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Tag Archives: 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

The Ultimate Guide to Patient Referral Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Patient Referral Marketing

Developing a strong referral network is critical to ensuring the success of your medical practice. In order to grow your medical practice’s revenue, it is important to attract new patients consistently. In addition to advertising and connecting with insurance agencies, establishing a reliable referral network is an excellent way to bring in new business.

However, as healthcare practices merge and consolidate, it can be tough for small practices to build and nurture referral relationships. Moreover, even if a referral channel is set up, sustaining it becomes a challenge. While you may be playing your role well by referring patients to specialists, you need to make sure other doctors are returning the favor by referring their patients to you. This is where networking plays an integral part as other doctors will only feel comfortable referring patients to your practice if they trust you. The more well-known your practice is, the more likely other doctors will refer patients to you.

What drives physician referrals?

In the last decade or so, the rate at which doctors have referred patients to a specialist has more than doubled. Professional referrals have not grown just because doctors want to expand their practice, but for a multitude of various factors that drive physicians’ decisions. The following are some of the points that are contributing to the increased referral rate:

1. Too few doctors: There is a shortage of primary-care physicians in the United States, which means they lack the time and resources to pay attention to patients with complex illness. So rather than decreasing the quality of patient care in order to maximize revenue to balance expenses, these patients are referred to specialists who have sufficient resources for handling their complex symptoms. According to published reports, the availability of primary-care physicians is not going to improve for the next few years at least. Therefore, in the years to come, the rate of professional referrals will grow as physician availability declines.

2. Fear of malpractice: Recent studies have revealed physicians’ constant worry over malpractice. This concern is one of the strongest drivers behind requesting lab tests and referrals. According to a study, physicians’ fears of being sued for malpractice are disproportionate to the risk of being sued. But as long as malpractice remains a concern for physicians, it will influence their referral patterns. Also, patients often demand to be referred to a specialist. In the past, a patient with shoulder pain might be told to take a Motrin and wait for a few days. However, now the patient demands to be referred to a neurologist. So, a larger portion of referrals is coming from patient requests as well.

3. Keeping the patient satisfied: Patients are more informed today than they were a decade ago. Healthcare websites, online reviews and heaps of online information have increased patients’ role in their healthcare decisions. Some patients even walk in to the physician’s office determined what specialist they want to be referred to. In such cases, in order to make the patients happy, the physician usually refers them to the desired specialist.

Why do you need professional referrals?

Studies show that referral marketing can trigger the growth of your medical practice. Moreover, that is what doctors want. Industry experts believe that referred patients tend to be more loyal and profitable than regular patients. This means that getting including a referral program in your marketing strategy toolbox is essential for every medical practice.

While there are many more reasons to consider a physician referral program for growing your practice, here are three primary ones:

1. Attract new patients: The most significant benefit of a physician referral program is that it creates a continuous stream of new patients. Your patients will come looking for you rather than you having to find them.

2. Increase brand recognition: Once your referral sources start referring patients to your practice, brand recognition is an apparent benefit. The more happy patients you will have, the more personal referrals you will get. This will result in increased traffic through your practice website and social media profiles. All of this is bound to boost your brand’s image.

3. Higher ROI: Online networking, eNewsletters, online discussion groups and social media groups have made it easier for smaller practices to promote themselves and become a trusted source. These referrals programs have considerably higher ROI than traditional marketing methods.

Some valuable tips to get you started

Physician referrals are a critical component in growing your practice and attracting new patients. However, just waiting for patients and other doctors to refer to you might not be sufficient for filling your appointment book. You will have to go after them.

Here are some expert tips for small medical practices that are looking to establish, maintain and strengthen their referral relationships:

Create a plan and adhere to it: You will need to create a plan or work in close collaboration with a healthcare marketing expert to help you design a referral marketing plan and then execute it. It is critical that you have perseverance, discipline and trust in the plan. Many practices expect instant results from such plans. You must understand that developing a referral network is a process and not an event. An effective referral marketing plan requires time and effort. Too often, practices change their priorities or suspend their referral-building plans before they have time to yield results.

Adopt technology: In the healthcare business, you must be technologically savvy in order to share electronic information with networking doctors for improving efficiencies and delivering better patient care. The ideal solution for hosting and sharing patient-related information is cloud-based. This solution will not only allow the physician to receive referrals electronically but will also streamline the referral process and eliminate paperwork.

Communicate often: You will need to keep communication channels open for your referrers to discuss any patient-related issues. This will improve the quality of patient care and support your relationship with the referring doctors.

