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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Bel-Air’s most notorious mansion could be an entertainer’s dream, a fixer-upper or a teardown

Celebrity homebuilder Mohamed Hadid pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges involving a Bel-Air mansion that city officials say was built bigger and taller than allowed.

What happens to the unfinished compound remains unclear. But here’s what we know, based on Times reporting over the years.


latimes.com – Los Angeles Times

Rep. Adam Schiff says alleged Russian meddling in election was an effort to destroy American democracy


latimes.com – Los Angeles Times

Award-winning sports journalist Frank Deford dies at 78

Award-winning sports writer and commentator Frank Deford has died. He was 78.

His family said he died Sunday in Key West, Fla.

Deford was a six-time Sports Writer of the Year and a member of the National Assn. of Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame. He wrote with a lyrical elegance and…


latimes.com – Los Angeles Times

The Fundamentals of Medical Marketing: Why So Many Practitioners Struggle to Create Profitable Practices

The Fundamentals of Medical Marketing: Why So Many Practitioners Struggle to Create Profitable Practices

When you are running a medical practice, you are no longer just a physician – you are also a businessperson. And any business needs a way to promote itself, find new customers and make your brand known in the marketplace. In short, promoting and marketing your medical practice is a fundamental part of your overall medical marketing plan. People who know about your medical practice are far more likely to be turned into patients. And happy patients grow your practice.

You may have a great patient base and experienced staff and offer excellent services. However, if you want to expand your services and grow your practice, you need to start thinking about your marketing strategy. This means putting some serious thought into who your target audience is, how you plan to increase your revenues and how you attract more patients. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of cases or qualified leads do I want to attract?
  • Which new services or products am I aiming to break into?
  • How are my existing services different from my competitors?

These questions will help you narrow down your potential market and find a niche. A clear focus on niche audience will enable you to tailor your services and implement marketing strategies accordingly. This may also require taking a step back from the day-to-day business and applying an entrepreneurial mindset. By thinking like a business owner, you can evaluate what you are good at, what your patients demand and what your competitors are doing. This can be achieved by implementing a technique called SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis of your medical practice will enable you to explore internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. Read more about SWOT Analysis here.

The Fundamentals of Medical Marketing: Why So Many Practitioners Struggle to Create Profitable Practices

Fundamentals of medical practice marketing

Taking time out of your busy schedule to think about your marketing strategy is important for the growth of your practice. The strategic analysis will help you understand your practice, look for new avenues to growth, explore potential partnership opportunities and show how you can make the most of them. You will also need to focus on improving the marketing of your services and growing your patient base. Here are the fundamentals of marketing your medical practice:

Website: Your website is the first impression your patients are going to get of your practice. It is also the anchor to which most of your marketing efforts will point. The most effective way to generate a steady stream of new patients is to build a professional website that has lead generation, effective copywriting, SEO and lots of useful content. Your website should reflect the personality of your medical practice. You must try to drive as much traffic to that website as possible on an ongoing basis using online and offline marketing strategies. Keep in mind a website that is more than a year old may be out-of-date in terms of content, branding and technology. An annual inspection can identify faults and flaws. Besides, a website with outdated content appears neglected and may slip lower in search engine visibility.

Social media: Medical professionals are all over Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. These social media sites offer a host of advantages for medical practitioners. They allow potential patients to get to know you before seeing you in the exam room. In addition, social media sites make great public forums for sharing health information and special events. As a physician, you can use social media to ask basic yet insightful questions about your services, staff, procedures or general improvements. However, when posting on Facebook, try to be brief and concise. This is because according to Facebook, posts that are 250 characters or less in length tend to attract 60 percent more likes, comments and shares than long posts. You can engage your fans and followers by asking for their ideas and opinions. If you are on Twitter, you must tweet often enough to be seen. While there is no proven formula, three or four tweets per day should keep your posts visible.

The Fundamentals of Medical Marketing: Why So Many Practitioners Struggle to Create Profitable Practices

Blogging: Blogging is an effective way to engage your patients and, if done right, it can take your marketing strategy to the next level. If you blog multiple times a month, not only does Google rank you higher than your competitors, but other websites or journals will publish snippets of your content and give you attribution. Not just this, according to some recent studies, more than 60 percent of patients made an appointment based on a blog post that they read. When you consistently write informative articles, it enhances your credibility and builds trust between you and potential patients. All that you need to do is write a new blog every two weeks, share it on your social media profiles or send it out in an e-newsletter. The best part is that you can reuse your blogs over and over again. However, it is essential to develop a posting schedule and adhere to it. Keep the tone of your blog conversational, and do not make them too lengthy.

