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Tag Archives: marketing

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don’ts of Patient Reviews

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

Online reputation management is an essential part of your dental practice’s success. What your patients say about your practice online has a substantial impact on your bottom line. Consider these stats:

  • 88 percent of patients read reviews to determine the quality of a local practice.
  • Merely 12 percent of patients do NOT pay heed to online reviews.
  • 72 percent of patients admit that positive reviews make them trust a practice more.
  • 72 percent of patients usually take action after reading an encouraging review.
  • 62 percent of patients are unlikely to visit a practice with unpleasant reviews.

When it comes to online reviews, the saying “If you cannot beat them, join them” applies aptly. As annoying as they can be, online reviews are not going anywhere anytime soon. It is important to accept online reviews, recognize their benefits and learn to use them to your practice’s advantage. If you are not sure how to handle online reviews, here are some dos and don’ts for dealing with them:

1. DO optimize your dental practice for service quality. Don’t optimize for patient reviews.

Instead of saying, “We need more reviews,” you should be saying, “We need more satisfied patients.”

At 27 percent, reliability is the most important characteristic a patient looks for in a dental practice, followed by skills (21 percent), then bedside manners (18 percent). Instead of focusing on random metrics such as quantity of reviews, you should focus on implementing and strengthening a process that will help you improve patients’ experience and exceed their expectations.
If you optimize your dental practice for service quality, you will get plenty of positive reviews.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

2. DO pay attention to patient satisfaction. Don’t pay attention to the number of reviews.

The only metric that is important is whether your patients were satisfied with the overall experience at your practice – from consultation to post-treatment.

Review count is just a quantitative metric. In fact, giving unnecessary importance to review count will prevent you from your main objective of improving your patients’ experience. Coincidentally, improving your patients’ experience will lead to more reviews.

Instead of giving undue importance to the quantity of reviews, focus on quality and keep measuring patient satisfaction.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

3. DO include reviews as a measure of patients’ experience. DON’T make reviews an ‘afterthought.’

Make reviews an integral part of patients’ experience rather than a “drive” you conduct when you “need more reviews.”

The only way to achieve this is by creating a process where measuring patient experience is the final step in every patient’s journey. Your aim is not only to measure patient satisfaction but also to encourage loyal patients to leave an online review and to identify and fix negative feedback.

Three basic steps:

A. The first step is to create a survey to identify positive and negative sentiments. You can either create a form on your website or print out a questionnaire to give to patients.
Note: In the questionnaire, stick to questions that allow your patients to grade your performance on a scale of 1 to 10. You can include the following four questions:

 

  • Will you recommend this practice to your friends and colleagues? (scale of 1 to 10)
  • What do you like best about our practice?
  • How would you describe your overall experience? (very poor, poor, OK, good, great)
  • What can we do better?

B. If the patient was satisfied and his or her experience was good, you could send a follow-up email thanking him or her for the time and ask for an online review.

If the patient said his or her overall experience was poor, or very poor, you must follow up immediately to investigate the reason and fix the problem before the patient leaves a negative online review.

By making patient reviews an essential part of your overall patient experience, you will have better control over the conversation.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

4. DO provide patients with a choice. DON’T be rude or forceful with patients.

In one recent study, a practice had sent more than 1,000 emails to patients asking them for reviews. Not even a single patient left an online review when given only the one choice of Google+. However, the second when patients were given Facebook as a choice, the review responses increased by 3 percent.

The top three review sites:

1. Google+ (32 percent)

2. Facebook (21 percent)

3. Yelp (18 percent)

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

5. DO abide by security and privacy laws. DON’T risk your credibility.

As a dental practice owner, it is your responsibility to comply with the safety and privacy laws related to the use and acquisition of reviews and testimonials. It is your responsibility to comply with the different review sites’ bylaws, however absurd some of them may sound.

Here is what you should not do:

  • Solicit many reviews. Most review sites will block massive waves of reviews at once. This is not illegal, but it is not an intelligent way of amassing authentic reviews.
  • Reward patients based on their public endorsement of your practice without explicitly stating the offer.
  • Ask patients for reviews on your website.
  • Incentivize reviews on sites such as Google+, Vitals or Facebook. Though you may be able to get away with it in some capacity, the long-term consequences are not worth it.
  • Use reviews on your practice website that highlight positive aspects of your dental practice and employees.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

Key takeaways

Acquiring patient reviews for your dental practice is hard work. In fact, nearly 78 percent of patients will never leave a review for a practice and about 16 percent of patients will leave a review occasionally. However difficult it may seem to acquire patient reviews, they still play a pivotal role in how potential patients perceive your practice. Implement the suggested DOs, avoid the DON’Ts, and always remember the following key points:

  • Optimize your dental practice for credibility, expertise and professionalism.
  • Implement a process for delivering and measuring patient experience, and make it a fundamental part of your patients’ experience.
  • Don’t stress over the number of reviews. It does not matter.
  • Acquiring patient reviews is an ongoing process. This is not something you can campaign for once every few months.
  • Provide your patients the option to leave reviews on multiple sites that support both mobile and desktop.

Follow these basic guidelines, and you will be successful in building credibility and attracting more patients. Are you looking for an effective way to market your dental practice and get more patient reviews?

Discover how to attract more patients to your dental practice with our proven strategies. To learn more about how we can help you with dental practice marketing, call today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Most medical practice owners usually think of hiring a marketing agency when their practice hits a fork in the road, and they need to make a decision. They could be facing one of the following scenarios:

1. They are either growing at an astonishing rate and no longer have the time or resources to manage their practice and keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the online market.

2. They are stagnating, and are finding it hard to keep a consistent flow of patients coming through the door.

3. They are losing business to competitors.

4. They are just starting a new practice and do not know how and where to direct their marketing efforts.

… They need help. It is time to make a decision.

Hiring a healthcare marketing agency for your medical practice is one of the most important decisions you have to make as a business owner. If all goes well, you will only have to make this decision once, but usually, this is not the case.

Hiring your first healthcare marketing agency is a stressful task, and hiring the second one is even more terrible. However, you can eliminate the pain and frustration of hiring the wrong marketing agency just by asking the correct questions during your initial meetings.

Here are the seven most important questions you should ask while looking for marketing agencies for your medical practice. The aim of this article is to explore the right and the wrong answers, and by the time you are done reading this blog post, you will know what to expect from the most accomplished and talented healthcare marketing agency.

Question #1. Why do I need to hire a healthcare marketing agency?

This is the most critical question you should ask before initiating any discussion with an agency. Businesses that have never worked with a marketing agency in the past often struggle to express what they are looking for, which can lead to disappointment and frustration for both sides. You must attach specific goals to your healthcare marketing plan and identify your practice’s objectives. This is because only after you have identified and outlined your goals will you be able to ensure the agency you are interviewing can fulfill them.