Know your target audience: The most important criteria for building patient volume is your practice’s specialty. For instance, growing a primary-care practice requires a patient-friendly approach, while creating a dermatology practice requires a targeted approach to physician referrers.

Welcome new physicians: You must have a plan to contact and welcome any new doctors in your area. You can call, write a personal letter of introduction and provide your contact details. You can also offer to serve as a resource and a friend, whether for professional or family needs.

Meet your referrers: When you are looking to increase your referrals, a face-to-face meeting with the referring physician can make a huge difference in enhancing your relationship. Also, networking and maintaining cordial relationships with the referring physician’s staff is a good way to increase the number of referrals.

Advertise your practice: You must advertise and promote your practice locally and make yourself available. Join your local medical societies and chambers of commerce, and become known. In order to determine your largest resource pool, keep track of where your maximum ROI comes from and invest efforts in enhancing it accordingly. Network with other medical practitioners as they may turn out to be sources of referrals.

Keep the referring doctor informed: Usually, referral doctors want to work with specialists who do not require constant follow-up on paperwork or the patient’s treatment. Also, providing excellent patient care makes the referral doctor’s life easier because they will not need to see the same patient again.

Re-evaluate and revamp relationships: This is the most important part – to regularly evaluate and update your relationships with referral sources. To be successful in a referral marketing programs, you have to be aware of the changes occurring around you. For instance, what may have been a good referral plan in dermatology three years ago may not be suitable today as facilities and equipment change.

Avoid these mistakes

The quality of your referral network can impact your income, patient experience, information security and your medical career. That is why it is critical to building a strong referral network from the very beginning. Moreover, once you have established your referral network, you must maintain and upgrade it regularly. Just a few mistakes can damage the reputation of your medical practice. Here are some of those mistakes:

1. Not monitoring patient satisfaction: While there are various ways to control the health of your referral network, patient satisfaction is one of the most important ones. Just because your patients are interacting with other healthcare providers as well, you should not stop monitoring their satisfaction. The more satisfied your patients are, the less chance of you being involved in a lawsuit.

2. Choosing challenging referral partners: This is an easy mistake to make. If you are not careful and selective while choosing your referral partners, you could find yourself neck deep in a sea of unhappy patients and bad partner relationships. It may seem tempting to sign on with any provider with good reviews, but you must spend some time getting to know them and their practice. If you are looking to form long-term partnerships, find partners who have similar goals and target audiences.

3. Poor communication: Communication is the foundation of the patient experience. Patients want to feel cared for and welcome, and not that they are being shuffled from one office to another. Therefore, it is critical to have rules around your communications. Your staff should be trained to communicate effectively, and they should be regularly evaluated.

4. Listen to your patients: You must manage their expectations around the referral process right from the beginning and make sure their doubts and questions are resolved. Patients expect smooth and flawless communication from their providers, and you must make the effort to live up to this expectation.

Even if you think your medical practice is doing well and that a physician referral program is a waste of time, think again! Your medical practice is a business, and it is critical that you think of the future. You must implement a systematic method to identify, create and maintain healthy relationships with prospective referrals.

At Practice Builders, our referral development experts will ensure your referral network is giving you the best-quality patients rather than an office full of low-quality patients. You can call us to take advantage a free referral marketing evaluation for your medical practice.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How you can use Twitter Moments to improve your content marketing

Last year, Twitter opened its storytelling feature “ Twitter Moments ” to the public.

Users can create and share stories consisting of tweets and multimedia that have been uploaded to the channel. By prioritizing concise, digestible pieces of content, Twitter is attempting to compete with social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Here’s an example of how Twitter used this feature to announce its arrival.

For health care organizations, this feature could dramatically improve the return on marketing investment.

“Twitter Moments just leverages what Twitter is already about, which is real-time marketing,” says Rebecca Lieb, a digital media and marketing analyst quoted in a recent AdWeek article .

Here are a few ways Twitter Moments can help your health care organization improve its content marketing in 2017:

  • Showcase the value of your brand. A health care provider crafted a moment in order to highlight the value of physician assistants. It included tweets with statistics about the growth of the profession over the last five years. Not only is this a great way to tell a story, but it also emphasizes a mutual sharing of information and visuals relevant to a given topic.
  • Engage with your brand advocates and followers. A best practice in social media marketing is to share your followers’ content. Using Twitter Moments to do this helps your health care organization build a deeper level of trust among your audience by showing how well your staff pays attention to what’s said about the brand, trending topics and current events.
  • Shape your health care brand’s messaging and reputation. Don’t let detractors have the last or loudest commentary on your message. With Twitter Moments, your health care organization can issue a statement, frame perspective on the topic and highlight relevant messaging, as well as sharing pertinent information that bolsters your position, focuses the narrative and keeps your organization’s reputation intact.

