Plastic surgeons rely on their reputation for taking care of their patients and providing excellent results. But that reputation can’t be only offline. You also need to build a strong online presence.
People now search for plastic surgeons on Google and on social media. They take into account what other people think and how you represent your business online. They also write reviews, offering others the opportunity to see what your practice is like through their eyes.
Perhaps there was a point in time where you could simply let that happen without engaging with people online or doing all you can to build your online presence. But that’s certainly no longer the case.
Now you must be online and fully present, because if you aren’t, your competitors certainly are, and you don’t want them to run away with your potential clients.
But what is an online presence, why does it matter, and how can you build something really special that attracts your ideal patients? Read our online presence guide for plastic surgeons to see how you can build your reputation and attract the right people to your practice.
What is your online presence?
Your online presence does indeed begin with you. Your online presence forms from everything you say and do as a business online, from the content you produce, from where and how you post and from what sort of impression you create.
You see, your online presence isn’t just about you. It’s about how you look online to the search engines, where you appear in the SERPS, and how you manage different algorithms for every platform.
Not only that, but it has to be about how the general public sees your practice, what they think about you, what they say about you, how good your reviews are, and whether or not (and how much) people engage with you.
Obviously, that’s far more than simply creating a website and popping up the occasional social media post.
You have to do your best to actively create your online presence and manage your reputation.
That is a lot of work, in addition to running a busy plastic surgery practice, but it can be done and it is worth the effort when you have a superb online and offline reputation, and you have potential patients seeking you out because they’ve heard such good things.
Benefits of having an online presence
Every business wants to develop a 5-star reputation and an impressive online presence, but it’s even more important for businesses such as plastic surgeons, where what you do can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Your online presence needs to reflect that and show your high levels of patient care and expertise and it is possible for you to create that impression online.
In addition, here are just some of the other benefits of having a well-established online presence:
1. Get discovered more easily
Obviously, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a plastic surgeon) to figure out that the more places you appear online, the more easily your business can be discovered.
As you build your business presence on your website, social media, business directories, and more, you add more and more places where people can find out information about your practice and what services you offer.
It’s then far more likely that you’ll gain quality potential leads to guide through your sales funnel.
2. Be seen as a legitimate business
The more you establish yourself online, with consistent, accurate listings, high numbers of quality reviews, exceptional educational content, and an engaged community, the more you look and feel like a genuine and legitimate business to anyone who has discovered you for the very first time.
No one will risk either their body or their money with a plastic surgeon with no online reputation and very little online presence, and the more you build who you are online and establish a fantastic reputation, the more you can build trust and attract new patients.
3. Promote your business around the clock
You can promote your business at any time, even when you’re asleep or on vacation. It’s possible to set up and schedule promotions, posts, and paid ads to run and help you build your brand and sell your services, often on autopilot, with some tweaks to optimize and improve.
Backed up by a building online presence, any promotion and marketing you do will be far more effective.
4. Save money while attracting new customers
If your online reputation is well-established and you’ve created the right impression online, you can save money when trying to attract new leads, because what you’ve already built will speak for you, so you don’t have to.
Once you’re at this stage, you can find you spend less on marketing and it gets easier because you’ve already done the hard work of pushing the boulder uphill and now you’re well-known and on the downward slope.
5. Earn Google’s trust
As you add your business to more online business directories with consistent information, and you claim and optimize your Google Business Profile, you can add to all the effort you are putting in with content marketing and social media and earn Google’s trust. The more of a consistent online presence you have, the more Google will be convinced that you own a real business that has a great online reputation and that they can safely include you in the search results and provide your expert content to searchers.
6. Nurture customer relationships
With a great social media presence and a well-put-together website and marketing funnel, it’s far easier to nurture customer relationships and guide them through your sales funnel to the point of making an appointment with you for a consultation.
You can impress potential clients with your educational content, answering questions, providing reassurance, and helping people with what to expect. You can show what it’s like to visit your practice and to have treatment.
All of these things help to nurture patient relationships and move them further along your sales funnel.
5 areas to work on to increase your online presence
No doubt you can see now how much is involved in building your online presence, but we will help you below with what to focus on to get the best results. And we will also show you how Surefire Local can take a great deal of the work from you and help you market your practice and build your online presence:
It’s vital nowadays that you have a modern, highly attractive website that reflects your business and your brand. This is your home online and it needs to impress and provide quality content that answers people’s questions.
Your site also needs to work beautifully on any device, including mobile, and be easy to navigate so everyone can find what they need quickly and easily.
It’s also important that you provide a clear call to action and guide people to the next step you want them to take.
You will need to optimize your website with SEO best practices, including performing keyword research to find out what your main keywords should be, and what local, related, and long tail keywords you can also use to boost your search engine presence and get found by your patients.
You’ll need to include your keywords in your meta titles and descriptions, use your main keyword in your headings and in at least one subheading, and you’ll want to include your keywords naturally throughout your page copy while ensuring that your content reads well and doesn’t sound unnatural.
Publishing blog posts and quality images to your website can also help with SEO. You should include your keywords in your blog posts too, and add keywords to your image descriptions.
High-quality images also give an insight into your clinic before people visit and add to an impression of quality and professionalism.
2. Social Media Profiles
You can’t easily be on every social media platform, so it’s important to choose the ones where your potential clients are and focus your attention on building an excellent presence and a community on those platforms.