Are you looking for an agency that can improve lead generation and sales activities? Or are you looking for an agency to manage the online reputation and search engine optimization functions for your dermatology practice? Most agencies specialize in providing different services, so it is critical to understand which services you need before hiring the agency.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #2. Does your team specialize in my industry?

The Internet is a vast place, and there are many tools and techniques for marketing different specialties across the healthcare industry. You must pick the agency that has excellent experience with your specialty and specializes in medical marketing for private practices, individual surgeons and general physicians.

Medical facilities do not require the same marketing techniques as other suppliers. Hiring an agency with experience in, for instance, retail or automotive, will not make sense for your practice. A lot of legal issues accompany medical marketing. An agency that is not well-versed on what you can and cannot advertise when marketing your practice may get you involved in lawsuits and loss of reputation.

You should ask your agency about its experience and a case study, too, if possible. Based on the agency’s understanding of your industry, you can get an idea of how it would approach your marketing needs and how its approach will be different from your competitors’.

An agency that specializes in marketing individual healthcare practices will have hands-on knowledge of the latest trends and developments in your market without investing in expensive resources for extensive research. It will also have case studies showing what works and what does not so that you do not become their guinea pig.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #3. Is your team more skilled at local- or national-level marketing campaigns?

Exactly the way different industries require different marketing tactics, local brands require an entirely different approach to online marketing compared to national brands.

You should ask your agency about its approach, resources and expertise specifically for local marketing. For instance, local search tactics depend on geolocation and the optimization of Google My Business pages to attract local patients. A national campaign does not depend on either. Your agency should be experienced enough to understand this right out of the gate, as it is different from the link-building strategies employed by global businesses.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #4. Will you assign a dedicated account manager for my medical practice?

If you have handled work contracts with large businesses, you are not new to the customer service runaround. Most often, you would call customer service to ask a question but get passed around to 15 experts, none of whom can resolve your problem, before landing at the front desk where they promise to have an expert call you back. You must never accept this kind of slapdash service.
A reputed agency will assign a dedicated account manager to serve as your primary point of contact. This dedicated manager will be responsible for your customer service and answer all of your questions. If there is no one specifically assigned to your account, you will end up running around.

In order to avoid this nuisance from happening, you must ask directly who your single point of contact will be, who will take responsibility for the tasks and who will take care of any requests you may have.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #5. What practices and strategies do you have for measuring and reporting results?

By far, the biggest criticism of healthcare marketing agencies is the shoddy or nonexistent reporting practices that usually fail to demonstrate any measurable ROI.

The result?

You end up paying hefty fees without ever knowing how and if that money is helping your practice grow. In today’s world of big data and advanced analytics tools, there cannot be any excuse for bad results measurement. You should ask your agency to produce a few examples of a monthly report based on the standards, and both parties can agree on a format.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #6. What if I decide to part ways?

You can even consider asking this question first. The answer to this question may surprise you.

The answer will tell you if this agency is looking to build your practice or if it is just out for your money.

Be very careful of any agency that offers to build you a website on a “proprietary” content management system (CMS). When agencies build your practice website on their proprietary CMS, it usually means they may hold you hostage if things do not turn as expected and if you decide to part ways. As and when you decide to part ways with the agency, it will hand over the ownership of the website to you after you pay off the CMS lease. Moreover, if you do not pay, you will lose your website and all of the work you for which paid the agency so far.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #7. How do you plan to execute my marketing strategy?

It never hurts to ask the agency how it plans to implement your marketing strategy. This question is especially relevant for SEO-related services. In case you are not aware, there are two schools of thought around SEO:

1. Some agencies cut corners and trick the search engines into thinking your website is the most reputable authority.

2. Some agencies do what they commit to and establish your website as the most trusted authority by posting valuable and engaging content.

The former is a short-range strategy with short-term results and continuing issues, while the latter is a more intuitive strategy with long-term results. If you are going to pay a healthcare marketing agency plenty of money to optimize your website for search engines, make sure it abides by Google’s guidelines. Fail to do so, and you will find yourself back at square one; only this time, you will be poorer by a few thousand marketing dollars.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

In the end, you are the boss!

At the end of the day, you are the one who will be paying. You hold the power. When interviewing healthcare marketing agencies, remember that their job is to make you feel confident about their performance, deliver desired results and help you understand marketing concepts in a simplified manner. Never be afraid to ask questions, as any agency worth its salt will not only have good answers but also proven practices for all of your concerns.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

Let us accept this. Email is not going anywhere anytime soon. Just check out these facts:

  • According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your practice attract new patients.
  • For 89 percent of marketers, email is the primary source for lead generation.
  • According to research from Statista, the number of email users worldwide is likely to rise to 2.9 billion users by 2019.
  • In a digitally dominated healthcare industry, the stats convey a clear message: Email is critical for any healthcare facility. Email marketing is not just here to stay but is getting stronger with each passing year.

    Email continues to be an effective strategy for healthcare marketers looking to improve patient engagement, enhance engagement and increase ROI. In fact, patients who visit a website through email marketing tend to set more appointments.

    Email marketing is one of the strongest marketing channels when backed up by an efficient healthcare marketing strategy. Email marketing is the foundation of your overall healthcare marketing strategy. It is an effective way to keep patients informed. This is not something healthcare marketers do just because they can, and it is easy. It is a very effective tactic that helps medical practitioners and patients stay well connected.

    Email marketing is an effective way to market your services and products, and getting the word out about your medical practice. Email marketing can help you deliver content to patients, whenever it is convenient. It also helps develop loyalty and trust in your practice. With email marketing, you can build and improve relationships with potential and existing patients as it gives you a chance to speak directly to them.

    How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

    Why email marketing for your healthcare practice?

    If you are wondering how email marketing looks from the patient point of view, here is some insight. According to research, patients prefer email from the practices they are connected with. Email is a preferred communication tool for professionals. Nearly 95 percent of professionals use email, making it ideal for professional communication.

    Email marketing allows healthcare marketers to build relationships with patients and promote their products or services without spending excessive money on paper and stamps. This is the most effective way of delivering a value proposition to potential and existing patients through their inbox.

    Today, healthcare marketers want to do more with less. They need to connect with their target audience in a more personalized manner while staying on budget. Marketers that can connect with their patients in a more targeted way will be successful in improving ROI and revenue. While most healthcare marketing trends come and go, email continues to be one of the most effective channels. This is because of:

    1. Increased leads: Encouraging website visitors to sign up for your email list is one of the ways to generate more leads. Another strategy is to encourage your subscribers to forward your emails on to family and friends and to share it on social media.

    2. Improved sales: You can increase your sales by sending the right message to the right people through emails. The secret is email list segmentation. This process will help you service the right message to your subscribers at the right time, eventually encouraging them to become a customer.

    3. Driving conversions: Driving conversions is a number-one priority for healthcare marketers. In email marketing, average click-through rate is six times more effective than social media. Marketers can track the patient journey from receiving the email to scheduling an appointment.

