Tag Archives: Healthcare
With more patients being pushed into high-deductible plans, hospitals are increasingly dependent on collecting bills. They’re also confronting a patient population, schooled in electronic consumerism, that is no longer willing to put up with…
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Trump asks Ryan to pull vote on GOP healthcare overhaul amid collapsing support March 24, 2017, 1:54 p.m. Here’s our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington: Trump to give green light to Keystone pipeline projectHouse GOP leaders postponed a vote on their health plan until FridayWhite…
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Marketing is crucial for any industry, and healthcare industry is no exception. Whether you are a big hospital or private practice, creating and implementing an effective marketing plan will help to attract new patients, retain the existing ones and maintain relationships with your staff and patients. An effective marketing strategy will play an integral role in increasing revenue, building patient trust, improving online reputation and expanding your reach.
A marketing plan can help you define and identify the target audience and key prospects. It can also assist in evaluating and comparing your practice data against your industry. Clearly, a business plan is necessary, so does your practice have one? Here are some more benefits of creating a strategic plan for your medical practice:
1. A business plan provides clear direction to your marketing initiatives, preventing random activities that may work against each other.
2. The process of developing a strategic plan offers an opportunity for everybody involved to collaborate in shaping the future of the practice. Active participation of all the stakeholders ensures the success of projects and priorities.
3. A strategic plan helps the physician set marketing goals and priorities for the medical practice.
4. Clarity of aims and objectives can improve the quality of patient care.
Strategic business planning offers great long-term value. After the initial planning is done, a practice can use it as the benchmark for measuring progress and monitoring areas of improvement.
The process for preparing a strategic business plan is not clear-cut, but it is one of the most important things you should do for the strategic growth of your practice. A well-defined marketing plan will outline how you will retain existing patients and attract new patients, retain staff and communicate your message in the most efficient manner.
You do not need to hire expensive consultants to create a marketing plan for your healthcare practice. All that you need is the willingness to put in time and effort. An ideal marketing plan should address every aspect related to promoting your practice, and to effectively plan, you must do some research.
Identify your target audience
The first step in any business plan is to figure out who is going to seek your service. If you have a specialty practice, you probably know the answer. According to industry experts, your marketing efforts will be effective only if they are targeted. So to identify your potential patients, start by defining the common characteristics of your current patients. Always remember, your marketing plan is all about reaching your target audience and adjusting your approach to fit their preferences. Beyond demographics, try to learn the reasons why your potential patients will come to your practice, know your competition and understand your competitors’ approach in reaching the target audience. Examine how your competitors market their practice and then compare their approach, services and marketing strategies with yours. You must also determine your unique selling proposition and understand what makes you different from your competition.
Marketing is all about keeping up-to-date. So make sure while doing your research, you stay updated on current affairs. The idea is to keep up-to-date with financial, political and marketing trends that influence the medical community so you can create an effective business plan that responds to changing market conditions.
Time for some brainstorming sessions
After you have identified your potential market and patients, you will need to categorize and address critical operational questions about your medical practice. You may need to set up brainstorming sessions with people you trust, including family, friends, team members or other professionals. During these sessions, try to find answers to these basic but critical questions:
Question: Which marketing platforms will make be most suitable for promoting your services?
Pro tip: You will need to think regarding how to present or sell your services. For instance, consider offering packages that are generic in nature and offer value for money.
Question: What is the best time and frequency of marketing your service?
Pro tip: Too much promotion can create a negative brand image in the minds of potential patients. Too much advertising tends to make patients suspicious. So depending on your target audience, determine the best time for promoting your practice.
Question: What are you trying to achieve from your business plan? How do you plan to measure these goals?
Pro tip: According to experts, your marketing plan should include basic tasks that have short-term goals so that you do not end up compromising on the patient experience. You can consider using big data to evaluate and measure results and their impact on ROI.
Penning the business plan
Now that you have completed the groundwork, it is time to put all your facts and figures into words. Here are some basic steps for creating a business plan for your medical practice:
1. Define your mission and vision: This is where you need to determine your goals. You have to understand where you want your practice to be in five to seven years. You will need to prepare a list of all the marketing techniques and tactics and determine what options will work best for your practice. Some of the effective marketing tactics are networking, direct marketing, print advertising, training sessions, media, open houses, social media, blogs, third-party websites and much more.
