On this edition of Just Checking In, industry experts Dr. Stern and Alan Ayers discuss how less and less businesses are using the yellow pages. So if not the yellow pages...Where do consumers find you?
David Stern: Hello and welcome to Just Checking In, a video blog discussion of anything and everything urgent care. I’m David Stern and this is my colleague Alan Ayers. Now and then we will be checking in with you discussing all sorts of items related to urgent care, from marketing, to billing, to start up, and we will be talking about anything you’re interested in as well. Send in your questions and we’ll be happy to discuss them here on Just Checking In. So Alan, you have something up for us here this morning.
Alan Ayers: Yes, definitely. Years ago, 10 years ago, when I first got started in urgent care... our marketing budget consisted...
David Stern: Hold on guys do you have any idea what Alan is going to do with the tree?
Alan Ayers: Hahaha
David Stern: OK
Alan Ayers: Yeah, so 10 years ago our primary marketing tactic for urgent care was the yellow pages. And for eight centers in central Ohio we spent about $100,000 per year for a full ad.
David Stern: And that's back when $100,000 was $100,000...
Alan Ayers: Right, exactly, yes. And to differentiate ourselves from competitors well over time, you know speaking on marketing people asked about the yellow pages and I said, "Well maybe if you are in an area with a lot of senior citizens, or a lot of travelers, you know because most people just use their smart phones, they call information, they go on Google they go on Yelp... So the Yellow Pages have become less relevant. Well, in regards to my advice if you are in an area with travelers... recently I was at a Hampton Inn, I pulled out the drawer where the phone book should be and this note was there saying in order to save trees the only place the phone book is available is now at the front desk. So in that standpoint a phonebook really wouldn't be effective in reaching travelers... So the question is if not the Yellow Pages, how do people in your community find your urgent care center?
David Stern: So, that is a great question... And they are couching this message in an environmental message, but the reality is that people really don't need the phone books anymore and if they still needed it they would have the phone books in the room. So, now we are looking and saying how do folks find an urgent care... I think we talked a little bit about it. It's gotta be that high visibility location with lots of traffic in the community. But the second thing and you alluded to this on the Yellow Pages... is folks aren't looking in the Yellow Pages for the urgent care, they are looking online. So the question is, you know we've said you need a sign on a busy highway, you also need a sign on the information super highway. So what is that sign on the information super highway? That's several things... number one is somebody searches urgent care my city on Google or one of the other search engines but mostly Google. When they do that, where do you show up? And if you don't know that you are oblivious to one of the most important aspects of how people will find you. Now when they go on the internet they won't just go to Google and do a search for "urgent care my city." That's great you want to be in the top three you want to be in what's called "above the fold." Which means you want to be visible right there on the screen, depending on what resolution they use. You also need to look at how you are showing up on the phone because 40% of searches are now done on mobile phones. I have moved from doing my searches from when I am out and about and looking for something to my phone and even at home. I use a Microsoft product and my computer pops right on now even though it used to be the Apple products that would do that—and still I go to my phone when I am at home. If I was searching for an urgent care I'd search for it on my phone not on the computer. So you need to be aware that the results are going to be different when you use a mobile product and so you need to know how you show up on the mobile products as well as on the desktops. So you got those two things on the Google search. Another important aspect of how you show up is in the directory for they payer. So if I have Blue Cross Blue Shield and I am a patient I don't just want any urgent care. I want one that takes my insurance and participates with my payer and so I'll look at the payer's website. Now this is where many urgent cares make a mistake. They say you know what we are just going to credential as a family practice, we are just going to contract as a family practice. And so low and behold Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones show up under family practice but when I look up under the urgent care title inside of their directory, which the directories are now online, they used to get those books. That's also gone just as the phone book. So now on those directories online do I show up under urgent care? Because if I don't show up under urgent care, my competitors do and they are going to be going to my competitors because they are comfortable that the insurance is going to cover the visit which isn't always true nowadays because some people have high-deductible plans. So I think that’s how people find you and basically everybody is saving trees now a days, everybody is using the mobile products. But now I have an idea where the tree was going... (laugh) and Hampton Inn, I think it is saving trees. Awesome. So...That’s all we have for today, is that right Alan? This is great!
Alan Ayers: Yes, thank you very much.
David Stern: For more information, visit our website, www.urgentcareconsultants.com, subscribe to our YouTube channel and you can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. As always, this Dave Stern, Alan Ayers, we’re checking out, see you next time.