    4. Reduced cost: One of the biggest advantages of email marketing is its low-cost nature. There are no print, postage or advertising costs. Emails can be paid monthly with unlimited plans.

    5. Return on Investment: Email marketing can outperform almost all marketing channels. According to reports, for every $ 1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $ 44.25. Practices can track the performance and impact of each email, which will enable it to calculate the ROI straight away.

    6. Integration: You can integrate email marketing with internal systems such as CRM, website analytics and social media. This will enable a practice to understand and profile its patients and see the impact of emails with other marketing channels.

    7. Automation: Automation can save time and simplify some of the marketing or operational tasks. For instance, automation is when a patient completes an action that triggers an email alert.

    8. Segmentation: The biggest feature of email marketing is the ability to segment subscribers into different groups so a practice can send targeted emails to each group. This will allow the practice to send relevant and engaging content to its patients. This can help increase engagement and conversions and generate qualified leads.

    Best practices in email marketing

    In healthcare marketing strategy, email marketing is more important than ever. In an age of ever-evolving social platforms and communication tools, email continues to be a reliable and influential digital marketing channel that connects with all demographics. However, to succeed with email marketing, it is not enough to quickly create a message and hit “send.” Connecting effectively and consistently with a target audience requires a well-planned strategy and high-quality implementation. The following best practices will help you ensure that your healthcare marketing campaigns are effective:

    1. Put security first: One of the biggest differences between healthcare and other industries is the importance of privacy. Always remember that even a general message can be viewed as personal information by many patients. Most patients are worried about the data that healthcare providers possess. In a survey of healthcare industry employees, almost 63 percent of employees believe their organization has experienced a data breach.

    The key to long-term marketing effectiveness in healthcare is trust. Therefore, you should start by ensuring that all your systems and processes are secure. This includes access to patient personal information as well as your marketing platforms. Also, as much as possible, use email marketing tools that are HIPAA-compliant.

    2. Build opt-in lists: Growing your email list using quick methods, such as buying databases or swapping information with other practices, may seem like a good idea. Our advice: Refrain from doing it. Building your own lists only via opt-in – where patients agree to receive email communications – is more time-consuming, but it is the best and the most sustainable approach. This is because the quality of these lists is better. You will notice higher engagement and fewer unsubscribes over time. In addition, the easiest way to create permanent damage to your brand is to send an email marketing campaign without permission. This damage is the worst kind of reputation hazard for healthcare facilities. Also, after you have built an opt-in list, do not forget to keep it safe and protect it. If you share this list with other marketers, you may run the risk of undoing all your hard work.

    3. Pay attention to email frequency: Sending too many emails is the biggest mistake most marketers make. When asked why they unsubscribed from receiving communications from their physicians or healthcare facilities, most patients said the biggest reason was too many emails. If you want to improve patient engagement levels and ensure that your email lists remain stable, be mindful of email frequency. You should resist sending too many emails or offers. These one-time offers may help in the short run, but in the long-term, you will end up losing valuable patients.

    How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

    4. Embrace automation: Most email services let you automate timing of sending emails, making it possible to send emails to different patients at different times according to their preference. These email services allow you to split-test various elements of emails, and they let you configure emails in a way that one event triggers another. This experience is different and personalized for each patient depending on what action they take. You must familiarize yourself with, and make effective use of, such services and features.

    5. Segment your lists properly: Nearly 51 percent of healthcare marketers rank segmentation as the most effective marketing tactic. This is mainly because of relevancy. The more segmented an email list is, the more relevant will be the messaging, and the more likely the recipient will take action. This general trend applies to healthcare, as well. In order to engage your audience, you must segment your lists properly and provide the most relevant messaging possible. When it comes to healthcare emails, the more targeted you can get with an email, the more likely the recipient will engage.

    6. Give patients something to do: One of the biggest advantages healthcare marketers have over most other verticals is that the vast majority of patients are interested in the emails. You do not need to convince recipients to care about their health and wellness. Therefore, you must think of every email as an opportunity to engage the recipient. You can consider providing links to information on your website, encouraging recipients to follow your social media accounts, and encourage the sharing of the message.

    7. Consider the timing of your emails: According to research, there is a best time and day to send emails depending on your business goals. Here are some quick facts:

    • The best time to send an email is between 10 and 11 a.m.
    • The best weekday to send emails is Monday, and the best weekend day is Sunday.
    • The best day to send emails for high open rates is Tuesday.

    It is critical to consider the time of your target audience. For instance, the time zone of California is different from that of Florida. It is important to identify where your target audience is based, and use that knowledge to optimize the timing and frequency of your emails.

    The results of these simple additions can be significant. Most patients want to engage with their healthcare brands. If you build trust, guard privacy, monitor the frequency of emails and provide a good overall experience, you will be well-poised for strong engagement with your email marketing campaigns.

    Email is not dead yet!

    Email marketing is here to stay, and it must be a part of your overall healthcare marketing strategy. Using email marketing as a tool for generating qualified leads, you can interact with patients on a more personal level, driving your practice to grow.

    Email marketing gives you a direct line of communication with past, present and potential patients. If you make these communications interesting and engaging, you will build long-term relationships that generate repeat business and grow your practice via referrals.

    As easy as it sounds, email marketing is a time-consuming process. If you could use a little help in this department, let us evaluate and automate your process. Effective email automation will ensure optimal ROI and leave you free to focus on taking care of your patients and growing your practice. To learn more about HIPAA-compliant email solutions and other ways to generate leads for your practice, contact our experts today.

    Medical Healthcare Marketing

Medical Practice Marketing: The Art and Science of Storytelling

Medical Practice Marketing: The Art and Science of Storytelling

Storytelling is an age-old means of transferring knowledge. Most stories we heard when we were children were passed down from our parents or grandparents and from one generation to the other. Storytelling is a great communication tool that has been used to impart valuable life lessons.

Stories touch emotions. One goal of storytelling is to persuade the audience. We have all heard of Noah’s Ark, The Odyssey and Shakespearean plays that discuss sentiments and moral values. Today, the same age-old storytelling is taking the digital marketing arena by storm. Putting traditional advertising strategies to rest, most businesses are telling their own stories, and healthcare is no exception.

Any business can benefit from storytelling in its digital marketing strategy. However, for medical practices, there is much more on the table. Storytelling engages patients at an emotional level. In medical practice marketing, storytelling humanizes a medical practice, builds trust and communicates values. By knitting the warmth of stories with knowledge, storytelling builds trusted brands and stronger relationships.

The potential of storytelling is no secret. Stories stimulate our brains. People remember stories and react to them. According to anthropologists, storytelling is a universal feature of every culture and country. According to OneSpot, Americans consume more than 100,500 digital words every day, and almost 92 percent of them want these words in the form of a story.
Why do stories encapsulate the mind?

