When I was younger, I lived in a small Midwestern city, right around the corner from a neighborhood OB/GYN practice. On the front door of the practice, there was a sign that read, “Deliveries in Rear.” I’m pretty sure that sign was for the UPS driver, but it certainly seemed confusing to me.

Today, no matter where you practice, it’s likely your patients are first going to encounter you on the internet. The internet is the real front door of your practice. So it makes sense to make sure the signs you’re putting out there are having the influence you want them to have.

One sure sign you’re not looking out for your patients: a website that’s ugly or difficult to use on a mobile phone. Chances are more people use smartphones than desktop or notebook computers to visit your site, yet most hospital and physician practice websites still look as if they were designed for desktop first. If it’s difficult to research your practice or connect with you from my primary internet device, I’m probably going to look elsewhere.

Plastering your front door with all sorts of sales pitches is another way to turn potential patients into non-patients. People come to your website of their own volition, looking for specific information—not pop-ups pitching promises to stay in touch. Give them smart stuff and help them find it—then you can give them a chance to sign up for your e-newsletter or follow you on Facebook.

Speaking of smart stuff: If you’re not producing original content that’s easy to engage with and shareable on social media, you’re missing your best opportunity to connect with patients. There’s simply no better way to establish authority and promote trust than to give people the benefit of your expertise. And these days, not producing original content is like putting no sign on your front door at all.

Because patients are going to seek you out online. They’re going to find out about you before they call you. They’re going to look at physician ranking sites. They’re going to look at your website and your social media presence.

And they’re going to make decisions about whether or not they want to see you based on what they find there. It’s up to you to make a good impression.

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Photo by Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Want more advice about marketing your healthcare practice? Download Going Viral: Secrets of Healthcare Content Marketing.