Digital storytelling with Twitter Moments is an efficient way to give your audience the news it wants and the content your organization seeks to promote.

Audrey Chittick is an account executive and a social media manager for Scott Public Relations . The original version of this post appeared on Scott’s Einsight blog.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Top 5 Digital Marketing Issues You Need to Consider to Hire the Best Digital Marketer for Your Healthcare Practice

Top 5 Digital Marketing Issues You Need to Consider to Hire the Best Digital Marketer for Your Healthcare Practice

Here’s the hard truth: You need to invest in digital marketing if you want your healthcare practice to remain competitive. The unfortunate reality is that digital marketing can get costly, and not every digital marketer is worth his weight in conversions. So if you’re going to make the investment ¬ as you know you need to ¬ be sure to do it carefully and cautiously so you don’t waste your time and money.

Here are the top five digital marketing issues you need to consider as you look to hire an effective digital marketer for your healthcare practice:

1. A long-term marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential digital marketer to describe for you the 180-day marketing plan that he/she envisions for your healthcare practice. While a decent digital marketer might think three months ahead, a more skilled marketer should be thinking much farther into the future. The foundation you build now with your online presence will support your future marketing efforts. You want a digital marketer who will test and refine strategies along the way, not someone looking to implement cookie-cutter solutions with no plans to test results.

2. Solid metrics to gauge marketing results. You want your marketer to measure not only followers and traffic, but also conversions – the people coming into or returning to your practice because of your digital marketing strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great tool, but make sure your marketer can track a lead from a PPC ad all the way to that new patient lead. You also want to rank high in search engines and make sure your marketing efforts pay off in retaining current patients.

3. Future plans for your website. Be cautious if your prospective marketer seems more interested in beefing up your website with bling but isn’t discussing your site’s current analytics. Your digital marketer should be able to show you what your site’s traffic and conversions look like now, how they compare to other medical practices similar to yours and what the marketer plans to do to your site to get ROI for your practice.

4. Social media solutions. Be sure to inquire about which social media solutions your prospective marketer proposes to use for your practice. It should raise a red flag if he/she wants to just get your medical practice linked into as many channels as possible without a strategy. Your marketer should first be considering which channels your patients will likely frequent and why. Pay close attention to how a prospective marketer will select and post on those channels as well as how he/she intends to convert those followers into new or returning patients.

5. An email marketing plan. If you’d like your digital marketer to handle your email marketing, you should ensure he/she knows the rules for healthcare and, once again, ask about conversions. Can he/she measure click-thru and conversion rates? You want to know you’re generating some form of patient contact as a result of the emails. Does your potential marketer have strategies to improve your list quality? It’s also important to know how much you’ll need to spend to produce the emails vs. how much patient traffic you should get in return.

There are a lot of details to consider when creating a digital marketing strategy, but Practice Builders has the tools to help! Do you need more guidance on how to hire the right healthcare digital marketing person for your practice? Sign up for a free consultation with us and we’ll help you. Call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at info@practicebuilders.com.

PB product: Want more guidance on how to hire the right digital marketing person for your practice? Sign up for a free consultation with us and we’ll help you. Call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at info@practicebuilders.com

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How to Measure Your Practice’s Email Marketing Campaign Success

How to Measure Your Practice’s Email Marketing Campaign Success

An email marketing campaign is a great opportunity for healthcare practices, but to make your campaigns successful, you need to pay attention to how it does after you hit “send.” Tracking the success of your emails helps you make your email marketing campaigns grow in their effectiveness. How do you know if your email campaign has been successful?

First, determine what your measure of success is. What was your goal and call to action in your email campaign? Do you want patients to click on a link, new patients to walk through your doors, etc.? This will help you measure the data that counts most and avoid wasting your time measuring data that doesn’t really matter.

Whatever the goal of your campaign, here are some basic metrics that can help you refine your campaign’s success:

Delivery rate

This is the number of emails that got through to the recipients. If you have a large number of invalid email addresses in your list, you put yourself in danger of Internet service providers considering you a spammer. Remove email addresses that bounce back because the addresses are invalid. (If, however, an email bounces back for a temporary reason, such as the recipient’s inbox being full, try resending the email instead.)

