What is it? How can you increase it? Digital credibility is essential in building new relationships with patients online.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. No truer words have been spoken related to building a relationship with a potential patient online and you digital credibility.
The days of patients solely choosing a service provider by finding them in a directory and choosing by geography are pretty much over. Nine of 10 or 90% of patients use online research and content to decide which doctor is best for them.
15 seconds to grab them
Most visitors leave a website within the first 15-30 seconds. Therefore, it is extremely critical to “say and do” all the right things in text, images and videos (all your digital content) to “convince” potential patients to give you a chance to solve their health issues. You have a very short period of time to prove you are worthy of a click to learn more and book an appointment at your practice.
This is called “digital credibility.” It is the belief that you are trustworthy and have the expertise needed to provide excellent care. Credibility is earned solely by potential patients reading digital content related to your name or practice.
What factors affect digital credibility?
Digital credibility is not determined by one item. It is a mixture of various types of digital content including, but not limited to:
- Search results rankings and preview text;
- Social media profiles, post frequency and content quality;
- Website aesthetics and content quality;
- Clinician bio, education, expertise, experience, certifications, etc.;
- Patient stories and case studies;
- Review site profiles and reviews;
- Percentage of positive reviews of total reviews.
The higher your digital credibility is scored, the higher your chances of attracting a new patient. Your digital credibility begins the first time they see your name. The most common ways online derive from a search results page, ad or social media post.
Did you know 75% of people do not scroll past the first page of search results? If you are not on the first page for crucial keywords related to your name or services, you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage.
Once the potential patient is engaged with the content, it must exude knowledge, expertise and trust.
What’s your credibility score?
Now that you have a better understanding of digital credibility, let’s take a quick test (shortened version) to see how you score.
For every “yes” answer, give yourself the corresponding points. Take note of the point variations for each question. You score zero for “no” answers:
- Google search your name. Does your website appear in the top 5 results? 2 points. 5 points if ranked #1.
- Google search your practice name. Does your website appear in the top 5 results? 2 points. 5 points if ranked #1.
- Google search “chiropractors in your location/city.” Does your website appear in the top 5 results? 2 points. 5 points if ranked #1.
- Do you have over 100 reviews online? 2 points. 5 points if over 200.
- Are 90% of your reviews 4 or 5 stars? 5 points.
- Do you have more than 20 patient stories/case studies on your site? 5 points. 1 point for each additional 10.
- Do you have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter profile? 2 points for each one.
- Do you post on all your social media accounts 2-3 times a week? 2 points.
- Do you have a blog on your site? 3 points.
- Do you post on your blog at least once a month? 3 points.
Add up the total points. How did you score?
44+ Excellent — You are a digital credibility rock star. If potential patients see you online, it is highly likely to lead to an appointment.
35-43 Good — Great foundation, but you still have room for improvement. You have a pretty decent chance of getting an appointment.
26-34 Fair — Your digital credibility is average and needs a bit of work. You have a 50/50 chance of getting an appointment.
15-25 Poor — This is not good. Your digital credibility needs some serious attention.
>14 No Credibility All hands on deck!!! Call in an expert.
This short test does not factor in the trust and expertise keywords/concepts that should appear in all your content. That is a little more complex to analyze and score from a simple yes/no questionnaire.
Tips to increase your digital credibility
- Increase your search engine rankings. This is something that takes knowledge, time and effort. Using best practices could take over six months to see substantial results, but it is worth the commitment for future growth. You might want to consider consulting with an expert that can analyze your current rankings and put a game plan together to optimize.
- Dedicate time to pursue positive reviews from patients. Ask them how their experience was and how you can do better. If they are happy and satisfied, ask them for a review and help guide them on how to post. Creating a handout for this works best.
- Identify the patients you have impacted the most or who have compelling stories. Ask them if it would be OK to write a patient story to post on your site and social media. The story will help potential patients relate to real-life scenarios where treatment resulted in a positive outcome.
- If you are not on social media, sign up for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Post often (minimum twice a week). Make sure to link the social media profiles to your website. Ask your patients to follow you. Active and engaged social media accounts associated with your website help increase search rankings.
Tend to your digital credibility garden
Digital credibility is an essential factor in building new relationships with patients online. And once achieved, it is not something that should be overlooked. It is like a garden that needs to be tended to be fruitful. Continually monitor your rankings, content and reputation online.
Remember, you never get a second chance at a first impression. Make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise. It will naturally lead to a sense of trust, which is a big component of your digital credibility.
JAY RESIO, a Pittsburgh-based marketing and technology entrepreneur, founded SpineNation (digital health for back, neck and spine) due to his back-pain journey. He had two degenerative discs, which led to herniating the same disc (L4-5) four times over five years, resulting in five surgeries in six years, with two of them artificial disc replacements (L3-4, L4-5). Learn more about the Spine Nation community at spinenation.com.