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Tag Archives: Healthcare

8 Healthcare SEO Tips to Keep Medical Practices in the Game

8 Healthcare SEO Tips to Keep Medical Practices in the Game

Healthcare marketers are beefing up their investments in content. However, in order to leverage those investments, they will have to put some time and effort into learning the new rules for SEO, or search engine optimization. The days of driving traffic to your website by attractive headlines with keywords are long gone, experts insist, and the new SEO rules revolve around another big-money marketing focus: user experience.

Historically, the experts have been recommending that people focus on keywords. However, search engines are more intelligent now, and content creators have less control over how and where their web pages are appearing in search engine results and what words they are showing up for.

According to Search Engine Journal, SEO leads have a close rate of 14.6 percent, while outbound leads such as emails have a close rate of only 1.7 percent. Are you still questioning the importance of SEO for your medical practice? Almost 56 percent of the American adults are smartphone users, which highlights the importance of ranking high for searches that potential patients might be making from their mobile devices.

Organic visibility is a challenge for most industries, but it is especially challenging and competitive in the healthcare industry. This is because if potential patients cannot find you when they are searching for a provider, you have missed your opportunity to get that conversion. Not only do you have to develop relevant and helpful content, but it has to be optimized so that searchers will see it in the search engine results.

Here are eight SEO tips for healthcare providers that will help you grow your organic search volume, make your sales funnel more efficient and help you grow revenue.

8 Healthcare SEO Tips to Keep Medical Practices in the Game

1. Optimize for local search: Managing your local presence is the most critical task for any healthcare provider. According to Google, almost 73 percent of all online activity is related to local searches. Your medical practice, for the most part, relies on people who live in or near the same area where you are located. For instance, when a potential patient searches for “physician in Edison” on Google, various options come up on the first page of search results. If you are a physician in Edison, then you will want your medical practice listing to appear in the top few positions in the search engine results. Correct?

According to a survey from Search Engine Land, 50 percent of customers who searched their mobile phones visited the store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on their desktop did the same. This means the ranking has a direct influence on in-store traffic.

Google My Business is Google’s business listing service. This service allows you to develop a page where you can add vital information about your medical practice that people are searching for, including your address, work hours, phone numbers and services. Another helpful online tool for local search is Moz Local. You can use this tool to create and maintain business listings on various websites and online directories that factor into most of the search engine results.

2. Encourage online reviews: Positive patient reviews are an essential element in establishing the quality and trustworthiness of your practice. According to a study by Moz, the most popular review sites for medical professionals are Healthgrades, Yellowpages, Yelp, Yahoo Local and Google+ Local. Do not hesitate to ask patients for reviews. Satisfied patients will be more than happy to oblige. Here are some ways you can encourage patients to review your practice online:

  • If you send out a newsletter, you can ask your patients to review your practice on Google or Yelp.
  • You can place a sign in your office, with detailed instructions on how and where to post online reviews for your practice.
  • You can place links and call-to-action on your website, encouraging visitors to review your practice.

3. Choose relevant keywords: The most important thing to decide is what keywords you want to use. These keywords will help Google know what your website is all about. You should compile a list of keywords that patients often use related to your specialty. A good way to do this is to think of all the questions they might ask. For instance, if you are a pediatrician in Queens, what might your potential patients ask Google? They might search for “best pediatrician in Queens.” Picking the most relevant keywords can be tricky. Creating content around relevant keywords will increase your chances of showing up in search results. You can also consider hiring an SEO professional if you do not have time to research keywords.

4. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions: You must fill in metadata on the administration side of your practice website. The metadata consists of a title, description and tags. The title tag acts as the title of the web page at the top of the browser and in the blue text in the search engine results. The title tags tell the search engine what your website is all about, and it should not exceed 60 characters. Make sure to include relevant keywords. A meta description describes the content of the page and should be written with an aim to provide more information about your website. You should try to keep it short, concise – under 160 characters. The idea is to answer the questions entered by potential patients in the search engine. In addition to using keywords within the content on your website, you must be sure to use relevant keywords in meta data.

5. Publish unique content and update regularly: There is no substitute for engaging and unique content. Useful content attracts and engages website visitors, and the more qualified traffic your website has, the more authority you are likely to have in search engine results. You can include content on your website a variety of ways:

  • Blogs, guest articles and white papers
  • Videos and podcasts
  • Infographics and slideshows
  • eBooks, calculators and apps
  • Conferences and seminars

While an effective SEO strategy must be implemented when creating website content, never compromise good writing with matching keywords. Remember that your readers are your patients, not search engines. Regular content updates play an integral role in improving the relevancy of a website. Although individual factors will determine the frequency of updating your website content, it is a good idea to update your website at least once a week.

