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Tax Facts Mixed With IRS Tax Fiction You Need To Know For The 2018 Tax Season

Source: blogs.forbes.com – Thursday, February 08, 2018
copy of a IRS 1040 tax form is seen at an H&R Block office on the day President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax cut bill in Washington, DC on December 22, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) The 2018 filing season kicked off on January 29, 2018 . Before all is said and done, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) anticipates processing nearly 155 million individual taxpayer returns. That’s a lot of taxpayers – and a lot of taxpayer questions. Below is a mix of fiction – myths that the IRS hopes to rebut – and facts from the Taxgirl files to help you navigate tax season: Fact: Not all taxpayers need to file a tax return. Just because you received income in 2017 doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to file a federal income tax return. You can figure whether you need to file by using the handy chart here . Since you won’t always have the chart at the ready, here’s your quick “cheat sheet” formula: Add your personal exemption to your standard deduction (remember to consider the increased standard deduction for those over age 65). You can find the 2017 numbers that you’ll use in 2018 here . Fiction: All tax refunds are delayed. By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before February 15. Tax returns that do not claim the EITC or the ACTC are not affected by the law, although some tax returns may require addit

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We Need To Talk About The Trump Fake News War, Escalation, Exploitation, and Much More…

Source: www.youtube.com – Friday, January 26, 2018

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What You Need to Know For Hurricane Irma Recovery

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5 Trends Healthcare Content Marketers Need to Conquer

5 Trends Healthcare Content Marketers Need to Conquer

With competition in the medical field intensifying, it is important for medical practices to come up with sophisticated marketing strategies to help reach potential patients. One of the best ways for medical practices to do this is by using content marketing to their advantage. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 72 percent of Internet users look online for healthcare-related information, and 77 percent of these searchers began their last search session using a search engine.

With the emergence of the latest technology, healthcare content marketing is the most recent trending technique. Traditional methods of advertising have displayed quick returns over the years, but with the rise of content as a means to promote and advertise, healthcare marketers are trying to change their ways.

Patients have become more inclined not only toward practices that are visually appealing but also that share worthwhile content. Due to this, many practices are investing in content marketing as they have realized that expensive marketing automation software or PR campaigns will not be of much use if the target audience is not engaged and reached. It may be difficult to generate high-quality content, but an effective content marketing strategy will be worth it in the end.

According to a recent study, websites that provide quality content attract 7.8 times more traffic than websites without informative and relevant content. This means patients like to be more aware of the products or services that are available, and this may become a game changer to healthcare marketers. Content marketing has been helping medical practices succeed as patients continue to rely on their information.

How can content marketing help your practice?

Tailored content can help patients trust your medical practice before they even contact you. According to research, 68 percent of customers prefer custom content because it is tailored to their needs and interests. In addition, 69 percent of customers believe they know more about a practice after reading custom content, and 61 percent of customers feel better about the practice.

Providing potential patients with tailored content allows them to have a better understanding of the services you provide and what they can expect if they schedule an appointment with your practice. It is critical to understand that the content must be written keeping the average person in mind. In order to connect with potential patients, avoid stuffing content with medical jargon that is not easily understood by your patients.

So, what can be done to make content more engaging to your target audience?

5 Trends Healthcare Content Marketers Need to Conquer

Personalization

Have you ever been to Starbucks for a cup of coffee? If yes, then you are familiar with their custom of writing the customer’s name on the cup and calling out the name once their coffee is ready.

Writing a customer’s name on a cup is similar to content marketing because it makes a conscious effort to personalize the experience and be relatable to customers. Some other examples of personalization are:

  • Blog posts or testimonials from patients
  • Infographics or video content addressing a patient or a group of patients
  • In-depth information through pictures
  • Behind-the-scenes glimpses of your practice or employees

These mediums give patents confidence that they are valued and not just target customers to whom you are trying to sell your products.

More than 2 million blogs are published every day, and most of them are not read by many people. Unless your content is tailored for a well-defined audience, it is probably invisible to the world. This is why niche practices and websites grow more quickly as compared to generic blogs. If you are still creating generic and thin blog posts, you are adding to the unnecessary noise on the web.

Nearly 56 percent of healthcare marketers believe that personalized content allows for higher engagement rates as it creates a direct line of feedback, which is more valued. Your readers are looking for solutions to specific problems. Content that helps them address those issues is likely to perform better.

Email marketing

Whoever said email marketing is dead must be eating his words right now. Email marketing has never been more crucial for niche healthcare marketers as it gives direct access to your potential patient’s undivided attention. It provides the ability to build patient relationships and cut through all the marketing noise on the Internet.

Studies reveal that an email message is five times more likely to be seen by a patient as compared to Facebook. In addition, for every dollar spent on email marketing, healthcare marketers earn $ 38 on average. That is an ROI of almost 3800 percent.