Clickthrough rate

This is the number of people who clicked a link you included in your email, which indicates their interest in learning more about your practice. To calculate this, take the total number of clicks OR unique clicks [if you want to specify a particular link] and divide by number of delivered emails, then multiply by 100.

Using clickthrough rate metrics can help you compare the success of one email campaign over another, and it is also useful to measure effectiveness if you did an A/B test within a campaign.

Conversion rate

This is the percentage of people who took the action you specified, whether that was buying a glasses cleaning kit or making an appointment. If your conversion can be measured online, you will need to set up some technical aspects first so you can track the desired action back to the email. Once you have that information, you can calculate by taking the number of people who completed the desired action divided by the number of total emails delivered, then multiply by 100.

Share rate

Make it easy for your patients to share your emails by including a “Share” button that allows them to share on social media or forward via email. Once you have this in place, you can measure how many people shared your email. A strong share rate tells you patients found the content relevant and worth bringing to others’ attention. This will in turn help you grow your audience and gain new subscribers.

Let us help you make sense of the data for an ever-more effective marketing for your healthcare practice. Email: info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

7 difficult social media marketing truths

Talk to professional online marketers, and they’ll likely tell you about the raw power of social media marketing.

Talk to business owners from an older generation, and they’re likely to tell you how social media marketing is a useless fad.

Related: Social-Media Marketing Is Not Dead: 10 Companies That Are Still Rocking It

Obviously, the former group has an incentive to tell you how great social media marketing is and the latter group has a negative bias toward communications technologies. Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? Kind of.

With proper planning and successful execution, social media marketing can be effective for practically any business.

In a survey of 357 marketers that I recently conducted, social media marketing had the highest percentage of respondents (96 percent) who claimed they planned to increase or keep their social media marketing budgets the same over the next year. Social media marketing also had the third-highest average ROI rating, out of 10 strategies surveyed.

Still, there are a handful of dark secrets about social media that no marketer—including myself—likes to admit:

1. Social media marketing isn’t free.

One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing that marketers like to play up is the fact that it’s free.

It won’t cost you anything to claim your business’ social media profiles, flesh them out or post on a regular basis—at least not monetarily. The problem is, even though you won’t necessarily have to spend money to fund your strategy, you will spend lots of time.

It takes hours of work to build out your profiles and several hours a week to even maintain the most basically active presence. Add up those hours, and suddenly the amount of time that social media marketing does “cost” will become clear.

Time is money, right?

2. There’s no predictable pattern of success.

No matter how sure people seem when telling you they hold the “secret” for a business’ social media success, know that there’s no verifiable or consistent way to guarantee success for this task.

For starters, every business is unique, with a unique target demographic, history and competitive landscape.

There’s no way any single strategy could possibly apply to everyone. Add in the fact that social media is always evolving and other random variables that could interfere with your results, and the predictability of success sinks even more.

3. You need a lot of followers before social media marketing starts to pay off.

The bottom line for social media, like any online marketing strategy, is your total return on investment.

Over an extended period of time, it will be very good if you execute your social media strategy correctly, but your initial ROI will probably be terrible.

Imagine that it takes you 15 minutes to write a good post, and you submit it to your 15 followers. Now, imagine you create the same post, but for 15,000 followers. Which one do you think will have a higher ROI (assuming those followers are all genuinely interested in your organization)?

It takes a long time for social media to start paying off.

Related: How to Make Time for Social Media Marketing

4. Social platforms restrict your reach.

Social media companies have a vested interest in getting you to pay for their advertising. As a result, they often restrict the amount of reach you’re able to get through organic (unpaid) posts.

Even though you have 500 followers, that doesn’t mean that every post you make is going to reach 500 people.

Keep this principle in mind when considering the sheer potential of social media—it’s probably far, far less than you think it is.

5. Data won’t tell you everything.

Another advantage social media has is its access to sheer volumes of data—you’ll be able to probe deeply into user behavior, patterns of interaction and demographic information.

Unfortunately, data can’t tell you everything. It can’t give you qualitative insights about how individuals feel toward your organization or about specific interactions.

Data also can’t help you generate new ideas you haven’t tried before. It can’t even give you actionable insights—unless you’re asking the right questions of that data in the first place.

6. Adapting is important, but exhausting.

Social media changes often, with new platforms cropping up seemingly constantly and new trends coming and going at an ever-increasing pace.

