Pine Belt Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, which has five locations throughout Mississippi, opened in November 2014. It is a new healthcare provider organization.
Pine Belt did not have a quality website built for the practice, and initially went out only looking for a solution to that problem.
“But we also knew we needed a strong web presence because we were competing against a local medical conglomerate that had been in business in the area since the 1950s,” said H. Chase Dickson, marketing director and OIG compliance officer at Pine Belt Dermatology. “This presented a serious problem since we were a standalone practice at the time, not affiliated with any of the service area’s hospital systems.”
Initially, Pine Belt Dermatology was just trying to establish a web presence so patients could find it on Google.
When the practice opened in 2014, patients already were accustomed to researching a specialist in their area, reading about the diseases they treat, checking out other patient testimonials, and then making their decision on who to schedule an appointment with. The vendor Pine Belt turned to for a solution, PatientPop, focused on all of these things for physician practices.
There are a variety of companies on the market today providing healthcare marketing software. Some of these companies include Act-On Software, Clarity Quest Marketing, docero, Marketo, MD Connect and PatientGain.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
As marketing manager, Dickson had a grasp on the importance of establishing a strong online presence so that the practice could be better positioned to remain competitive against the local conglomerates.
“There is a lot of bad information out there with regard to how you can enhance your SEO, so it is important to make sure you have access to quality information.”
H. Chase Dickson, Pine Belt Dermatology
“My first move when I took over marketing was to work with PatientPop to give the website a facelift and begin refreshing the SEO content, and getting regular blogs posted so that each month we had new content available,” he said. “My background is in sales and healthcare management, and while I had read a few books on the importance of SEO and online brand awareness, I was by no means an expert.”
PatientPop’s account reps helped educate Dickson further on tools he could use to help bolster the practice’s Google ranking even more and make sure everything was done correctly.
During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the practice realized 40 percent growth in patient volume and 32 percent growth in gross revenue.
“I was aggressive with the marketing during our first year using a multitude of mediums to tell our story; however, all those efforts would not have fully come to fruition had we not established a healthy online presence through PatientPop,” Dickson explained.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
“First, there is a lot of bad information out there with regard to how you can enhance your SEO, so it is important to make sure you have access to quality information,” Dickson advised. “Second, marketing is all about telling your practice’s story in a way that catches people’s attention, and the increasing usage of technology by your patients means that you do not have to work so hard to tell your story anymore.”
The old adage “work smarter, not harder” really applies here to a practice’s use of SEO and marketing and to patients’ use of technology, he added. If one surrounds themselves with a knowledgeable team, they will spend less time stressing over their ROI on the latest marketing project, he said.
“No matter how much marketing you do, patients today will still research your practice before making the call,” he said. “It is just ingrained in our way of making decisions now. Traditional marketing is still every bit as important, but if you do not use technology to maintain a healthy web presence you are letting patients go down the street to your competitor, who may provide lower quality care.”
In the past, Dickson concluded, marketing content would drive patients to a practice’s doors; but what marketing now does is drive patients to a practice’s website and then to a practice’s doors.
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