2. Identify your team: In order to build support and generate enthusiasm, you should determine the outgoing personalities in your organization. Find people who will help support your marketing efforts by hosting open houses, patient training sessions, interviews and other public relations initiatives.
3. Market segmentation: Consider potential patients think outside the box. Look within your organization first – you may find some of your best customers and marketers there. You must understand where your patients come from and dive deeper into your business model. Is your practice mainly run by physician referrals, or do patients refer directly? You need to create an extensive list of potential patients and categorize them.
4. Create patient personas: Patient personas are representations of your ideal patients. You must create patient personas based on your research and reflect on their needs and issues. For instance, if one of your buyer personas is a diabetic, his or her needs will be different from a flu patient.
5. SWOT analysis: SWOT matrix is another important component of the business plan. You can use this analysis to assess your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This study will help you understand your market situation better and discover growth opportunities. For a successful SWOT analysis, you must be specific, realistic, compare different situations and keep your business plans and goals updated.
6. Prepare a budget: Now that you have all the market information you need and have established the best way to reach your potential patients, focus on your budget to support your marketing campaign. To begin with, it is advisable to stick with the 80/20 rule. According to this rule, 80 percent of your business volume will often come from 20 percent of your patients.
7. Share your vision: The first step is to make sure the plan is received and understood by your organization’s leadership. Next, make sure your plan becomes a part of the organizational culture. You must encourage employees to come up with ideas that will support your idea. Always share your plans with physicians, volunteers, employees, board members and top leadership.
8. Plan the rollout: To begin with, introduce your campaign internally. Your organization’s leadership and staff are often your best support. If they get the message, your marketing efforts will be successful.
9. Measure and evaluate: You should regularly track new patients, physician referrals, leads, website hits and procedure volumes in order to assess the success of your business plan.
Don’t forget the 7Ps
Even the most insightful services, supported by the best business plan, will not survive on the market if they are unable to reach potential patients. That is why practices need to invest in strategies that will bridge the gap between them and the target audience. For your marketing initiatives to be successful, you must address the 7Ps in order to evaluate and measure your business activities. These seven Ps are product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. These 7Ps will help you review and define key issues that impact your marketing activities.
1. Product: When was the last time you took an unbiased look at your products, service, facility or value proposition? Do your products meet the needs of the patients? Do your products and services deliver value? Is your medical practice properly presented? The ‘product’ for your healthcare practice is the happiness and satisfaction of your patients, which is intangible and cannot be quantified. The only way is to know that customers receive value and comfort by way of your medical practice.
2. People: Healthcare is all about people – your current patients, potential patients, staff and management – everyone delivers or receives a service plays a significant part in the product category. Your patients will evaluate the service and satisfaction based on assumptions and interactions. Usually, patients do not have much insight to your medical skills, but they will know if they are pleased based on how you deal with them. Your reputation and your image are not yours alone – it is teamwork.
3. Price: It is the amount people pay in exchange for the product received. Therefore, the price must be competitive, enough to generate profit, but may vary when bundled with promotional offers. Sometimes, price is the biggest factor. Therefore, as a practice owner, you must take a serious look at those areas where there is flexibility and be open to adjusting and reducing prices to meet your patients’ needs.
4. Promotion: This refers to all the direct and indirect ways of communicating about your product to your people or potential patients. This may include personal and mass interaction. In all instances, promotion should always be carried out in a professional manner. The objective of promoting your practice is to examine how, when, what and where you can offer your service to your target audience.
5. Place: This points to presenting your products or services to your target audience in the right place and at the right time. Needless to say, the ‘place’ will be your office where the product will meet the user. However, in healthcare, a change in location can impact the user’s decision to buy.
6. Packaging: Take an unbiased look at the appearance of your office, front office, waiting area, brochures and website and the appearance of your medical staff. You might be surprised to see what patients are observing when they walk through your front door.
7. Positioning: This refers to the way your brand, products or service are perceived by your target customers. If you could get the opportunity to create the ideal impression in the minds of your patients, what would you want it to be?
