Small Businesses Keeping Up With Online Presence
Orthotics
Written by Dr. Richard E. Busch, III, D.C.   
Saturday, 23 May 2009 16:37 Read : 1793 times

SBOThe world of marketing is changing. It is not the same as five years ago, ten years ago, or even one year ago. Because of this, it is imperative for us to begin to look at all of our marketing efforts and avenues, and make changes accordingly. Change should be made not only in the way we target potential patients, but how we continually market to those potential patients.

Researching health information is the third most popular online activity with the senior group, right behind emails and other online searches.

Consumers with internet access, more than 60 percent of the time, are doing their research about local companies and services online. People are consumers. Yet small business owners behave entirely differently when they are using the internet as a business owner in comparison to when they are using the internet as a consumer. This is an important point, because only 45 percent of small businesses have a website and, if they have a website, very little money is spent to target and drive potential patients to their website, even though websites provide accessibility of information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Any business with a website is constantly connected.

According to research in 2008, the largest increase in internet use has been in age groups between 70 and 75, known as the "silent generation," and they are seeking online information about health conditions and treatment. They are driven to the internet, for health information, just as frequently as Generation Y, ages 18-32. Researching health information is the third most popular online activity with the senior group, right behind emails and other online searches. However, Generation X, 33-44 years of age, is the most active group to look for health information online and is the generation most likely to do their banking and get their news online.1

Keeping this in mind, as we begin to see this change in the population, it is important for us to remember that we are small-business operators. Although my clinic, Busch Chiropractic Pain Center, has had a website for the last twelve years and Freedom Awaits: Total Practice Freedom has had a website for almost three years, until recently I did not act on the realization that I wasn’t using the website to its full potential.

Websites achieve many goals: internet presence, no matter how simple, is exposure that creates a certain forum, which informs people about yourself and the services you provide. They can provide interaction between the potential patient and your office, collection of data and list building for future communication, image building and the ability to have a superior presence.

Remember that, if those that search, which is a large percentage, find it hard to locate a business, then the searcher will likely contact a similar business with the strongest online presence, even though they may provide an inferior service or product.

Internet marketing includes the website, emails, blogs, and e-newsletters for communication tools and can be done cost-effectively, although this has to be paired with ongoing television, radio or newspaper advertising to drive potential patients to your website.

Researching health information is the third most popular online activity with the senior group, right behind emails and other online searches. 

Social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are an inexpensive way to create increased traffic to a website. Though I have previously not employed networking sites, it is apparent that these sites are here to stay and can be used as a marketing benefit.

Don’t look back—look forward. It is vital to remove the barriers and any other obstructions that will keep potential clients from finding you. Not being on the internet is not an option. It is imperative for small businesses to have an internet presence, as search engines are now used more than yellow pages and the newspaper, for locating local companies. The use of the internet increases at high speed, old news is an hour ago. All this will seem elementary as to what the future predications may hold: dolls with personality and sensory input chips, money replaced by smart media, patients staying at home with healthcare being provided via teleconferencing and self-certification for prescriptions using electronic diagnostics.2 None of these may happen exactly; yet changes are continually flooding the technology and are almost here.

Just think of it as an internet tsunami, flooded by internet loving patients.

Dr. RicDr.Rick E. Busch IIIhard E. Busch III, is the founder of the Busch Chiropractic Pain Center, www.buschchiropractic.com and co-founder of the cash practice/decompression consulting rm Freedom Awaits, www.freedomawaits.com, and can be reached at 1-888-471-4090 est.Dr. Busch is a nationally recognized chiropractor and author of the upcoming book, Surgery not Included: Freedom from Chronic Neck and Back, which will be released in early spring 2009. www.surgerynotincluded.com.

References

1. Center for Media Research: February 11, 09, Seismic Shift of Internet

Age Mass

2. Imagining the Internet: Prediction Surveys

 


 
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