What Web Marketing Can Do For Your Practice

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By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor

   Type “DPM” or “podiatrist” into an Internet search engine and name after name of established practitioners will come up, leading to Web sites which may have established in order to market their practices. Many podiatrists have been building Web sites to supplement the traditional methods of reaching patients and facilitate the ability of potential patients to reach them.    A Web site can be a useful tool to communicate with one’s patients, expedite office procedures, detail practical office information and help build a patient base. However, DPMs may have many questions when venturing into the Web world. Which information is effective in marketing a site? What should be avoided? Who can help build a site? How much will it cost?    While DPMs have had varying experiences with this, a good Web site can potentially boost the patient base of your practice. About five years ago, Joshua Kaye, DPM, of Los Angeles, designed and wrote his site himself, and hired a graphic artist for graphics, but handled his own SEO services. He optimized his site for the search engines so the site is ranked very high in both Google and Yahoo searches.     “Patients react very favorably and I get several new patients from it every week,” says Dr. Kaye, a Diplomate of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. He also uses it as a resource for his existing patients, who use the site for information on a variety of foot problems.    While Vincent Coda, DPM, says patients have reacted “very well” to the site, it has not made a big difference in the number of new patients he sees. His Web site, which costs him a few hundred dollars a year, is colorful and includes office locations and his bio. While the site has not had an impact on his referrals, Dr. Coda, who practices in Kendallville, Ind., says having the site “is more being in the mainstream of today’s podiatry.”    Practice Web sites are the wave of the future, according to Officite President Glenn Lombardi, who notes patients have increasingly begun to leave behind their local Yellow Page directories and turn to search engines like Google and Yahoo to search for local podiatrists. The Internet is also the number one tool patients turn to for research on healthcare information, according to Lombardi.    That said, more sites may lead to perhaps too many choices on the Internet. Stuart J. Mogul, DPM, has written a book and appeared in the media in recent years. People who have seen him or read about him in the media can look up his site through www.Google.com. While the site has been useful in that respect, Dr. Mogul doesn’t feel the site has had a great impact in bringing new patients to his office.     “I guess there are so many podiatry Web sites out there that no site is going to stand out, and standing out is so important in any marketing strategy,” says Dr. Mogul, who launched his Web site in 1998.

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