In 2017, the importance of email marketing has only increased, which is why it is critical to start building a list and engage your existing and potential patients. It is essential to write emails that help you get closer to your patients, foster a relationship and drive a higher CTR.

5 Trends Healthcare Content Marketers Need to Conquer

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are the new weapon of niche healthcare marketers. In fact, this has been used for quite some time now, but the masses have just started to take notice. More than 1 billion people use Facebook Groups, and that number is growing. Facebook has drastically reduced the organic reach of Pages, which means even if you have thousands of followers, your posts will not be visible to most of them unless you spend advertising money to boost your posts. Facebook Groups do not have any such limitations. All your posts will be visible to the group members, and you will have complete control over what gets posted to the group. In addition, since Facebook Groups are closed communities, they have a higher perceived value for your service, which results in active engagement.

Social media advertising

Create informative content, share it on your social media profiles, and let the traffic flow in. This used to be the norm for most content marketers. Unfortunately, it does not work anymore. These days, the organic reach of most Facebook posts is less than three percent. So, you cannot expect to achieve any significant results by sharing your posts on social media. An effective way is to boost your posts to specific and targeted audiences using Facebook Ads. While spending money on advertising might not be your choice, what if every dollar spent on advertising brings back $ 2 or $ 3 and enhances your list at the same time? Think about it.

Why should you wait for Google to rank your posts when you can achieve positive ROI by targeting the right audience on Facebook? However, you must try to convert the ad traffic into email subscribers so that you can contact them for free the next time.

Live video

Have you started creating videos for your medical practice? If not, you might already be behind most of your competitors. Video today is what blogging was a few years ago. Those who start sharing video content today will be ahead of their competitors in the next few years. Facebook is forecasting the end of the written word and hinting at becoming a video-only platform shortly. Most of the social media platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, already have live video features, and Instagram just joined them. Adding video to your healthcare content marketing strategy will bring several immediate benefits.

Look at this data:

  • Facebook users spend triple the time watching live videos as compared to recorded ones.
  • Adding a video to your website or blog post can increase the chance of making it to Google’s first page by 53 times.
  • Including a video in your emails can increase the CTR by almost 300 percent.
  • Product pages with videos drive 64 percent more sales.

5 Trends Healthcare Content Marketers Need to Conquer

Do you need more figures?

Final thoughts

Over the last few years, healthcare content marketing has been an effective way of attracting new patients and growing your practice. Despite many healthcare marketers being unsure if they should adapt to this, studies prove its effectiveness and that it is worth a try.

Medical content marketing is not a short-term play. It requires a proven and thoughtful approach based on educational and helpful information. However, when done strategically, it is an efficient way to connect patients with your practice and enjoy unique SEO benefits. Whether it is a blog post, eBook or website content, you can create a treasury of free content that tells the story of your practice and the service you offer.

Are you ready to kick-start a content marketing campaign for your medical practice? Contact us today to learn more about how Practice Builders can help with your healthcare marketing challenges. More information on how we can make a difference in your medical practice can be found here.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Does Your Medical Practice Need a SWOT Analysis?

Does Your Medical Practice Need a SWOT Analysis?

It seems like every marketing book provides a different understanding of the essential elements for building a successful medical practice. While some experts suggest quick-fixes, others advice a more “how-to” approach. Business books are often aimed at MBAs who understand corporate jargon, but not hectic medical practices. As a result, you may juggle and jostle to follow the next steps needed to grow your medical practice and attract new patients.

While your medical practice may have survived so far by acquiring a great location, hiring trained staff and delivering excellent patient experiences, the “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” method will only carry any practice so far. Sure, hard work is an essential for any medical practitioner, but flourishing in today’s ever-evolving environment requires strategic planning.

How can strategic planning help you strengthen the success of your medical practice while meeting patients’ demands?

Why do you need SWOT?

Strategic planning not only helps you look for opportunities to expand your medical practice, it also makes you analyze your current condition. A good strategic plan includes a mission statement, which leads to planning, documenting and executing all the milestones that will be met.

Strategic planning for your medical practice is similar to driving a car across the country. You must be aware of where you are, critically examine your present condition and set milestones in order to reach where you want to be. It can be achieved by implementing a technique called SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis allows a medical practice to explore internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats.

What is a SWOT?

A staple of strategic planning, a SWOT analysis is often used as a basis for business strategy. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative information, this analysis will help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in your medical practice.

The data gathering process and performing a SWOT analysis may vary, and there is no single correct method. The size of your medical practice, the frequency of planning meetings and the changing markets are significant factors that affect the process.

What makes a SWOT analysis essential for medical practitioners is that it can help you see opportunities that you can exploit, understand weaknesses that you can manage and acknowledge threats that you may have overlooked.

SWOT analysis: Begin with the end in mind

For a driver to plan the fastest route, he must know his destination. Similarly, you must initiate the SWOT analysis by visualizing a destination, or an end point. To plan your “destination,” you will have to define success as you see it, both as an individual and medical practitioner. You must be specific about your aims and goals and must have a clear vision of your practice. To be effective, your SWOT analysis must be based on a vision that emphasizes your strengths and matches how you see yourself.

Essential SWOT elements

You can use a SWOT analysis to assess resources and capabilities with regard to the competitive environment in which your medical practice operates. Your findings will guide you in deciding the future course of action of your practice. You can consider the following elements:

Strengths: The idea is to identify your strengths and leverage their power to establish your brand. You can quickly identify your strengths through your dialogues with staff. Your internal strengths may include skilled staff, few bad debts, a strong brand name, niche patient base, excellent location, etc.

Some of the questions to be answered are:

  • What inspires new patients to come to your practice?
  • What advantages does your practice have over local competitors?
  • Do you have access to any unique resources?

Weaknesses: A SWOT analysis is your opportunity for tackling underperformance in your practice. It is often difficult to recognize management and personnel weaknesses, except with hindsight. While assessing your weaknesses, it is advisable to be realistic and form a strategy to address your challenges. You will have to dig deeper into how your patients perceive your practice. Some of the typical examples of weaknesses in medical practices include a shortage of staff, waiting time, bad financial management, high staff turnover, poor location, shabby premises, outdated equipment and inability to attract new patients.

Some of the questions to be answered are:

  • What factors cause you to lose patients or keep you from attracting new ones?
  • How do you measure up against competitors?
  • How do your patients perceive you?

Opportunities: One of the most efficient approaches when looking at opportunities is to analyze if your strengths present any opportunities to your practice. Alternatively, is it possible for you to create opportunities by eliminating some of the weaknesses? You can also discover opportunities by changing technology, treatments and policies related to your specialty. External changes may open up new possibilities. For instance, changes in the law that requires patients to purchase a product. Some of the opportunities may include great location, convenient and ample parking, sufficient and well-trained staff, cost-effectiveness, successful referral programs with physicians, etc.

Some of the questions to be answered are:

  • Where are the obvious opportunities facing you?
  • Are there any upcoming medical trends that may provide opportunity?
  • Are there any special conditions that may open doors for your medical practice?

Threats: It is imperative to realistic about threats when conducting a SWOT analysis. This is because the sooner you accept and face your threats, the sooner you can begin to handle them. Your aim must be to identify where your practice is and where you expect it to be in future. It is essential to visualize this before you embark on your journey to overcome the obstacles. Threats can be minor or potential enough to destroy your medical practice. You could be expecting changes that may directly or indirectly affect your practice and have far-reaching effects. For instance, a newly renovated office of your competitor may make your equipment look obsolete and may result in loss of patients. Threats may include anything that comes in the way of your goals. While no practice is immune to threats, the purpose of a SWOT analysis is to protect your practice against threats. Your threats could be stiff competition, staff dissatisfaction, security breaches, dissatisfied patients, etc.

Some of the questions to be answered are:

  • What difficulties do you face?
  • Should you be worried about your competition?
  • Are technological enhancements making your facility look obsolete?
  • Could your weaknesses threaten your business?
  • Can you convert threats into opportunities?

It is critical to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your medical practice. The objective of a SWOT analysis is to carefully assess the services, culture, brand image, weaknesses and opportunities. You can perform a SWOT analysis to determine the positioning of your products and services in the competitive marketplace. By analyzing your SWOT, you can assess the current state of your medical practice and plan a course of action to reach your goals.

By asserting your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses, opportunities will present themselves. Awareness of threats can help you survive in a cut-throat market. A SWOT analysis is similar to doing an in-house audit as it provides the tools and knowledge required for strategically planning for a more productive approach.

Assessment time

Make it a collaborative effort and focus on evaluating your personal ambition along with the practice’s goals. You may find the process a bit uncomfortable, but it will provide you with the ammunition to overcome and respond to weaknesses and threats. Here are some basic ground rules to help you streamline the process:

  • Keep your findings in perspective by limiting yourself to a maximum of three factors for each of the four categories.
  • Avoid over-complexity and confusion by keeping your replies simple and short.
  • Be specific and avoid gray areas.
  • Aim to form a competitive business strategy that helps you gain an edge over the competition.
  • Brainstorm to convert weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities.
  • Make sure you have trustworthy information when you are analyzing various elements.
  • Avoid making decisions based on opinion or guesswork.
  • Prioritize your tasks and reduce the list down to a reasonable size.
  • Document a plan of action for each item or goal.

What next?

