Can we agree that it helps your practice if your patients can always find your practice’s accurate name, address, and phone number? If we can, then you’ll agree that publishing them accurately in online directories should be prioritized in your healthcare marketing.
Forget for a minute that we live in a digital world. Making sure your patients can find you has ALWAYS mattered. It sounds so obvious that we take it for granted.
Now, go back far enough in time, and there used to be only one place to go to find any business’ contact information.
The best part? Nothing’s easier than having only one place to look. It’s easy for our customers. It’s easy for us.
If the phone company made a mistake, it hurt. It happened to my father. He owned a pharmacy for almost 50 years. As I was writing this blog I asked him if they ever made a mistake. “Oh hell yeah they did! In my first year of business they got 2 digits of my phone number wrong.” He told me his correct phone number and the 2 digits they got wrong. That was 49 years ago! He talked about it like it was yesterday. “And dad, did the phone company offer you anything for their mistake?” “No!”
You know the worst part? How often do you think the phone company re-printed the phone book? Yup, once a year. My father had to deal with that for a full year. His first year in business.
What we all want for our business today is the same – accurate contact info. What’s the big deal difference about today? Take a look at this:
Each icon represents a website that is either a dedicated online directory or can publish our contact info like directories do. There’s over 100 of them in this picture. I made the icons small on purpose. I want you to grasp how many of them there are out there. There are more. Each directory will gladly publish your contact info whether you put it there or not. What they don’t do is make sure it’s accurate. That’s your job.
Your contact info also needs to be identical everywhere you publish it. Sounds obvious, right? What happens if your contact info isn’t identical everywhere you publish it? Let’s look at an example:
Here we see a snapshot of 3 different directories, each listing the contact info for Smiles of Skokie, a general and cosmetic dentist practice in Skokie, IL. The ChamberofCommerce.com listing is accurate. Yellowpagecity.com shows the wrong phone number. UScity.net doesn’t show anything.
Accuracy matters to potential patients. Anyone who finds Smiles of Skokie in YellowPageCity.com will call the wrong place. After they figure that out, will they keep looking for Smiles of Skokie? Maybe. Maybe not. That dentist might still get the phone call, but might not.
Accuracy also matters to search engines. People might not look in Yellowpagecity.com for a dentist, but search engines do. They look everywhere! They compare contact info in every directory it’s listed. Whenever they see a difference they get a little worried. More differences? More worries. What are they worried about? They’re worried that you’re not so serious about your practice. They wonder if that’s your phone number, or if that’s your location (for address differences). After all, owners that are serious about their practice keep their basic contact info up to date, don’t they?
Why do they worry about differences? The reason a search engine exists at all is to give us the best, most accurate search results when we use them to search for something. We are happy people when we get good search results the first time. We’ll keep coming back to that search engine for more searches. That’s what they want. They’re competing with other search engines for our searches.
If a search engine isn’t sure where you’re located or what your phone number is, then it will show you in a search result a little lower than your competitors with fewer differences. The less sure the search engine is, the lower you’ll show.
If you’re considering adding this to your healthcare marketing, here’s what you need:
At MarketVisory Group we offer the Knowledge Manager Professional service to help you implement managing accurate and identical contact info into your healthcare marketing. There’s a one-time set up process. You pay monthly. Once the system is set up it runs in the background.
If you want to get the ball rolling, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll run a scan for you. The scan looks at 67 directories that, combined, are those that search engines respect highly. We’ll send you the scan and call you to go over the results. Takes about 10 minutes. Then, you can see if it makes sense for you to implement our system.
Overall, whether we work together, you use someone else, or you try to do it yourself, make sure that you follow these guidelines when managing your contact information online.