Blogging is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your website updated with information that your patients will find interesting.

6. Select trusted inbound backlinks: Inbound backlinks have a significant influence on your organic rankings. These are one of the key factors used by search engines in determining your website’s authority. The more authority your practice website has, the higher it will rank for keywords. While the number of links is important, it is not everything. Ideally, the linking site should be relevant to your website. This is the biggest reason why link farming does not work. Just having random websites linking to your practice website is a trick that the search engine algorithms have learned to work around. Therefore, your backlinks should originate from sites that are trusted by search engines. By creating valuable content, your inbound links will increase over time and help your website strengthen its position for relevant keywords.

7. Be active on social platforms: If you are creating and publishing quality content, then make it a point to share it via social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Did you know that as of 2014, YouTube became the second-largest search engine? Therefore, when you choose social platforms that align with your target audience, you increase the likelihood of them noticing your brand. You can add a Twitter feed to your website or embed YouTube videos. These strategies will not only help attract visitors to your website but also provide a great link-back potential. Embedded videos and social feeds are a great call-to-action that can encourage visitors to stay loyal to your practice.

8. Optimize for mobile devices: Being mobile-friendly is just as critical for healthcare websites as it is for other businesses. According to a recent marketing study, 51 percent of time spent on the Internet in the U.S. is on mobile devices. In addition, 62 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to look up online healthcare-related information. Furthermore, Google considers mobile-friendliness as a factor that will determine how your website will rank in mobile search results. Therefore, if your website is not responsive, you could be losing out on organic traffic.

Your practice, SEO strategies and competitors

One of the biggest ranking factors in 2017 is personalized marketing. If you run a medical practice in a competitive city, like many other readers of this blog, you will need to localize content to your target audience while keeping an eye on competitors.

Your competitors will be conducting similar strategies to achieve better search rankings. The front page of Google, therefore, is constantly shifting and moving.

You must start optimizing your website for greater online visibility. By now, hopefully, the complexity and depth of SEO are clear. You must remember that SEO is an ongoing process, and not a quick-fix solution. However, the goal is to create a seamless and valuable experience for your patients.

It is understandable to expect overnight results, especially with the time, effort and investment you might be putting into your digital marketing strategies. However, it will be unrealistic to expect overnight changes, and you will be in for a frustrating experience by wasting time and money on implementing the cheap and easy tricks.

8 Healthcare SEO Tips to Keep Medical Practices in the Game

Do not forget:

  • SEO is a long game.
  • You will need to invest money and time.
  • Continual re-evaluation of strategies is common.

Do you have any questions about SEO for medical practices? SEO is just one of the many practice marketing techniques we use to help medical practices become reputed and profitable. You can contact us to learn more about how we use practice marketing solutions to attract new patients, improve online reputation and improve your bottom line.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

When most people hear about search engine optimization (SEO), they think of researching keywords and building links. While this is somewhat correct, that is not all there is to modern SEO. These days, analytics and content play a significant role in improving the ranking of your healthcare website.

However, if you have been persistently working on keyword optimization but are not getting the desired results, you need to consider other factors that impact SEO ranking. It is important to consider that search engine algorithms not only rate the relevance of your keywords, they also assess vital information such as the average duration visitors stay on your website, bounce rate, pages viewed, broken links, outbound and inbound links and many more.

Getting visitors to stay on your website and engage with your content can boost your website’s ranking, and you can achieve this by making your website easy to navigate and by providing useful content.

Including well-researched keywords to get visitors to click through to your website is only half the story. You will need to optimize your website for visitors who use search engines and endeavor to make user-friendliness an important goal.

In this article, we will look at the various aspects of website usability that impact its ranking and how you can improve ranking by enhancing your website’s usability.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

So, what exactly is website usability, and how can it improve SEO ranking?

The usability of a website includes many design elements, most of which are tied to conversion rates. Here are some of the key elements that affect your website ranking:

  • Effectiveness: Are visitors able to achieve their objectives when they land on your healthcare website? Do they find your website easy to navigate? Can they quickly find the information they need?
  • Efficiency: In addition to being easy to navigate, how quickly can a visitor find the desired information on your website? If visitors cannot find the required information effectively and efficiently, they will navigate away.
  • Learnability: Are the calls-to-action prominent? This is because if visitors are spending too much time searching for information on your website, they will spend less time consuming that information.
  • Memorability: Are the keywords associated with your website search-relevant and memorable enough so that visitors can find your website again? Repeat traffic can help boost your Google ranking.
  • Error Prevention: A broken link error can affect not only user experience but also SEO ranking. For instance, a 404 Page Not Found error or a broken link that is no longer valid can severely impact user experience and website usability.