A “story” and the art of “storytelling” each have their benefits. Here is why stories are more effective than plain data talk:

  • The human brain is designed to think in specific story terms. We understand experiences better when narrated in the form of a story.
  • Human memory is enhanced by the story. According to research, we tend to remember the information shared through a story than the one presented through points.
  • Stories create compassion.

The complexity of healthcare services, combined with the emotional suffering associated with illness and diagnosis, can be addressed through effective storytelling.

According to research, 78 percent of customers trust recommendations from family and friends, and 63 percent of customers believe healthcare information from friends is credible even if those peers are not experts. When these statistics are fused with an understanding of how our brain processes stories, it becomes apparent that information, when presented in the form of stories, can create real users of the products. Storytelling is the most effective strategy to build a lasting connection with a target audience.

Stories are easier to understand and remember because the emotional response helps the brain break down complex facts. The story acts as a medium to explain something much more complicated.

In the past, healthcare marketers have been hesitant to create stories around diagnosis and treatment options, thinking such topics are too serious for storytelling. They forgot that the heart plays a crucial role in engaging the brain. Stories take away our fear. People do not feel alone when they are listening to, or imagining, a story.

Storytelling as a strategic business tool

Storytelling for practice marketing is more than just an entertainment factor. If your patients cannot see themselves as a character in your story, they will not remember it or learn from it. If your patients can put themselves into the story, and feel the positive result played out by the characters, they start participating emotionally. Once they start participating emotionally, they become engaged.

Now, more than ever, there are tools and solutions available in the market to help healthcare marketers understand what makes patients tick. It is important to appreciate the needs, wants and habits of your patients in order to be relevant in an incredibly competitive marketplace.

In addition to boosting organic search rankings and engaging with your patients, storytelling is important to your medical practice marketing for a few key reasons.

Storytelling is a foundational aspect of your practice marketing strategy. Neuroscience indicates that storytelling makes things “click” for customers. Research has revealed that stories create stronger ties to influencing how customers act. All of this data points to positive outcomes in improving patient engagement. But how can you do it? What “stories” should you showcase?
How can you reach your target audiences?

Every day, medical practitioners are flooded with thousands of questions. The industry is growing, and the rules are changing. Most of you would agree there is an education gap. As a medical practice owner, you can use relevant incidents to help your patients understand his or her illness or treatment options.

Medical Practice Marketing: The Art and Science of Storytelling

How to tell better stories?

Anyone can tell engaging stories when he or she has the right tools, relevant information and enough support. Your healthcare facility can empower its storytellers by encouraging their talents, finding stories worth telling and removing barriers along the way.

1. Investing in talent: The first step to telling engaging stories is to empower your storytellers. You must invest time and resources in the storytelling process. You must have people in your facility with unique healthcare stories to share. However, do not expect them to add storytelling tasks to their already full workload. Successful storytelling takes time. A significant part of storytelling is an honest assessment of your team’s skills to identify where you may need help. In addition to quality content writing, good storytelling includes multimedia content. Whether it is graphics, images, videos or other engaging content, make sure your team members have the resources they need to tell great stories.

2. Finding stories worth sharing: The key factor is relevance. Your patients will not engage with your stories unless they understand how and why these stories matter to them. Your patients are not interested in listening to the kind of news that other healthcare facilities put out in press releases. Relevance is the overlap between what you want to say and what your patients want to hear. Relevant stories comprise a wide range of topics, including:

  • Informative material presented in thought-provoking ways
  • Actual engagements with staff and patients
  • Strong and useful points of view on controversial yet healthy topics
  • Brainstorming on timely issues
  • Patient-centric topics

3. Removing barriers to successful storytelling: Some barriers may keep coming up. Probably the most common concern is about patient privacy under HIPAA. Of course, patient privacy is important, and you must have permission before discussing their stories. However, many patients are willing to share their stories with the community, so do not hesitate to ask.

Another barrier to storytelling is approval. This is when a piece of content needs to be approved by so many people that it never sees the light of day. Simplify the approval process to as few people as possible.

In healthcare content marketing, your overnight success will take much longer than overnight. The purpose behind creating engaging stories is not to go viral, though it will be a bonus if it does. The aim is long-term relevance and reaching your business goals. Creating and distributing better stories can help you achieve those goals in the long-term.

How can storytelling help your practice grow?

The mission of medical practices using storytelling as a marketing tool should be to help patients relate the stories to the benefits of their services. Telling stories that do not connect to your brand or services will entertain, but it will not offer value or increase your revenue.

When developing stories, you must identify how your services help your patients. What problems do your products and services solve? What makes your practice different from the competitors? The answers to these questions will help you create compelling content that has business value.
Here are five of the most compelling advantages that storytelling brings to your medical practice:

1. Engages patients: If the story is good, you will have the listener’s attention. When you have their attention, you have almost won. With storytelling, each word can spark emotions. If you succeed in touching your patients’ feelings, you can also influence them to engage with your brand.

2. Is sharable on social media: If your patients read a piece of content that they connect with, they will share it on social networks, which will make your content more visible. By reaching people across your patients’ networks, your content can get more views, and your practice could acquire more patients.

3. Creates a connection: Every business has stories. By creating your content around an interesting story, you can easily relate to your target audience. When patients feel connected to your practice, you will gain their trust and loyalty.

4. Establishes authority: When you focus on storytelling and start creating relevant content for patients, you demonstrate that you share their concerns. Storytelling is 92 percent more effective than traditional advertising at increasing awareness and establishing authority. This is because when your patients have a problem, they think about you as their potential problem-solver.

5. Creates repeat readers: When patients like what they read, they are likely to come back for more interesting content. Repeat readers can help you establish patient loyalty as the online content acquires “followers” and subscribers.

Medical Practice Marketing: The Art and Science of Storytelling

Conclusion

Having said all that, how do you plan to embrace storytelling in your healthcare content marketing? We are not suggesting you revamp your blog or website. In fact, you can add storytelling techniques into your already established blog in order to enhance the user experience without tweaking your high-quality content. By making your content more relatable, you will give your patients even more reasons to come to you for their healthcare needs.

In healthcare, as in any other industry, there are plenty of storytelling opportunities. All it takes is a keen eye and a willingness to take the path less traveled. By sharing information in the form of a narrative, rather than a white paper, you will garner more attention, engagement and respect from your patients.

Stories are not a waste of time. They are good for practices like yours. Identify the stories in your practice. You can choose to promote the stories behind your patients and their recovery, the stories that connect your values to your business goals. Unique stories and effective storytelling are at the heart of medical practice marketing, doctor marketing and physician-patient relations. In order to experience successful practice marketing, tell better and unique stories. We help medical practices uncover and communicate unique stories. Are you ready to share yours?

