// By Terrence Tucker //
When parents have children with fevers or a bout of stomach flu, whether they need a general practitioner or a specialist, they’ll generally look for doctors who are close to them. Even if the need isn’t immediate and patients are just looking for a physical exam, six out of 10 people choose doctors based on how convenient the office location is, according to data from Healthgrades, an online service that helps consumers find and compare health care providers. In fact, the only attribute cited as more important by patients seeking physicians is whether or not the office accepts their insurance.
Location trumps hospital affiliation, length of time to get an appointment, and reputation when it comes to selecting health care providers. Think about that: Patients are more interested in finding a doctor close to them than one that they think will do a good job. Google reported that queries including the term “near me” doubled last year, indicating that this is a trend impacting commerce of all kinds, not just health care.
Today’s consumers rely heavily on search engines like Google to instantly report which businesses are closest to them, but providers that fail to engage in geomarketing (the term used to describe marketing to consumers based on their geographic location) can easily fall through the cracks. This is especially true for multi-office providers who face organic search results that often fail to list the location closest to a consumer first. Imagine the frustration of a patient who drives 11 miles to an office only to discover there was another one less than two miles away. Preventing situations like that and making sure you reach the most appropriate consumers requires a carefully planned and executed geomarketing strategy.
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