Search engines prefer websites that are user-friendly and provide useful content. Google favors websites that are not only rich in keywords but that also establish visitor engagement.

SEO ranking improves significantly when visitors stay on your website longer, view more sections or pages and repeat their visits. The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely visitors are going to return to it.

Here are eight elements that not only increase your website’s usability but also help improve SEO ranking:

  • Keyword research: The most important step of a successful SEO campaign is keyword research. While doing keyword research, try to find which keywords or phrases potential patients are using to find your website and then decide which ones to target. Ideally, the keywords with more potential are the ones with a higher search volume and low competition. Unfortunately, your competitors must be doing similar research. This makes these keywords limited and insufficient to support your SEO campaign. Try to include long tail keywords. You must analyze your competitors’ online marketing practices, improve upon them and create your SEO strategy.
  • High-quality content: Without useful content, you cannot practice effective SEO. In order to develop an effective SEO strategy, you will need to create and publish content that is appealing to your target audience and optimized for search. Creating relevant content that generates leads means building a strong brand that improves your credibility, strengthens your brand image and expands your market presence. According to research, content between 2,000 to 2,500 words is likely to rank higher in search engine results. Although word count does not rule the SEO world and nobody will read your content if it is not informative, longer content gives you the opportunity to include more keywords and outbound links and get people to spend more time on your website. Another reason to create compelling content is that when visitors bookmark your website or content on Chrome, it helps to improve your SEO ranking in Google.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

  • Page loading speed: Most search engines include page load speed in their website ranking algorithm. Visitors may leave your website if they have to wait an extra few seconds for each page to load. This may increase bounce rate and reduce the number of pages viewed, which will impact your SEO ranking. Some studies indicated that 40 percent of visitors would abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. There are many effective ways to increase page load speed, such as using a caching plug-in, keeping the code clean, optimizing images and minimizing redirects. Correctly optimizing images can help reduce file size and improve page load speed. Upgrading your web host to a virtual private network (VPN) can help reduce page load times.
  • Technical optimization: Search engines such as Google and Bing use software called crawlers to read your website’s content and code. If your practice website is not technically perfect, it may be difficult for crawlers to read and understand its content, which will impact its rank in search engine results. It is critical to check the following technical points:
  • URL structure: Try to keep the URLs under 100 characters long, use dashes instead of underscores, and avoid special characters.
  • Title tags: Include a unique title tag on every page, and restrict the length of the title tag to 75 characters. Be sure to include relevant keywords in the title tag.
  • Meta description tags: Include a unique meta description tag on every page. Meta descriptions should ideally be up to 160 characters long and briefly describe the page.
  • Heading tags: Headings are part of the webpage’s HTML and are visible to visitors. Every web page should have only a unique H1 heading tag. Correct use of header tags can help divide your content into sections that are easier to read. Search engines focus more on keywords in header tags. By including relevant keywords in your header tags, you can boost your SEO ranking.
  • Duplicate content: These issues occur when the same content exists on your website under different URLs. This can have adverse effects on your website’s ranking as search engines may not know which version to include in their index. It is recommended to either remove the duplicate content or create redirections between the different versions.
  • Structured data: Structured data allows you to add special markup to your content, which helps the search engines to understand its type. Structured data can also provide rich snippets for your web pages in the search results pages, which can help you achieve higher rankings.
  • Quality of outbound and inbound links: To make your content more relevant, you can link out to authority websites for providing in-depth information to your readers. This will not only increase the credibility of your content and increase the time visitors spend on your website, but it is also likely to send trust signals to search engines to improve SEO ranking. However, too many outbound links can make the content hard to get through.
  • Video content: A variety of graphics, including videos and slideshows, can enrich the user experience and help to deliver content in a way that is best-suited to your target audience. Video content is increasingly gaining importance in driving user engagement and conversion. According to research, websites using videos can achieve a nearly five percent conversion rate compared to a three percent conversion rate on websites that do not use video content.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

  • Mobile optimization: Being mobile-friendly is as important for healthcare websites as it is for other businesses. Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly by bringing down their search ranking. More and more patients are consuming online content on mobile devices, and not being mobile-friendly will affect user experience and conversion rates. Going mobile does not have to be restricted to just having a responsive website. You can take it a step further and develop an app. By making your website mobile-friendly and offering a related app, you can make made your services easily accessible to a target audience.
  • Social sharing: The number of posts and shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms can significantly influence SEO ranking. Installing social sharing buttons on your practice website not only makes it easy for patients to share your content but it can also help you rank higher on searches. Social sharing can also drive purchasing behavior.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

Conclusion

If you feel you have to squeeze a keyword into a sentence, you are approaching SEO with the wrong approach. While keyword density was a common concept a few years ago, it is not very relevant these days. Instead, focus on creating content that your existing and potential patients will find useful.

