Young Ophthalmologists Addressed at AAO 2013

AAO 2013 New Orleans, LA, Young OphthalmologistsWe just returned from the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2013 in New Orleans, LA.  I had the privilege of participating in the Young Ophthalmologists program where a variety of professionals speak about various aspects of a young doctors’ career.

My message to the young ophthalmologists was understand the merits of  marketing, to engage patients digitally and to exhibit transparency.  The reason?  As AAO president Paul Sternberg, M.D. stressed….because we (ophthalmologists) must continue to adapt and understand the needs of our patients.

Understand Marketing vs. Advertising

Physicians must need to understand basic marketing.

Marketing is not advertising.  Marketing studies the needs and wants of your clients (patients) and provides a solution.

Modern patients want 3 things;

  1. Health information
  2. Doctors who engage digitally
  3. Doctors and Practices which display transparency

Health Information

More than 75% of Americans first venture to the web when looking for health information and looking for a doc.

Google ranks websites based upon the quality of the content of a website.

Doctors have a golden opportunity to provide quality health related content on their websites.  This content educates patients and is used as a fuel to gain high rankings…it’s a “win-win.”

Patients are looking for credible health related content and doctors get rewarded by getting their websites ranked.  Now the website becomes a powerful marketing tool to attract new patients!

Engage Digitally

Just as many offices offer convenience by having Saturday or evening hours, we must learn to understand the needs of our patients.  Patients expect to find fresh and relevant information on the web about their doctors.

There are different ways and levels to digitally engage patients.

At the very least, everyone should have a website.  If no website, your office basically doesn’t exist, even if the office location is across the street.

Doctors may choose to add content on their website.  “Content” would come in the form of articles which talk about health related issues.  Credible articles on health issues brings value to the website and the doctor.  With value, comes trust.

The most engaging types of websites are interactive blogs.  This is the most compelling type of website, has the best marketing potential and engages patients.  This public display of a “conversation” is the purest form of social media.

Personal Transparency

I often speak about the quest to find doctors who are people.  This may indeed be the modern “bedside” manner.  Through a well constructed web presence, a patient should be able to determine some basic elements about their doctors.

Memberships to elite organizations, diplomas from fancy schools, membership plaques, etc. usually adorn our office walls.  Unfortunately, these have little relevance to our patients.

Instead, young doctors must consider distinguishing themselves as who they are vs. what they are.  In my office and on my website, I often refer to my personal hobbies, interests and activities.  These personal attributes are much more relevant to any non-medical person.

Not to sure about sharing personal attributes?  Then consider sharing some of your practice philosophies.

Transparent Business

A medical practice is a small business.  Every small business, except for medical practices, operates transparently.

Review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s list are popular due to the relevance to the consumer.  Friendliness of staff, cleanliness of the office, ease of appointments, time spent with the doctor, etc. are all important factors when patients chose a doctor.

Every other business runs transparently.  Review sites for doctors are going to increase, not disappear.

Randall Wong, M.D.
Medical Marketing Enterprises, LLCSEO and Blogging for Professionals







The Power of Story: The Olympics and Your Blog

Hook your readers by telling as story just as ABC has with "up close and persona."The best part about the Olympics is the stories.  I love the personal stories of the athletes.  It captures my attention and gives me more reason to watch the actual competition.

The athletic feats are indeed spectacular, but having never been (nor close) to becoming an Olympian, I can only marvel at the athleticism, precision and technique…but I can’t really relate to the athletic side of these superstars having never been one myself.

The stories, however, are different.  They do make these superhumans more real and more tangible.

The stories are compelling, the sports are entertaining.

“Up Close and Personal”

ABC, from the genius of Roone Arledge, created the “Up Close and Personal” segments in the 1970’s.  These segments quickly became popular as we learned the human side of the Olympic athletes.  We learned about the personal journey, their trials and tribulations, the sacrifice…we learned that they, too, are just people.

The series is credited for turning the Olympics into Prime Time “must see” TV.  While not called “Up Close and Personal” on rival networks, the personalization of the athletes persists to these summer games.

Telling the personal stories of the athletes compels us to watch and learn more.  It gives us relevance as to who these athletes are as people and makes the outcome of the games more relevant as we are now cheering for individuals having how learned their “story.”

We want them to win.

Importance of  A Story

A story starts a relationship.  We learn about each other and how we compare human to human.  We learn more about how we are similar than how we are different.

Stories are much easier to be repeated.  Retelling including personal facts is more compelling than repeating the athletic achievments or professional accomplishments (in the case of a doctor) because, again, we can’t relate to being an Olympic athlete nor can patients relate to the achievements of a doctor.

Writing for Your Blog

Tell your story somewhere on your website.  The best place is to create an “About Me” page listing your credentials as a person…not your achievments as a doctor.

The more transparent your writing, the more compelling the story, that is, the more you reveal of yourself, the more interesting the story.

Suggestions include your hobbies, your goal with your medical practice, the type of medicine you practice, what makes you a great doctor, what makes you a great person, etc.

For the next two weeks, as you watch teh games on NBC, look for the stories.  Realize the powerful draw for  you personally…then emulate on your website.

It’s a powerful tool.  Showing that you are a person first and a doctor second.  Reach out to your patients as a person…


How to Create Your “About Me” Page

Start branding your medical practice and don’t wait to develop your “About Me” page.  The “About Me” is often one of the highest ranking pages on a website. So why then do most physicians/medical practices put so little thought into the development of their “About” section?

Engage Your Patients

Think of the “About Me” as your opportunity to engage with your patients in a personal and unique way that will allow you to set yourself apart from your competition. It really should be the first page that is developed and it should set the tone for your entire website.

When you meet with an SEO guru see if and when they discuss the “About Me.”  True gurus understand just how important this section is and will spend a great deal of time exploring the many facets that are involved in branding your practice through your “About Me” page. If they skip it or rush it….run for the door.

Starting the “About Me”

First , you will want to visualize that you are having a conversation with a new patient and that they have asked you these four questions:

  1. Why do you do…what you do?
  2. How can you solve my problem?
  3. Why should I trust you?
  4. When you aren’t working, what do  you enjoy doing?

This will hopefully get you thinking about the many reasons that you love your chosen profession and how you enjoy your free time. The point is to give your readers a glimpse of who you really are, and that, of course means, going beyond the accolades listed in your resume. Give them a reason to want to connect to you.

Optimize Your “About” Page

You will also want to optimize your SEO for “About Me.”  So, just as with every other page on you website, choose a few keywords and work them into your content.

How to Organize Your “About Me”

Readers often remember what have last read. Consider designing your page in the following order:

  • Name
  • Profession
  • Specialty
  • Education
  • Qualifications
  • Hobbies
  • Personal Message

Always Include Your Contact Information

Even if you have separate section devoted to ways to contact you, be sure to include the same information on your “About Me” page. The easier you make it for your readers to reach out to you, the more likely they will actually do it.

Last, but Certainly not Least…Thank Your Readers!

The bottom line is that the development of your “About Me” is to either begin or continue a conversation with your reader/patient/referring physician. Be sure when you do this, you are authentic to yourself and your readers. No matter what, you will always want to increase your personal and professional brand with integrity.

SEO Tip for Your Medical Website

Presumably, you have taken a great deal of time to develop your “About Me” page so be sure to optimize it. Consider the following:

Is your website within the first ten results on Google TM for a chosen keyword?

If the answer is yes, then optimize your “About Me” with the same keyword.

Then link your “About Me” with your main page by using anchor text.

Then go to your main page and create anchor text to link your main page back to your “About Me.”