Once you have brainstormed on all of these elements and evaluated your goals, you should have arrived at several tasks or items. These tasks or action items are what you should document in your SWOT chart. Go through the list and set priorities, make commitments and come up with strategies to deliver on each item. Ask yourselves:

  • How can we use our strengths for reaping more opportunities?
  • Can our strengths help us prepare for the threats?
  • Can our weaknesses be converted into opportunities?

You will need to answer these questions before you finalize strategies for achieving goals and positioning your practice for growth.

By using a SWOT analysis to assess internal and external factors, your practice can unveil hidden opportunities while maneuvering potential threats.

Contact Practice Builders to discover how we can help you conduct a SWOT analysis for your medical practice. The result will be increased patient volume, enhanced reputation and overall growth.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

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

Jeb Bush Insists He Doesn’t Need Post-Trump Therapy

Source: www.youtube.com – Saturday, July 23, 2016

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Does Your Practice Need a Podcast?

In 2015, ensuring that your healthcare marketing strategies are in line with current technological and digital trends is essential in order to stay relevant and to make sure that your online marketing is effective.

In a previous blog, we’ve discussed the benefits of creating videos that showcase your medical or dental practice. There’s also another media option for marketing your practice – a podcast.

Podcasts are digital audio files that people can download off the Internet. Some popular podcasts that you may have heard of or have already listened to include This American Life and RadioLab.

The best thing about podcasts is that they can cover a number of different topics, including healthcare. There are also a few ways that a podcast can help market and benefit your medical or dental practice:

Create Your Own Content

Having your own podcast allows you to create your own content. Rather than sharing news items and other information from other sites, you can get creative with inspired content that is exclusively your own.

Easily Shareable

Podcasts are digital files that are hosted on the Internet. Since a link is created where the podcast can be downloaded from, your podcasts are easy to share on your social media accounts. This can help you create original content to share on social media and will also help your practice reach a new audience.

Showcase Your Expertise

Since a podcast is essentially a radio show, your podcast can be about anything you’d like. Use your podcast as a way to show your expertise in your field. If you share your personal stories and experiences, you have a way to show your own unique knowledge that no other practice can have.

Stay Trending

Podcasts have been around for a number of years, so this digital media is more than just a trend. Creating your own podcast for your healthcare practice will help you stay modern and relevant in 2015 and beyond.

Be Original

A podcast is an engaging way to share health information with your audience. Like videos, it can provide information in an easily accessible and creative way that’s more fun to consume than reading off of a website or blog. Many other practices can create a blog or make videos; having your own podcast will keep your practice original and one-of-a-kind.

Are you interested in starting your own podcast? Our healthcare marketing consultants can help! For more information on podcasts or how to start one for your own medical or dental practice, contact us at 800.679.1200 or info@practicebuilders.com.

Practice Builders

Do You Need a Content Writer?

Whether or not you have a blog, there’s still a lot of writing that needs to be completed as part of your healthcare website design. From blog posts to eBrochures to landing pages and FAQs, there is a surprising amount of written content that you need to have in order to create a well-designed website for your medical or dental practice.

Sometimes you and your staff take on the job of content writer and do all this work yourselves. However, there are other options and sometimes the best way is to have someone else take care of your written content for you.

How do you know if you need a content writer? We’ve put together a list of the top benefits that a content writer can offer so you can make a decision that’s best for your practice:

Regular Updates

If you have a blog, do you have a set schedule for your posts? Are you updating the content on your site regularly to coincide with changes at your practice?

As doctors and dentists, you have your practice and patients to care for first and foremost; plus, your staff has other duties that they need to take care of first. If you’re finding it difficult to maintain the content on your website and blog, then it may be time to hire a content writer. A content writer’s number-one priority is to take care of the content on your site. You can rely on him or her to complete the writing you need on schedule.

Original Content

If you’re writing your site content on your own, it may be hard for you (or your staff) to come up with new material on a consistent basis. A content writer has the experience and knows the online market well enough to come up with original and inspired content that can take your healthcare Internet marketing ideas to the next level.

On-Point Messaging

Is your content writing consistent with your practice’s focus and mission? Are you having trouble finding a way to integrate your practice’s message into your content?

A content writer can specialize in creating a tone for your written content and can also help develop messaging for your medical or dental practice website. That way, you can be sure your written marketing materials stay on track and on point.

SEO-Rich Content

Your content shouldn’t just be regular and original – it also needs to be rich in search engine optimized content so your website can hit your target audience.

Not every doctor or dentist has the time to be able to keep track of the top keyword search hits in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. You need to make sure that your website is showing up on search engines so you can gain more patients. A content writer can keep track of keywords for you and can also find creative ways to include it in the written content of your site so you can maximize on SEO hits.

Our experienced healthcare marketing consultants can provide you and your practice with content writing services. For more information, contact us at 800.679.1200 or by email at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools

Throughout most of U.S. history, American high school students were routinely taught vocational and job-ready skills along with the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Indeed readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe […]
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