If your website content sounds unnatural because you are trying to optimize it for search engines, change it. Search engines are cracking down harder on keyword stuffing, so these age-old tactics are likely to cause your rankings to drop, killing your online reputation.

You do not have to spend a lot of hard-earned money to dramatically improve your search visibility. Even simple steps can help you achieve a major SEO boost. In the end, SEO is all about improving the user experience and enhancing the usability of your practice website. Any positive change that makes your visitors happier and more comfortable navigating your website is likely to make search engines happier, too.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Are you flushing your precious marketing dollars down the drain? If you cannot track how much revenue you are generating from the various marketing activities, you may end up wasting A LOT of money on activities that will never yield desired results.

Measurement is vital to successful marketing because it is the only way to recognize the effectiveness of your healthcare marketing activities. Unless you are able to track the revenue generated by every single marketing activity, you have no idea which of your marketing efforts are capable of attracting patients to your medical practice.

This is one of the biggest mistakes practitioners make in their healthcare marketing efforts. They have no idea how their marketing strategies are helping them, and they have no clue which marketing activities are generating the best results. It is only when you know which marketing activities work the best for your practice that you can create an effective healthcare marketing plan. For instance, if you know that direct mail is the best strategy for attracting quality patients to your medical practice, then you can look for innovative ways to integrate that particular activity into your healthcare marketing plan.

What is the best way for measuring healthcare marketing activities?

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Monitoring. Monitoring. Monitoring.

There are a variety of ways to monitor each of your healthcare marketing activities, depending on the type of marketing you do. For instance, if you conduct an email campaign, the best way to track the number of leads generated is by using call tracking. Call tracking is a low-cost and precise way to identify whether or not your marketing efforts are paying off. By using call tracking, you can determine which marketing activities generate the most leads, which will help you calculate the revenue generated by the tracked marketing activity.

Whether you are tracking online leads using Google Analytics or tracking leads via call tracking, monitoring is important for the success of your healthcare marketing campaigns. This is because an increase in the number of incoming phone calls only means your marketing is working; it does not say that you are getting a healthy return on your investment. So, it is always a good idea to measure marketing activities against the amount of revenue they generate, not the number of phone calls you receive.

The success of your healthcare marketing efforts depends on how efficiently you track key metrics that influence ROI. If you are a healthcare marketer, here are the eight critical metrics you should be focusing on:

1. Acquisition cost per patient: The acquisition cost per patient is an essential piece of healthcare marketing strategy. Understanding how much it costs to acquire a new patient through the various marketing channels is a starting point for tracking the overall success of your healthcare marketing efforts.

Mostly, this cost tells you how much money is being spent for every new patient acquired. Patient and doctor referrals, paid ads, website, social media and other marketing channels factor into your cost, and each channel contributes to the success of your marketing campaign. While most marketers just divide all marketing costs by new patients acquired in a specific period, it is better to calculate the cost per acquired patient for every marketing channel. This lets you know which marketing activities are most effective and which ones require a more aggressive treatment.

How to calculate acquisition cost per new patient

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Thanks to some amazing digital healthcare marketing tools, understanding and calculating your acquisition cost per new patient is simple. These tools allow you to track which marketing channels your patients are coming from, and then decide the importance and effectiveness of each channel. This will help you efficiently develop digital healthcare marketing strategy.

2. Patient’s lifetime value: The lifetime value of a patient is about understanding how much value a patient can bring to your practice in the long term. This healthcare marketing metric is an excellent way to learn how patient satisfaction boosts your bottom line.

When a patient is happy with your services, he or she is more likely to come back to your practice and recommend your services to family and friends. This means your patients can become a powerful way to market your healthcare practice. Estimating the lifetime value of a satisfied patient will help you enhance customer service strategies way down the road.

Although initially it may seem you are losing money in acquiring new patients, the lifetime value of satisfied patients may increase your ROI by as much as ten times. This broad view can help you shift focus on customer service and delighting your current patients, rather than focusing purely on acquiring new ones.

How to calculate a patient’s lifetime value

Calculating this metric requires some computation. In order to understand how much value a patient can bring over a lifetime, you will need to have the following information:

  • Patient acquisition cost
  • Rate of patient retention
  • Cost of appointment

3. Patient engagement: When it comes to healthcare marketing, an active online community or a social media platform can prove to be your best friend. The way patients interact with their healthcare providers divulges valuable information about their overall relationship. While ensuring a positive online interaction with patients, try to address and resolve any negative feedback at the earliest.

