competitors are doing more to communicate with patients, this is your chance to improve your practice’s interactions with patients. What can you do to foster better communication with patients? If you are uncertain about what kinds of communication your patients might want, you can add a survey to your intake forms. You can then use that information to communicate with patients in the ways they requested.
4. What does their website look like?
For potential new patients, your website is one of the first things they see when searching for your practice online. It is essentially the “first impression” patients get of your practice online.
Take a look at your competitors’ sites. Are they making a good first impression? Is the design modern and uncluttered? Is it easy to navigate? Does it work well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers? How does your website look in comparison?
Whether your competitors’ websites are well-designed or not, having a modern website for your practice is something that can help you make the right impression with potential patients. If your competitors don’t have modern websites, it might even put you at an advantage, both in terms of search engine ranking and garnering new patients.
5. If they are on social media, what are they posting?
Many smaller medical practices do not engage in social media, but it’s worth taking a look to see if your competitors maintain any social media pages. If your competitors are on social media, it can give you some insight into how they communicate with patients and what sorts of messages get the most response. You can then use that information to improve your own marketing strategies.
Even if your practice isn’t on social media, you may be able to use the information you find to create content for your website, or your newsletter or blog (if your practice creates that type of content). For example, if patients respond well to your competitor’s Facebook posts about sports injury prevention, you can create content about that to add to your website.
Competitor reviews let you know how your practice is doing in your local market. A thorough review can identify areas where your marketing strategy is successful, as well as potential areas that need improvement. Focusing on your own marketing strategy should be your top priority, but you can learn a lot from your competitors, as well.