Why the Most Successful Practices Meet Their Patients Online

Why the Most Successful Practices Meet Their Patients Online

1024 683 Kelcy Heringer

To help you find new ways to grow your patient base, consider this: 95% of patients expect you to engage online.1

Whether you’re a full-time marketer or a multitasking practice staff member, finding new patients starts with meeting them on the web. After all, when was the last time you bought something based on a billboard or researched options using the Yellow Pages? So to reach today’s aesthetic consumers, focus your marketing efforts with these 3 things in mind.

1. Large or small screen, digital is the medium that fits best

From laptop monitors to smartphone screens, potential patients are always online. And you need to meet them there, if you want to grow your patient base.

Among U.S. adults, internet users more than double the number of magazine readers.2

That’s 86% for internet users, compared to just 40% for magazine readers and 48% for newspaper readers.

52% of U.S. smartphone users gather health information on their phone.3

In this day and age, any time is a good time to research breast augmentation or non-surgical fat reduction treatments.

Consumers average more than 4 hours a day on their mobile phone.2

Mobile matters, whether we’re texting, requesting an on-demand ride, or researching purchases—small or big.

Consumers average about 2 hours each day on social media.4

And that’s only counting YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

2. The customer journey starts (and stays) online

Even patients referred via word-of-mouth will still go online to research you and your practice. And that research often starts with algorithms and big data.

There are about 5.5 billion Google searches each day.5

Consumers demand, not just expect, instant gratification when it comes to what they want to know.

Search engines are the starting place for nearly 80% of online health inquiries.6

Like it or not, when people have health or medical questions, they usually get their answers from “Dr. Google.”

Where do consumers look online for health or medical information?


64% of people trust search engines, compared to just 57% for traditional media.7

And trust in online information sources is on the rise, while trust in sources like TV or newspapers is trending down.

Projections estimate $205 billion spent in internet advertising for 2017.8

That’s even more than for television advertising. Businesses, even those traditionally reliant on word-of-mouth referrals, know they now need to reach consumers online.

3. There’s nothing so loud as the voice of the crowd

Managing your reputation online, such as through reviews or before & after photos, is a must for driving new business.

“A person like you” is as trusted as an academic or technical expert.8

60% of people equally weight the opinion of a peer and the opinion of a trained expert.

“The internet has increased word-of-mouth communication so that the reputation of potentially every medical practice is on display for anyone to see.”9

From a 2017 study by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery (The Journal of the American Medical Association).

86% of aesthetic consumers are unlikely to contact a provider without reviews.1

The review on reviews is in: they’re essential for turning “lookers” into “bookers.”

How likely would you be to contact a doctor with no online reviews?


In conclusion

Online is where your potential patients want you to be. And it’s where your competitors are, too. Are you? Because the numbers don’t lie: For any practices not focused on digital marketing to attract new patients, business growth should be a very big concern indeed.



(1) RealSelf survey data, 2017.

(2) emarketer, Top 5 Stats to Know About US Mobile Usage.

(3) Pew Research Center, Mobile Health 2012.

(4) Mediakix, How Much Time Do People Spend On Social Media?

(5) Search Engine Land, Google now handles at least 2 trillion searches per year.

(6) Pew Research Center, Health Online 2013.

(7) 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer.

(8) Zenith, Internet advertising expenditure to exceed US$200bn this year.

(9) JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, Negative and Positive Online Patient Reviews of Physicians—1 vs 5 Stars.

(10) Think With Google, How Mobile Has Redefined the Consumer Decision Journey for Shoppers.

Kelcy Heringer

Since 2015, Kelcy Heringer has overseen marketing at RealSelf, the world’s most popular aesthetic treatment website. As Vice President of Marketing, Kelcy guides the strategies that attract and engage the active community of aesthetic providers on RealSelf. Prior to joining RealSelf, Kelcy’s 10 years of experience include medical marketing at Allergan, as well as marketing and product management at Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

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