While patient engagement may seem like an insignificant metric and you may not directly link it to your ROI, it helps marketers understand how leads are responding to online content and how close they are to scheduling an appointment. Patient engagement can also help you see the extent of your brand outreach and refine your marketing strategy accordingly.

How to calculate patient engagement

Here are some of the key factors that can help you measure patient engagement:

  • Blog views and comments
  • Shares on social media platforms
  • Patient reviews and testimonials on third-party review sites

While a lot of factors play a role in understanding a medical practitioner’s engagement with patients, paying attention to online patient reviews is the most critical.

4. Search engine rankings: Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the essential components in your digital healthcare marketing strategy. When potential patients are searching for a healthcare provider, you want to appear on the top of those options. Appearing high in organic searches is critical for any healthcare provider as it is an excellent way to attract leads to your practice and gain new patients. Local listings are influential, as these show star ratings and patient reviews. Listings with positive patient reviews and best star ratings always get the most click-through from organic traffic. This is where the importance of digital content kicks in.

How to understand search engine rankings

You can measure this important metric by monitoring your page ranking for keywords that are relevant to your industry and specialty. Knowing your position in search engine rankings allows you to have a better digital strategy on how to improve or maintain your position. A variety of online tools can also lend insight on your search engine ranking.

5. Patient retention: Retention is much sought-after, especially in the healthcare industry. The success of a medical practice relies on repeat business. When existing patients return to your practice, it increases their lifetime value. A bad experience in a medical practice can force a patient away for good. As a medical practitioner, it is critical to address patients’ concerns before they become widespread issues. A healthcare marketing strategy that focuses on converting negative patient experiences into positive ones will yield a great amount of success.

A happy patient who has had a good experience will not only become a patient for life but will also recommend your practice to family and friends via their social media or blogs, which can help increase your social validation. This makes loyal patients an integral part of your healthcare marketing strategy.

How to calculate patient retention

In order to know how many patients your practice can retain, you need to see how many current patients you have and how many you have lost and gained over a set period.

6. Valuable content: With regard to your practice website, you should have a strong idea of which sections and pages are driving most of your traffic and contributing to your marketing strategy. Sharing useful content is an effective way to acquire new leads. As a healthcare marketing professional, you must measure how well your target audience is responding to individual pages or type of content. This will help you hone your content marketing strategy. All of this relates to conversion rate optimization.

How to measure the impact of content

There are a lot of online tools that can help you understand the impact of strong content on your overall healthcare marketing strategy. However, Google Analytics is one of the best tools available online to measure these metrics.

7. Incoming call volume: Most medical practices complain about the volume of incoming calls and how much time their staff members spend handling them. A successful practice must have regular incoming calls and appointment requests from existing as well as new patients.

How to calculate incoming call volume

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Most phone systems have built-in call tracking equipment, which can be your starting point. Another helpful tool is CallRail, which provides in-depth information on the number of patient calls your practice is receiving on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and it helps you identify where each patient discovered your practice.

8. Customer service response time: Customer service is a necessity in order to maintain healthy relationships with patients so you can earn their loyalty and continued business. Patients expect you to give priority to their problems and address their questions quickly. Your healthcare marketing must include a patient service team that focuses on improving patient service and experience. The primary goal of that team should be to resolve issues effectively and promptly.

How to understand and improve customer service response time

Your digital healthcare marketing strategy should cover a patient’s overall experience at your practice. Patients expect you to respond to their concerns through phone calls, emails and even social media. In order to calculate your customer response time, you can track the time when customer communication comes in and on average how long it takes to respond to their queries. Some social media platforms allow you to track this metric automatically.

Wrapping up

With extensive information available out there when it comes to digital healthcare marketing, it may seem a little overwhelming to make sense of everything. The best moves are the ones that define your marketing goal, set your plan of action and identify the marketing metrics that will help you discover how successful you were.

Different marketing campaigns have different goals and will yield different results. However, before any campaign, define what your healthcare marketing goals are so you know what to expect and how to strategize for more successful campaigns. However, regardless of your efforts, at the end of each healthcare marketing campaign, you must take the time to evaluate your success and note what you learn.

Measuring and analyzing healthcare marketing metrics can be difficult, and we would love to help you understand them in order to grow your medical practice. If you are willing to learn more about the powers of marketing metrics, give us a call.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

What Are Your Healthcare Marketing Goals for This Year?

What Are Your Healthcare Marketing Goals for This Year?

Just as we set goals in our personal life to improve our health, pay more attention to finances or devote more time to our relationships, a medical practice should focus on short- and long-term goals in order to be successful.

Marketing goal-setting is an art. It requires maintaining a midpoint between achievable targets and unattainable dreams. In fact, setting and maintaining strategic goals can be a somewhat torturous deliberation. Understanding that the key to success is not in crushing your goals and moving on but in defining them so that each effort serves a purpose. Goals should be set to influence the long-term and the short-term purpose of your medical practice. Consider the following key categories when mapping out your practice’s goals.

