Online listings are the cornerstone of healthcare marketing initiatives in the wake of COVID-19. But search algorithms, listings platforms and consumer behavior are changing by the day as reopening begins.
Which local listings strategies will most effectively rebuild consumer trust and bring patients back to your providers?
In this webinar, Ben Fisher, a Google My Business Product Expert and founder of local SEO and social media marketing agency Steady Demand, joined Binary Fountain experts to cover the most important listings platforms and features to monitor as healthcare organizations look to resume services and attract patients to facilities.
Here are the key takeaways:
Google Searches for COVID-19 Information
The first piece of building trust with patients is making sure they have the correct information about when to arrive, where to go and what to bring. Before anything else, healthcare marketers should monitor and update their basic Google My Business attributes.
Phone numbers and hours are currently very important because consumers – especially healthcare consumers – are stressed and need accurate, fast information. GMB also launched COVID-19 Google Posts, in which you can fit a lot of information about what searchers can expect when coming to your facility. There are several types of new links that are valuable to healthcare organizations, including “virtual care” and “COVID-19 info.”
Google Q&A is not yet back online for healthcare providers, but that might change soon, so marketers should keep an eye on that section of their GMB profiles. With all listings updates, the panel recommends updating the information that directly impacts patient experience, so that patients know exactly what to expect if they book an appointment. You should also educate office staff so the information they offer patients is consistent with your listings.
Google Reviews and Patient Feedback
Google reviews and review responses were taken offline early during the COVID-19 outbreak, as Google looked to limit unverified, user-generated information, but they have started to return. You may or may not be notified when backlogged reviews begin displaying on GMB profiles, so monitoring them is key.
To manage and respond to the now-rising volume of reviews, Fisher recommends starting with recent reviews from the last two weeks before working through backlogged reviews. Keep in mind that high-quality responses have the power to convert negative reviews into positive ones, and readers of those responses will be more likely to trust your brand. Having recent reviews will be supremely important in the coming weeks, as consumers start returning to providers.
Now is also the time to add telemedicine questions to patient surveys, Cardell says. Measuring the virtual patient experience’s impact on your brand reputation will build valuable data as telehealth programs expand, and these specific questions will help your providers understand the patient experience differences between virtual and traditional visits.
Social Media and Other Listings
Many of the same principles apply to social media listings: “Keep consumers up to date, be responsive and be compassionate,” Fisher says.
At the same time, healthcare marketers should leverage the different strengths of different social media platforms. You might want to share more personal, humanized stories on Facebook and Instagram, but use Twitter for more newsy information, like local government or facility updates.
There are new COVID-19 features on healthcare-specific directories, as well, including telemedicine badges for physician profiles on CareDash and Healthgrades.
Every organization’s listings management strategy is different, but one major theme persists, according to the panel: If you are not communicating information that makes people feel safe, they’re not going to visit you. At this time, every consumer needs to feel as safe as possible, and online listings are your first opportunity to earn their trust.
For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar.
Read more about COVID-19’s impact on healthcare marketing and Google Search on our COVID-19 Resources page and in these articles:
- Google’s New ‘Page Experience’ Ranking Signal, Explained
- Tracking Coronavirus Search Trends on Google – May 2020
- The Numbers Behind Telemedicine: What Healthcare Marketers Should Know
- Google Adds Health Insurance Information Links to Business Profiles
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist