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Tag Archives: Practice

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

A steady stream of new patients is the lifeblood of any successful medical practice. However, like any other business attempting to expand its customer base, medical practices looking to acquire new patients in a crowded marketplace can face a lot of challenges. With hundreds of thousands of healthcare practitioners operating in the U.S., finding a way to separate your practice from the pack requires utilizing the latest marketing tools and techniques.

Marketing your medical practice once meant simply placing an ad in the Yellow Pages. However, today potential patients are turning to search engines to find local healthcare providers. According to a study, nearly 54 percent of potential patients under the age of 35 use search engines to find local medical practitioners, compared to 10 percent who use the Yellow Pages. Even older people have started to embrace search engines as a means of finding local healthcare providers, as 27 percent of people between the ages of 55 and 64 years used a search engine when looking for a medical practitioner.

In order to acquire new patients, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a necessary tool every practice needs to stay ahead in the ever-evolving marketing landscape. Almost 80 percent of searchers do not look past the first page of Google results when searching for local doctors. If your website does not rank well against your competitors, you could be losing out on potential patients who do not know about your practice. A strong SEO strategy means your existing and potential patients can find you easily and will feel compelled to give your website a look.

Now, how does SEO benefit your medical practice? When a potential patient types “physician in downtown Omaha” into his or her Google search engine, your name and website should show up among the first three listings. It is important to remember that not every physician’s name will appear on the first page of search results. You will need to implement extensive SEO practices to get your website to show up at the top of the search results. Being visible in the search results will increase the chances that a potential patient will book an appointment with you and may end up being a repeat patient.

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

Importance of SEO for medical practices

SEO is a compelling marketing tactic that can bring more qualified leads and patients to your medical practice. Moreover, studies have indicated that SEO has a better ROI than traditional marketing techniques such as TV and print ads. SEO provides visibility, credibility, branding, traffic, reputation and a high ROI to your medical practice.

Regardless of the size and specialty of your medical practice, implementing effective SEO strategies is key to attracting new patients and improving your bottom line. SEO can also help increase online visibility for your medical practice and build its reputation.

Increased visibility

When potential patients search online for your medical practice, it must appear high in the search engine rankings. Being at the top of search engine results puts your name in front of potential patients. Google is world’s leading search engine, so it is a strong endorsement when your practice name appears at the top of the search engines. Searchers trust Google, and as a byproduct of that, they trust your practice when it appears at the top.

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

Improved credibility

Most potential patients make mental notes of the keywords they enter into search engines. In the minds of potential patients, your website ranking is a vote of confidence. They feel if Google trusts this medical practice to be relevant, then it must be. Your potential patients may not realize it, but high search rankings make your practice more credible in their eyes.

Reduced patient acquisition costs

Acquiring new patients is one of your marketing goals. However, obtaining new patients may cost you more money than what they will pay to you. With effective SEO techniques, you can reduce the overall marketing budget because digital marketing strategies are less expensive than other forms of advertising. This means that you can bring in new patients much faster and for less expense. With lower marketing costs, you have the flexibility to invest in targeted outreach and spend more time streamlining your goals.

Increased traffic

While online traffic by itself is not going to make you any money, would you set up your office on a backstreet in Iowa or right across from Times Square? All those people walking around in Times Square may not make you any money, but some of them may become your customers. Appling the same analogy here, you still have to make an effort to attract new patients to your practice, but it is better to do business on a crowded street than on a deserted island. In addition, visitors coming to your website are qualified leads and were searching for a practice like yours when they found you. So they already have an interest in your services.

Higher ROI

SEO rewards your medical practice at a higher rate than other forms of advertising or marketing strategies. This is because SEO is an inbound marketing strategy and allows you to market to qualified leads who are looking for products and services similar to yours. In order to convey your message to your target audience, you need not interrupt their favorite TV show or take up expensive space in a magazine where they are reading an article. All you have to do is show up online when they are looking for medical practices like yours. In fact, you do not even have to convince your target audience to try your services. The only message you need to convey is that you are the perfect practice for them to visit.

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

Cost-effectiveness

SEO is one of the most cost-effective strategies as it targets potential patients who are already searching online for services similar to yours. SEO strategies can help you save money as opposed to traditional strategies such as cold calling. While cold calling is a proven strategy, the lead generation is 61 percent more expensive than that generated by SEO. In addition, because SEO targets patients who are already searching for similar services, the traffic is better-qualified than other marketing techniques, resulting in cost savings.

SEO best practices for medical practices

Creating an efficient SEO strategy requires you to be able to grow with an ever-evolving healthcare industry. Patient expectations, in addition to Google’s algorithm updates, keep healthcare marketers continuously making new adjustments.
Complacency will destroy your rankings, and this will be dangerous for any medical practice interested in surviving and growing in modern marketing. Considering that 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, prioritizing SEO best practices is critical to the success of any medical practice.

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

By successfully implementing best practices, medical practitioners can significantly improve lead quality, build valuable relationships with patients, improve online reputation through online presence and better understand their target audience.

Here are nine essential best practices to help improve your SEO strategy in 2017.

1. Choose relevant keywords: SEO is all about selecting the most relevant keywords for your medical practice. To choose the most suitable keywords for your website, you will need to get into the minds of your potential patients. You will need to consider all the possible keywords they might type into the search engine in order to find a new doctor in their area. The more relevant keywords you choose, the more qualified leads you will get.

2. Decrease website load time: In addition to keywords, the next element that can affect your SEO strategy is how quickly your website loads. A website that loads quickly can support your SEO efforts. A website that does not load within a few seconds will fail to attract and engage potential patients.

3. Publish informative and original content: Rewriting existing content is acceptable to a certain extent, but copying content from other websites will damage your SEO rankings as well as your reputation. Besides, rewriting current content will not be able to engage your patients for long. Therefore, strive to be different and try to create unique content that other websites have not done yet. Implementing an established SEO strategy or hiring an SEO expert to help you with the task will significantly improve your search engine ranking.

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

4. Ensure accurate title tags: A title tag is a short description of your web page and can play a tremendous role in your SEO efforts. Title tags show up in three places – browser tabs, external websites and on the results pages of search engines. When optimizing your website for SEO, you need to ensure that each web page has an accurate and descriptive title tag. Since most search engines display only the first 60 to 70 words of the title tag, be sure to include the primary keywords at the beginning.

5. Optimize your website: Your website should be simple and easy to navigate in order to attract potential patients. The content must be fresh and regularly updated. For your website to rank higher in search engine results, it must adhere to basic quality standards. In addition, make sure your website is optimized for mobile users.

6. Ensure optimum keyword density: Keyword density is a significant part of your SEO strategy. If you include your keywords too much, search engines will view your website as spam and may blacklist your website from results pages. However, if you use your keywords too little, search engines may not look at it as relevant to the corresponding keyword. The recommended keyword density is about 2.5 percent.

7. Consider chatbots: Chatbots can improve patient experience, boost engagement and provide valuable data for search engine optimization. When thinking about patient engagement in the online context, we usually think of a click. However, chatbots are designed to take engagement to the next level with an interactive conversation with the visitor. This presents the opportunity to get to know your visitor better, ask specific questions, include personalized messages and bring your brand to life.

8. Know your target audience: What kind of content you need to create depends on your target audience. The better you know them, the more useful content you will create. Without knowing your target audience, you may end up creating content on irrelevant topics, which would win you neither visitors nor good rankings. By creating a detailed buyer persona, you will be able to zero in on content that matters to your potential patients.

9. Improve patient engagement: Engagement is the ability to hold a visitor’s attention. In SEO context, engagement is a measure of the amount of time spent on a page. Recent research has found a positive correlation between engagement metrics and search rankings. According to Google, if a visitor spends more time on a web page, it is probably because he or she found the page useful. Moreover, because Google only wants to promote the best results to its users, it will place websites with strong engagement higher up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why Your Medical Practice Needs SEO – Benefits and Best Practices

Wrapping up

Phone books and Yellow Pages are not coming back. Moreover, while television and radio ads have their place in today’s changing marketplace, they are not as powerful as a well-placed SEO campaign. Investing in SEO will be a smart decision for a medical practice. It is never too late to get into this game. However, if you wait too long, you may end up playing a long game of catch-up.

SEO is an essential component in your overall digital healthcare marketing plan. Your website, social media management and paid advertising campaigns must all be designed to enhance your online presence. When you choose an online marketing firm to guide you through this process, it is essential that you find a company that takes a comprehensive approach to digital marketing.

In order to find out how the digital marketing team at Practice Builders can help your practice attract new patients and enhance its online reputation, call us today. We can answer all of your questions about how SEO can improve your medical practice and use our decades of experience to give your medical practice the boost you have been looking for.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

5 Creative Ways to Acquire Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

5 Creative Ways to Acquire Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

Patient reviews are powerful. They are quite influential.

Patient reviews are the cornerstones for building a strong online reputation for dentists. Simply put, online reviews tell the world what your patients think of your dental practice. If the online reviews are mostly positive and patients are saying encouraging things about your practice, consider this as excellent news. This means your existing patients are happy with your work and are willing to help you establish a strong online reputation for your practice. On the other hand, if the online reviews are not so positive, they can severely damage your reputation.

Thousands of people around the world have searched for a local dentist at one point in their lives. How do potential patients find a local dentist? In today’s digital marketplace, potential patients rely on online reviews to decide which dentist can cater to their needs. This is where online reviews play a crucial role. Whether people are researching for snow blowers or choosing a dentist, online reviews play an integral role in their decision-making process. In fact, according to research, 92 percent of patients read online reviews, and 40 percent of patients form an opinion after just reading three to five online reviews.

Clearly, patient reviews are important. The question is: How can you generate more of them?

While you are busy running your dental practice, you are primarily focusing on attending to patients, understanding new procedures and managing day-to-day operations. The last thing you want to do is ask your patients for reviews. However, you have to think about ways to generate as many online reviews as possible.
No doubt, asking for online reviews is difficult. Partially it is because your staff members do not want to take any more of a patient’s time after an appointment. Alternatively, maybe your staff is afraid of appearing pushy, or maybe they do not have the needed training to discuss this topic. Once a patient walks out the door, you have missed the bus. Therefore, it is important to get patients to write a review of your dental practice while they are still in your practice.

Who should ask patients to post reviews?

Before considering how to ask, we must decide who should ask patents for reviews.
It is obvious that the person who has the closest connection to the patient should ask for the review. Often, this person is the staff coordinator. Coordinators spend the maximum time with patients, understand them on a deeper level, and therefore patients are much more likely to respond positively to their request. If someone who is not a familiar face asks patients, they may ignore the request. Personal relationships will play a crucial role here.

What to say to patients?

It is best to break the ice by asking if the patient is satisfied with your services and the overall experience. This should be a plain, simple question.

Here is how the staff coordinator can phrase this question:

  • We appreciate your business. Do you mind leaving an online review?
  • Your feedback is important to us. Would you mind sparing a few precious moments to leave us an online review?
  • Have you read our online reviews? Would you mind posting your feedback?

How to ask?

To help you get started, here are the top five ways to generate more reviews for your dental practice:

1. Be direct: The best way to ask for reviews is to approach the patient directly. Most of your patients will happily take the time and make an effort to leave a review of your practice on your website or a third-party review site. You can display a patient review form on your website and post an update on your practice’s social media page that requests patients to leave their feedback. You may personally contact patients who are enthusiastic about your practice. Most often, a direct question such as “Do you mind reviewing us online?” will earn you a review.

2. Make the review process easy: Regardless of how great your customer service is, not many patients will be willing to go out of their way to rate your dental practice. It is unfair of you to expect patients to remember to review your practice when they get home or post a review where you want them to. For your patients to post a review, you will have to make the process easy for them by giving them step-by-step instructions. You can also send them a link to your social media page or URLs to specific sites.

3. Send personal emails: Personalized emails to patients thanking them for their business are an excellent way to stay top-of-mind. Instead of sending an automated email for gathering patient feedback, consider calling them or writing them handwritten notes. This is an effective method as it can also help you extend your reach. Emails will not only enable effective communication but will also add a personal touch to the entire experience, which may earn you positive patient reviews. However, be sure to keep the email professional and to the point.