Financial goals: Review the last two years to get a snapshot of how your practice is doing financially. Once you have a clear-cut picture of your current situation, determine reasonable goals for this year. For instance, if you have been attracting 35 new patients each month on average, bump that number up to 45 and think about how you are going to attract potential patients through your practice door.

Staffing goals: Take a look your turnover rate, training and development needs, improving employee satisfaction, establishing a retirement or incentive plan, conducting salary reviews or updating your employee manual to be in sync with how you function.

Physical surroundings goals: Take a look around your office, including your waiting area. What’s needed to enhance the décor of your office? When considering improvements in your office decor, get input from staff to prioritize your list.

Patient satisfaction goals: Are your patients happy with the care and service you provide? When looking to measure patient satisfaction goals, consider conducting a patient satisfaction survey. You can set goals for reducing wait times, making the appointment schedule flexible, reducing billing errors and increasing referrals from existing patients.

What Are Your Healthcare Marketing Goals for This Year?

As a business, a medical practice can improve day-to-day performance and foster growth, even during an economic downturn, by applying the proven technique of goal-setting. Goals are long-term targets calculated to drive the practice toward the doctor’s vision of success. More than just marks of achievement, goals act as motivators for the doctor and staff when used to assess the practice’s progress.

Goal-setting is particularly valuable for medical practitioners who have little or no formal training on the performance factors that separate an average practice from an exceptional one. Once the technique of goal-setting has been learned, each practice will have unique goals based on the doctor’s vision. When laying the foundation for success, all practices can benefit from these fundamental goals:

1. Increase revenue: There are various ways to increase your practice revenue, but one of the simplest methods is to focus more on the existing sales process. Take a look at how much revenue your practice is losing because leads are not being managed and followed up on. According to studies, in an average practice, almost 50 percent of leads are lost due to incorrect management.

Steps to be taken:

  • Reduce average time taken to respond to leads.
  • Follow up with the sales team at least twice a week.
  • Review staff performance reports regularly
  • Hold biannual staff training sessions on call-handling practices.

2. Improve patient engagement: It is a known fact that happy patients bring in more referrals and increased repeat business, which will help support your financial goals. Increasing engagement with existing and potential patients is an excellent way to increase satisfaction. Patient reviews are a great way to benchmark this goal. Patient engagement will help your practice stay top-of-mind with your potential and existing patients.

Steps to be taken:

  • Using the right tools and technology is key to successful patient engagement. Make it a priority to have an effective patient communication system in place and a roadmap created to reach the target audience.
  • Implement patient retention programs. You can use email and text marketing to set up recurring reminders for patients when it is time for their routine checkups or lab tests. You can also announce incentive-based campaigns for patients who have not visited your practice lately. Offering an exclusive deal or free service is often an excellent way to get these patients back into your practice.
  • Send out regular communication to your patients informing them of your latest treatments, equipment, product discounts and any new deals you may be offering. You can also set up automatic emails that send your patients a special discount around their birthday or anniversary or holiday time.

What Are Your Healthcare Marketing Goals for This Year?

3. Reduce marketing expenses: Most practices approach marketing blindly, promoting their services on every channel and platform without tracking the performance. This may result in wasting a lot of advertising budget that could be spent elsewhere. You must resolve to focus more on quality and not quantity with your promotional strategy. It is important to determine which channels are resulting in the maximum conversation rate.

Steps to be taken:

  • Assign call tracking numbers to your advertising sources in order to get a complete picture of your marketing ROI.
  • Compare the quality of the leads different marketing sources are sending your practice. In addition, if advertising is sending you plenty of leads, but most of them are not converting, then the advertisement is targeting the wrong set of people and may need to be reassessed.
  • Evaluate marketing ROI reports consistently and hold quarterly budget review meetings to analyze and reallocate marketing budget based on performance.

4. Get more patient reviews: For most medical practitioners, online reviews cause great anxiety. However, with the abundance of third-party review sites such as Yelp, HealthGrades and Vitals, physicians simply cannot afford to ignore online reviews. Make sure to take a proactive approach to managing your online reputation. Your best line of defense against negative online reviews is to ensure the good reviews outweigh the bad ones.

Steps to be taken:

  • Implement a system for gathering and displaying authentic positive reviews from your loyal patients.
  • Learn from negative feedback and understand what needs to change. For instance, customer complaints about long wait times and staff behavior can be handled through better appointment scheduling and staff training.
  • Respond to negative reviews politely and professionally.