Referrals: Most practices need a referral base in order to thrive. Getting a new patient referral from another doctor requires relationship building. The first step is to identify which doctors will recommend your practice to their patients. You then have to plan a strategy to build and maintain relationships with those doctors. Attend conferences and meetings to seek networking opportunities. You must try to make yourself available to your referring doctors’ patients for any emergency visits. You can also ask your existing patients to refer your practice to their friends and family. You can also consider promoting your referral program on your website, through emails and posters in your office.

Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is all about searching the most relevant keywords for your medical practice. To choose the best-suited keywords, you will need to get into the minds of your patients. The more relevant keywords you pick, the more relevant patients you will attract. Other than keywords, another factor that can affect SEO is your website speed. A website that loads quickly can boost your SEO efforts, whereas a website that takes a longer time will fail to engage visitors. Also, quality content should be at the core of your SEO strategy. You can create content to inform patients about your practice, services and office hours. Quality content plays a significant role in search engine ranking.

Patient review sites: According to a survey by Software Advice, more than 77 percent of patients use online reviews as the first approach to finding a physician. The survey also revealed that almost 47 percent of patients would go out-of-network for a doctor who has more favorable reviews. These review sites can open the door for you to engage with your patients. Online reviews are being increasingly utilized by existing and potential patients. Your practice will have a better chance of serving your patients well if you can use the power of online reviews for marketing your medical practice.

Online local directories: With the majority of patients using search engines to find local practices, getting listed in local directories is critical for the growth of your medical practice. These directories can improve the visibility of your medical practice and can take it to the next level. While some of these local directories, such as Healthgrades, Vitals and ZocDoc, are specific to the medical community, other directories such as Google+ Local and Yahoo! Local are not industry-specific.

Email marketing: Collecting e-mail addresses of your patients is a vital tool to a successful marketing campaign. This is one of the best ways to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. You can schedule follow-up emails for three to five months after each appointment to ensure your patients do not miss their annual checkups. Through emails and newsletters, you can also update existing patients with healthcare tips, seasonal offers and discounts and updates about your practice. It is surprisingly easy to kick-start your email marketing and start attracting more patients.

The Fundamentals of Medical Marketing: Why So Many Practitioners Struggle to Create Profitable Practices

Final thoughts

The goal is to increase your profits, grow your practice, establish your brand and be rewarded for all the hours you have spent in your practice taking care of patients. Remember, your competitors are evolving for the better, so why shouldn’t you grow as well?

So, does your medical practice have a marketing strategy or a plan for execution? At Practice Builders, we help medical professionals get smarter in the way they manage their practice. We assist them to build websites, write meaningful brochures, provide staff training and create healthcare marketing plans to promote their excellence in patient satisfaction.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Brad Pitt, Pharrell among mourners at Chris Cornell memorial

Brad Pitt, Pharrell Williams and numerous members of rock royalty joined mourners Friday at Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s memorial service at a storied Hollywood cemetery.

Soundgarden music played from a portable speaker outside the cemetery’s gates as a group of about a dozen fans gathered…


latimes.com – Los Angeles Times

Create A Powerful Brand for Your Medical Practice

Create A Powerful Brand for Your Medical Practice

Most of the choices we make as customers are based on effective branding. In most cases, we tend to go with brands we can relate to or associate with quality. Developing your brand is a critical component of your marketing strategy. A brand defines the core values of a business and promises a unique experience for the customers who connect to that brand.

When you hear the word “branding,” your first thought may be a logo or an ad. However, branding is much more than that. Your brand defines your business as a whole. Branding is the association that is attached to a business and its customers. The ultimate goal behind every branding exercise is to get potential customers to know, like and trust your business so that when the need for your product arises, they think of your business first.

So, how does this relate to a medical practice?

Your medical practice is a business, too, and in order to grow, it needs branding. In fact, if you do not focus on building a unique brand, your patients will create it for you, and it may not be the way you wanted it to be. For your medical practice, the brand is something your patients feel, hear or see when they visit your office, interact with you or deal with your staff. It includes your office décor and the usability of your website. It also includes the promotional material you provide to patients, such as brochures, leaflets, etc.

Why is branding important for your medical practice?

Create A Powerful Brand for Your Medical Practice

Simply because your brand is your reputation. All businesses benefit from great branding, but it is more critical in healthcare. Why? Because the decisions we make concerning our health are the most significant. You will buy a couple of tacos from a vendor you hardly know, but cardiac surgery? No. You must trust your healthcare providers, whether you know them or not.

In this always-plugged-in era, if you need a reputation for your practice, then you need branding too. Why? Because like other businesses, doctors are providing a service, too. When a patient hears your name, what do you hope he or she says about your practice? Branding will not only differentiate your practice from your competitors but will also instill trust and confidence in your patients. Active branding is necessary to ensure your medical practice is perceived well by your patients.