4. Offer incentives: Though it is considered unfair to offer freebies or bribe a patient for writing a review, you may offer incentives in the form of entry into a contest to anyone who leaves you a review. You can also offer discounts and gift coupons to encourage patients to express their opinion. You can consider announcing a plan where you will extend discounts or priority passes to patients who will take the time to rate your dental practice online or post a review on different sites.

5. Provide excellent customer service: This is the most important factor. If you expect your patients to post encouraging feedback about your dental practice, you will have to give them an unmatched customer service. The way you make your patients feel will leave a lasting effect on them. You must train your employees to extend an excellent service to every patient. Small gestures will help your patients feel more connected to your practice and assist in generating positive reviews.

5 Creative Ways to Acquire Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

Remember these rules

Growing your dental practice with patient reviews is a team effort. You must schedule team meetings to help each member understand the impact and importance of patient reviews on your ROI and online reputation. Remember, if you do not consistently ask for reviews, you may not get any.

If you are sure that you have provided an unmatched patient experience, you can confidently ask your patients to become your brand ambassadors by leaving an online review. Just keep the following rules in mind:

1. You should never ask every patient for a review: During your team huddles, pull up patients’ appointment schedule and see who is coming in. Identify some of your patients who like your work and would be happy to post a review.

2. Train your staff: You should never set them up for failure by asking for too many reviews. Instead, designate one of your team members to do this job of asking for reviews and have them document it on a daily basis. With time, you will know which employees are good at this task. Impart proper training and set them up for success.

3. Set a goal: If you or your team members are not comfortable with being direct, you can request your loyal patients to “help your practice reach review goals.” This minor change may make it easier for your staff to handle the matter.

4. Offer an incentive to employees: You can consider offering incentives to your team members for generating reviews. This may motivate them to ask more patents for reviews. You can consider giving out awards or rewards to your employees as your practice reaches different milestones.

5. Launch a campaign: Instead of instructing your employees that you are looking to generate more reviews, you can create an environment for success by making it a full-scale initiative. You should schedule regular team meetings specifically to talk about reviews, progress and strategies. Online reviews can make your dental practice much better, so make it a big deal.

Online reviews and HIPAA

Most dental practitioners are concerned about privacy laws dictated by HIPAA.
Asking your patients to post unbiased reviews is not a violation of privacy laws. However, if you are trying to contact patients via email or text, do so with patients who have agreed to receive marketing communications from you.

You must be very careful of privacy laws when replying to online reviews posted about your dental practice on various social networks. In other industries, it is considered acceptable to respond to an incorrect review by mentioning the facts. However, in the healthcare community, you cannot risk revealing a patient’s identity or any personal information or details about them on social networks. So, bite your tongue if a patient writes negative feedback about your dental practice online.

Key takeaways

Gathering patient reviews for your dental practice is hard work. In fact, almost 78 percent of patients will never leave a review for practice, and about 16 percent of patients will post a review occasionally. However difficult it may seem to gather patient reviews, they play an integral role in how new patients perceive your practice. Remember the key points:

  • Optimize your dental practice for reliability, knowledge and competence.
  • Implement a process for delivering and measuring customer service, and make it a fundamental part of your patients’ experience.
  • Do not stress over the number of reviews. The quality of reviews is more important than the number of reviews.
  • Obtaining patient reviews is a continuous process. This is not something you can wake up to once every few months.
  • Provide your patients the option to post comments on multiple sites that support both mobile and desktop users.

While it is true that generating reviews is significant for your success, remember that the quality of your dental practice and the way you make patients feel is what matters most. You must balance your focus on practice management and review generation. This way, you can ensure that you are not missing something important that can make your dental practice grow even better.

Are you looking for a creative way to market your dental practice and generate patient reviews? We can help you discover innovative ways to attract more patients to your dental practice with our proven strategies. To learn more about how we improve online reputation for dentists, call us today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

10 Strategies for Creating a Competitive Edge for Your Dental Practice

10 Strategies for Creating a Competitive Edge for Your Dental Practice

The number of dental practices in the United States is growing at an exponential pace, thus increasing the competition among practices. You must have seen new dental clinics pop up in your area, promising a variety of new services and lucrative offers. Creating a competitive advantage in such a populated market is very difficult.

Most importantly: Offering exceptional customer service is the best way to create a competitive advantage for your medical practice and stand out from the competition.
Once you have established a benchmark for delivering exceptional patient service, your dental practice will need to focus on reaching the target audience who are searching for services similar to yours. In order to reach and influence your target audience, you will need a strong online presence that takes advantage of recent trends and best practices in dental practice marketing.

Your competitors are businesses that may deter potential patients from choosing your practice. While this may make them seem like the enemy, the truth is that competition is not always bad. In fact, it is important for practices to have competitors because it is through competition that innovation and improvement are likely to occur. However, innovation and improvement can only occur if you know how to recognized and respond to competition. By learning about your competitors and distinguishing your offerings from them, you can actually benefit from local competition.

In a market where patients have infinite choices, it is critical to stand out from the crowd. Plenty of other dentists are offering the same products or service like yours, and if you do not make an effort to reel in your patients, it is likely those patients will be taking their business elsewhere. So, how can you gain an edge over your competitors? Here are 10 ways to make your dental practice stand out:

1. Build a patient-doctor relationship: A dental practice is successful because of its patients. This is the most basic rule that all dentists must understand. You may be great at your job, but without connecting with your patients, you may never be able to convert a new patient to a loyal patient. Patients do not just look for treatment options or insurance coverage. In fact, most patients seek compassion, care and warmth so that they can go home with reassurance regarding their health.

2. Set clear goals: Not just a vague idea of where you want to be next month or next year – your business goals must be specific. What are your sales targets? What steps should you take to meet your sales goals? Break down your goals into small steps. The problem most practices face is too much distraction, a hectic routine and a lack of focus. It is a lot easier to beat the competition when you are focused on achieving your goals.

3. Be accessible to your patients: It is not acceptable for most patients that you send a nurse or assistant to check up on them. Each checkup requires you to be there personally so that maximum patient satisfaction can be achieved. Your absence may send out signals as if you are not interested in the well-being of your patients. However, if you find it difficult to make time for each appointment, then make yourself available for phone calls and emails. This can be done by giving patients your contact number or email address where they can contact you as and when needed.

4. Build an online personality: It is important to become memorable by having not just an online presence, but a strong online personality. Many dental practices have made a name for themselves on social media by giving an edge to their practice’s voice. Bigger and fancier practices that have an active online presence are able to attract more attention and stand out from the competition. Being witty and funny on social media, even if you are playing a game of squabble, is a good way to make a lasting impression on your fans and followers.

5. Announce exclusive offers: You can separate your dental practice from the pack by putting a spin on the ordinary. You can set the trend by announcing theme days for spicing up regular days. You can have “ToothcareThursday” or “MeetTheDoctorTuesday.” These exciting ideas will keep your patients engaged and coming back for more. Engaging your patients will not only demonstrate that there are real people behind the online brand, but it will also help improve brand loyalty.

6. Provide excellent customer service: Often, unhappy patients do not complain; they just never return to your practice. If you do not provide excellent service to your patients, they may never even tell you about your mistakes or how you can improve your offerings. Dissatisfied patients, in addition to not returning to your practice, will likely tell their family and friends about their disappointing experience. This ripple effect can be very damaging to your online reputation. Make sure your medical and non-medical staff is trained in providing excellent patient care. Do not ever allow your staff to make a patient feel unwanted because no patient would want to repeat that feeling. Warm and welcoming employees will help a patient feel connected and may generate a positive review.

7. Build a professional website: Patients usually visit your practice website to share medical records and receive test results. However, most websites are not designed to act as destinations; they are simply a secure post office to send and receive emails and medical records. However, you can easily transform your website into a digital media channel. This will help you share educational content, respond to comments and questions, share links to relevant websites and post valuable information about dental procedures and treatments.

8. Focus on search engine optimization (SEO): It is important for dental practices to invest in SEO tactics because the website ranking is critical to marketing their dental practice. This is because when the patient looks up dental practices online, you want to show up on the first page of search engine results. If you plan on expanding your reach through your website, be sure to invest effort and money into effective SEO strategies. In addition, content plays an important role in website ranking as Google promotes websites that publish informative and useful content on a regular basis.

9. Start a blog: Blogging can add fresh content to your dental website on a regular basis and help with SEO. Consistently posting fresh content on your blog shows that you know your business well and are trying to keep your patients engaged. On your website, you may also provide information about general dental procedures, share oral hygiene tips and announce discounts and updates about your practice. You can promote your blog using social media and use it to engage with existing and potential patients.

10. Focus on social media marketing: Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it has to be utilized correctly in order to leverage full benefits. Social media is playing a significant role in how dental practices will market their businesses going forward. You must select your social network carefully and be sure to dedicate sufficient time and resources to market your practice the right way. Having a strong social media presence is an excellent way to build a brand following, which will help drive new patients to your dental practice.

These dental marketing strategies will not only help you expand your patient base but will also help you stand out from the competition. These strategies will also help you maintain a positive relationship with patients and ensure continuous growth of your dental practice.

Practice Builders helps healthcare marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make dental practice marketing predictive and effective. Whether you want to expand your dental practice or stand out from the crowd, Practice Builders can not only get you in the game but also help you win.

To learn more about how we can help make your dental practice, get a free assessment and a demo today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

10 Tips to Double Your Medical Practice Leads

10 Tips to Double Your Medical Practice Leads

Without high-quality leads, your medical practice will most certainly collapse.

Leads are the potential patients who can become regular patients and ambassadors of your practice if you play your game right. Sure, a practice may have several key goals, but 66 percent of business goals focus on lead generation.

Healthcare marketers rely on a variety of channels to drive leads to their practice and boost conversion rates. However, often these channels do not yield the desired results. When you spend much time creating informative content hoping to attract leads, but you still are not getting the desired results, it can be disheartening. However, you are not alone.

What do your potential patients want? Once you have accurately answered this question and associated it with a high-converting landing page on your practice website, you will regularly generate leads. Attracting more leads will be easier if the majority of your attention is focused on connecting your landing page with other marketing channels.

Regardless of the marketing channel you are using, according to experts, inbound strategies generate 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing. This means you must focus on creating and sharing the right content with the right people. Once you have accepted and agreed to this approach, remember these tips to grow your leads faster.

1. Build an active online presence: Eight out of ten patients will turn to a search engine to seek answers to their health inquiries. Google handles nearly 3.5 billion searches per day. If your medical practice is not online, chances are many patients will not know you exist. Take the first step and create a website for your medical practice. Make sure your website is esthetically designed and easy to use, provides useful information and is mobile-friendly. With more than 60 percent of searches coming from mobile devices, a mobile-responsive website will set you apart from your competitors. However, simply having a website is not enough. The ultimate goal of having a website is to help potential patients learn more about your practice and services. An optimized website will increase potential patients’ trust in your services, encourage visitors to leave their contact information for mailing lists and enhance the ROI of your online healthcare marketing efforts.

2. Start a blog: According to a report, the top three goals of good content marketing are lead generation, thought leadership and brand awareness. This shows how crucial content marketing is for lead generation. That is because when you create unique and useful content, it has the potential to go viral and be seen by potential patients, eventually attracting more leads. However, for the content strategy to work well, you should write your own blog. It may interest you to know that almost 62 percent of marketers have their own blog. This is so they can attract their target audience who may end up becoming regular customers. Blogs are one of the most effective lead-generation tactics on the Internet. An updated and consistent blog can help you boost your search engine ranking and make it easier for potential patients to find you.

3. Leverage email marketing: Email marketing is one of the best sources for lead generation. Many medical practices turn to email marketing to generate leads as it has proved to be the most successful tactic over the years. Lead generation through email marketing is mainly dependent on how effectively you draft your message. Your email needs to capture the reader’s attention, provide relevant information, encourage interest and have an effective call-to-action. To achieve this, you must first start by building a compelling subject line. The subject line of your promotional email determines whether the potential patient is going to read your email and become a vital part of your email. Write the email’s subject line in a way that provides value, is relatable and is actionable. In addition, the subject line must be short and stand out from your lead’s cluttered mailbox.

10 Tips to Double Your Medical Practice Leads

4. Use lead-generation tools and services: With so much importance being given to lead generation, healthcare marketers have found innovative ways to generate quality leads. They utilize lead-generation tools that provide verified leads and do not take up much time. An important point to remember while choosing automated lead-generation strategies is to refrain from purchasing bulk email databases. This is an unhealthy practice as the deliverability of such emails is not guaranteed or authentic.