5. Automate key processes: For this year and the next few years, resolve to stop wasting your time, energy and resources on repeat tasks that can be automated. When the workflow is automated, there are likely to be fewer mistakes, and your admin staff will have more time to focus on things that matter, such as improving patient experience and providing outstanding care.

Steps to be taken:

  • Put your lead-generating process on auto-pilot with automated email marketing systems.
  • Introduce an automatic appointment reminder system to your practice. You can send automated texts and email reminders to patients and free up your staff for more important tasks.
  • You can also reduce manual data entry by implementing an online patient information system. This will not just save time but also reduce errors.

6. Search for innovative marketing opportunities: Consider employing different methods to improve the brand image of your medical practice. Look for ways that communicate professionalism, ethics, value and care to your potential and current patients.

Steps to be taken:

  • Take time to comprehend and accept the value of a strong online presence. Whether it is creating a profile on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, these social media networks give you access to an unlimited audience, which has tremendous marketing potential.
  • Use your marketing materials to educate patients, enhance patient acquisition and retention, and increase profitability.
  • A SWOT analysis of your medical practice will help you understand which marketing strategies to keep and which ones to discard. Be sure to capitalize on your strengths, minimize weaknesses and identify new opportunities for your practice growth.
  • Most medical practices stick to old ways of marketing. However, for this year, consider going outside your comfort zone and launch new promotional campaigns such as email marketing, social media and search engine optimization (SEO). Consider using simple yet compelling infographics as a visually engaging tool to convey important medical information.

What Are Your Healthcare Marketing Goals for This Year?

Conclusion

Today’s medical practitioners must take a systematic approach to building and managing their practices. You must implement effective tactics to help you generate income to achieve short- and long-term financial needs. Practices will not reach full potential until they apply cutting-edge systems, state-of-the-art technologies. However, goal-setting can get the growth process started.

Medical marketing goals are essential if you want to expand your practice and provide valuable services to your patients. If you and your team are working on these marketing goals, you will be able to increase visibility and revenue for your medical practice. In addition, you will motivate your staff to have a renewed commitment to the visions and goals of your medical practice. So stay focused and celebrate success.

It is never too early or late to set marketing goals for your medical practice. All you need to do is focusing on areas in which you want to grow and then come up with innovative ways to market your services. If you need help, contact Practice Builders. We specialize in helping medical practices build and implement effective marketing strategies.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

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How to Create a Profitable Business Plan for Your Healthcare Practice

How to Create a Profitable Business Plan for Your Healthcare Practice

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.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Top 22 Social Networks for Doctors and Healthcare Professionals

Top 22 Social Networks for Doctors and Healthcare Professionals

For healthcare professionals, social media is like a double-edged sword. It is an opportunity to connect with potential and existing patients, discover business opportunities and seek professional advice. It is also a place to network with peers and find job leads. However, you must respect privacy and security regulations of social media sites. Also, some social media platforms indulge in data mining practices, which may turn you off. Having said that, several social media platforms do provide benefits along with the much-needed security demanded by the medical professionals.

Here’s a list of the 22 most popular social media sites for healthcare providers. While the majority of these sites and online communities are explicitly for physicians, some of them also focus on connecting nurses, medical students and job seekers.

1. Sermo: With more than half-a-million active users, Sermo is probably the most popular social networking site for healthcare professionals worldwide. According to the site’s policy, only licensed physicians can register here. This site focuses on connecting verified and certified medical professionals from across the globe, who are allowed to ask anonymous questions and have real-time interaction with peers regarding patient care in Sermo’s “virtual doctors’ lounge.”

2. Doximity: A newer kid on the block, Doximity has over half-a-million users. Aimed at connecting US-based doctors in all specialty areas, more than 60 percent of all US physicians are claimed to have already signed up for its membership. The site also facilitates doctors to earn some of their category 1 CME credits by reading the online medical journals. This social network platform for doctors comes loaded with features and benefits.

3. DailyRounds: This is a service for physicians that blends specific features of a social networking site and a medical journal. Doctors can use DailyRounds to exchange knowledge, upload and view medical cases and access its drug database. They can also network with other physicians through iOS and Android apps.

4. Incision Academy: Incision Academy helps surgeons share their knowledge and techniques with other surgeons across the globe. This social platform allows the surgeons to share specific techniques with other surgeons from all over the world. The fundamental value of this platform is sharing skills and techniques, with the aim of improving surgical care.

5. OrthoMind: Founded by orthopedic surgeons, this is a specialized global practice network for orthopedic surgeons. It allows members to connect with the online community on the forum. Members also have the opportunity to connect with their peers through various networks and review medical products and techniques. This platform also features a surgeons online lounge as well as a Grand Rounds Forum where difficult cases are discussed.

6. QuantiaMD: Founded as a platform for helping doctors collaborate, over 200,000 members are already using this platform to communicate and share critical information. QuantiaMD helps physicians stay ahead by communication with and learning from peers and specialists. This social networking site provides video content and presentations made by experts for higher-learning institutions.

7. WeMedUp: This is an online community that provides world-class collaboration for medical professionals. The aim of this online community is to help physicians get together online and connect with like-mind professionals. Members can discuss patient case studies and share industry research. Also, this platform allows the members to participate in online polls, apply for job openings and interact with peers in a private environment. Membership is available to physicians, dentists, medical students and more.

8. Figure1: This social networking site targets healthcare professionals and medical students in more than 100 countries. The platform allows medical professionals to share anonymous images of an ailment, such as X-rays, and have discussions with their peers related to the pictures. This site helps doctors working in remote locations to connect with other doctors and gain more knowledge on rare illnesses. Figure1 guards the privacy of the patient by removing faces and other identifiable marks immediately when a doctor uploads the image.

9. Ozmosis: Created by Ozmosis, Inc., a medical social business software company, Ozmosis is a social network for physicians. This social site allows its members to connect with other physicians through a secure and trusted platform. On this site, individuals can share health-related information as well as clinical advice. Doctors can collaborate with peers and discuss specialty-specific information. Ozmosis allows only US-licensed physicians to join the network and ensures that all member profiles are verified.

10. Doc2Doc: This is a social networking forum that connects medical students, residents and interns as well as physicians from across the globe. The site offers online forums, discussion boards and blogs where medical professionals and students can meet and discuss issues. Member physicians are allowed to address issues that are either clinical or nonclinical in nature. The site is unique as it enables self-education among physicians.

11. DoctorsHangout: This is a professional networking site for doctors, residents and medical students globally. This social network can help medical professionals maintain existing personal and professional relationships and develop new ones by reaching out to other doctors around the world.

12. Student Doctors Network: This educational and nonprofit website aims at supporting and encouraging students interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Founded by medical students and residents in 1999, this website is committed to providing assistance to promising medical students during all phases of their studies.

13. SharePractice: This social networking platform allows doctors to ask questions and receive instant feedback from other verified doctors rather than having to make a call, text or email specialists in their professional network. The site enables physicians and medical practitioners to comment on thousands of drugs, supplements and diseases, so the information is updated, complete and peer-verified.

14. CardiologyNetwork.com: This professional and personal networking site is dedicated to cardiologists worldwide. It is an exclusive service for cardiologists, residents, physicians and medical students who are interested in making a career in cardiology and for all healthcare professionals who are related to the field of cardiology.

15. MomMD: This social networking site connects women in medicine with each other. Members can participate in the forums and come together to make an impact in the field of medicine. This site provides sections such as a job board, discussion forums, average salaries and much more especially for female physicians. With over 8,000 members, MomMD is the largest and best site devoted to women in the healthcare industry. The aim of this site is to encourage and support women physicians, residents, students and nurses in their careers as well as in life.

16. AllNurses: This exclusive social network for nurses and nursing students provides online forums, blogs, job listings and much more. The site is password-protected and only registered members can participate and utilize its features. On this site, nursing practitioners can find advice from peers, a job board, an FAQ section and blogs covering critical topics related to the nursing profession.

17. The Social Media Health Network: Created by Mayo Clinic, this network aims to promote global health by providing information for medical students, patients and providers. The premium members of this network can access webinars, member online directories, discounts on events and conferences, and more. The quality of this social networking site makes it one of the best resources for healthcare professionals.

18. Medical Group Management Association (MGMA): This is a LinkedIn group that encourages best management practices within the healthcare industry in order to facilitate and promote the highest standard of patient care. A community of the Medical Group Management Association website, members are allowed to communicate with leaders in the medical industry to get better insight in managing their practices.

19. NurseZone: This social networking site provides insight on the nursing profession. Members can explore their career path, discuss best practices of nursing and learn about the latest nursing techniques, including travel nursing. NurseZone is equipped with all the social networking features a nursing professional may need to connect with others.

20. Physician’s Practice: Created with an aim to help doctors manage their practice, this LinkedIn group permits no marketing or sales activities in order to keep the discussions focused and relevant. This group seeks to improve patient outcomes by interacting with doctors to understand and address their issues.

21. NurseTogether: This site aims to empower nursing professionals by creating a network of online support from other nurses. Members can participate in an active forum and exchange opinions about the latest trending topics in the nursing community. This social media site is loaded with information about career development and educational opportunities.

22. American Medical Association: This is a LinkedIn group that enables doctors to participate in the growth and improvement in the field of medicine. Medical professionals can learn to help their patients by joining this active online group of physicians from across the world.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

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