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Plastic Surgery Website: Your Most Important Marketing Asset

Plastic Surgery Website: Your Most Important Marketing Asset

For plastic surgeons, their practice website serves as their storefront. Potential patients will not casually drop by your office to witness treatments or surgeries as if they are shopping for gadgets or furniture. Instead, today’s tech-savvy patients search online. When they find your practice online, they click over to your website to learn more about your services. Whether these visitors stay, and eventually become new patients, will depend on what kind of the first impression your website makes.

Your plastic surgery practice website has to assure visitors you are professional, highly skilled and cost-effective, too. It also has to convince them that you are caring, accessible and friendly. Trust and comfort are essential when it comes to selecting a plastic surgeon.

What is the purpose of your website?

Two critical factors make your plastic surgery website indispensable for your practice. The first is that it needs to act as an information source for your potential as well as existing patients. The second is that your practice website needs to serve as a marketing tool. The content and design of your website should compel your online visitors to contact your practice, and not move on to the next website.

Plastic Surgery Website: Your Most Important Marketing Asset

Your website deserves more than just cosmetic consideration. When it comes to a website, most people prefer esthetics over functionality and style over conversion rate. However, in order to build an effective website, it is advisable to focus on three main areas:

  • Psychology
  • Readability
  • Conversions

Psychology outplays everything!

If you can manage to get the psychology right in your website design, you will be 80 percent on the way to gaining new patients.

In order to include psychology right in your website design, you need to know your target audience and make sure you understand their needs. Do not get caught up in trends and try not to be generic. If you effectively communicate with your target customers, they will be much more likely to hit the contact button and become a patient.

Plastic Surgery Website: Your Most Important Marketing Asset

Put readability above esthetics.

Make absolutely no mistake about it. The purpose of content is to be consumed and understood. No doubt your website needs to look good, but just a beautiful website will not help you grow your practice. Websites do not just inform your visitors or make your practice look fancy and stroke your ego. The primary goal of a plastic surgery practice is conversion.

If your website’s design and content are not focused on conversions, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

How can you enhance your plastic surgery website?

Can online searchers easily find your plastic surgery practice website? Most plastic surgeons are not able to rely on referrals from other physicians on a consistent basis. They have to depend on their potential patients doing online research to find out about their practice and services. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) can help you. You can significantly improve your website’s online visibility by implementing effective SEO tactics based on the latest best practices. Getting found online is what drives traffic to your website. From that moment onward, your website’s design should feel welcoming and be easy to navigate.

A professionally and esthetically designed website is the first thing a potential patient will see and will be the primary factor when deciding whether to contact your practice. Just as a rule of thumb, if your existing website is more than two or three years old, signs of aging are likely to have set in. Not just in appearance, but also in effectiveness.

Giving your plastic surgery website a professional makeover is the first step in creating a marketing strategy that will set your practice apart from competitors and help you grow your business. However, to be fully effective, that makeover has to go deeper, below the surface. Here are the five must-have elements of a successful plastic surgery website:

Plastic Surgery Website: Your Most Important Marketing Asset

1. Relevant and engaging content: It is important to tell visitors what treatment options you offer, primarily for two reasons:

  • You need to inform potential patients of the full range of services available through your practice.
  • Seeing what is available or possible can plant “seeds of interest” in the minds of visitors. It is a subtle form of selling that can help grow your practice.

Some plastic surgeons make the mistake of listing all of their procedures on a single page. This forces your potential patient to sift through all that content. If your web pages are too long, most people will not even scroll down past the top 25 percent of the page. Your content has to be short, bite-sized and user-friendly in order to keep visitors engaged. Each major procedure or treatment should have its own page.

If you specialize in a particular treatment or surgery, make that clear right up front. It is helpful to show products and services you offer beyond surgical and nonsurgical procedures. A successful plastic surgery website should also include:

  • Surgeon bios
  • Separate landing pages for procedures and special offers
  • Awards, certifications or other surgeon or practice recognition
  • Financing and insurance options
  • Any extra services you offer, such as concierge services for out-of-town patients

2. Image galleries are your best patient testimonials: Most plastic surgeons post before-and-after photos of their patients on their website. However, are you displaying good enough examples? Including a variety of pictures reinforces your experience and skill. It also gives potential patients a better chance to spot a satisfied patient who looks similar to them, or who have had a similar problem corrected.

Most plastic surgeons post before-and-after “mug shots.” The aim is to provide visual information, but your image gallery must communicate with potential patients at an emotional level. It is a good idea to include different angles. Consider better lighting and background options. Add a brief explanation of the patient’s situation, their esthetic goal and the final result. These little gestures will put images into context, thus making them more relatable. The more relevant your “before-and-after” pictures are, the more they convince your potential patients to move forward. In essence, before-and-after pictures are silent salespeople.

3. Landing pages: Where visitors convert to leads and leads convert to actual patients: It is a good thing to drive traffic to your plastic surgery website. However, in order to gain new patients, you need to convert those visitors into actual patients. This is where landing pages come in. Unlike other general pages on your website, landing pages are specific pages where your visitors “arrive” after browsing your website. In other words, a landing page is where a visitor is likely to take his or her next action. That action can take the form of:

  • Filling out a contact form
  • Subscribing to your blog or e-newsletter
  • Downloading educational content such as e-books and videos
  • Requesting additional information
  • Scheduling a consultation

Landing pages come in many designs and formats, depending on their purpose. In order to convert leads effectively, the design and content of each landing page must motivate your visitor to take the next step. Landing pages act as the gateway to valuable information. For instance, if you are making an offer to your visitor, they may give you their email address and some additional information just to take advantage of the offer. So your offer has to be enticing enough to encourage them to take action.

4. Patient reviews: Nothing beats word-of-mouth: Potential plastic surgery patients are like any other customer – their buyer journey starts with research. Customer testimonials and online reviews feature prominently in their decision-making process. Therefore, one way to grow your plastic surgery practice is to strategically grow and improve your online reviews. In addition to quality, the quantity of online reviews also matters because it reinforces the fact that a lot of patients have benefitted from your treatments. No one wants to be a guinea pig. To further strengthen the credibility of your practice, you can consider creating an awards and honors page on your website. Professional accreditations from medical associations, local publications and public “contests” will affirm the personality of your practice. You can also include icons or links for your social media accounts on your website, where they can be instantly visible to visitors. These can serve as indirect testimonials, highlighting that your practice is trustworthy and engaged with patients.

5. Blog: Useful content that attracts attention: A blog is the most effective tool you can add to your website. Blogging offers extended marketing benefits for any plastic surgery practice and helps you:

  • Brand yourself as an expert in plastic surgery
  • Attract potential patients and keep them interested in your practice
  • Educate existing patients about your services
  • Increase SEO by producing more searchable content. The more unique and useful your content is, the brighter are your chances to show up in search results.

The majority of potential patients say blogs help them discover medical practices. Educating the masses not only increases awareness of your plastic surgery practice, but it also enables you to have in-person talks with better-informed individuals. Your blog is the best place to share a new five-minute video about a procedure or write a few sentences to set the stage. Infographics are a useful type of visual content that can have far greater impact. This is especially applicable for plastic surgeons.