5. Be present on social networks: Social networks are not a fad, they are a revolution. Nearly 63 percent of businesses using social media have confirmed that it has increased their marketing effectiveness. More and more potential customers are using social media to interact with local practices over traditional communication channels. Social media can help keep your practice top-of-mind and increase referrals from existing patients. However, you do not need to be present on every social network. Some social networks might be more important to you than others. It is important to figure out where your buyers are and make sure you are there, too.

6. Nurture strong relationships your existing patients: Sometimes we get so engrossed in getting hold of new that we forget what is already in front of us. If you are using your practice’s resources to attract new patients, you need to spare some resources for your current patients. You can consider reversing the scheduling process by following up with patients for a new appointment slot. You can also send email reminders before scheduled checkups to ask your patients to post an online review for your practice. Similarly, if you have prescribed a medication to a patient, you must follow up and ask if the treatment plan is working or if the patient is experiencing side effects. These small steps can mean a lot to a patient as it shows that you care about their well-being, which will help keep them around for a long time.

7. Optimize your website for search engine optimization (SEO):
It is critical to include local SEO strategies in your healthcare marketing plan so that your medical practice shows up in search engine results. This is because when potential patients are searching for medical practices online, you want your medical practice to show up within the first few on top. Having your practice website appearing in the top five slots of a search engine is important for attracting new leads.

8. Encourage online patient reviews: Online reviews are one of the most efficient ways for growing new leads and attracting potential patients to your practice. You must encourage your existing patients to share their feedback through an online review. You can do this by sending a follow-up email thanking the patient for his or her visit and encouraging them to review your practice online. You can also offer discounts or free services to motivate patients for posting online reviews for your practice. With the patient’s permission, you can also make these reviews public by sharing them on your practice website. It will not only help improve lead generation and strengthen patient relationships but will also get your name out there.

10 Tips to Double Your Medical Practice Leads

9. Build a mobile-responsive website: Having a professional and easy-to-use website is critical for the growth of your practice and for attracting new leads. Make sure your website is responsive and works well on mobile devices. The objective of your practice website is to educate your potential patients so they can make an informed decision and call your office for an appointment. Creating an informative and easy-to-navigate website is the most important marketing tool at your disposal.

10. Deliver unmatched service: There is no way your existing patients will refer others to your practice if they are not satisfied with your attitude and services. You have to show real interest in your existing patients. Your bedside manner and the look and feel of your practice are very important. You must be able to communicate with your patients and make your presence positive and uplifting.

Generating high-quality leads is an integral step toward growing your medical practice. The more potential patients you drop into your sales funnel, the more leads you are likely to produce and the more patients you will land. You must remember: In order to attract good leads, you must be looking in the right place. Moreover, the more active you are in the process, the more success you will have. If there is one “secret” to producing qualified leads, it is being more active.

At Practice Builders, we know how to attract and generate new leads for medical practices. In fact, we have a whole team of experts who can help you earn the trust of potential patients. Contact us today to design a unique lead-generation strategy for your medical practice.

Medical Healthcare 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

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

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

Every time the phone rings at your practice, you get a brand-new chance to delight your caller with great customer service. Each call that comes in to your medical practice is also a chance to build revenue by helping a potential or existing patient. However, too often these calls turn into a missed opportunity.

Your practice, like other practices, must be spending a lot of time, effort and money trying to get more patients to call in for an appointment. Most practices are spending thousands of dollars on marketing efforts just to get the phone to ring. After spending a major chunk of their revenues, the average practice misses almost 34 percent of calls.

What a waste of marketing dollars!

However, why so many missed calls? This is because the telephone takes the lowest priority in a busy office where the staff is handling patients who are scheduled for consultation, speaking on the phone with another patient, responding to the doctors’ needs and handling last-minute requests. On such busy days, it is easier to call back a patient instead of taking the phone call. However, for the potential patient who has evaluated and explored a procedure for weeks and is finally set to take the next step, the recorded words, “Please leave a message” may make him or her call elsewhere. In fact, according to studies, only 15 percent of potential patients actually leave a message on voicemail.

A patient’s decision to move forward with treatment is an emotional one. Most new patients will want to gauge if your practice is welcoming, friendly, well-informed and, most importantly, sensitive to their needs. You can say all you want on your website, but when a patient reaches your voicemail, they may not feel any care or compassion.

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

Where are you losing leads?

Regardless of the nature of your business, your sales funnel is likely to leak at some point. The key is to find where these leaks are and take proactive steps to close them and ensure leads progress smoothly.

In order to identify weak points in your sales funnel, you must first understand each phase that a potential patient goes through before becoming a loyal patient. Optimizing these stages is the first step in spill-proofing your sales funnel.

Marketing strategy: Successful lead generation starts with an effective, multi-platform marketing strategy that maximizes the number of leads your practice receives. Getting high-quality leads is critical when it comes to expanding your patient base.

Website design: Once a prospect finds you, he or she will visit your practice website to do further research on your services. A user-friendly website that provides useful information will significantly improve the likelihood that a visitor will either fill out a contact form or call your office. A slow-loading site, irrelevant content and lack of call-to-action will negatively impact your conversion rates.

Response time: This is the most critical component in converting leads into patients. According to studies, following up with leads within 12 minutes of receiving them increases the likelihood of conversion. However, conversion rates may drop off significantly if the lead is followed up within an hour.

First contact: If your front-desk staff has not been trained on phone etiquette and sales techniques, you could be losing many leads each day. Sales are difficult to master, and most front-desk staff does not have the skills to promote your practice. However, taking the time to train your staff to successfully close leads will increase the number of new patients you see each month.

Lead nurturing: According to studies, for every nine leads that your practice receives, only one schedules an appointment. Following up on leads that have yet to convert is critical to growing your practice. Staying in touch with leads through newsletters and emails keeps you fresh in their minds so that when they need to schedule an appointment, they know whom to call.

The consultation: From interaction with your staff to wait times, the patient’s experience at your practice determines whether they become a regular patient or not. Often, patients form an opinion about your practice even before entering the exam room. Your staff is an extension of your reputation. It is important your office conveys a sense of friendliness and professionalism.

Follow-up: Just because a prospect does not schedule an appointment does not mean you should hang up your hat. According to experts, practices that followed up at least three times with leads had a 36 percent higher conversion rate than practices that followed up just once. Your staff should be persistent in a way that displays a genuine interest in prospects’ wellness and healthcare. Without persistent follow-up, your conversion rates will continue to remain flat.

Once a prospect becomes a patient, your efforts should shift to staying engaged, delivering value and keeping the patient satisfied. A happy patient is much more likely to spread the good word about your services and send referrals your way. Loyal patients are more likely to write positive online reviews for your practice. A good online reputation translates into more qualified leads and a better conversion rate.

The main goal: Increasing the conversion rate.

The three key goals of any successful practice are maintaining a high conversion rate, growing the patient base and retaining current patients. If you are promoting your practice, every time your phone rings, you have paid for that ring. However, when that phone finally rings and you ask the patient to hold, you may return to the line to find your patient is no longer there. This is an area most practices struggle with.

According to AT&T, most businesses place 70 percent of callers on hold. A staggering 35 percent of callers who are put on hold hang up in less than 45 seconds. Lost calls equal missed appointments, and in the long run, lost revenue.

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

Are you thinking your top concern is getting more patients to call you? While this may be true for some practices, the real challenge begins when potential patients start calling your practice. Are you equipped to convert leads into customers?

The first contact most new patients will have with your practice is with the front-desk person. If this call does not go as expected, the chances are that prospect will not call back. Unfortunately, many practices face this problem and often wonder why they are not able to improve their conversion rates. If you, too, are getting abundant phone calls but few consultations, it is time to find out the reasons and fix the situation by doing the right things.

Nearly 50 percent of new patient calls are lost at the front desk.

Here are some effective ways to help you improve conversion rates:

  • Make sure your staff is cross-trained in key functions such as scheduling appointments, following up with patients and providing basic information.
  • Make sure your EHR has a “quick consultation” facility. This feature will require your staff to only take down the name, date of birth and phone number for the patient. Your staff can quickly schedule the appointment, write the patient’s name on the list, and call back to discuss the rest of the formalities. A quicker discussion will help keep the phone lines free for other patients to call in.
  • Create a set of call-answering guidelines. For instance, your staff must answer the phone after two rings and have others in the office handle the front office when calls are on hold.
  • Convey to your staff that the goal for everyone who answers the phone is to convert that caller.
  • If you are using an automated answering service, consider setting it up such that the calls are not routed to a voicemail for scheduling an appointment. Even one patient a day can prevent your practice from having the extra dollars you need for staff, marketing, admin, etc.

Train your staff to close leads efficiently

The value of each incoming call and the skills of the person answering the phone are underestimated in many practices.

Not everyone is adept at phone etiquette, so providing a script for your staff to follow when answering inbound phone calls is vital to improving conversion rates. In the phone handling training program, your training firm must cover the following key areas:

  • Answer calls with a scripted greeting that should be used consistently by all staff.
  • Answer calls after two rings, and note the day and time of the call.
  • Do not put the patient on hold for more than a minute. Try not to put them on hold multiple times in one call.
  • Learn to convey friendliness, professionalism and compassion over the phone.
  • Understand how to convert a simple inquiry call into a friendly conversation by asking the right questions.
  • Gather vital information like the caller’s name, contact details and referral source during the call.
  • Keep the necessary information nearby, and help the caller if needed. You must learn important information such as the practice’s credentials, services and associated costs or insurance concerns.

Telephone training must be a part of your staff orientation. You can plan the best marketing campaign with plenty of calls to action, but if your staff does not have the necessary training to convert those calls to appointments, you are wasting away those hard-earned dollars.

From missed call to appointment confirmation

Almost nine out of 10 medical practices lose revenue every time the phone rings. Even if you are losing just one lead per day when the phone rings, with a case size of approximately $ 1,000, that would be a significant amount in new business opportunity each year. This is even more relevant if you are handling advertising-generated leads. Moreover, with case sizes larger than our estimate, the lost opportunity size is staggering. A professional training course can make a significant difference in converting leads to new patients.

In nearly all of the revenue loss situations, the problem is due to the complete absence of staff training in phone handling skills, leads closing and converting leads to an appointment.

Practice Builders can help you train your staff and provide tools for measuring and monitoring their performance. If you would like to know more about our training modules, or if you want to know how call handling training can make a significant difference to your bottom line, we can help you understand the numbers.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

Google’s latest local search update has highlighted the importance of online reviews in a customer’s decision-making process. Your practice’s online reviews are one of the most reliable ways for potential patients to determine whether your practice is good or not. Reviews are often so reliable that 91 percent of potential customers read reviews before making a buying decision, according to a BrightLocal survey.

As the world’s top search engine, Google is constantly striving to enhance and simplify the user experience. Google understands that one of the first things potential patients do when searching for a local healthcare provider is to read its online reviews. Knowing this, and understanding just how powerful reviews are, Google has now made it even easier for users to find them online. With the new update to Google’s local panel in mobile search results, potential patients can easily navigate to see all your practice’s online reviews. This will help them make quick and accurate decisions.

Being a healthcare provider comes with a lot of responsibilities. One responsibility you cannot afford to overlook is online patient reviews. Recent studies by BrightLocal.com reveal that nearly 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Also, more than 54 percent of customers will visit the website after reading positive reviews online about the business. Combine these findings with the fact that Google now includes your practice’s reviews on searches, this makes your online reputation even more
important.

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

A positive online reputation is one of your most powerful assets for attracting potential patients. The social proof contained within reviews and ratings helps potential patients make decisions faster and with greater confidence. Google continues to recognize and emphasize the importance of online reviews and has included a more substantial component of its Knowledge Panel called “Reviews from the Web.” This new section will feature customer reviews and ratings of businesses from third-party sites such as Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Reviews from the Web is Google’s attempt to give businesses a way to display user-generated content. This new section acknowledges that customers care about a business’s reputation on trusted third-party websites.

How does this update impact your practice?