However, branding does not stop at establishing an identity. Ensuring consistency throughout all correspondence will increase brand awareness and eventually brand recognition. When patients see such consistency, their confidence and trust in your practice and services will begin to grow. Your practice will become more personable, which will result in happy and loyal patients who will want to come back to your practice again.

Establishing a brand will help propel you forward with the same uniqueness you handle your patients.

How do you brand your medical practice?

When you think of branding, you probably imagine a business logo, vision and mission statements and promotional material. While these items should be a part of your overall branding strategy, they are not the only elements you should focus on if you want to create an effective brand for your practice. Instead, you must ask yourself, “What sets my practice apart from other medical facilities? Do I have any specialty? Do I use any specific treatment techniques that result in higher success rates than others?” These things cab set you apart from other physicians. You must find ways to incorporate a unique value proposition (USP) as this will strengthen your brand identity.

If you are creating a branding strategy for your medical practice, follow these steps:

  • Identify your USP: To be successful in today’s competitive landscape, you must give patients a unique reason to choose you over your competition. Identifying your USP is one of the most crucial factors in branding your medical practice. Your USP gives you an edge and sets you apart from your competitors. You should take a step back and analyze what positive attributes you have within your practice that are working in your favor. Now, think of ways you can promote these attributes into the consciousness of your patients.
  • Define target audience: The demographics of your target audience can help you create an effective branding strategy that will catch the attention of prospects within that demographic. You may need to research in order to understand what factors drive patients to select a medical practice over its competitors in your area. Once you have your target audience identified, direct your branding efforts toward addressing their pain points.
  • Create visual branding elements: Visual marketing elements such as a logo and tagline are an important part of your branding strategy. These visual elements must convey the same feeling that you want patients to experience when they come in to your office. For beginners, your practice should have a logo that you can use on your website, business cards, brochures and any other promotional materials.
  • Use SEO to drive traffic to your website: Your branding strategy will not be able to work its magic unless potential and existing patients can find you online. Including relevant keywords in website content is one of the best ways to ensure your brand remains on top of search engine results. You can use keywords or phrases directly on your web pages or your blog.
  • Build a strong online presence: Your branding strategy depends on your ability to create a solid online presence across all media. You must utilize a consistent tone of voice and carefully selected text to portray your medical practice in the best light. Your message should represent your practice as a reliable and dependable medical facility that provides a positive experience for every phase of a patient’s journey. You can leverage social media platforms to interact with your patients and portray your practice as an industry leader.
  • Communicate your USP to patients: Now it is time to deliver your message and USP to your target audience. This process involves intricately weaving your USP with text and visuals throughout your online and traditional marketing campaigns. Now take a step back, look at your practice website and ask yourself, “Does this convey what I want it to?” If the answer is no, it is time to go back to the storyboard.
  • Position your brand as an industry leader: Strong branding helps raise your practice above the competition by highlighting your USP. With time, current and potential patients will gravitate toward your practice’s presence upon encountering advertisements from your team. You should continue maintaining your website and social media accounts to help your practice attract new patients and retain existing ones.
  • Monitor patient experience: All of the elements stated above tie in to the patient experience. You might be doing your best to foster your brand, but your brand image ultimately depends on how your patients feel and how they perceive your practice. If you are failing to give them the experience they expect, you are downgrading your brand. Instead of guessing or assuming what your patients want, just ask them. You can request them to fill out a patient satisfaction survey after the appointment and monitor online reviews on sites like Vitals, Yelp and Healthgrades. Online reviews and patient surveys will give you a better idea of what patients want and whether you are on the right track.

Create A Powerful Brand for Your Medical Practice

“Why you?”

Once you have successfully positioned your brand, you will need to deliver on your promises every single day, and not just in your promotional messages. Remember, your brand is an aggregate of what your patients experience with your practice, which is larger than your mission or vision statements. To put it differently, you can only position your practice, but your brand is essentially an emotional response you are working to establish.

When looking to build your brand, you have to make sure every element of your branding strategy is closely tied up – the way your phone is answered, appointment times, waiting room décor, bedside manners of your staff, technology, location, parking, treatments that you promote and much more. If you aim to be the “leading healthcare provider in town,” you cannot afford to have substandard facilities and long waiting hours.

It is possible to create the brand you want for your practice, but only if you remain consistent in your efforts. It is going to require hard work and dedication, but the result will be in the form of an established brand that your patients have confidence in.

In closing

Your brand is a unique entity that makes an unspoken promise about the quality of care that can be expected from your practice. You will be able to create a strong brand when you choose to promote a facility or feature that makes you different from others. So, call your team, and embrace the creative ways your employees can come together to nurture your brand. Keep the quality consistent and patients will happily spread kind words about your brand.

If you are ready and looking for a partner to put all the pieces of the branding puzzle together for your medical practice, call Practice Builders at 855.898.2710 or reach us online. We can help you create an effective brand for your medical practice.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Video: Nurses are brand ambassadors, too

People who have spent 40 years in the stressful field of nursing might not be ideal for a video testimonial about your hospital or practice.

Yes, some RNs—hopefully not many—could gripe or whine about their on-the-job experiences. However, the ones who can leave positive lasting impressions about your brand and culture are invaluable. Your job as a communicator is to catch these gems on video.

For example, Lucy Rybczynski, a registered nurse at Advocate Trinity in Chicago, is preparing to retire. Her candor about the hard work and stress she has endured on the job can be appreciated.

She talks about how colleagues have been team players who “have your back.” Rybczynski speaks with pride about the younger generation of nurses who stay after their shift ends to get a few moments of wisdom or advice from her.

The most compelling part of the 3:45 segment is when Rybczynski gets teary-eyed about her unwavering commitment to patients and their families.

(Image via)

First published September 2016.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Healthcare CEOs have zipped their lips on AHCA politics

Healthcare CEOs are hiding behind industry lobbying groups instead of publicly using their power to push for changes in the Republicans’ healthcare reform bill.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

On nutrition: Debate raging over what constitutes ‘healthy’ food

It’s hard to know whom to trust—even about food labels.

Every day, Americans sift through contrary opinions on politics and cultural issues; now they are questioning which foods deserve the label “healthy.”

A recent survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation suggests that conflicting information about the nutritional value of foods has consumers second-guessing their choices. 

CNN reports:

About eight in 10 survey respondents said they have found conflicting information about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid — and more than half of them said the conflicting information has them second-guessing the choices they make[…]

This poses a problem for communicators looking to influence dietary choices. Offering valuable guidance requires a firm knowledge of how Americans make judgments about nutrition and how they get the data that inform their opinions.

CNN wrote:

Many respondents said they turn to their friends and family for guidance on food choices, even though they see dietitians and health care professionals as the most trusted sources for guidance.

The term “healthy” may have a limited effect on consumers as well. Consumers regularly base purchases on taste and price before considering the nutritional value of their foodstuffs.

Liz Sanders, a co-author of the survey remarked:

“Our biggest trend over time has to do with purchasing factors, and we know that taste and price have always been the top two factors that have driven purchasing, with healthfulness following behind in the third spot[…] In terms of what is healthy, we know that it doesn’t always beat out what tastes the best or what has the best price, in terms of impacting a food purchase.”

The Food and Drug Administration recently launched efforts to redefine the word “healthy” for use in marketing food products. Some, like Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Roxanne Sukol, contend that the word healthy should be scrapped entirely and replaced with a more appropriate term, such as “nutritious.”

To command authority on the subject, use credible sources. The government annually publishes dietary guidelines, which can be used to substantiate a campaign. 

Other messaging can target two key factors that drive food purchasing: taste and price. 

  • Advocate Health publishes healthy recipes on its brand journalism platform.
  • Mayo Clinic uses Pinterest to share healthy recipes.
  • Veggie cheat sheets and other infographics can help make food prep easy.

Communicators, how do you go about earning public trust on nutrition issues? 

Free Download: 8 ways to boost trust and transparency in your organization.

(image via)
HealthCareCommunication.com

Infographic: 10 common diet traps your patients can avoid

One researcher calls new data on obesity in America “a wake-up call.”

The past 20 years have seen a startling spike in the number of overweight and obese people in the U.S. Highlights from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paint a dismal picture, one that can improve with the help of health care communicators, marketers and PR pros.

The CDC says around 70 percent of people age 25 and older are overweight or obese. That’s a jump from nearly 60 percent two decades ago.

The Washington Post says this marks the first time obese/overweight people outnumber those who maintain a healthy weight.

In rethinking your outreach efforts, consider the diet traps outlined in this infographic. Many of your patients probably experience these challenges as they battle the scale. You can encourage them to:

  • Eat three meals a day.

  • Pay attention to nutrition labels, especially calories, saturated fat and sodium.

  • Listen to their bodies and avoid emotional eating.

  • Exercise at least five days a week.

  • Ingest vitamins and minerals to boost energy levels.

  • Get back on track despite a splurge.

(View a larger image)

10-Common-Diet-Traps-Infographic

(Image via)

This article was first published in June 2016.

HealthCareCommunication.com