Plastic Surgery Website: Your Most Important Marketing Asset

In conclusion…

There has never been a better time to be a plastic surgeon. With increasing public interest in esthetic treatments and surgeries, you have more opportunities than ever to attract new patients. However, at the same time, you face more competition than ever. It requires innovative, strategic marketing to set your practice apart and build your brand.

Whether you are trying to attract new patients or help existing ones, your plastic surgery website is essential to helping you connect with potential as well as existing patients. The elements mentioned above of a successful plastic surgery website will help establish your practice and build a brand among potential patients. Moreover, by ensuring you include all of these key elements, your practice’s website will be off to a great start.

However, when building the best plastic surgery website, it is better to work with an agency that specializes in plastic surgery website design and understands healthcare marketing.

Contact Practice Builders to learn more about what we can do to give your plastic surgery website the professional touch it deserves.

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

5 Modern Rules for Effective Hospital Marketing

5 Modern Rules for Effective Hospital Marketing

Hospital marketing is tricky, to say the least. You just cannot inspire patients to visit a hospital. However, it is important for you to increase your patient base in order to do justice to all the investments you have made in your hospital. The solution: marketing your hospital in a subtle but effective manner.

Recent research by Capstrat on hospital purchasing trends revealed that how today’s customers research and purchase medical services does not correspond with the marketing strategies designed to reach them. From the way they reach the target audience, to how they brand their products and services and which networks they utilize to connect with potential patients, hospital marketers need a fresh approach.

Hospital marketing should not be restricted to brand-building or sales support.

It is about making a positive connection with patients, on their terms.

If your hospital’s marketing program is focusing on any of the following areas, it is time to reconsider your branding strategies and how you want to portray yourself to patients:

  • Non-care focus: Hospitals that focus on luxuries misinterpret why patients choose medical facilities. Patients choose hospitals on the basis of specific treatment expertise and online error-free or minimum-error medical histories.
  • Overusing outbound strategies: While many hospitals still use electronic media such as TV and radio ads and direct emails to capture patients’ attention, the marketing world has shifted away from outbound strategies. Instead, according to HubSpot, almost 92 percent of companies using inbound techniques such as blogs, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media witnessed an increase in site traffic and lead generation.
  • Short-range focus: Medical marketing requires patience. Since most patients do not need care immediately, hospital marketing must focus on the long-term nature of the industry. One of your potential patients may view an advertisement for your hospital but not need medical service for months or even years. Persistence and patience are must-haves for hospital marketers trying to attract more patients.

New rules for hospital marketing

Hospital marketing has taken an unforeseen turn. Some medical facilities are using hotel-like comforts to attract and pamper potential patients. However, these luxuries do not lessen concerns about high healthcare costs. Here are some of the newfound marketing rules you should adhere to for attracting more patients while building a strong, health-first brand.

1. Know your product

As a medical marketer, you spend most of your time thinking about your product. How to improve it, sell it, talk about it, whom to sell it to – this is what you are paid to dwell on. But here’s what you need to know: Customers rarely evaluate your product solely against other products in the same category. They have limited money to spend but have a lot of options. And if your products are deemed less important than others in the same category, beating out your competitors may not help you win the sale.

The solution

You must understand how your product category is perceived by your target audience in order to fully understand the environment in which you are operating. One of the easiest ways to start is by making some calls to current patients. Just ask them about the product options they have today and those they were considering when finalizing your product. Of course, a formal survey would be better. In addition, a survey would give you a reason to reach out to current and potential patients about things other than your product or service, which is a good thought.

5 Modern Rules for Effective Hospital Marketing

2. Listen

What part of your marketing budget do you spend on listening versus telling your story? Most marketers spend most of their budget on telling. However, recent research has uncovered some surprising insights about what customers value most while purchasing a product. When asked, “What’s the advice you would offer to marketers trying to win your business?” empathy appeared at the top of the list. So, if you understand what customers demand and the challenges they face, your chances of success can go way up. Listen to your patients and hear what they have to say. Do not just assume that your product will fit everyone’s needs. So, are you listening?

The solution

It is about time you introduced some fresh elements into the marketing mix. To begin with, you can design a questionnaire. If you have tried almost every “telling” strategy under the sun, why not borrow a page from the political playbook and go on a listening tour? You can consider visiting current and potential patients, without any “promotional” agenda, and try to gather intelligence and build interpersonal relationships. However, if in-person visits do not sound like a good idea with your customer list or budget, you can plan a similar survey in a virtual environment.

3. Focus on after-sales

Skilled marketers focus on making the sale, but great ones know that what happens after the sale is just as critical. This is an important lesson for marketers. In most organizations, marketers focus most of their energy on the lead-up to the sale. This is because, essentially, salespeople and marketers are judged on sales numbers and their sales pipeline. Identifying potential clients, contacting them with the right message through the right channel, closing the deal. That is a typical sales routine. However, what happens after the sale is just as important.

Imagine replicating this scenario on hospital marketing teams and patients. Why? Because most potential patients depend heavily on word-of-mouth. They call their family and friends and look up online reviews in order to learn more about your hospital. And in those environments, what you did before attracting the patient to your hospital is not important at all. They want to know what happened after a patient visits your hospital. The real story is about the patient’s experience and his or her overall journey. If you are unable to shape that story, you are likely to miss the boat.

The solution

It is critical to map your marketing strategies against each touchpoint in the patient’s journey. If you are not spending a significant part of your total effort on what happens after patients visit your hospital, you have a lot of work to do. Surveys are certainly an effective way to keep in touch with patients after the consultation, and they can provide valuable feedback. Regardless of what strategy you choose, your goal should be to equip current patients with the information they need to help sell your services to their family and friends. Convert your patients into brand ambassadors.

5 Modern Rules for Effective Hospital Marketing

4. Prioritize social media

As compared to other industries, hospitals have been slow to adopt social media. Most medical facilities have only a vague idea of what they would like to accomplish, but no defined goals, objectives or methods. They just “want to be on Facebook.” Many healthcare facilities understand the value of social media but are unsure of how to get the ball rolling or get their feet wet. Having a robust social media presence that supports all facets of your marketing strategies and engages your patients cannot be implemented overnight.

The solution

Consider the success of Mayo Clinic when crafting your social media strategy. The clinic’s Center for Social Media is the first of its kind. Mayo Clinic also has a YouTube channel that shows doctor interviews, treatment videos and stories about patients receiving outstanding care. New patients get eyewitness reports of the experience, right from check-in to follow-up care.