Likely rolled out as an extension of Critic Reviews, Reviews from the Web gives you the opportunity to showcase positive patient feedback and attract more patients.
With reviews from Google as well as other third-party review sites displaying directly in local search results, it is faster and easier for patients to find everything people are saying about your practice online. Do a quick online search for your medical practice to see what searchers are reading about you.

This update provides users exactly what they want: quick and easy access to your online reputation. It also highlights just how important online reviews are in a patient’s decision-making process and places a practice’s reputation into the limelight for everyone to see. You just cannot avoid it. Potential patients are going to read your reviews. Updates like these emphasize the importance of monitoring your online reputation and ensuring that your reviews outshine your competitors’.

Your practice’s local search ranking will benefit indirectly from more reviews because potential patients will be more inclined to click on practices with more positive reviews, which will lead to higher click-through rates.

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

However, practices without a patient review strategy or unclaimed listings may find themselves at a disadvantage. Not only are patient reviews a ranking factor, but an influx of bad reviews is likely to drive away potential patients. For practices that have plenty of positive reviews to display and share, Reviews from the Web provides a valuable source of unique content that will engage patients and help attract more leads.

With Google displaying customer reviews from a number of external review sites, if you have been concentrating your review marketing efforts on a single site, now is the time to expand. Moreover, if you have not been considering a review marketing strategy, this is the time to plan one. You should focus your efforts on popular third-party sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, Yelp and Facebook.

It is time to take control of your online reputation and begin asking patients for online reviews.

Improving your online reputation

Improving your practice’s online reputation and gathering more reviews is one of the most efficient ways to take your practice to the next level. However, establishing and maintaining your practice’s online reputation does not happen with a snap of your fingers. It requires an active approach to generate more reviews, improve star rating and respond to online reviews.

Regardless of the specialty or size of your practice, your potential patients are going to read and trust the feedback that your previous patients have given you. Moreover, if your reviews slant negative, most of your potential patients will go looking for your competition instead.

So, how can you turn around your online reputation?

1. Evaluate your patients’ experience: The best way to generate positive reviews is to ensure you are giving patients a positive experience. If you are consistently delivering good services, your online reputation will reflect it.

Tips to improve patients’ experience:

Take a good look at your recent patient feedback. Look for common issues, and take them seriously. Have many patients mentioned the rude staff, long waiting time or high prices? Identifying a few areas for improvement might be useful.

If you do not have a lot of online reviews, or if the reviews do not give you any helpful ideas for improvements, reach out to patients directly. Ask loyal patients for honest feedback about your services, staff attitude, prices and other important factors.

Another approach is to ask for feedback at the end of every consultation. You can ask insightful questions like, “How can we serve you better?” or “How has your experience been today?” You will be surprised how direct questions yield honest answers from your patients. You should train your staff to ask such questions, as well. When patients see that you care, they will be willing to share their feedback online as well as offline.

2. Ask for reviews: Getting reviews is as simple as asking for them. Most patients will gladly write a review when asked to do so. You can make this request at the end of every consultation. Based on the patient’s feedback, it will be easy to determine if he or she is happy with your services.

3. Follow a systematic approach: No doubt online reviews can make or break your online reputation. If patients see mostly negative reviews about your practice, they will be more likely to choose your competitors. Positive reviews signify a brand that patients can trust. However, positive reviews do not just happen overnight; they are the result of great patient experiences delivered consistently. If you are treating your patients the way they deserve to be treated, they will end up spreading the good word about your practice to their friends and family.

4. Respond to negative reviews: Most healthcare providers do not just sit back when a patient leaves a negative online review. Instead, they take the time to reply to feedback and attempt to resolve the conflict. By responding to a negative review, you show the unhappy patient that you care about your patients’ experiences and are continuously striving to improve your services.

While you may be tempted to get defensive when a reviewer seems unjustified, it is important to remain calm and look for a solution. In addition, you should offer to fix the problem and invite the patient to give your practice another try in the future. In some cases, a patient may even be satisfied with your response and decide to take down the negative review and leave a positive one in its place.

Conclusion

With updates like these, it is obvious that online reviews are about to become even more important. You must optimize your strategy to attract the best possible reviews for your practice and stay ahead of the competition.

Patients are leaving it up to search engines and third-party review sites to give them a narrowed-down list of the most trustworthy and relevant medical practices in their area. From there, they will take a few minutes to read and compare the reviews for top suggestions and confirm their decision within a matter of minutes. This means, as a practice looking to capitalize on this opportunity, it is your job to become one of the top local medical practices that Google recommends. You can do this by monitoring your reputation, generating positive reviews and taking the required steps to improve your local search rankings.

Schedule your free consultation with Practice Builders to learn how we can help you manage your online reputation and local search to win more patients. If you are struggling to establish or maintain your online reputation, there are plenty of reputation management consultants out who that can help you. The online reputation management experts at Practice Builders can help you gather positive customer reviews. Our experts will monitor your online presence while implementing effective strategies to help you look your best.

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

Medical Healthcare Marketing

5 Fundamentals for Building an Effective Medical Practice Website

5 Fundamentals for Building an Effective Medical Practice Website

As a medical practitioner, your ultimate goal of having a website is to provide patients the information to learn more about your practice and services. Hopefully, those informed patients will make an appointment or contact your practice, resulting in a consultation.

According to Pew Internet, almost 72 percent of Americans search online for health-related information. This means that the first point of online contact, the physician’s website, must be optimized to convert visitors into new patients.

An optimized website helps increase patients’ trust in you and your services, attracts visitors to provide contact information for mailing lists and enhances the ROI of your online marketing efforts. No matter how many people visit your website, if it is unable to attract new patients or if your website conversion rate is less than 5 percent, it is time to optimize your medical practice website. After all, according to an industry report, increasing conversion rates by just 1 percent can reduce your media costs by almost 33 percent.

While it is critical to increasing traffic to your website, that traffic may not be helpful if it is not resulting in appointments. So, in addition to trying to increase the amount of traffic to your website, you should focus on making your website more effective and user-friendly so that most of your website visitors get converted to new patients.

If you want to optimize your current website and improve conversion rate, here are a few things to try:

  • Begin with the end in mind

    In other words, what is the goal of your website? Fuzzy phrases such as, “We want to provide information to patients,” will most likely lead to failure and frustration.

    WHY? Because you failed to define the ultimate goal and purpose of your website. What goals are you trying to achieve? While patient education and satisfaction are high goals to ponder, they are difficult to measure.

    How can you measure?

    Through Google Analytics and other online analytic tools, you can measure and track your website’s performance, which is usually discussed regarding metrics. Your basic site metrics should include the number of unique visitors, the total number of visitors, page visits, the amount of time spent on the website, bounce rate and conversion rate.

    Here, the conversion rate is the ultimate metric because it measures the number of email inquiries or phone calls received by the practice directly from the website.

    For instance, if you get 100 unique visitors in a month, with ten email inquiries or phone calls to the practice, your website converts visitors into new patients at a rate of 10 percent. This is a good conversion rate.

    A knowledge of what to measure and how to measure will make you feel motivated as well as help you make the necessary adjustments required to improve the conversion rate.

  • Make your website mobile-responsive

    The data for healthcare customers and the way they are using mobile devices is quite compelling. One of the most impressive statistics is the conversion rate of mobile users. According to studies, 44 percent of patients who searched for medical websites for information went on to make an appointment. This fact points to the importance of an engaging experience for mobile users. In addition, Google’s algorithm penalizes websites that are not mobile-responsive. By having a mobile responsive website, you allow your practice to connect with these highly engaged healthcare consumers.

    Instead of building separate websites for desktop and mobile users, Google suggests healthcare marketers build one website that can scale up and down to fit the different screen sizes, thus making it responsive. This means your practice website will automatically change the dimensions to fit the screen of the device being used to search. According to Google’s study, nearly 65 percent of searches began on a mobile device. The inability of your website to automatically adjust to devices will create a negative user experience and may result in significant revenue loss for the practice.

    How to check if your website is mobile responsive?

    You can test the mobile responsive functionality of your website in a few seconds. Open your website in a browser, and using the mouse, grab the right side of your browser window all the way to the left until you cannot shrink it anymore. How does your website look? Does it look proper or is it cut off on one side? If your website is cut off, content is not readable, or your website looks distorted. This is an indication your website is not mobile-responsive.

    With technology constantly evolving, it is suggested to check up on your responsive design at least biannually. This will give you an opportunity to identify any potential issues with your website and make necessary updates.

  • Do not compromise on content

    The first step toward establishing a patient-converting website is attracting relevant visitors. To do this, you need to follow two fundamental rules: Create content that your target audience is seeking and promote that content consistently.

    These rules work best together. You cannot follow one without the other. This is because creating great content may attract target audience to your website, but without consistency, your audience will lose interest. Similarly, quantity is not an alternate for quality. Stuffing your website with run-of-the-mill content may help you attract a few visitors, but they will quickly spot a lack of substance in the content, and your practice reputation will suffer as a result.

    What makes good online content?

    Good content is what your target audience wants to consume. When you search Google for anything from flu to insomnia, Google uses its index of keywords related to your search and returns websites that fit your query. The fundamental principle here is that the more frequently a keyword appears on a website, the higher that website will rank in relevant search engine results.

    For your website content to be useful, it must be engaging. Engaging content may include images, graphics and catchy headlines. The most important function of a website is to convert leads to new, paying patients. To achieve this, it is important to serve potential patients the information they are looking for. In addition to other forms of content, these new patients are looking for clear and easy guidelines to connect with your practice. When potential patients want to make an appointment, they do not want to search every page of your website trying to figure out the process to schedule a visit. In all likelihood, if they cannot find that information easily, they will just give up. To handle such situations, put your phone number on both the header and footer of each page.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) – the most important strategy

    There are hundreds of books and blogs written about SEO, and there is no way to do justice to the benefits it offers in a few paragraphs. To summarize the objective and benefits of SEO: If you are looking to attract, serve and retain patients, then SEO is one of the most important strategies for your medical practice.

    SEO impacts your website’s ability to be found on the Internet. Backlinks, meta descriptions, keywords, title tags and local listings – all these factors impact SEO. However, effective SEO requires dedication and effort. If you want your website to be found online by potential patients, you will need to address two key areas:

    On-page SEO: This refers to everything within your website and includes indexable content, crawlable links and URL structures, and optimized pages, meta-descriptions and title tags.

    Off-page SEO: This refers to external SEO opportunities and includes various ways to attract attention to your website through link building, sharing content and optimizing for mobile search.

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  • A clear, simple and user-friendly website is the way to go:

    Generally speaking, the best websites are those that are easy to navigate, informative and appear to be credible. Conversely, visitors tend to avoid sites that are confusing, require too much time and seem unreliable. Luckily, there are easy ways to ensure your website falls into the former category, not the latter.

    Be sure your website is scannable. This is because visitors rarely read the text closely. To make reading a breeze, make the headlines’ font larger, and break the smaller text into digestible pieces. Headlines should also contain search-specific keywords, which will enable visitors to find what they were looking for, and improve your search engine ranking.

    Successful websites also feature images that lend a human face to the practice. You can post pictures of your staff and virtually welcome patients into your office. According to research from KissMetrics, adding images to a webpage can increase conversion rates by 95 percent. Video content can provide a significant boost, as well. According to Animoto, nearly 73 percent of U.S. adults are willing to make purchasing decisions after watching an online video.

    Look at it this way: Unless the online experience exceeds the office experience, the visitors will continue their Google search to the next medical practice.

    You must remember website development is a dynamic process. While certain rules remain constant, the technology and user behavior are always evolving. Effective website design must include the ability to measure what’s working and what needs improvement.

Bottom line

Having a website is critical to being successful in the healthcare community. However, a brochure site will never take you places. As a medical practitioner, it is your duty to empower your patients and to be thought leaders in your industry. An investment in your website design and content will pay dividends in the form of new patients and improved online visibility. You will experience increased traffic, better conversion rates and increased revenue.

For most healthcare providers, it all starts with belief. If you believe that with the right focus, technology and expert guidance, you can attract more patients to your medical practice, then we can show you how. Schedule an appointment today, and experts will help you design a new website or upgrade your existing one. We can help you increase traffic, attract new patients and grow revenue. At Practice Builders, we look forward to serving your practice.

5 Fundamentals for Building an Effective Medical Practice Website

Medical Healthcare Marketing