Like it or not, the Internet is here to stay. In many ways, the access to information and technology has profoundly altered our work style, our cultural attitudes, and even our understanding of ourselves. While some will want to talk about the fact that teens and preteens today see information and the access to information as a given, the more important issue is that the vast majority of Americans have access to the Internet, and that people in their 30's and 40's have grown up with computers as part of their lives.
As a professional, you need to be aware of the impact that the Internet has or can have on your business. You may personally not use Facebook or Twitter. You may not have a personal webpage or a blog. But your patients do. Or more importantly, your potential patients do.
We all know that the number one source of new patients is referrals from existing or former patients. But did you know what happens when that referral is initially offered? Bokenkamp Consulting recently conducted a focus group of 12 professional women from the Delaware Valley. Aged 29-60, who all reported either comfortable or very comfortable using a computer. We then talked to them about how they would find a therapist.
Every single one of them included an Internet search as part of their process. Other steps included talking to friends or family, looking at their health insurance providers listings, speaking to their primary care physician, and even consulting an employee assistance program. But all of them said once they got a name, they would look up the therapist online for more information.
So, based on these results, patients aren't looking up "Philadelphia Therapist" or "Depression Centers", they are looking up YOUR NAME that they got from a friend, an MD, or some other source.
When they do a google search using your name, what do they find? Can they even find you?
Why should a therapist care what they look like online? Because that's where tomorrow's patients are looking. The patients care. You should too.
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