The Consumer Voice: Searching for a Local Medical Practitioner
Medical practitioners are just like any other local business owner. Even though they may not be luring new customers in the door with a great sale or promotion like a retail business would, they face the same marketing challenge that pretty much all local business owners face: how to get found and chosen by consumers in an already crowded and oftentimes confusing marketspace.
Growing patient volume is not only a priority, but the key to keeping the doors of a medical office open. As a champion for every kind of local business imaginable, YP, The Real Yellow Pages® wanted to better understand what decision-making factors consumers take into account in their search for a local medical practitioner.
To shed some light on this, we asked a select group YP℠ users to respond to a quick survey (via Tech Validate) about their online and offline search habits when looking for medical services. Here’s what they had to say:
61 percent contacted a provider within 24 hours of conducting their search
70 percent contacted that provider via phone to make an appointment
34 percent searched both online and offline for this information
In a bit of a twist, though, in spite of the fact that the majority of people surveyed said they contacted a provider within 24 hours of their search, they also indicated that there was no urgency driving this action. Therefore, emergencies aren’t necessarily influencing these search behaviors. Quite to the contrary, it seems as though consumers are using their search journey to weigh their options and suss out which media practitioner is right for them. Even more of a reason why having a strong online presence for the long-term success of any local business.
Now, it may come as a surprise that 70 percent of the respondents said their first contact with a local medical practitioner to make an appointment was via phone because, as a lot of research has recently shown, more people are now opting to conduct communications and transactions online. So, why the high number here? Because many medical practitioners haven’t yet made it possible to schedule appointments online through their websites, essentially giving consumers no other option than to pick up the phone. However, we’ve seen that 42 percent of patients would prefer to schedule appoints online. It’s now time for medical practitioners to keep up or lose out to their more tech-savvy competitors.
Next, we wanted to know where patients were searching as well as what made them choose one medical practitioner over another.
A location that’s close and convenient is important, but that’s not all that matters. We saw that reviews and a robust business website make a big impact on decision-making as well. Prospective patients want to learn more about you, in your own words as well as in the words of the people you’ve helped. Your business website needs to help you achieve just that. And don’t underestimate the power of showing the more human side of your practice as well. When it comes to choosing the right medical practitioner, consumers oftentimes want to have more of a connection that makes them feel safe, secure, and comfortable.
Finally, we wanted to see how YP played into a consumer’s search for a medical practitioner. Here’s what we found:
70 percent used yellowpages.com in their search
48 percent found yellowpages.com more helpful than traditional search engines
46 percent found yellowpages.com more helpful than review sites
Obviously, we couldn’t be more pleased with these results. We’re happy to have helped so many people find the right local medical practitioner for them. It goes to show that having a strong business profile page – filled with pictures, videos, reviews, links to your website and social channels, and other pertinent information about your business, all in one place – really does make a difference in a consumer’s search.
If you’re ready to take your online presence to the next level, consider ypPresence Plus to help create a more robust and consistent online business profile that will be seen by more searchers across the web. Then, look to ypLocal Ads to help generate more qualified leads to your business. To learn more about our full suite of local marketing solutions, visit YP, the Real Yellow Pages today.