If you want to be successful, you have to try to keep up—but keeping up is exhausting even for the most passionate, dedicated marketer.

It’s comforting to settle into a routine, but with social media, you’ll never get that opportunity. At least, you’ll never get to stay comfortable for long if you’re doing things right.

7. You’ll end up kicking yourself—a lot.

There’s a lot of regret in the social media world, especially on a minor level.

You’ll end up making typos or mistakes occasionally, but more often you’ll kick yourself for what you didn’t do.

You might miss a good opportunity for a post, a hashtag or an engagement. You might see a competitor’s post and wish you’d thought of it first. In any case, your strategy won’t be perfect, and you’ll be all too aware of that fact.

Related: How to Save at Least 2 Hours Per Week on Social-Media Marketing

Despite these ugly truths and seldom-mentioned secrets about the true nature of social media marketing, it remains one of the most cost-efficient and approachableonline marketing strategies you can adopt.

No matter what stage of growth your company’s in, who your target market is and what your long-term goals are, social media can help you in your journey—as long as you recognize its advantages and limitations.

Jayson Demers is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur. Copyright © 2016 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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HealthCareCommunication.com

Marketing Eye to Eye: Don’t Let Your Computer Get in the Way

Marketing Eye to Eye: Don’t Let Your Computer Get in the Way

Medical marketing may get you thinking about websites, social media and email campaigns, and while those are all important components, there’s no substitute for the power of a good doctor-patient relationship. Not only is a good doctor-patient relationship a good end in and of itself, it can also yield tangible benefits to your practice. Patients who have a good relationship with you will be more likely to refer you to friends and family. They will also be more likely to give you positive reviews online and to insurance companies, leading to more patients and cash bonuses for your practice.

Don’t let the computer in the exam room become a barrier to that integral one-on-one time with your patients. When it comes to both the room’s configuration and your interaction during the appointment, here are some strategies to ensure your time at the computer does not harm that essential rapport with your patients.

Configure for Common Experience. How is your exam room set up? If you have a computer and a computer desk, make sure it does not function as a physical barrier between you and your patient. If you have the computer screen facing so the screen is visible to you and to the patient, you can involve the patient in your data entry time if he/she can see what you are typing. Also make sure your configuration does not turn your back to your patient while you’re sitting at the computer.

Keep Some Time Screen-Free. It’s human nature to form impressions in the first moments of an interaction, especially when it’s something as sensitive as your health. Stay cognizant of this by keeping the first moments of the appointment focused on the patient. To avoid having to sit right down at the computer to access the patient’s record, pull it up before you enter the exam room, whether it’s a paper chart or logging in to a different computer. If you head straight for the computer when you walk into the exam room, the message you send your patient is one that comes off as impersonal and transactional.

When talking about something sensitive, keep that time technology-free, as well, and be sure to maintain eye contact.

Communicate While at the Computer. When you do need to sit down at the computer, help patients feel involved in the process by explaining what you are doing and why. This will increase understanding so your patients know how this is part of you taking care of them. As part of letting your patient know you are keeping their health information private, make sure your patient sees you log off.

MedPage Today recommends involving the patient even further by sending your patient this information, if they would like, via secure online messaging or even personal email. Just be sure you let your patient know what the security risks may be. If you’re worried about this violating HIPAA, MedPage Today says you shouldn’t be. The open lines of communication will help increase trust, and if your patients opt-in with awareness of any risks, then this is actually to your advantage.

The computer is a valuable tool for doctors, but be sure you don’t let it come between you and your patient. The relationship you have with your patients is the foundation of any medical marketing plan, and good relationships with your patients will lead to positive ripple effects for your practice in reviews, number of patients and your practice’s bottom line.

For more ideas about how you can foster good communication in the exam room, email info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Is Email Marketing Right for Your Healthcare Practice?

Is Email Marketing Right for Your Healthcare Practice?

The good news is email marketing is effective – really effective. According to Mawazo.ca, email marketing is 40% more effective than Facebook or Twitter. Before you integrate email into your healthcare marketing plan, however, there are some factors you should consider.

What makes email different than other online marketing forms is the fact that it is directly delivered to your target audience. Where social media and the sea that is the Internet at large are filled with unwanted advertisements and blasts, email is a place of relative quiet where (ideally) only the people you’ve invited can reach you. That is its main advantage, but it also means you need to be responsible with that privilege. In short, you need a plan before you begin.