What’s really important with social media is consistency. You need to post regularly, and you also need to respond to comments and answer questions promptly. Your social platforms are of no use for marketing if you don’t post for weeks and then just post a sales post. You have to be there and be active and engaged.
That doesn’t mean you have to be online constantly. You can plan your content and social posts ahead and even schedule them to post at the best times of day for your audience. But you do need to plan in some time to respond and engage with your followers.
It’s also important to post what your audience wants to see. You can still post “sales” posts where you talk about what you offer and what results you have achieved for other people (bearing HIPAA in mind, of course), but you should focus most of your content on helping your audience.
That means providing educational content, showing people what treatments can do, providing answers to questions, either written or on live video. It also means finding out what content formats your audience prefers. Do they like long posts, quick tips, recorded video, Q&A sessions, infographics? What will please them and satisfy them the most while showing them what an expert you are in your field?
As you do all that, though, it’s important to be authentically you and to reflect your business values and the care you have for your patients. People are very quick to spot a fake and they might not know quite why you aren’t being genuine or what makes them think that, but they will feel uncomfortable with you at some level if you aren’t authentic when you post.
Let people get to know you and why you want to help. It really does add to your online reputation and the impression you create.
We’ve talked about SEO for your website, but don’t forget your keywords and SEO best practices when you post online. With consistently posted, well-keyworded social content, you can add to your overall SEO efforts and get found more easily online.
3. Directory Listings
To really establish your online presence, you need to claim your business on the biggest and most important directory platforms, including your Google Business Profile (GBP), Yelp, Facebook, and Bing.
Every time you fill in a new directory listing with your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number), Google counts that as a citation to add to the information about you online. The more consistently written citations you have, the more Google can trust that your information is accurate and that you are running a genuine business. This allows them to feel comfortable moving your content up the search results.
However, the keyword here is “consistency.” Every time you include your NAP in a listing, it must be written in the exact same way every time. People need to be able to confirm that they have the right information for your business and even small difference, such as including the area code only sometimes, can have people doubting whether you are the same business. Google will also doubt this and can ding your listings in the search results, so take care here.
One excellent feature of directory listings is that people can leave reviews for you, and you can respond. More than that, you should respond. Potential patients want to see not only what people have to say about you, but also how you interact with your current and previous customers. This gives them an insight into what it’s like to attend your practice.
You do need to proactively and consistently request new reviews to negate any 1-stars that may be posted and to show people current and active reviews, not old reviews from months ago.
You will need to optimize and fully complete every part of your directory listings, especially your GBP, and it’s equally important to monitor and maintain your listings for consistency and to respond to questions and new reviews. You can also use your directory listings like an extension of your website, and add posts, special offers, news, and more – all to create that excellent impression for anyone that’s never come across your company before.
4. Online Advertising
When you first start building your online presence, your website may not be visible on the first page of the search results, and you may want to aim for instant visibility by using paid ads to get in front of your ideal customers. Paid ads are also very helpful for introducing new products or services.
Here are some of the possible ads you could place:
Otherwise known as pay-per-click ads, these ads are the sponsored ones you can see at the top of the search results. They can be highly effective and you can target them to certain demographics, locations, and more, to reach people in your local area. You also only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so you can advertise without overspending.
Social ads appear on social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms. Again, you can target demographics, and particular audiences in your local area to reach your ideal customers. You can also set your budget and other options to get the right results.
With display ads, you can target people via apps they’ve used, post ads on relevant websites with a likely similar audience, and more. These ads are also highly visual and attention-getting to entice your potential patients to click through to your targeted landing page.
Follow people who have visited your site but have not taken any action with retargeting or remarketing ads. You can send ads when people browse social media platforms and when they visit relevant websites, all with the idea of enticing them back to your site to think again.
(Bonus) 5. Email marketing
While email marketing doesn’t affect your local search rankings and ability to be found on Google, it does affect how well your business is able to remind top of mind to new customers. Email marketing is highly effective. You can directly target people with personalized content right in their inbox.
Not only that, but you own your email list and you can build your business on that, even if every other part of your marketing stopped working tomorrow. As long as you have your list, you have a way to reach your patients.
However, you do have to bear HIPAA in mind when emailing and watch what you say. In many states, you also can’t email people without permission and there are fines if you do, so ensure you’ve built your list on people who have opted in to your mailings.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
We’ve gone through every part of building your online presence and, as you can see, it is a lot of work. It’s an ongoing process that you need to keep up and maintain, not a one-and-done shot.
We also promised you that we’d tell you how Surefire Local can help take some of the work off your shoulders and here’s how we can do that.
We offer professional business intelligence marketing software at a fraction of the cost of other tools or agencies. This marketing platform allows you to manage your most important online marketing activities all within just one platform.
You can create content, jot down ideas, and schedule posts. You can request reviews, follow up if they don’t respond, and respond to your reviews right from our dashboard. You can automate your social media posts, and manage your email marketing and your paid ads. In fact, you can monitor, update, and measure every part of your online presence without needing any other software.
You can also get detailed analytics and reports to give you an overview of your marketing and your online presence, including a word cloud showing the most used words when people are talking about your surgery.
Everything is laid out for you to continually update and improve your online presence and your reputation and bring in quality leads to your plastic surgery practice.
Why not book a demo today and let us walk you through how we can make building your online presence so much easier?