For successfully growing their practice and attracting new patients, many practices are working with medical marketing agencies. As a medical marketing company, Practice Builders knows what is suitable for different medical specialties. We can introduce you to the best marketing tactics that will draw new patients to your practice. Moreover, we know how to develop effective business plans that will lead to significant growth in your medical practice. To find out more, contact us today.
President Donald Trump’s latest executive order requires executive departments or agencies to remove two previously implemented regulations for every new regulation issued.
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Healthcare industry-induced stress can derail your staff’s demeanor if you aren’t continually keeping morale boosters on your radar. When your staff is happy, they’re more engaged in their jobs, friendlier to patients (who immediately sense it!) and more productive. And if a disengaged employee leaves your practice, it costs about 25% of their salary to replace them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The bottom line: Happy workers create repeat customers and fewer overhead costs.
But how do you perk up your staff’s spirits when the healthcare horizon looks so foggy? Implement these six morale boosters in your practice:
1. Communicate with your staff. While there are many ways to inquire how your staff feels about the work environment, such as via an anonymous survey or during one-on-one reviews, the simplest way is often overlooked. Just ask your staff regularly how things are going – during everyday conversation, staff meetings and formal reviews. Be sure to listen, let them know you genuinely care and then take action to address their concerns. If you sense there sincerely is a problem, do your best to work it out. Staff members who believe their concerns matter will feel valued, which in turn leads them to value your patients and take pride in their work.
2. Lend a hand. Hierarchical breakdown is often the disconnect in an organization, and healthcare is no exception. Let your staff know you are there to lend a hand if you are available. Whether you restock cups at the water dispenser or assist with a patient issue, showing your staff you’re not too above them to take part in the day-to-day duties that their jobs entail will forge trust and respect.
3. Shine those stars. There are so many ways you can recognize your staff’s achievements. Patients and staff alike will enjoy perusing a decorated bulletin board dedicated solely to recognizing staff accomplishments and shining stars. Post staff photos with their achievements, and make sure you offer both staff and patients a clear way to call out an outstanding achievement. Even if you recognize a staff member in a quieter fashion, such as an email, be sure to cc someone even higher up the corporate ladder than yourself to give that employee an added pat on the back!
4. Have fun. There are a number of ways you can pepper both laughs and smiles into your regular routine. Recognize staff birthdays with simple decorations and breakfast treats, celebrate the seasonal holidays with a chance to win grab-bag prizes or spend the last ten minutes of your regular meetings having a little fun. And of course, who doesn’t love Crazy Hat Day?!
5. Make a big impact with the little things you do. Sometimes the small perks make the biggest impact on employee satisfaction. Flex time, free snacks, the ability to earn some extra time off and being able to adjust schedules due to family emergencies without repercussions are all amazing ways to ensure your employees know you care about their general health and well-being.
6. Participate in community events. When you participate in a hospital- or medical practice-sponsored fundraiser, you show the entire organization that you are committed to working together. Not only is occasionally getting the crew together outside of work good for team-building, it often brings awareness of an issue to the community, and it gives participants a sense of involvement and, oftentimes, hope. Just be mindful and respectful of family personal time, and don’t penalize anyone for not devoting their off-hours to volunteer at work functions.
Looking for more ways to boost your staff morale? Practice Builders has the perfect tool: our Customer Service Excellence program! Treat your healthcare team today, because when you help your staff improve the way they interact with patients, you’ll attract more patients and generate more revenue for your practice!
Top 5 Digital Marketing Issues You Need to Consider to Hire the Best Digital Marketer for Your Healthcare Practice
Here’s the hard truth: You need to invest in digital marketing if you want your healthcare practice to remain competitive. The unfortunate reality is that digital marketing can get costly, and not every digital marketer is worth his weight in conversions. So if you’re going to make the investment ¬ as you know you need to ¬ be sure to do it carefully and cautiously so you don’t waste your time and money.
Here are the top five digital marketing issues you need to consider as you look to hire an effective digital marketer for your healthcare practice:
1. A long-term marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential digital marketer to describe for you the 180-day marketing plan that he/she envisions for your healthcare practice. While a decent digital marketer might think three months ahead, a more skilled marketer should be thinking much farther into the future. The foundation you build now with your online presence will support your future marketing efforts. You want a digital marketer who will test and refine strategies along the way, not someone looking to implement cookie-cutter solutions with no plans to test results.
