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One of the most important ways you can help your clinic stand out online is to create a free listing on Google Maps. Not only will this ensure your business location appears on the map for local searches, but also that your patients have an easier time contacting you or finding out more information about your practice.
Conversely, if your practice is not on Google Maps, your patients may wonder why they can’t find you there. Luckily, it’s easy to create a listing, and you can even include your business hours, phone number, and more.
Whether you’re opening a new practice or have been around for years, make sure your practice is on the map. And, if you have multiple locations, go ahead and get them all added.
What is Google Maps?
Google Maps is the name of the feature that pops up when people search for a business in a localised area. At its root, it’s intended to provide relevant results for someone’s search.
For example, if you enter ‘physiotherapist’ into the search bar on Google, you’ll see that there are over 100 million results! But, rather than display the most popular pages for ‘physiotherapy’ in the entire world, Google will show results for nearby businesses offering physiotherapy services. That’s more likely to provide the answers that someone is searching for.
A Google Map listing not only contains the locations of businesses related to a search, but can also include the following information:
- Hours of operation and whether or not the business is currently open
- Type of service offered
- Customer rating
- Phone number Directions
- Link to website
Google Maps loads at the top of the search results page on both desktops and mobile devices, which is handy when you’re on the go. It means you can easily find your destination But, before you can start taking advantage of all these free benefits, you first have to ‘claim your business’.
How do I claim my business on Google Maps?
If you run an established clinic, you may find Google Maps already has a listing for your business. But that doesn’t guarantee that all your relevant information will be included— worse still, some details may be outdated or incorrect. If this happens to you, don’t panic. You’ll be able to fix these details once you have claimed the listing as your own. Just follow these steps:
First, search your business on Google Maps. Click on the name of your business or the red pin showing its location on the map. This will toggle to more information about your clinic, with an option to ‘Claim this business’.
Once you click the link, a new window will open that prompts you to login to your Google account. If you do not have one, now is the time to create one.
Google will give you a few ways to verify your ownership depending on the information that’s already associated with the business.
These options include:
- Verify by phone: Google will call the number in your listing and ask you to enter a code they have provided.
- Verify by postcard: Google will mail your code to your listing’s address.
- Verify by email: Yep, you guessed it, the verification code will be emailed to you.
- Verify by Google Search Console: This lets you claim your business without needing a security code. To be eligible, you need to have your business registered to the same email address as your console account.
How do I create a new business on Google Maps?
If your practice is new or simply not showing on the map, enter your address into Google Maps and click on where your practice should appear on the map.
This will toggle a panel with an option for you to ‘Add your business’. Once you click the link, you will be prompted to enter details about your business, including the name, industry category, and whether customers can visit your location in person.
Once you’ve entered all your initial details, you’ll be prompted to use Google My Business and add more information about your practice. This is important, because it’s also where you’ll be able to edit your business details on an on-going basis.
What is Google My Business?
Cliniko made a post in 2011 about the importance of Google+, Google’s social media platform, way back when it first launched. Since then, Google+ has been replaced by a new platform called Google My Business (GMB).
GMB is like a phone directory for the 21st century. You can customise your listing with all your relevant details, including photos, special offers and more. Think of it like a micro-website that can be accessed whenever someone looks up your address or business name on Google. Plus, the viewer can access all this information without having to visit your website or follow any additional links.
Completing your GMB profile is a crucial step toward making your practice easy to find online. It may be tempting to just get your address and phone number on there and call it a day, but don’t cut any corners. Every detail you add to your profile is another way of ‘optimising’ your business so it’s more likely to show up for relevant searches. Plus, the more information you include, the more your new patients will know what to expect when they arrive.
The more often your clinic appears in relevant search results, the more people in your community will find out about you. At a minimum, make sure your GMB profile includes:
- Business name
- Photos & Videos
- Contact info
- A brief explanation of what you do
- Hours of Business
Just like your main website, your GMB listing can be optimised with keywords, like the names of services you offer. Make sure to regularly update your GMB account with any new contact information so it’s easy for patients to get in touch with you.
What else can I do to make sure it’s easy for potential clients to find my clinic online?
Google isn’t the only search engine. Microsoft’s Bing also has a similar map feature known as Bing Places for Business. Even though Bing has fewer searches than Google (12.8% of all desktop searches vs Google’s 73.34% as of the start of the year), it’s still important because it powers searches made on web browsers like Ecosia and various voice search services. Don’t ignore it.
Another option for Google is to get citations on other sites. A citation is a listing of your practice name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP) in a local business directory that Google may use to reference the accuracy of its own listings. You can use sites like BrightLocal or MozLocal, depending on where your clinic is based, to distribute your NAP across the web in reputable business directories. If you run an established business, you’ll need to ensure that your NAP information is correct wherever it’s published. Even listings on review sites like Yelp count towards 'proving' your business is where you say it is and can help make it easier for patients to find you online. A reasonable goal is to get one new citation per month.
With your map listing live, there’s even more you can do to get your business on the top of Google’s results page. Keep an eye on our blog for more tips that can help more patients find you online.
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