To think through if email marketing is right for your healthcare practice, ask yourself a couple of questions:

-Do you have content your base wants?

To justify showing up and to earn your patients’ trust to continue showing up in their inboxes, think about what’s in it for them. If your email marketing is only to ask them for something or remind them to come visit, your patients will likely just trash your emails and unsubscribe. Think about what content or offers you can provide for your patients via your email marketing. For instance, offer patients 20% off glasses frames or your professional tips for maintaining healthy eating habits in the busy back-to-school season.

-Can you deliver it consistently?

Email marketing campaigns are most successful when the emails are delivered on a consistent basis. It could be once a month, once every two weeks – as long as it is consistent enough that your patients know to expect it. If you wait too long, patients may forget they signed up for your email list and unsubscribe.

If you answered “Yes” to both these questions, then you will need to put some things in place to launch your practice’s email marketing campaign. You will need:

-A good email list

Gather email addresses by asking patients to opt-in when they visit your practice and your site. Here your work from before will pay off: When you ask patients for their email address, tell them something specific about what you plan to do with it.

-Good content and design

You can plan out your emails in advance. Again, make sure you are considering your patients’ point of view and be sure you are providing them something valuable. To make sure your emails are not doomed to be unread or trashed, you will need an enticing subject line and more than just a block of text. Give your email a colorful banner or design. You do have to make sure you include information on how patients can unsubscribe, but make your email so worthwhile and engaging that they won’t want to.

If you’re ready to learn more about adding email to your healthcare marketing strategy, we would be happy to help you get it off the ground. Email info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Email marketing missteps to avoid

Like most bad habits, a lazy and aimless email marketing strategy can be tough to turn around.

Despite marketers’ opinions, familiar email marketing strategies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Brand managers will continue to send out templated emails, and they’ll still hope to see increases in sales, brand loyalty and interaction.

Instead of twiddling your thumbs while you wait for a response, data from Reachmail suggest avoiding these common pitfalls to ensure success.

Here are a few highlights from the data and how to turn bad habits into positive outreach:

Write clearly, cleanly

Don’t be too cute—or confusing—with the language you choose.

Data say you should cut out the buzzwords and lingo and focus on your message.

From Reachmail’s blog:

It’s tough to strike a balance between exciting and informative, but a good subject line should strive to indicate what the email is about. Get in the habit of communicating clearly and people will appreciate you more.

Make sure your subject line matches the body text of your email copy.

[FREE DOWNLOAD: Not all staff sit at a desk all day. Here are 10 ways to reach them.]

Just as grammar pros hate dangling modifiers, consumers wince at copy that feels disconnected from its subject line.

To improve the flow—and look—of your copy, hire an editor. Doing so will make your emails look and read more professional.

Avoid “bait and switch.” Strive to be genuine with your tone and offer. An underwhelming email is preferable to a deceptive one.

Put your subscribers first

To improve results, data suggest abiding by four key rules:

1. Stop emailing people who never opted in.

2. Honor the requests of those who unsubscribe.

3. Make it easy—and painless—to unsubscribe.

4. Avoid over-emailing.

Brand loyalty is an important part of an email marketing strategy. If you leave a bad taste in subscribers’ mouths—or inboxes—their trust will diminish.

To build trust, Matt Zajechowski, senior outreach manager at Digital Third Coast, says marketers should avoid sending emails that lack authenticity or come across as spam.

He adds:

Too frequent emailing, as we all know, is terribly irritating and does little to foster a good relationship between the brand and the customer. It inches you closer towards the dreaded unsubscribe, which ends the game—and your relationship with the consumer.

Don’t bombard consumers’ inboxes with repetitive emails. Be courteous of their requests and concerns. If someone wants to be removed from your subscriber lists, have them removed—and don’t make them feel guilty about it or delay their removal.

Optimization and design

Imagery is often viewed as a necessary component of a successful marketing email.

Is it possible to overdo it?

Zajechowski thinks so:

Email marketers should note that some of their subscribers are consuming emails in a text-only format, so it’s important not to embed crucial information in images they’ll never see.

Sending emails with too many pictures and design elements can overwhelm, confuse and test consumer patience.

From Reachmail:

Emails are meant to be opened and read quickly. We’re a society on the go—make your point and make it fast. Be careful not to bury important information within images.

To reach mobile consumers, ditch lengthy sentences and quirky fonts.

Make sure your emails are easy to read on smartphones and tablets. Catering to mobile consumers will broaden your reach and increase your views and compressions.

What alternatives to email would you recommend?

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