2. Solid metrics to gauge marketing results. You want your marketer to measure not only followers and traffic, but also conversions – the people coming into or returning to your practice because of your digital marketing strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great tool, but make sure your marketer can track a lead from a PPC ad all the way to that new patient lead. You also want to rank high in search engines and make sure your marketing efforts pay off in retaining current patients.
3. Future plans for your website. Be cautious if your prospective marketer seems more interested in beefing up your website with bling but isn’t discussing your site’s current analytics. Your digital marketer should be able to show you what your site’s traffic and conversions look like now, how they compare to other medical practices similar to yours and what the marketer plans to do to your site to get ROI for your practice.
4. Social media solutions. Be sure to inquire about which social media solutions your prospective marketer proposes to use for your practice. It should raise a red flag if he/she wants to just get your medical practice linked into as many channels as possible without a strategy. Your marketer should first be considering which channels your patients will likely frequent and why. Pay close attention to how a prospective marketer will select and post on those channels as well as how he/she intends to convert those followers into new or returning patients.
5. An email marketing plan. If you’d like your digital marketer to handle your email marketing, you should ensure he/she knows the rules for healthcare and, once again, ask about conversions. Can he/she measure click-thru and conversion rates? You want to know you’re generating some form of patient contact as a result of the emails. Does your potential marketer have strategies to improve your list quality? It’s also important to know how much you’ll need to spend to produce the emails vs. how much patient traffic you should get in return.
There are a lot of details to consider when creating a digital marketing strategy, but Practice Builders has the tools to help! Do you need more guidance on how to hire the right healthcare digital marketing person for your practice? Sign up for a free consultation with us and we’ll help you. Call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PB product: Want more guidance on how to hire the right digital marketing person for your practice? Sign up for a free consultation with us and we’ll help you. Call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at email@example.com
Even if advertising isn’t your specialty, you can probably conjure up in your mind a variety of brands that you recognize and personal associations to go with them. Branding for your healthcare practice is similar in that your brand is what sets you apart from everyone else in your field. Your brand is your identity, which is solidified by how patients perceive and experience your services. Ultimately, it’s what comes to patients’ minds when they hear your name.
Branding your practice isn’t just about coming up with an amazing logo, business card and website. While those all play a part in sculpting your image, so does cultivating a friendly and caring environment, training your staff on cohesive patient/employee communication skills and remaining flexible and professional. But why does creating a brand for your practice matter so much?
Here are the top six reasons why you need to invest in branding your healthcare practice:
1. Gain a positive reputation. Top-notch customer service, scheduling flexibility and a friendly, clean and caring environment are all part of your branded image. When you excel in these areas, you’ll gain an amazing reputation for your practice in the community… which will be reflected in reviews patients write about your practice on sites like Yelp and Healthgrades.
2. Establish yourself as a specialist. Which procedure or condition that you treat brings in the greatest return on investment? Market to that specialty. When you target your marketing in this way, you position yourself to drum up more business in that arena and also make a name for yourself as the provider of choice for that service.
3. Build staff morale. When you create a reputable brand for your medical practice, your staff will take pride in that. You may also find a greater number of applicants coming your way because you’ll also establish a reputation for your practice as a great place to work!
4. Establish credibility and trust. The more your name gets out in the community with positive associations, whether they’re built around the caliber of your treatment or your commitment to customer loyalty, both current and potential patients will be willing to put their care in your trusting hands. News like that gets around fast!
5. Increase referrals. A well-branded medical practice with satisfied customers will gain you more referrals. Plus, other physicians will be happy to refer their patients to you when you prove your worth in the local medical community. Sometimes, even, if your specialty is hard to come by, your referrals may filter in from a greater regional area.
6. Boost your bottom line. You’re in the profession to help people, but from the business aspect you need to remain profitable. If your practice is the type whose services aren’t covered under most insurance programs, like plastic surgery, your patients generally pay out of pocket. They are more apt to do that with a well-branded office that has established credibility, trust and a positive reputation.
Not sure where to start when it comes to branding? Make sure you do it right. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-679-1200 to sign up for a free marketing consult with our Practice Builder experts, and we’ll get started!
The good news is email marketing is effective – really effective. According to Mawazo.ca, email marketing is 40% more effective than Facebook or Twitter. Before you integrate email into your healthcare marketing plan, however, there are some factors you should consider.
What makes email different than other online marketing forms is the fact that it is directly delivered to your target audience. Where social media and the sea that is the Internet at large are filled with unwanted advertisements and blasts, email is a place of relative quiet where (ideally) only the people you’ve invited can reach you. That is its main advantage, but it also means you need to be responsible with that privilege. In short, you need a plan before you begin.
To think through if email marketing is right for your healthcare practice, ask yourself a couple of questions:
-Do you have content your base wants?
To justify showing up and to earn your patients’ trust to continue showing up in their inboxes, think about what’s in it for them. If your email marketing is only to ask them for something or remind them to come visit, your patients will likely just trash your emails and unsubscribe. Think about what content or offers you can provide for your patients via your email marketing. For instance, offer patients 20% off glasses frames or your professional tips for maintaining healthy eating habits in the busy back-to-school season.
-Can you deliver it consistently?
Email marketing campaigns are most successful when the emails are delivered on a consistent basis. It could be once a month, once every two weeks – as long as it is consistent enough that your patients know to expect it. If you wait too long, patients may forget they signed up for your email list and unsubscribe.
If you answered “Yes” to both these questions, then you will need to put some things in place to launch your practice’s email marketing campaign. You will need:
-A good email list
Gather email addresses by asking patients to opt-in when they visit your practice and your site. Here your work from before will pay off: When you ask patients for their email address, tell them something specific about what you plan to do with it.
-Good content and design
You can plan out your emails in advance. Again, make sure you are considering your patients’ point of view and be sure you are providing them something valuable. To make sure your emails are not doomed to be unread or trashed, you will need an enticing subject line and more than just a block of text. Give your email a colorful banner or design. You do have to make sure you include information on how patients can unsubscribe, but make your email so worthwhile and engaging that they won’t want to.
If you’re ready to learn more about adding email to your healthcare marketing strategy, we would be happy to help you get it off the ground. Email email@example.com.
Email marketing allows you to communicate directly with your patients, so don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Once you have email addresses and a strategy for an email campaign, here are some important aspects to keep in mind as you craft the actual emails. Let’s look at each component of an email and what to keep in mind for each part.
Subject line: This is the first thing your patients will see in their inboxes, so make sure it’s enticing enough that they will actually open it. A good subject line should pique interest and do so concisely enough that it will all show up on a mobile device. You can use numbers, “5 Things Every Parent Should Know for Flu Season” or create a sense of urgency, “Limited time only: 20% off sunglasses.”
Preview text: Keep in mind the beginning of your email may also appear as the preview text. Frontload your email’s text with the information or call to action you want to be sure your patients immediately see.
Sender email address: Make sure this is a recognizable email address with your healthcare practice’s name prominent in the address. This will help patients know it’s you and so increase your chances of actually having the email opened and read rather than trashed.
Email design: You want your email to look more interesting than a plain block of text but also avoid being overwhelming to your patients. Incorporate a clean design that prominently features your logo. This will make your email look more inviting and also help your patients recognize it’s you.
Email text: Use an inverted pyramid approach, meaning you should structure your email so that your copy grabs attention at the beginning, then builds anticipation in the middle and ends with a strong call to action. Throughout, put important information in bold. Don’t overdo it; just bold the text that you don’t want your patients to miss.
Call-to-action buttons: Make responding to your call to action even easier for your patients by creating a button they can simply click. For instance, if your call to action is to remind your patients to book an appointment, then a button reading “Book Your Appointment Today” can take them straight to your site where they can do just that. The call to action could also be as simple as “Follow Our Blog” and the button can take them to your blog.
Drafting and testing: Make sure you proofread your email well before you send it out. You should also beta-test one (send the email to a few staff members first) to make sure everything appears appropriately and iron out any glitches.
After you send: Keep track of various factors like which type of subject lines worked and what time of day works best by using analytics.
We can help you get started with your healthcare practice’s email marketing campaign today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.