For healthcare marketers, social media is an opportunity to connect with potential and existing patients, discover partnership opportunities and seek professional advice. However, as medical professionals, you must keep in mind HIPAA guidelines when promoting your hospital and services on social media. Also, some social networks indulge in data-mining practices, which may turn off some of your patients. Having said that, most social media platforms provide benefits along with the much-needed security demanded by medical marketers. Design a social media strategy and start engaging with your patients. You can provide general healthcare advice and customer support and create brand awareness. Do not discount the power of hashtags and relevant images. With the right social media strategy, your marketing reach can get an incredible boost.

5. Strengthen the content marketing

The biggest mistake in content marketing is to create content that your target audience may not connect to or that does not portray your hospital as planned. Most content writers focus on creating sales-related and promotional content. Such content offers only a little or no value to your patients. Do not forget, your target audience is smart enough to identify and classify promotional content from informative content. Consequently, it is an attempt to sell your services and glorify your hospital brand that may make the potential patient abandon your website.
How to overcome this problem?

The solution

Whether a hospital wants to increase its email marketing conversion rate or improve the click-through on its website, content is the key. All you need to do is to create unique, useful and engaging content for your target audience. When a valuable piece of content is created, your readership will grow. This will gradually increase your viewership. Effective content marketing programs take time to stabilize. Do not expect a new blog to drive 100 new patients the first day. However, rest assured, if you consistently create useful and informative content, you will notice an increase in your marketing ROI.

5 Modern Rules for Effective Hospital Marketing

Get the first-mover advantage

Traditionally, hospitals have been observed as caregivers embedded in a ‘build it and patients will come’ approach. Marketing and branding were not always given priority since it is critical to keep costs low.

While some of the modern hospital marketing rules are playing to the strengths of online communications, traditional media continues to play a role. However, because the technology has shrunk the desktop to pocket size, greater personalization and patient engagement is the way to go. You must evaluate if your hospital is falling short and then follow these modern rules for hospital marketing. Your patients and your bottom line will thank you.

The hospital marketing rules discussed in this article can help to build strong, sustainable marketing campaigns that will foster brand awareness, expand your patient base, improve your online reputation and help you to deliver on your promises.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fundamentals of medical practice marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

Medical Healthcare Marketing

A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing for Medical Practices

A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing for Medical Practices

Instagram’s exceedingly visual interface has taken the social media marketplace by storm since its launch in 2010. The recent addition of a stories feature has crossed 100 million daily active users in just a matter of months. Not only has it been able to change the way people communicate and share information online, but it has also become one of the key platforms for product promotion and customer engagement.

When it comes to customer engagement, Instagram is better than all other social media platforms. No wonder more than half of the world’s best brands are on Instagram. Instagram is a very efficient way to promote your brand in front of thousands or millions of potential customers – even if you are running a medical practice. Because your potential patients are on Instagram, you should be here as well.

User base

Instagram’s user base is primarily comprised of millennials. Almost 90 percent of its 500 million active users are under the age of 35, which means to be successful on Instagram, medical practices need to shift their focus to a younger target audience. For instance, if you are a dentist, you will need to focus on teeth whitening and braces rather than on dentures.

In case marketing to a younger audience is not your focus, or if your services are not appropriate for millennials, do not ignore Instagram just yet. While the vast majority of users are millennials, there is still much scope for increasing your online presence. A substantial online presence means higher search engine rankings, building trust in the eyes of your patients, and a stronger authority in your field. Don’t forget, Instagram can work wonders in creating your brand awareness and general credibility among patients.

What makes Instagram different from other social media platforms?

The visual nature of Instagram is its competitive advantage. Humans are primarily visual creatures, and the ability to be a part of a platform that provides a never-ending feed of visually pleasing content can feel like a vacation from the thick walls of text-based information we receive on other platforms.

Visuals are known to invoke emotions, which allows medical practices to create deep connections with their target audience. Also, given the fact that Instagram users are allowed higher levels of anonymity as compared to other social networks, they feel free to like, comment and engage with posts more freely without the fear of being judged publicly. The feeling of anonymity is one of the reasons Instagram enjoys such enormous popularity and serves as a medium to explore issues that one might be cautious of on other social media platforms.
A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing for Medical Practices

What kind of content to post

When deciding what to post to Instagram, do not forget that Instagram is a more personal app. Usually, posts that are too technical and promotional in nature are not welcomed by the users as much as personal posts are. Instagram users are more inclined toward viewing lively pictures related to events, informational material, customer engagement and events happening around the community.

For instance, if you are having a holiday party, you can post a picture wishing your patients a happy holiday. Alternatively, if your practice is involved in charity events, your Instagram followers will be glad to know and participate. You can let your followers find out when you bring a new physician on board by posting an individual or a group picture with an interesting caption.

Also, posting images and content that are in tune with trending topics will never go out of fashion. You must keep an eye on current trends and topics, even if you happen to choose “Throwback Thursdays.” You must try to participate in as many events as you can, and always use the appropriate hashtags. Make sure to keep your practice values in mind before participating in the latest trends and topics. Above all, always maintain a consistent style and tone in your Instagram posts.

Want to get noticed? Use #Hashtags

While it is important to post high-quality content regularly, merely doing this may not be sufficient. You will need to make sure your posts are being viewed. There are many ways to get users to notice and read your posts, but the easiest way is by using appropriate hashtags.

In case you are wondering, a hashtag is a phrase or a keyword that is preceded by the pound sign (#). Hashtags are critical because they turn into links, which allow the users to see every post that the hashtag was used for. For instance, if you use the hashtag “#braces” in your picture caption, anyone searching for that hashtag will see your image.

Hashtags help Instagram users search for content. The correct hashtag, or a combination of hashtags, will expose your medical practice to a wider customer base. By making your medical practice more discoverable, you will have a better chance of attracting followers, getting more content shares and increasing patient engagement.

In fact, according to social media experts, posts and images with at least one hashtag result in 12.6 percent more engagement than those without a hashtag. Here are some tips for using hashtags on Instagram:

  • Use as many hashtags as you can as this will maximize the exposure of your post. However, Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post.
  • Use some of the most popular and trending hashtags on Instagram. Including popular hashtags can give a little more boost to your posts. However, be careful as using too many hashtags can also increase spam activity on your profile.
  • Keep an eye on all the hashtags that your competitors are using.
  • If you want, you can hide all or some of your hashtags to give your posts a cleaner look. Using too many hashtags may make your posts look like spam or congested. If you want, you can include your hashtags in the comments below your post. This will still allow your post to be seen for all the selected hashtags.
  • Always add location tags to enable potential patients to find you when searching for your practice.

How to improve your Instagram strategy

With more than 500 million active users, Instagram is a growing social media platform buzzing with potential patients to engage with online. Since an increasing number of customers are following their favorite brands and businesses on social media, having a presence on Instagram is essential to connecting with your target audience. It also makes your medical practice more relatable as you share relevant experiences, showing your followers “behind-the-scenes” pictures and providing valuable advice on trending topics.

Here are some of the proven ways to help you leverage Instagram to boost customer engagement, grow followers and capture more leads into your sales funnel:

  • Make use of Instagram marketing tools: There are many Instagram tools designed to boost your online presence and make your marketing efforts more efficient. There are apps to help you edit images, provide analytical data, help you find influencers, schedule your content and manage your followers. For starters, you can pick one or two apps that work best for your practice and goals.
  • Use Instagram Stories to connect with your followers: According to research, users spend triple the time watching live video on social media than a prerecorded one. Considering this, social video can be an effective way to connect with your followers. Instagram Stories is one of the latest features and practices can “go live” and convey their message using video. While there are many ways to include a live video in your Instagram strategy, hosting live Q&A sessions where you answer your followers in real time may prove to be highly effective.
  • Hashtags are crucial: Hashtags are critical to your Instagram posts as they allow users to find you even if they have never heard of your brand before. Hashtags let you reach a wider audience by increasing your content exposure. One of the best ways to simplify hashtags is to observe what your competitors are using. You can see what is working by understanding the level of customer engagement they are generating.
  • Host contests: Online contests are an excellent way to get your followers involved in your content while making it interactive. Hosting contests will create buzz around your brand and will have a significant impact on increasing followership. You can host simple contests such as ‘Like this post to win’ or ‘Share this post to win…’ The information you gather will allow you to analyze customer engagement levels to find the best time to post in order to grow your audience. According to experts, the best times to post your content on Instagram is on weekdays between 12 pm and 1 pm. However, to understand the best times for your audience, you will need to collect and analyze some data.
  • Include visuals in your blog posts: Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform to drive new eyeballs to your blog posts. Even though Instagram only allows you to post clickable links in your profile, you can still promote your blog post by sharing visuals in your Newsfeed. You can consider using text-based images that highlight key points in your content. Alternatively, you can consider complementing your content with an illustration. This is an excellent way to drive traffic and improve your SEO ranking.

Conclusion

Instagram is a proven platform to execute content marketing strategy for your medical practice. Implementing the tactics mentioned above will foster your social media goals while strengthening your presence on Instagram. If all of these tips and strategies seem overwhelming to you, you can begin with

Medical Healthcare Marketing

20 Most Effective Doctor Marketing Tips for Attracting New Patients and Growing Your Practice

20 Most Effective Doctor Marketing Tips for Attracting New Patients and Growing Your Practice

Effective marketing is powerful. Successful medical practices understand the value of having an integrated marketing strategy that includes traditional and online marketing to reach, attract and retain patients. Having an effective strategy and knowing your target audience is imperative for the success of your medical practice in 2017.

Many medical practitioners believe that medical practices do not need a marketing strategy because everyone needs a doctor. While this is correct, medical practices still need to advertise because when people need a doctor, they will not contact a medical practice that they do not even know exists. Also, there is more competition than ever in the medical community. Therefore, it is critical for every medical practice to have an effective marketing strategy. In the absence of a marketing strategy, a medical practice will not have a consistent flow of patients to keep the practice running. Keeping this in mind, here are a few doctor marketing tips that are essential to the success of your medical practice:

  • Focus on enhancing the patient experience: One of the best ways to stand out in a crowded healthcare marketplace is to provide an excellent patient experience. An unmatched patient experience is a way to compete in 2017. Unfortunately, most practices do not have a patient experience strategy that tracks and improves all of the touch points of a patient’s journey. It is essential to understand what your patients need in order to build a successful patient experience strategy.
  • Provide quality content on your website: In 2017, it will become even more critical for medical practices to invest in SEO tactics. Therefore, quality content should be a part of your SEO plan. You can develop content to inform patients about your practice, specialty and work hours. Quality content plays a significant role in search engine ranking. It is imperative to create content keeping patients in mind. Search engines are intelligent enough to gauge the relevance and quality of your content. However, if you are creating well-written content with relevant information, search engines will reward you with better rankings.
  • Upgrade to a mobile-friendly website: According to a Google survey, nearly 61 percent of visitors will leave a website if it is not mobile-friendly. It is important to make your website stick to responsive design principles. Not only will that make it comfortable for potential patients to use your practice website, but it will also offer SEO benefits as Google favors responsive websites over standard websites.
  • Use Google for attracting local patients: A lot of potential patients are searching Google to find local medical practices. Make sure when potential patients search for medical practices in your area, they find your website on the first page of the search engine results. You must encourage your patients to go to your Google Places listing and leave a review of your practice after their appointment. Once you receive a high number of positive reviews, your practice will start showing in the local search results on Google, which will help you attract local patients to your practice.
  • Do not forget social media marketing: Social media has become one of the most influential marketing tools for medical practices, but you must utilize it properly to reap maximum benefits. Social media is certain to play a vital role in how medical practices market themselves in 2017. You must select your social media platforms wisely and make sure to market your practice the right way. Having a widespread presence on social media is a great way to build a brand following, which may drive new patients to your practice.
  • Network with other physicians: In order to grow, specialty practices need a referral base. Getting a new patient as a referral from another doctor requires a relationship-building technique. You must identify which doctors can recommend your practice to their patients and then develop a strategy to achieve those goals. You must focus on building relationships with other physicians by joining local medical associations and attending relevant seminars and functions.
  • Convey your message through blogging: Blogging is a proven way to reach, retain and engage your patients. If done right, blogging can take your marketing strategy to a new level. However, as a busy medical practitioner, you may need to overcome a few barriers in order to be a successful blogger. Keep the tone of your blog casual, and it should not be too lengthy.
  • Emphasize your skills and specialty: This is even more important if your practice is located in a competitive area. When a patient is searching for a new medical practitioner, he or she wants as much information as possible to be able to make an informed decision. For instance, if there are four dentists in your area, but your practice is the only one that offers a certain procedure, this is something you should emphasize on your website and in other marketing efforts.
  • Get listed on Google My Business: It is important fo you to get listed on Google My Business as it is an ideal platform for promoting a brick-and-mortar medical practice. Once you have created and claimed your business listing, you must ensure that all of your information is consistent and accurate across various online directories and citations. It is also important to sign up on third-party review sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, ZocDoc, RateMDs and many more.
  • Follow up with your patients: Medical marketing is a tricky business. The best way for a medical practice to market itself is by taking care of its patients. If done properly, you will be rewarded with positive word-of-mouth, and that is the best possible promotion any medical practice can have. Create an extensive follow-up program. Send regular emails advising your patients to follow instructions after their last visit and reminding them of upcoming appointments.

Over to you

While it is important to have a successful marketing campaign in place, it all boils down to the quality of patient experience you provide. Your patients will notice it, appreciate it and reward you by sticking around and referring your practice to their family and friends. Incorporate these doctor marketing tips into your strategy, and you will be welcoming patients through your practice doors in no time.

If you need any help with your doctor marketing strategy, we are here to help. Contact Practice Builders for a free consultation today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing