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Tag Archives: Practice

The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love

The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love

In a world where your competitors are just a click away, patient loyalty is the new marketing. Today’s patients have access to an endless amount of information about your medical practice and the unique services your offer. Research shows that patients are willing to stop hopping from one doctor to another and stick with practitioners who go the extra mile to create a fantastic patient experience. When patients feel taken care of, they are more inclined to come back to your practice and recommend you to their family and friends.

Here are some of the reasons why patient loyalty is so important:

  • Most patients have a choice. Despite being limited by factors beyond their control, most patients prefer to change their doctors to get a better patient experience.
  • Better patient experience makes everyone’s job a lot easier. Patient satisfaction leads to more accommodating patients, which makes a smoother experience for your practice overall.
  • Higher patient loyalty means more referrals and word-of-mouth business. When patients have a good experience, they are more likely to talk about it to their family. That means more word-of-mouth referrals, which means more patients and an increased bottom line.

The Power of Patient Loyalty

As an individual practitioner or a small-practice owner, you may lack the capital or need more staff members. However, you can remain profitable by serving your existing patients well. According to studies, nearly 67 percent of practice owners do not understand the value of patient loyalty. These practice owners often miss the opportunity to gain lifelong patients and brand ambassadors.

The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love

When a patient is loyal to your brand, it means when faced with a decision between you and your competitors, he or she picks you every time. Clearly, all practitioners want patients to prefer their brand over their competitors. However, the key is to learn about your patients’ preferences from the very beginning. A report stated that almost 48 percent of patients think the most critical time to gain their loyalty is when they make their visit to your office. This is the best time to offer a consistent experience that addresses their needs and solves their problems. It is essential to understand how the patient experience affects brand loyalty.

When your patient calls to ask for help, do not be passive. Make sure to familiarize yourself with a patient’s background so you can take charge of the conversation. Brand loyalty is strengthened with every interaction your patient has with your practice. The key to patient loyalty is always to meet or exceed your patients’ expectations. When patients become loyal, they not only come back to your practice, they become emotionally attached to your brand. Loyal patients will recommend your brand to their friends and family, develop an emotional connection and act as brand ambassadors. Brand loyalty is an essential investment for your medical practice and you must offer value in order to become invaluable to your patients.

But Why Do Patients Leave?

According to an insightful report, the number-one reason patients stop visiting a medical practice is poor patient service experience. But what reasons lead a patient to describe a service experience as “poor” or “unacceptable”?

The report stated that incompetency, staff manners and slow service define poor patient service. Almost 73 percent of patients described the incompetent staff as their most prominent reason to “dislike” a practice or practitioner.

This candid feedback from unhappy patients shows that competent and polite staff is more critical than the speed of the service. So how do you build a brand that wins over the hearts and minds of your patients? Let us look at four ways medical practices can move relationships with their patients.

1. Engage with your patients: Patient loyalty is about reaching out and nurturing the patients who help your practice grow. Engaging with your patients will help you create a sense of belonging. You can use social networks to inform patients of special deals and exciting developments. If you can make your patients involved in your practice, they are more likely to have positive associations, and engaged patients are loyal patients. According to the Pareto principle, 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts. But for most medical practice owners, the disparity between your best patients and the rest is stark. The top 5 percent of your patients are worth as much as 1800 percent of the average patient lifetime value. So adding a few more loyal patients might be the smartest thing you can do to grow your practice. Adding and retaining patients often starts with figuring out how and where you are losing patients: Why do so few patients become loyal members of your practice? In most cases, this is due to poor patient service. It is important to make sure your patient service is impeccable, and if you play your cards right, this can be an easy victory for your practice. Provide a positive patient experience, safeguard your online reputation and encourage patients to stick by your brand long enough to develop loyalty. One of the most effective strategies to retain patients is by recognizing and fulfilling their needs. You can use your patient behavior data to assess what your patients are likely to expect from your practice and offer it to them.

2. Use technology to improve patient experience: The latest tools and technology can be used to help improve your relationship with your patients. When patients understand that you are delivering a unique experience and exceeding expectations in order to meet their demands, they will return the favor by giving you their time and information. This symbiotic relationship is valuable as it helps create trust, which should be the goal for every medical practice.

The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love

Providing data-driven services can increase revenue for your brand. According to a study, nearly 86 percent of patients said that personalization plays a role in their decision to choose a healthcare provider. In addition, almost 73 percent of patients said they preferred to visit practices that use personal information to make their experience more relevant.

Once your practice has earned the trust of your patients, you can employ patient portals to gain intelligent insights and solutions. Such portals will enable your patients to create, edit and delete their profile and use it whenever they want. Patient portals will help your staff have quick access to valuable insights about the needs and preferences of your patients. By engaging your patients with data aligned with their preferences, your practice can provide a better patient experience.

3. Use social media to show patient appreciation: Social media is an excellent way to build brand loyalty and improve patient engagement. According to a study, when a business – including the healthcare market – uses social networks to communicate with their target audience, people listen. In fact, more than 81 percent of people said they had more confidence in a medical practice when its doctors are using social media.

When you communicate with your patients on social media, it helps build brand loyalty, and those patients can become your brand ambassadors. Replying with a personal message or updating your patients with general healthcare-related news is a great way to humanize your brand and strengthen the relationship.

Your medical practice likely has some brand ambassadors continually engaging on social media. You must surprise them. Go beyond the typical reply with a special discount voucher or complimentary service. The cost will be minimal, and you can rest assured that the recipients will post about it for others to read. This shout-out or acknowledgment on social networks will help attract more patients and increase the positive exposure of your brand. Showing that your practice cares about its patients and their experience will separate your brand from the competition.

The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love

4. Deliver value: Patients are looking to identify with your practice’s mission and values. To them, what you offer is who you are. How can you help your patients identify your brand’s values? The answer is: Be definitive. The more specific you can be about your skills and services, the more your patients will understand what value you can offer them. You need to make sure your patients understand what you do and the value you add to their lives. This means you need to zoom in on just one service or unique proposition until it fills the screen. Even the most effective brand loyalty campaigns will be futile if you do not deliver value through your unique services and focus on your patients’ needs. You must promote your unique selling proposition and use it as the foundation to design and deliver your brand loyalty campaigns.

Do Patients Forgive Poor Service?

Despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes are bound to happen when dealing with patients. A lot of small issues may make their way into your service provision. However, the good news is: Occasional mistakes will not damage your reputation unless such errors become the norm.

But what about serious errors? Will patients forgive a massive error? It is important to understand the thought process and associated actions of dissatisfied patients. As mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, most patients who suffer an injury due to a practitioner’s negligence do not sue their healthcare provider. A common factor among those patients who pursued legal action felt like they did not get enough time with their doctor. Most of the litigious patients described their interactions with their doctor as poorly diagnosed. However, most of these patients are willing to give their doctor a second chance.

Speed and quality of service are the innocent culprits in most of these situations. Trying to respond to patients as quickly as possible decreases your chances of ignoring critical details, something that is very important to patients.

Wrapping Up

It is believed that by 2020, more than 89 percent of patients will shift to practices providing better patient experience and engagement. Your competitive advantage must focus on building patient relationships and improving experience.

Gone are the days where practices offered basic healthcare services. If you expect brand loyalty, it is time to treat patients like people, not numbers.

Always pay attention to what your patients are telling you. Do not be a transaction-focused practice. It is critical to building a practice to serve people and care about them, and they may return the favor by caring about you. This is the key to nurturing brand loyalty.

Remember, engaging patients and strengthening relationships is a practice-wide endeavor. It is not just for your front-desk staff. Brand loyalty and patient satisfaction are everyone’s responsibility.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Is Your Medical Practice Website Delivering the Best User Experience?

Is Your Medical Practice Website Delivering the Best User Experience?

Are you noticing a drop in your website’s engagement levels? Is your website’s bounce rate giving you sleepless nights? Or are you looking for ways to attract potential patients to your medical practice website? If the answer to any of these questions is a Yes, then you need to pay attention to your website’s user experience. Merely providing product information and office contact details are no longer enough. Your website needs to act as a platform that is useful for your patients and helps convert their interest into appointments. Your website needs to delight and comfort visitors, and this is where your website’s user experience comes into the picture. Just by focusing on improving the way visitors interact with your website, you will be able to deliver a better user experience, increase traffic and grow your practice.

If visitors are not interacting with your website, it means your website is not adding any value, which dilutes the purpose of building a website. So when creating your website, make sure to keep your visitors’ needs and expectations in mind so you can increase engagement, boost the number of visits and improve the user experience.

When you are building a website for your medical practice, there is much more to it than just putting together product-related information. You also need to think about your target audience and design your website keeping the user experience in mind. Great user experiences are the backbone of any website.

The user experience determines whether you will see an increase in your lead generation, decrease in your bounce rate or an increase in your conversion rate. Medical practices are realizing that in order to stay competitive in this ever-evolving healthcare market, they will have to invest in improving their user experiences.

Naturally, marketers want their website to provide the best possible user experience so that maximum numbers of leads can be converted to regular customers. However, a website’s user experience is not confined to layout or the number of graphics used. Creating an encouraging user experience is an approach that covers all aspects of research, visual design and planning.

Why Is User Experience So Important?

According to research by Content Marketing Institute, most website owners get just five seconds to engage a visitor before he or she leaves the website. Only five seconds! Before your industry-leading products or excellent content had a chance to get noticed by a website visitor, the game was over. A report by Google has revealed that almost 80 percent of visitors will move to another website if they fail to find what they were searching for.

Search engines consider user experience when returning organic results. Users’ attention span is decreasing considerably with the move toward smartphones, and the digital healthcare market is more competitive than ever. Optimizing the usability of your website can have a significant impact on decreasing your bounce rate and improving the user experience.

By designing a website that is focused on user experience, you can create a space that is easy for visitors to understand and navigate. This approach can set your website apart from competitors who are not as concerned about user experience, thus increasing your website traffic and conversion rate.

Here are some key stats on the importance of user experience in web design:

  • More than 65 percent of visitors prefer a website that is optimized for user experience over a plain website.
  • Incorporating a more appropriate color combination can improve your bottom line.
  • Nearly 48 percent of visitors would feel frustrated when websites are poorly optimized for mobile devices.
  • 94 percent of visitors form the first impression about a website based on its design and overall esthetics.

For beginners, here are some of the key essentials for user experience:

  • A web page that is quick to load;
  • Simple navigation;
  • Well-written and well-presented content;
  • A visually appealing web page layout.

Tips on Delivering the Best User Experience

In order to deliver a good user experience, you will need to consider the primary reasons why visitors will be flocking to your website, the way they may use your website and the different functions they are likely to perform on your website.

Delivering an intuitive and engaging user experience requires many steps. Here are seven tips to help you deliver an amazing user experience to your website visitors.

Is Your Medical Practice Website Delivering the Best User Experience?

1. Improve Page Load Time

Page loading time is a critical part of any website’s user experience. Web designers tend to compromise on page load time to accommodate esthetic designs and new functionalities or to add more content to web pages. According to a study, nearly 40 percent of visitors will leave your website if your web page takes more than three seconds to load. Slow page load is a disrupting experience for your website visitor and it can be a reason for a high exit rate. According to research, a two-second delay in page load time can result in exit rates of up to 87 percent.

2. Design for Your Target Audience

Almost two decades ago when online interactions were still in their infancy, website visitors were willing to spend all of their time learning the tips and tricks to complete activities on websites. If visitors were confused, it was assumed they just were not tech-savvy on how to navigate the Internet. But today, users are not as willing to learn how to navigate through your website. These days, users become frustrated when they feel a website is confusing or substandard. While it is exciting to design your website to suit your preferences and tastes, that will not help your website visitors navigate your website. Think about what your target audience wants to do and help them complete those tasks easily and intuitively. Improving user experience on your website starts by understanding what your target audience wants and what is preventing leads from converting to customers. The most important insights on how to design an easy interface should come from your target audience.

3. Simplify Navigation

The hallmark of a great website is simple and easy-to-use navigation. Your website visitors’ primary goal on your website is to find information. Simple navigation means your visitors can focus on the content and find the desired information faster. Whether they are searching for your contact details or information on treatments, they want to find it fast. It is important to streamline the information and remove the clutter. Clean and simple navigation will help your visitors find the information they need quickly. In order to give your users a smooth navigation experience, try to use common layouts and avoid creating dead-end web pages. Make sure all your pages have internal links so your website is watertight.

4. Include Effective Calls to Action (CTAs)

Having relevant CTAs on your website will help grab the attention of your visitors and improve user interaction while achieving business goals. If you want your website visitors to take instant action and to convert, using strong CTAs help you achieve that. Your CTA must be included on every page of your website. This will help improve the conversion rate and add to the unique user experience. Remember to place your CTA above the fold so that your visitors can easily view the button and respond to it in case they want to. Making your CTAs easily accessible is an effective way to increase your conversion rates.

5. Create Engaging Content

One of the primary purposes of your website is to deliver great content to your target audience. However, website designers often make the mistake of treating content as secondary to design. If you are serious about giving your visitors a great experience, then both design and content must be seamlessly integrated. In addition, every piece of content must have a purpose for your website visitor. It is important to prioritize the information your visitors will expect from your website and display it accordingly. It is not just about the information; it is also about the way you present it. If you are looking for ways to interact with your visitors and acquire new patients, then start with your content.

6. Optimize for Mobile

Smartphones are driving a significant amount of traffic to websites, and this makes it essential for your website to be mobile-friendly. In order to serve the browsing needs of mobile users, responsive web design is an easy way for website owners to ensure better user interface. Users expect information to be readily available on whatever device they decide to use. It is important that your website be mobile-friendly and easy-to-navigate regardless of the screen type through which it is being accessed. Responsive web design will allow you to cater to your visitors’ mobile web experience. The user experience on mobile devices may even be more important than the desktop experience.

7. Maintain Consistency

Consistency in website design means making everything match. Make sure heading size, fonts, colors, button styles, spacing and design elements are coordinated to make your web design coherent between pages. In order to provide your visitor with an amazing user experience, it is important to create a consistent website. Drastic design changes can make your visitor feel lost and confused. Inconsistencies in design and layout will lower the quality of the services you are offering through your website. Consistency in the website design will add to the user experience. On the other hand, if the website is clunky and does not provide the information and experience that users expect, then they may not come back to it again.

Conclusion

Your website is the backbone of your medical practice’s online presence. Clean and simple web design will always outperform a messy page. Truly fantastic user experience changes subtly over time and becomes better each time you turn it – faster, more intuitive and more relevant.

When creating your website, it is important to design it in a way that fits the uniqueness of your medical practice. Just because something has worked well for another practice does not mean a feature or functionality will also benefit you. With a little bit of research and creativity, you will be able to design a website that attracts patients and improves your conversion rate.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How to Set Achievable Goals for Your Medical Practice

How to Set Achievable Goals for Your Medical Practice

Managing a medical practice is hard work – harder than most of us can even imagine – and many practice owners put in massive amounts of effort to make sure their business thrives. Having a clear objective can help you implement the right strategies and can give you the right direction. This may make running a medical practice a little bit easier.

In contrast, without setting effective goals we may just drift through life, achieving far less than what we deserve or are capable of. Trying to work without specific goals is like setting off on a journey without a map or destination in mind.

Whether you are setting up a new practice or you have been running a successful practice for years, focusing on what you want to achieve is critical to your success.

Setting new goals for your practice can be exciting. This is an extensive process that allows you to visualize a better and more productive future for your medical practice. While the inspiration that accompanies this process is incredible, it can also be time-consuming and demanding.

Not all goal-setting is done equally. There is a right and a wrong way to go about setting objectives for your business. In order to understand how to set reasonable goals, you have to understand the importance of this process and steps to avoid common mistakes.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting the Right Goals

Your practice’s goals are an extension of your vision, mission and priorities. While your specific objectives might change from time to time, they should consistently enhance your values and brand image. For instance, if superior patient service is a priority for your practice, then one of your goals should focus on that objective. A goal that focuses on providing excellent patient service will help enhance your practice’s reputation and conversion rate.

Without goals, your practice can lack growth and direction. Setting effective goals can put you in the driver’s seat and give you the power to steer your practice in whatever direction you desire. However, sometimes your goals and objectives become neglected. This usually happens when obstacles and hurdles come up, and most of us end up quitting. Goal-setting does not have to be that way. It is easy to throw in the towel, especially when you have a big mountain to climb.

Here are five simple steps to make sure you reach your goals.

1. Identify Your Specific Objectives: In a medical practice, a mission statement is not just a document, but a purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction. When a mission statement is clearly defined, it does not just describe a business; it sets the stage for the future success of the business. It is important to take the time to articulate the different short-term and long-term goals of your practice by reflecting on why you started your practice in the first place. Your mission statement should answer the following key questions:

  • What market do you serve?
  • Why should your patients come to your practice?
  • What problems do you solve for your patients?
  • What makes your practice better than your competitors?
  • What measures can be taken to improve the quality and range of services you provide?

Your mission statement is your reference point. In order to achieve your long-term goals, you will need to set and achieve short-term goals. Once you have identified your long-term and short-term objectives, you need to figure out how to get there. These short-term objectives are your business goals.

2. Set SMART Goals: Lack of clarity is the biggest reason why most goals fail. It is important to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals. Make sure the outcome of each goal can be measured.

It is also critical for the management to embrace key facts. Do not run away from ground reality or data. Often, executives set inaccurate goals without having reliable data. By setting goals that are specific and attainable, you will not only save time and effort but will also get closer to your destination. In addition, if you cannot measure what you are trying to achieve, your goal will likely not contribute to the growth of your practice. Keep your goals challenging but achievable. Make sure your goals are relevant to your practice’s success. Commit to a time frame to achieve your goals. This will keep you accountable.

How to Set Achievable Goals for Your Medical Practice

3. Identify Metrics to Measure Success: This step is often overlooked in the goal-setting process. Most marketers focus so much on ensuring the goal is specific and realistic that they forget to align key performance indicators (KPIs) with each goal. Metrics will help you determine whether you are on the right track to achieving your business goals and objectives.

Thoughtfully selected metrics can help you monitor progress and overall performance of your goals. Setting and monitoring the right metrics can also help your practice:

  • Identify the current performance levels of your staff.
  • Track progress on achieving business goals.
  • Focus on driving growth in key departments.
  • Drive accountability among employees.

When determining what metrics to track, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Do these metrics align with your objectives?
  • Can these metrics help you make decisions?
  • Do you have the capacity to measure these metrics effectively?

4. Identify Challenges: One of the biggest problems with goal-setting is that we think through all the steps and processes without thinking about challenges. Just as you should be safeguarding your practice from inevitable problems, you can proactively avoid challenges that are likely to stop you from achieving your goals.

When setting your goals, it would be a good idea to plan for potential obstacles. Taking this approach will help you stay prepared when the expected challenges arise.

Identifying obstacles and challenges can also tell you whether or not a goal is achievable. If your goal to attract a thousand patients turns out to be unrealistic, then you can filter that goal to something that is more attainable.

Potential challenges may include a personal fear, a lack of funds or the need for better staff training. Once you have identified what is standing in the way, it will be easier to remove these obstacles and achieve your goals. After you have identified the potential challenges, the next step is to think of solutions to eliminate these challenges.

5. Track Your Progress: Achieving your goals will be next to impossible if you do not have the right system to track and analyze the progress and performative of your activities. It is important to find a way to monitor the outcome on a regular basis.

By tracking and controlling the outcome of your goals, you can be confident that your strategy is working in your favor. You must set up some tools or a system for tracking and analyzing your activities and measuring progress toward your goals.

Goal Ideas for Your Practice

2018 is finally here, and it is time to start looking at New Year’s resolutions – not just for individuals but also for medical practice owners.
How to Set Achievable Goals for Your Medical Practice
Even if 2017 was a profitable year for your practice, there is always room for improvement. The time is right to examine possibilities for improvement and success in the year 2018.

So what can be the specific goals of your medical practice? Here are a few ideas of business goals and objectives that you can aim for in your practice.

1. Attract more patients.

2. Run a campaign for patient retention.

3. Effectively manage cash flow.

4. Improve your online presence.

5. Invest in staff training.

6. Launch at least one new service.

7. Improve patient experience or patient satisfaction score.

8. Reduce operating costs.

9. Improve the quality and quality of online reviews of your practice.

10. Improve leadership qualities.

Tips for Setting Attainable Goals

Regardless of the popularity or size of your medical practice, the first rule in setting reasonable goals is to understand that your practice’s growth and existence depend on them. The goals you create will focus your staff on where to spend the majority of their energy and efforts.

The success of your medical practice is intimately tied to the hearts, minds and actions of your staff who choose to come to work every day. So it is important to set aside some time to reflect on what is most important to you and your staff in the year ahead. You must be careful and clear and pick no more than five specific goals for the next year.

Here are some tips for setting reasonable goals for your medical practice that you will be able to follow through on.

1. Involve Your Staff: No one employee will ever have all the answers. It is critical not only to identify your business goals but also ask your staff to do the same. This will provide you with essential data for setting goals that are specific and achievable.

2. Identify and Fix Blind Spots: Every business has a few blind spots. Here again, you should ask your employees for help. You can create a questionnaire to help you find the blind spots that can lead your practice astray.

3. Do Not Forget the Lessons: Always incorporate the lessons learned this year into the goal-setting strategy of next year. The annual goal-setting exercises offer a perfect opportunity to evaluate your performance and adjust course.

4. Always Create Relevant Goals: When writing goals for the new year, ask yourself: How aligned are these goals with our practice’s business plan and strategic priorities? It is a good idea to check your direction before plunging into the new year.

5. Communicate These Goals: It is important to decide the best possible way to communicate your goals to your staff and stakeholders.

6. Do not settle for “possible goals”: This time of year provides a perfect opportunity to decide your course for the next year. So do not settle on “workable” goals for 2018.

How to Set Achievable Goals for Your Medical Practice

Wrapping Up

If these ideas are not appealing to you, try using a concept from the SMART method or see how they fit into your practice’s SWOT analysis.

There is no set method for goal-setting that fits every practice’s needs. Do not feel discouraged if some of the popular methods do not work for you. You can explore other useful and straightforward ways of setting goals. Regardless of how high your business goals take you, there will always be more targets to achieve and more improvements to make. Setting realistic goals can help your staff put their best foot forward, and your practice will thrive because of it.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How to Make Your Patients Follow Your Chiropractic Practice on Social Media

How to Make Your Patients Follow Your Chiropractic Practice on Social Media

We hear it all the time: “Engage patients!” Sounds like a valid and proven marketing advice, right? But what are the best and most efficient strategies for engaging your patients? Every medical practice is different, and so there is no one-size-fits-all mantra to follow. However, there are a few ideas you can implement that, when blended with research data and experience, can help you gain traction in the social sphere. Active patient engagement on social networks will help your chiropractor practice and is an important step toward increasing the conversion rate.

Social networks such as Facebook and Instagram are changing the way medical practices operate and interact with potential and existing patients. However, the key to success on these platforms is to have an active and engaged following. Engaged patients are great assets as they tend to spread the positive word about your practice and its services.

Why Do Patients Follow Your Brand?

Have you ever wondered why someone would even want to follow a healthcare brand on social media? Most of us will dislike a site that throws a three-minute pop-up ad at us while we are trying to read a two-minute blog post.

So, why would your patients be willing to follow your chiropractor practice on social media and have your content show up in their social feeds for free? Don’t you want to think about it?

As social networks become more prevalent and essential to marketing strategies, healthcare marketers need to have a solid understanding of the various reasons that existing and potential patients choose to follow, engage and interact with brands on social media.

It is important to understand the underlying reasons as to why your target audience would choose to follow your brand on social networks. This understanding will make the process of attracting and retaining those followers much simpler.

According to research, relevant content is one of the top reasons patients follow healthcare facilities on social networks. If you are looking to ramp up your conversion rate and brand awareness and increase the number of leads, check out these reasons why patients follow chiropractors on social networks:

How to Make Your Patients Follow Your Chiropractic Practice on Social Media

1. For updates on products and services: Majority of patients turn to social networks for their daily dose of updates about the latest products and services. If an existing or potential patient is interested in your products or services, he or she may choose to follow your brand on social networks to be “in the know” when new products and services are launched. So whenever you have news about your products or services, make sure you share the information on your social media pages. You can even consider sharing a short video or images related to the update.

2. To learn of exclusive offers and promotions: Your followers need to be rewarded for their loyalty. You can keep your patients glued to your social media pages by offering special discount codes, exclusive offers and other promotions. Nearly 70 percent of people follow brands to take advantage of special offers, promotions and special deals. While social networks are not the ideal place for throwing deals and discounts, such posts can help you generate leads and attract potential patients. As a bonus, in order to make your followers feel exclusive, you can announce a special discount only for them. However, you will have to be careful because posting discounts and offers frequently can make you look desperate. So limit the number of such posts. According to a survey, having access to special promotions is one of the top reasons patients follow a brand on social media. These discounts and incentives serve two main purposes: They attract potential patients to your page, and they help retain existing patients by positioning your brand at the top of their minds.

3. To find customer support: An increasing percentage of patients are turning to social networks for customer support. For a lot of people, contacting their doctor on social media is a quicker and more convenient way of expressing concerns and asking for help. According to research, 71 percent of patients who received positive customer service on social networks are more likely to recommend the doctor to their family and friends. Social networks are excellent platforms for engaging with your patients and showing them that you care about their experiences. If an existing or new patient posts feedback about your chiropractor practice on social media, a quick reply is an effective way to show gratitude and resolve concerns.

4. To keep in touch with your practice: Some patients will follow your brand simply because they like its unique identity and personality. Almost 32 percent of patients follow your brand on social media just because they want to stay connected and informed about the activities of your brand. From a healthcare marketer’s point of view, this proves the value of social networks as an effective tool for patient engagement and feedback. Your brand’s social media page serves as a useful resource where patients can see the latest updates from your practice without having to visit your website. Whether you are posting about a new product launch or an exclusive discount offer, following your practice presents the opportunity to keep informed about all the important updates.

5. To post an online review or feedback: If a patient is following you on social media, it is highly likely that he or she is already a loyal patient or is interested in learning more about your services. Patients often follow brands they care about and give feedback about the doctor on their experiences. Social media can give your patients a public voice, so it is critical to take feedback and reviews constructively. Social networks are an excellent way to see what your patients think about your practice and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Practices that are more open in soliciting the feedback of patients will send the message that the feedback matters, and this can have a positive effect on patient loyalty.

However, not many patients will bother to leave feedback unless they feel passionately enough about your practice to make an effort. Your social media pages will often be one of the first platforms that your patients will turn to when they want to post a review or leave feedback.

And, Why Do Patients Unfollow Your Brand?

Acquiring a massive social media following is incredible, but it is pointless if you keep losing those followers. It is important to understand what is making your followers leave. Being unfollowed is an expected part of the social media journey.

You may think you know your patient demographic inside and out, but do you really know what they want to see on your social media pages? Unknowingly, you might be committing social media mistakes and forcing them to hit the unfollow button. So where could you be going wrong? As a healthcare marketer, it is almost impossible to please every single patient. Here are five key reasons patients unfollow a practice on social media:

1. Irrelevant or boring content: According to research, 21 percent of patients will unfollow a brand if the content is uninteresting and repetitive. If the content you are sharing is not exciting, your target audience will unfollow you. The truth is, there is a lot of competition out there, and you need to be innovative in order to stand out from the crowd. Your patients are following your practice for a specific reason, and if you continue to share boring content, you can kiss those followers goodbye. Your followers demand and deserve fresh and informative content.

2. Over-promotion: Of all the reasons patients unfollow practices on social media, “posting too frequently” is one of the biggest turn-offs. Unfortunately, many practices still approach social media as if it is a broadcast channel where they are allowed to post updates every hour or two. It is important to understand that social networks require two-way communication – brands post, target audience responds and engages. But how much is too much on social media? The answer is, most followers expect the brands to post only once or twice a day. If you are posting updates more than six times a day, you need to slow down. The best way is to stick to a social media schedule so your target audience knows what to expect. However, stick to whatever schedule you decide on.

How to Make Your Patients Follow Your Chiropractic Practice on Social Media

3. Lack of engagement: The goal of social media presence is to be social. Social networks are designed to help you engage with your followers and make your brand seem accessible. However, if a follower messages you and you ignore him or her, it can defeat the purpose. It is critical to use your social presence as a medium to interact with your followers. As a healthcare marketer, you must engage with your target audience. Communicating with them in a personal and friendly manner is crucial. Nearly 39 percent of patients expect doctors to engage with them when they post on their social media pages. Engaging with your followers can help improve conversion rate, drive traffic to your website and attract new patients.

4. Your competitors are more engaging: A small portion of your followers can unfollow your brand if they come across a competitor who shares more compelling content and is more appealing than you are on social media. However, this is more of personal choice than a social media mistake. You cannot do much to stop such incidences. Your only option is to try to be better than your competitors by keeping an eye on their social media activities. It is important to take note of things they are doing right, and include those in your social media strategy.

5. Posting too little: While posting too frequently can cause you to lose followers, not posting enough can do as much harm. When you do not post for two months, and then all of a sudden post a promotional offer, your patients may wonder why they are following you in the first place. If you are too quiet and only posting rarely, your patients will find it pointless to follow you and most likely click the unfollow button. Again, it is advised to set up a social media schedule and adhere to it. You must post at least once a day. Being consistent will show your patients that you are present and active. The idea is to find a good balance when posting content on social networks.

How to Make Your Patients Follow Your Chiropractic Practice on Social Media

Conclusion

Social networks help in brand promotion. Healthcare brands need to make the most of these platforms by posting useful content frequently.

An important thing to remember is that your followers expect high-quality content that fits their requirements. Social media is a two-way communication platform, so be careful not to overwhelm your followers with frequent updates and promotional content. But if you are too quiet and only posting rarely, your patients will find it pointless to follow your brand and will most likely click the unfollow button.

Engaging patients through social networks can be challenging for some chiropractors, but it is the first step in creating loyal patients and for promoting your practice in earnest. It tells potential patients that you are listening and are actively involved. Social media engagement should be a pillar of your healthcare marketing strategy.

If you need more help with managing your social media profile, feel free to contact our social media services team today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Online Appointment Scheduling: Take Your Medical Practice from Patchy to Profitable

Online Appointment Scheduling: Take Your Medical Practice from Patchy to Profitable

When it comes to ease-of-use and convenience, most medical practices are not currently delivering the comfort and access that their patients desire. According to a report, nearly 81 percent of patients want to be able to book their doctors’ appointments online, and almost 40 percent of patients would switch providers in order to get online access. However, Accenture has revealed that only 40 percent of the top 100 healthcare facilities in the country offer online appointment scheduling.

The biggest, and the most tedious, part of running a medical practice is scheduling appointments. Traditional or manual systems require a lot of back and forth with patients, which may lead to errors. These mistakes can adversely affect your relationship with patients and harm your practice reputation.

The technology available today, however, gives medical practice owners an opportunity to automate appointment scheduling. Online appointment scheduling tools offer a professional way to handle patient appointments and provide efficient solutions that allow practice owners to manage communications.

Online appointment scheduling helps further your practice’s mission of putting your patients at the center stage and, in the process, improves your reputation and bottom line. This service reduces time-consuming phone calls and improves access to healthcare so that patients can schedule appointments with your doctors anytime, even when your office is closed. It also enables patients to stay on top of preventive care needs, helping control their upcoming appointments and tracking tests and checkups.

How Significant Is Online Appointment Scheduling?

Online appointment scheduling is gaining momentum quickly. According to a study from Accenture, by the end of 2019, nearly 66 percent of healthcare facilities in the U.S. will offer online appointment scheduling, and more than 64 percent of patients will book online appointments using different tools. Nearly 38 percent of appointments are likely to be scheduled online, creating more than $ 3.2 billion in value.

In addition to offering ease-of-use, online appointment scheduling can give you access to patients who have a tough time booking an appointment during their work hours. According to recent research, nearly 45 percent of appointments booked through online system are booked outside of work hours, and most patients visit their healthcare provider within 24 hours of requesting an appointment.

Though any medical practice is highly unlikely to see a 45 percent increase in patient visits just by using one of these scheduling tools, these tools can make it easier for your patients who are busy during the day to schedule an appointment. A lot of these patients desire the convenience of online scheduling and will choose a healthcare provider who offers this service.

Online appointment scheduling tools can also save your employees a lot of time, which will allow them to focus more on patients who are currently in the office so that patients can have the best possible experience. This is a much better use of your team’s time than making or receiving phone calls, attending to voicemails and handling follow-up calls.

How Do Online Appointment Scheduling Tools Work?

In order to enable patients to book appointments directly from your practice website or social media page, the online appointment scheduling system will provide you with a URL that you can link to your website. This URL will be specific to your practice, so when patients visit it, they will be able to book appointments directly. You will not need to design a separate website or create any of the scheduling features – the hosting company will provide you with your own profile that you will need to maintain. However, you will be expected to ensure that the vital information, such as address, phone numbers, business hours, list of services, insurance providers, etc. is up-to-date.

Usually, the online appointment scheduling system interlocks with your practice management system and displays the available timeslot for each doctor. This feature maximizes the possibility that the appointment time requested by the patient is available. This feature is critical because, if the requested timeslot is already taken, your staff will have to request the patient to discuss other slots that might work for them, which negates the convenience of online scheduling.

Online Appointment Scheduling: Take Your Medical Practice from Patchy to Profitable

It is also essential to understand that a lot of online appointment scheduling systems that claim to harmonize with your practice management software are only able to read your schedule, not write to it. In this case, after you confirm an appointment through the scheduling system, you will have to manually enter the appointment into your practice management system. Preferably, the system you choose should be able to automatically enter appointment details into your practice management system.

If the online scheduling system does not sync with your practice management system at all, your patients will have to email you to request appointments, and they will not have any visibility of the available or booked timeslots. This would require you to reach out to individual patients to discuss alternative timeslots if the timeslot requested by them is unavailable. Once you agree on a time, you will have to manually enter the appointment in your practice management system.

Why Should You Use an Online Appointment Scheduling System?

A growing number of medical practices are going online with appointment scheduling systems. There is a greater need to understand why such systems do not just streamline appointments, but also benefit the practice, staff and patients. Appointment bookings, cancellations, follow-ups, reminders and other functionalities can now be handled online with efficiency and without all the chaos that is associated with manual appointment scheduling systems.

However, transitioning to an online system, or even changing providers, is a daunting process. We will try to make this process easy and pain-free by putting together the top 10 reasons why you should be using an online appointment scheduling system:

1. Empowered Patients

One of the biggest reasons an online appointment scheduling system is gaining popularity is that it enables patients to make the appointment to see their healthcare provider. These systems make it easy for patients to go to their computer screens, access the healthcare provider’s website and make an appointment. In addition, patients can play a bigger role in making healthcare-related decisions. They can make an appointment to a provider other than theirs, in a matter of minutes, from the comfort of their home.

2. Better Physician-Patient Interaction

The provider can interact with patients without the need to call them, saving a lot of precious time. Scheduling an appointment online is an effective and a less costly way for doctors to communicate with their patients. The time previously spent doing office tasks can now be shifted to allow for more quality time with your patients. Your patients will value the extra attention and become repeat customers based on the level of personalized care you provide.

3. Enhanced Service Quality

A lot of times errors are made by the staff or patients while exchanging critical information. This may cause problems for both the patient and the provider when the patient arrives. Through online appointment scheduling, there can be no such thing as mistakes. Online booking systems take into consideration the workflows of patient communication. Most systems include features such as automated appointment confirmations, automated appointment reminders and thank-you emails. Appointment reminders can help reduce no-shows and allow time for rescheduling, so your staff can keep your schedule booked. Your pricing and cancellation policy can be easily communicated through these emails, reducing awkward conversations. Through automated emails, your patients will be well-informed about the details of their next appointment with you.

4. Reduced Employee Cost

Making appointments via phone calls requires a lot of attention and resources. Your patients may have to make a number of calls, go through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR), the receptionist has to fill in a number of forms and do a zillion more activities that have not much significance. Also, the practice owner has to spend a significant amount of money on the appointments. This expenditure can easily be reduced by using online appointment scheduling. These systems rarely need any effort from your staff, as most of the information is filled by the patient. According to a study, medical practitioners can save more than one full-time equivalent, which is factored at 160 hours per month.

5. Filled Empty Slots

Every vacant appointment slot costs you money. You must have determined your charges per visit based on your costs, and many patients may reimburse at a lower rate than your fee schedule. So, if you do not fill those appointment spots on your calendar, you are losing money you need to thrive in business. For most healthcare providers, the average visit is worth about $ 100 to $ 150. If you allow 30 appointment slots in a day and do not fill 20 of them, that is up to $ 2,000 in lost revenue. Online scheduling may work great for last-minute and same-day scheduling, as it can help you fill empty slots.

6. Appointment Reminders

Don’t you hate it when a patient forgets about his or her appointment or gets the date or time wrong? Your staff must be spending a lot of time every day to manually go through your appointment schedule and sending out reminders just so that your patients will remember to come for the consultation they booked in the first place. Appointment reminders are now commonplace in the industry and are expected by patients. Most online appointment scheduling systems let you configure reminders and can automatically send your patients reminders every step of the way. This helps minimize ‘no-shows’ and makes your patients feel like they are important.

7. Increased Patient Satisfaction

Two common complaints from patients are long hold times on the phone and the work it takes to schedule an appointment. Online scheduling systems can address both these problems and improve patient experience. A recent study showed that it takes eight minutes on average to schedule an appointment over the phone, and at least 30 percent of that time is spent on hold. No wonder patients get frustrated and start looking for another healthcare provider. With an online scheduling system, patients can access your appointment schedule at their convenience and pick a day and time that suit them.

8. Preserved Critical Data

Whenever a patient makes an appointment, you only get to know the patient’s name and appointment time. Mostly, you would not know anything else without carrying your electronic medical records around the office. You may not even know the patient’s medical history or medical problem. This lack of information will never make you prepared for the upcoming appointment. The online appointment system can reduce this stress of not knowing important details about the patient. Through the online appointment system, your patient can fill in an information page and communicate his or her medical history and health issue that he or she is facing. This will help you be more prepared.

9. Better Decisions

Trying to manage the growth of a thriving medical practice? Or are you looking to improve your operational efficiency? Regardless of the size of your practice, the detailed reporting available in online scheduling systems will help you make better decisions. Most of the online appointment scheduling systems provide the following reports:

  • Number of no-shows on a periodic basis
  • Total number of appointments by each staff member
  • Week-wise comparison of productivity
  • Number of appointments booked as a result of marketing and promotion
  • A patient’s full appointment history

This accurate and easy access to critical data can help support both short- and long-term strategic decisions for your practice.

10. Cost-Effectiveness

Making an appointment with human involvement is expensive. Eventually patients are made to pay for this excessive expenditure in medical care. Even fixing appointments costs a lot of money. If you calculate the cost of having an administrative person, add their benefits and overhead costs, this can go over $ 100,000 per annum for one person. You can prevent this huge cost by simply moving to an alternate method: online appointment scheduling.

Online Appointment Scheduling: Take Your Medical Practice from Patchy to Profitable

Wrapping Up

You probably can get away with not having online appointment scheduling for now, but eventually, your practice will have to embrace this trend. The sooner you do it, the better you can get your staff trained, and the more your patients will enjoy its benefits.
Hopefully, these ten reasons for using online scheduling software can help nudge you off that fence. For sure, it will require a lot of changes in the way your patients book appointments, but this may be one of the most critical changes you will ever make to your medical practice.

To talk more about online appointment scheduling, or anything else, please contact the expert teams at Practice Builders.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

7 Proven Ways to Make Patients Fall in Love With Your Practice

7 Proven Ways to Make Patients Fall in Love With Your Practice

The Harvard Business Review recently surveyed thousands of customers to understand their service priorities. It was found that customers desired “an effortless experience” the most. The same outcomes can be applied to the healthcare community, where patients are our valuable customers. The more effort patients need to expend to get what they want, the more dissatisfied they will become.

Nurturing relationships with your patients is an important part of growing a successful medical practice. In this age of innovation and automation, caring for your patients has never been more critical.

At any moment, an unhappy patient can share their opinion with the public through social networks and negatively affect your practice. This is why it is more important than ever to create an unmatched experience for your patients to help develop your practice’s relationship with them into love. Creating love between your medical practice and your patients can help scale priceless positive word-of-mouth.

Creating a patient-focused culture of this nature is an opportunity that should not be overlooked. Most practices are failing when it comes to delivering the positive patient experience. This can be your opportunity to swoop in and enchant those patients into falling for your practice.

The Importance of Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction is a marketing term that measures how services provided by a medical practice meet or surpass a patient’s expectations.

Patient satisfaction is important because it gives healthcare providers with a metric that they can use to manage and improve their practices.

In a survey of 200 marketing managers, nearly 71 percent responded that they found a patient satisfaction metric very useful in managing and monitoring their practices. Here are the top five reasons why patient satisfaction is so critical:

1. It indicates patient’s loyalty: Patient satisfaction is the best indicator of how likely a patient will come back in the future. Asking patients to rate their satisfaction level on a scale of 1-10 is a good way to find out if they will become repeat patients or brand advocates.

Any patient who gives you a rating of 7 and above can be considered satisfied, and you can safely expect him or her to come back and schedule repeat appointments. Patients who give you a rating of 9 or 10 can even become your brand advocates.

However, scores of 6 and below are warning signs that a patient is unhappy and at risk of leaving. These patients need to be put on a watch list and followed up so you can determine why their satisfaction is low. This is why patient satisfaction is one of the most effective metrics practices use to determine patient loyalty.

2. It is a point of distinction: In a competitive marketplace where practices compete for patients, patient satisfaction is seen as a key differentiator. Practices that succeed in these cutthroat environments are the ones that make patient satisfaction a priority in their business strategy.

7 Proven Ways to Make Patients Fall in Love With Your Practice

Practices that offer amazing patient experiences create environments where satisfaction is high and patient advocates are plenty. Not only can patient satisfaction scores help you keep a finger on the pulse of your existing patients, but it can also act as a point of differentiation for new patients.

3. It is cheaper to retain patients than acquire new ones: This is probably the most publicized patient satisfaction statistic. It costs six to seven times more to acquire new patients than it does to retain existing ones. Patients cost a lot of money to acquire. Your marketing team spends thousands of dollars getting the attention of potential patients, nurturing them into leads and motivating them to schedule an appointment. Why is it that you spend little or no money on patient retention?

Imagine if you allocated one-eighth of your total marketing budget toward patient retention.How do you think that will help you with improving patient satisfaction and retaining patients?

Here are some the most effective patient retention strategies to get you thinking:

  • Use blogs to educate patients.
  • Use emails to inform of special promotions.
  • Use satisfaction surveys to listen to complaints and compliments.
  • Delight patients by offering personalized experiences.

4. It increases patient’s lifetime value: According to a study by InfoQuest, a ‘totally satisfied’ patient contributes 2 to 3 times more revenue than a ‘somewhat satisfied’ patient. In addition, a ‘totally satisfied’ patient contributes 14 times more revenue than a ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ patient. Satisfaction plays an important role in how much revenue a patient generates for your practice. Successful practices understand the importance of patient lifetime value. By increasing patient lifetime value, you can improve the returns on your marketing dollar.

5. It reduces negative word-of-mouth: McKinsey revealed that an unhappy patient tells between 9 to 15 people about their experience. In fact, 13 percent of unhappy patients tell over 20 people about their experience. This is a lot of negative publicity. How much will that affect your practice and its reputation in your community?

Patient satisfaction is firmly linked to the bottom line and repeat appointments. What gets forgotten is how patient satisfaction negatively impacts your practice. It is one thing to lose a patent because he or she was unhappy. It is a different story altogether to lose 20 patients because of bad word-of-mouth.

In order to eliminate bad word-of-mouth, you must measure patient satisfaction on a regular basis. Tracking changes in the satisfaction level will help you identify if patients are happy with your services.

Most practices think they are the best and they have no dissatisfied patients. The reality is, almost 96 percent of unhappy patients do not complain. In fact, most unhappy patients will simply leave and never come back.

Patient satisfaction plays an integral role in your practice. Not only is it the leading indicator to measure patient loyalty, identify unhappy patients and reduce churn, it is also a key differentiator that helps to attract new patients in a highly competitive marketplace.

Tips to Increase Patient Satisfaction

As patient expectations are skyrocketing and profit margins are increasingly squeezed, focusing on positive patient experiences that boost engagement and add value to your practice is no longer an option: It is imperative. Research shows that when patients are fully engaged, they are both emotionally attached and rationally loyal to a medical practice. Not to mention, they are more valuable.

So, here are some important tips and strategies that practices can implement to increase patient satisfaction:

7 Proven Ways to Make Patients Fall in Love With Your Practice

1. Treat your patients right: Happy patients tell four to six people about their good experience. This is a way to influence word-of-mouth about your practice. Do not act as a nameless or faceless practice; instead, talk with your patients as a person representing the practice. You must always address your patients by name, and tell them your name at the very beginning of your consultation.

2. Respect your patients: One-third of patients say they experience rude staff at least once a month, and 58 percent of them tell their family and friends. This is exactly how negative word-of-mouth can work against your practice’s reputation for the long term. It is essential to be respectful of a patient’s mood when trying to resolve an issue they have with your practice. Maintaining your patience is key to giving your patient the time to air their grievances. This creates the opportunity for you to resolve the issue and make them comfortable. The more comfortable the patient is, the more likely he or she will share valuable feedback that can help promote your medical practice.

3. Always listen to your patients: As much as possible, have a healthy dialogue with your patients and listen to what they have to say. When listening to your patients, take into account what changes your practice and staff should infer from this feedback. Your patients are the lifeblood of your medical practice, and not dealing with legitimate requests will likely cause backlash.

You can use the following methods to gather feedback from your patients:

  • Surveys
  • Observation
  • Patient service
  • Social networks
  • Online communities and groups
  • Emails and web forms

4. Offer ongoing support to your patients: The biggest reason for patient attrition is dissatisfaction with staff or service. You should do everything in your power to provide excellent service to your patients on an ongoing basis. You must respond quickly and enthusiastically, and offer a special offer or discount with the hope of up-selling the patient to consider more services. There is never any reason to slow down on satisfying your target audience, especially when they are having a conversation with you over the phone. It is essential to note that 81 percent of practices with strong capabilities for delivering excellent patient experience are outperforming their competition.

5. Treat patients like valued partners: Take your patient’s feedback seriously and act upon workable requests. What is the point of listening if you are never going to act on that feedback? Make it clear that you want your patient’s valuable feedback and that your practice values them as a partner.

It is important for you to be completely transparent and allow your patients to contribute to improving your service for the future. Focusing on your patient to this level is an effective way to strengthen their trust and loyalty for your practice.

6. Be transparent: Being transparent is a must. Much like the tips and ideas discussed above, transparency is an essential element in building trust and satisfaction from your patients. But, what does it mean to be transparent?

  • Transparency means that you are not afraid of opinion and feedback.
  • Transparency means that you do not hide any facts.
  • Transparency means your employees’ personal and work identity blur.
  • Transparency means you like to have conversations with your patients.

7. Always keep your promises: Your word is your promise. Following up on your promises will show the transparency of your practice, while helping to build a feeling of trust with your patients. However, it is important to manage your patients’ expectations in order to ensure realistic goals are set. You must remain consistent in your messaging so that your patients can learn what they should expect from you in the future.

7 Proven Ways to Make Patients Fall in Love With Your Practice

Conclusion

Everything starts and ends with your patients. This is an area where business is won and lost. So, keeping your patients happy and satisfied is your primary responsibility. Happy patients will bring you more patients and opportunities, while unhappy ones may cause reputation crises. Therefore, loyal patients are one of your most important assets.

However, patient experience demands constant nurturing with a greater focus on strategy. Whether it is through emails, social networks, surveys or face to face, as a medical practice looking to thrive and attract more patients, it is essential to focus on patient experience.

Remember, in a reality where your patients pay your paychecks, you must treat patients as if they were your boss.

Practice Builders’ has decades of experience in helping our clients improve outcomes and enhance the patient experience. We create and implement the best practices in healthcare innovation along the patient journey. The result is improved the bottom line, increased sales and a strong online reputation. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Is Your Medical Practice Website HIPAA-Compliant?

Is Your Medical Practice Website HIPAA-Compliant?

An effective website is a foundation for any digital marketing strategy. However, for healthcare providers, having a great website is not enough – it also needs to be HIPAA-compliant. This means if you are using your practice website for either transmitting or storing protected health information (PHI), it must have appropriate policies and procedures in place, in addition to the technical security.

The most important thing to do is assess what actions you want visitors to take when they visit your practice website. Do you want potential patients to be able to do a live chat, send an email, upload documents, fill out contact forms or access the patient portal? Once you identify how your visitor will interact with your website, you can work on ensuring those interactions are convenient, user-friendly and secure. However, it is important to consider the following conditions:

  • Are you transmitting any PHI through your practice website?
  • Are you storing PHI on a server that you are hosting?

If you are transmitting PHI on or through your practice website, then you need to ensure it is HIPAA-compliant. This includes simple transactions like scheduling an appointment.

Ensuring HIPAA compliance is one of the biggest concerns for healthcare practitioners, and for a valid reason: Most privacy violations result in severe consequences, including huge penalties and even jail time for some medical providers.

What makes matters more challenging is the fact that HIPAA laws are vague on what actions one should take to make website HIPAA-compliant.

Is Your Medical Practice Website HIPAA-Compliant?

As a healthcare practitioner, it is your responsibility to make sure that any PHI you are collecting is protected. Technological advancements can add efficiency to regular operations, but technological advancements can introduce new concerns with HIPAA compliance.

How do you make a HIPAA-compliant website?

Most healthcare providers transmit PHI at some point through their website. Remember, even appointment scheduling is an instance of transmitting PHI because it contains personal information that can be used in relation to the patient.

There are many steps that can be taken to convert your basic website into a HIPAA-compliant one. What works for you will depend on what you are trying to accomplish with your site and in what way PHI is present and transmitted.

Step #1: Transmission Encryption: Your first step is to use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which will protect your website. SSL is a standard web security technology that creates an encrypted link between a server and a browser. Critical information related to patients, which is contained in contact forms, appointment request forms and online contact forms, must be encrypted. You can protect the information by using an SSL certificate on your website. SSL complies with HIPAA’s data encryption standards and keeps private patient information safe. For a website, SSL is used to encrypt patient health-related information so that the initial transmission of PHI is secure. From here, the PHI can either be stored on a server or passed through to someone via email. However, it is important to ensure that your SSL configuration is strong enough to prevent encryption methods that are too weak. In addition, what if the visitor submits the PHI that is collected on your website and then your website transmits or stores that information elsewhere? This process should also be HIPAA-compliant.

Step #2: Backup: You must ensure that the PHI stored on your website or collected from your website is backed up and can be recovered in case of an accidental deletion. Whether you store data on your own server or a third-party server, it is critical to ensure that the hosting partner is HIPAA-compliant. Your server should have an antivirus installed, provide offsite backup and firewall and OS patch management. Most hosts provide this service for information stored on their servers. If your website sends information elsewhere, then those messages must also be backed up or archived, and you must take care that those backups are robust and accessible only by authorized people. It is important to note that the PHI stored in backups must also be protected in a HIPAA-compliant way – considering security, unique authorization controls and backup.

Is Your Medical Practice Website HIPAA-Compliant?

Step #3: Authorization: Who can access the PHI that resides on your website or is collected there? Is the PHI only accessible by authorized personnel having unique and audited access controls? This is where your HIPAA-compliant web hosting provider can help. However, you have to make sure your hosting provider is a trusted Business Associate with a privacy agreement. If your website collects PHI and sends it to you or others through an email solution, it is critical to understand who can access those messages. Can anyone with access to your email or the messaging system access this information? If your website stores or transmits PHI, does your website enforce unique and secure logins, which means only authorized people can access that information?

Step #4: Integrity: This means PHI should not be tampered with or altered. Unless the PHI that you transmit and store is encrypted, there is no way to prevent it from being tampered with or to verify if tampering has occurred. It is up to you to determine if tamper-proofing your PHI is needed and how to best accomplish that. Generally speaking, using SSL or AES encryption can accomplish this very task nicely.

Step #5: Storage Encryption: Is the PHI being encrypted before being stored or archived? Though it is highly recommended, it is up to your practice to determine if this is needed. If storage encryption is essential, then you need to ensure that all collected and stored PHI is encrypted and can only be accessed by the right personnel with the appropriate keys. This is important to make backups secure and to protect critical data from access by unauthorized people. Storage encryption is especially important in cases where the data may be backed up or stored in locations out of your control.

Step #6: Disposal: Can the PHI be permanently disposed of after it is no longer needed? This sounds easy, but you must consider all of the places where the PHI can be backed up and stored. You must ensure that those backups can be permanently deleted. You have to keep in mind that every location where the information is stored could be making backups and saving copies of your data. It is up to you to determine how far you want to go to ensure complete data disposal to be HIPAA-compliant.

Step #7: Business Associate: It is essential to have a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with every vendor that handles your PHI. If your website or PHI is stored on a vendor’s servers, then you must have a Business Associate Agreement with them. This agreement will ensure that the vendor will follow the HIPAA security requirements concerning your data and servers. It is important to choose a provider who will not make your website HIPAA-compliant unless your designers take the relevant steps to ensure that its design and functionality are HIPAA-compliant.

As a healthcare practitioner, it is your responsibility to protect patient information from external threats such as thefts, hacks and data loss. If you probe deeper within the medical community, there are additional guidelines established by HIPAA. If you are handling any patient-related data through your website, it is important to have a HIPAA-compliant website, or you will fear to violate the HIPAA Security Rule. Even if you are not collecting PHI, you should still consider making your website HIPAA-compliant. This is because HIPAA-compliant websites are more secure and can prevent hackers from inserting fake forms to collect critical patient data such as Social Security numbers.

Is Your Medical Practice Website HIPAA-Compliant?

Wrapping up

If your medical practice does not store or transmit PHI, then having a HIPAA-compliant website is not essential for you. However, we would still advise you to consider conforming to HIPAA regulations because at some point you will be handling PHI through your website.

When it comes to HIPAA-compliant web hosting, we know there are a lot of weeds to be pulled. However, with the right approach and security measures in place, you can focus on providing quality care versus worrying about your compliance and capabilities.

Do you need some help with HIPAA-compliant web hosting? Do you have a question? You can contact one of our healthcare marketing experts for a free consult.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Chances are, your dental practice is on social media. Chances also are that you are not using it appropriately. Maybe you have a dull account with whatever social network was popular at the time you signed up, and you post whatever and whenever you find the time. Or maybe you have joined almost every social network and are now spending way too much time and energy trying to keep up.

As with any form of marketing and advertising, it pays to be strategic on social media, as well. You are better off choosing a few social media platforms and using them to their full potential.

Some practices have not yet begun to harness the potential of social media marketing. By spending as little as five hours a week, more than 66 percent of healthcare marketers enjoy enhanced lead generation with social media. A well-executed social media strategy can improve your search rankings, drive more traffic and increase conversion rates.

However, how can you develop an effective social media strategy when you do not even know which platforms to choose? With a plethora of options, it can get overwhelming to determine whether your practice needs to build an online presence using Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

When it comes to choosing the right social networks, there are some factors to consider, from target audience to how your content and business goals will fit within its framework. Here is the complete guide to choosing the right social media platforms for your dental practice:

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Facebook

With more than 1.7 billion active users, Facebook is the go-to social media platform for most businesses. Using Facebook, you can share visually appealing and informative content with your target audience. Facebook also help you to gather feedback from your existing patients. However, you have to be sure to monitor patient comments and respond promptly.

Audience: Usually between 15 and 49 years old. According to recent research, nearly 91 percent of millennials have Facebook accounts.

Best suited for: Practices looking to nurture long-term patient relationships.

The catch: Facebook operates primarily on a pay-for-play model, which means that your content share and posts may not reach a wider audience unless you are paying to boost your posts or advertisements. Per Facebook, for as little as $ 3, your posts could reach up to 500 people.

Should you be on Facebook?

Definitely yes, but only if you do not mind the intense competition. According to a report, more than 70 percent of online users use Facebook. It is by far the most popular social media platform. If your target audience uses the Internet, they are highly likely to be on Facebook. However, Facebook News Feed is a crowded place for your dental practice updates.

Instagram

Instagram has more than 800 million monthly active users and claims to have one of the highest engagement rates of any social media platform. Instagram claims to be the best platform for reaching millennials and other users who appreciate a good picture or video. This platform prefers visually appealing content, which sees more engagement here. However, avoid using stock photography on Instagram.

While considering Instagram, do not forget about hashtags. While other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter use one or two hashtags per post, Instagram encourages as many hashtags as possible, as long as they are relevant.

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Audience: Nearly 90 percent of Instagram users are under the age of 35.

Best suited for: Practices that are looking for brand promotion by posting and sharing visually appealing content.

The catch: It may get difficult to measure direct ROI. In addition, it is difficult to link your Instagram account to a webpage except in your bio, which makes this platform better for brand promotion or assisting other social media efforts.

Should you be on Instagram?

Yes, especially if visually appealing content is your forte. Instagram works excellently in combination with Facebook or Twitter and may help your practice grow and thrive.

Twitter

With more than 7,000 tweets every minute, Twitter can secure a place in your social media strategy if you want to have real-time communication with your target audience. Twitter perfectly blends all types of creative communication, including videos, graphics and text. You can use features like polls and hashtags to catch the attention of its more than 350 million users.

According to a survey, 42 percent of Twitter users expect to receive a response within an hour of posting their query or concern. The USP of Twitter is that it can make your posts go viral within hours. You will attract more followers when your existing followers Like or Share your content. You can post news, dentistry updates and general articles on Twitter. Hashtags can help you increase momentum for your posts, so try to include as many relevant hashtags as you can.

However, your tweets can get buried in a users feed. Therefore, in order to maintain excellent visibility, it is essential to tweet at least a few times a day. While Twitter also allows prescheduled tweets, you should combine them with regular posts in order to increase patient engagement.

Audience: Twitter users are the most diverse in terms of age groups, but the majority of users are between 18 and 50 years old.

Best suited for: Practices with plenty of content to share and a goal to connect directly with existing and potential patients.

The catch: If your tweets are not live or trending, they may have a short lifespan. For high levels of patient engagement and a high follower count, you will have to be very active and share useful content regularly.

Should you be on Twitter?

Yes, especially if you are targeting a younger, tech-savvy crowd. Current and diverse content works great on Twitter. However, do keep in mind that a tweet reaches its peak after 18 minutes, so it is important to get your next tweet ready fast.

Pinterest

Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is not just for travelers, foodies or fashionistas. With more than 100 million active users, it is one of the few platforms where older content can also do well.

Pinterest is essentially a visual platform on which people can “pin” content to their boards, which makes it one of the most effective platforms for website traffic referrals. This platform can work well if you have a “cool-looking” office or special offers or discounts that can be communicated visually. For instance, if you focus on cosmetic dentistry, you can utilize Pinterest to post visual content that establishes that side of your brand image and reputation. Remember not to overuse image filters, and get trained on ways to display visually appealing graphics and marketing images. When pinning content, do not forget to optimize your images.

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Audience: Nearly 85 percent of users are females, and 67 percent are millennials.

Best suited for: Practices that can share visually appealing content or can experiment with behind-the-scenes images or before-and-after images of patients, but with patients’ consent.

The catch: This platform is generally slow-moving and can be challenging to attract a large following. However, if you can manage to generate fresh content that is visually appealing, it can prove to be an ideal platform.

Should you be on Pinterest?

Yes, but only if you can frequently create content that is a treat to the eyes.

LinkedIn

Initially created as a social networking platform, LinkedIn has grown to become a powerhouse for small and Fortune 500 businesses alike, with more than 100 million users. If you want to network with your colleagues, peers and community, you must have an active presence on this platform.

Maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn will increase the visibility of your practice among other professionals. You can increase your professional credibility by staying active in LinkedIn groups and commenting on other posts.

While there are different opinions about what should and should not be posted on LinkedIn, a good rule of thumb is to stick to content that looks professional and is relevant to your dental practice.

Audience: More than 50 percent of users are between the ages of 30 and 64.

Best suited for: Practices that work with other professionals and want to increase quality and quantity of their professional referrals.

The catch: Unless you are a recruiter, you should not be selling anything directly to LinkedIn users. The only reason for your LinkedIn presence is to promote your brand, not any specific products.

Should you be on LinkedIn?

Yes, but only if you can play the business game. LinkedIn’s niche audience is full of great insights on productivity, ethics, networking and recruitment.

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Which platforms can bring you the most business?

Although we believe any dental practice needs just three social media platforms, this may not apply to every dentist. Eventually, it all comes down to your specific needs and business goals. Experts recommend Facebook and Instagram (followed by a few more) to build your dental brand and bring in more patients. However, it is advised to focus on one social platform first and gradually span out from there.

Facebook is one of the best social networking sites for maintaining close contact with your existing and potential patients. Not only will this platform help you build and sustain the loyalty of existing patients, but it will also help attract new patients. The secret to successful dental social media marketing lies in the value your services can offer to your patients.

Social media for dentists is getting more critical as time passes, and you should not fall behind your competitors. At Practice Builders, we provide targeted social media marketing services to help dentists increase their brand awareness and bring in new patients. Now is the time to start! The Practice Builders team would love to help you.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

5 Key Metrics That Will Transform Your Physical Therapy Practice

5 Key Metrics That Will Transform Your Physical Therapy Practice

Digital marketing has seen rapid growth in the past few years, but healthcare marketers still face significant challenges implementing and scaling an effective digital marketing strategy across their practice. Most notable among these obstacles is measuring the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, most medical practitioners do not have excess dollars to test new marketing ideas and communication channels. Instead, they have a limited budget and scant resources. However, by tracking these five metrics, physical therapists can utilize their budget and resources to the maximum extent possible. In addition, as a physical therapy practice owner, you will be amazed at how you can impact your marketing results. Regardless of your practice size or location, you can utilize these metrics to drive your marketing campaigns in the right direction and see incredible results.

Metric #1: Cost Per Lead (CPL)

Uninteresting as this may sound, tracking your CPL is critical. CPL helps you ascertain how effective your marketing efforts are on different channels by determining how many leads you get per marketing dollar spent.

CPL can reveal the following information:

  • Which ads or posts are the most effective?
  • Which channels are the most suitable?
  • How well is your marketing budget being spent?

This information will further help you make comparisons. You can weigh your marketing efforts by determining where you get the biggest growth for your money, where you need to improve in order to attract more leads and how you can reduce your CPL. As you launch your digital marketing campaigns, watch and calculate your CPL and act on it to best utilize your marketing dollars.

Determining your CPL

You can calculate your CPL by dividing the money spent on the ad by the number of leads it generated during its run. It looks something like this:

Dollars spent: $ 1000

Leads generated: 50

CPL: $ 20

How can you calculate the number of leads generated?

Just combine all your calls received and signups received. For instance, if your call to action is to book an appointment and you provide an online contact form as well as a phone number for scheduling consultation, you will need to tag the number of people who called your office for an appointment and the number of signups received online. This will give you the total number of leads generated.

5 Key Metrics That Will Transform Your Physical Therapy Practice

How to keep your CPL down

This is one of the many efforts of your physical therapy marketing team. CPL is an inverse metric, which means the lower your cost per lead, the more profits you will book. In order to reduce this cost, your marketing team will need to test ads to see what changes can drive more traffic. In addition, you can test different social media platforms to find out the reach and effectiveness of your demographic posts.

Metric #2: Capture Rate

The best websites capture valuable data from visitors by motivating them to share their name, email address, phone number and other critical information. If your marketing activities are driving hundreds of visitors to your website, you should be generating a lot of leads. However, what if you are not?

Why should you measure your capture rate?

If you are not capturing a lot of leads, it means you have not presented a unique value proposition for your visitors, and you are not motivating a course of action. This makes measuring your capture rate essential.

Capture rate can reveal the following information:

  • The effectiveness of your website design and content
  • Quality of website traffic
  • The relevance of your offer to your target audience

Determining your capture rate

You can calculate your capture rate by dividing the total number of leads generated by your total website traffic, multiplied by 100. It looks something like this:

Website traffic: 700

Total number of leads captured: 50

Capture rate: 7.1%

How can you improve your capture rate?

A/B testing is an excellent way to initiate improvement. Testing will help you identify minor changes that may significantly improve your capture rate.

The key components that turn visitors into qualified leads are:

  • A well-designed landing page
  • Relevant information
  • Clearly defined unique value proposition

If you want more patients, then your marketing team needs to become obsessed with driving your capture rate up.

Matrix #3: Patient Acquisition Cost

If you are monitoring the sources of your new patients, do you know how much it costs to acquire a new patient?

Patient acquisition cost is the total average cost that you spend on acquiring new patients. To calculate this figure, take your total sales and marketing cost, including salaries, bonuses and overhead, for a specific time, and divide this amount by the number of new patients acquired for that period. This will give you an approximate cost of acquiring a new patient.

Why should you measure your patient acquisition cost?

Your patient acquisition cost sheds light on more than just the dollars you spend to acquire a patient. In fact, this amount provides strategic insight into key business processes and performance.

Patient acquisition cost can reveal the following information:

  • The efficiency of your marketing activities
  • The effectiveness of your front-office staff in converting leads to patients
  • The ability of your practice to maximize profits

When you know exactly how much you are spending to acquire a new patient, planning and implementing a budget becomes easier.

Determining your patient acquisition cost

To continue the same example as above, let’s say:

Dollars spent: $ 1000

Leads generated: 50

Patients acquired: 10

Since the close rate for most medical practices is between 20 percent to 60 percent, 10 new patients is based on a conservative conversion rate of 20 percent. There are two ways to calculate patient acquisition cost: team metric and executive metric.

Team metric

Divide your marketing spend by the number of new patients. So, $ 1000 divided by 10 new patients = $ 100 per new patient.

It is advised to compare your CPL and CPA to the lifetime new patient value (the amount that a new patient is likely to bring into your practice). If you are spending more to acquire new patients than what they are spending in your practice, you are losing money even though you may be generating new patients.

Executive metric

This is done by taking the total marketing spend, including salaries and overhead, and dividing this amount by the number of new patients acquired. For example:
Obviously, adding your team’s salary will significantly increase your patient acquisition costs. However, doing so will give you the most accurate cost per new patient and will help you make decisions on how to reduce this cost as much as possible.

Decreasing your patient acquisition cost

Once you find out your patient acquisition costs per channel and which channel is driving the highest number of new patients, you will understand where you should focus your marketing efforts. By shifting your focus to the most effective marketing channel, you can ensure maximized results.

Having the lowest patient acquisition cost should not be the only focus. Do not get caught up in pushing this cost too low, without focusing on patient retention. This is where knowing your patients’ lifetime value comes in handy.

Matrix #4: Patient’s Lifetime Value

The lifetime value of a patient refers to how much value a patient can bring to your practice in the long term. This metric is an excellent way to understand how patient satisfaction boosts your bottom line.

When a patient is happy with your products and services, he or she is more likely to come back to your practice and recommend it to family and friends. This means your patients can become an effective channel to promote your physical therapy practice.
Initially, you may lose money in acquiring new patients. This is primarily because the lifetime value of satisfied patients can increase your ROI by as much as 10 times. This view can help you shift focus on patient experience and delighting your existing patients, rather than focusing purely on acquiring new ones.

How to calculate a patient’s lifetime value

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

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

Matrix #5: Patient Engagement:

When it comes to physical therapy marketing, an active online community can prove to be your best ally. The way patients interact online with their healthcare providers reveals valuable insights about their overall relationship. It is important to ensure a positive online interaction with patients, as well as address and resolve any negative feedback at the earliest.

While patient engagement may seem like an irrelevant metric and you may not link it to your marketing ROI, it helps healthcare marketers understand how potential leads are responding to online content and how likely they are to book a consultation. Patient engagement can help you see the extent of your brand outreach and refine your strategy accordingly.

How to calculate patient engagement

The following factors can help you measure patient engagement:

  • Blog views and comments
  • Shares and likes on social networks
  • Positive reviews and patient testimonials on third-party review sites

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

Successful measurement

In order to measure all of these metrics effectively, you will need to implement three key steps.

First, you will need to gather reliable data that connects potential leads to business goals.

Second, create benchmarks to understand the data in a relevant context.

Third, build a model that allows you to assess the impact of changes and trends across different channels.

Always remember: When designing your metrics monitoring system, it is better to track both short-term and long-term results.

After deciding what kind of monitoring system you need, take a look at your current budget and resources and identify the gaps between your business goals and capabilities. This is where technology can help you optimize your monitoring system.

The roadmap to profitability

The ultimate goal of high-value marketing metrics monitoring is to boost your ROI. Through a deeper and more precise understanding of the buyers’ journey, you can identify problem areas as well as potential opportunities. Tracking your results according to these key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you optimize digital marketing strategy for both cost-effectiveness and lead conversion rates.

At Practice Builders, we frequently use data to diagnose profitability issues and figure out ways to improve the effectiveness of your physical therapy marketing campaigns. When expanding your physical therapy practice is the only metric that matters to you, you can count on us. Contact us today to create successful metrics and improve marketing ROI for your physical therapy practice.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dental Practice

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dental Practice

The evolution of social networks is a story filled with awe and, to some extent, disbelief. It seems like yesterday when people were using Orkut, sending frivolous messages and sharing pictures with friends. And then Facebook happened. The world changed. Forever.
Soon social networks became the most sought-after platform for dentist marketing, and dental practitioners started leveraging it to connect with their existing and potential patients.

With more than 2 billion users globally, the marketing potential of social networks is significant and provides opportunities for dental practitioners to engage with existing and potential patients in ways never before possible by traditional marketing channels.
However, social media has its own limitations and hazards. Dental practitioners who overlook the unwritten code of conduct can and have suffered severe backlash, not to mention a dent in their precious online reputation.

In order to fully utilize social media, many dental providers have shared content that was thoughtless and irrelevant. Here are five social media pitfalls and gaffes – and what we can learn from them.

Mistake #1: Offering too many discounts

“Attract more patients” and “increase your bottom line” are two of the most favored words to any dental practice owner. Those are good reasons to offer your patients a special discount or freebies.

However, it is not all rainbows and roses. Discounts and freebies can blow up in your face. New practices often make the mistake of offering huge discounts at the launch or when sales go rancid. Discounts are a quick shot in the arm but can have severe negative effects.
Offering discounts too often or too casually may turn on you like a rabid dog. This is because discounts will:

  • Weaken and diminish your practice. Why will patients ever pay full price if you are always offering a discount?
  • Shift focus away from services and on price.
  • Reduce the overall satisfaction with your practice. This is because patients tend to doubt the quality of discounted treatments and procedures.
  • Set a pattern because patients may expect the same discount at every appointment or wait until your next offer.
  • Harm your bottom line.

This is a question of price versus service value. Patients want excellent value for their money and the actual treatment cost, in many ways, may be irrelevant.
Instead, try offering earned discounts such as early payment discounts or monthly appointment discounts. Focus on enhancing the perceived value of your product or service. Use discounts for attracting and engaging patients, not for retaining them.

According to industry experts, you should never discount your products or services. Experts believe discounts are like a drug, and your patents will become addicted. You should add value to your practice, instead of lowering prices. This can lead to a sales spike without the long-term harm.

Mistake #2: Spreading yourself too thin

When there is too much information about social media platforms and how to use them, medical marketers mistakenly assume they need to have accounts on all the popular platforms. They create accounts on networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, and they find it very difficult to manage content creation for all those accounts. They are not able to utilize these platforms to their best advantage and do not see good results from any of them.

There is no need to create accounts on so many networks. Smart marketers only select the platforms that reach their target patients and devote themselves to creating sensible content that will work specifically for these platforms. There is a lot of demographic data available for each social network.

In addition, you must consider whether the network is suitable for your specialty and services. Think about the time and effort it takes to maintain an account on the platform. For instance, Twitter can be time-consuming. You also need to consider what other resources you will need to produce friendly content for that platform.

Mistake #3: Lack of engaging content

Another mistake that dental practice owners make is not creating engaging content on their social media pages. Content drives traffic to your business page and leads into your practice. Written content does not have to be technical or long. Content should align with your dental practice goals and the needs of your target audience. Oral care tips and information for your patients about local dental care events is an easy way to create awareness for your practice on social networking sites.

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dental Practice

When you start creating your social media marketing plan, it is easy to fall into the trap of making the majority of your posts about your practice. After all, you are trying to build a practice – so shouldn’t you be informing your target audience about it? The answer is “No.” Your goal is to build relationships with the target audience. Social media marketing is a long-term strategy for your practice. Build a strong foundation, and opportunities will come in time.

Original content is critical to building your practice and credibility on social networks. If you are only sharing other people’s content, your audience will never get to know the real personality of your dental practice. Sharing your experience, expertise and perspective is essential. Give your target audience the opportunity to know you on a personal level and how your specific services can meet their needs.

Being present and active on social media is a full-time job. Posting once a month or four times a day is not going to give you the return on the investment that you were hoping for. You need to fine-tune your content and keep it exciting so that people actually want to read what you share. You also want to be on your target customers’ minds when they are looking for a dental practitioner. If you post too much content, people may unfollow you or turn off your posts. The purpose is to attract and engage patients – not drive them away.

Mistake #4: Not interacting with patients online

Social networks are changing the way dental practices communicate with their patients. Posting to a few selected social networks can help you stay connected to past patients, retain existing patients and attract potential ones. However, most of the target audience will not initiate a conversation with you if they do not have a reason to, or if they think they will be ignored. That is why it is important to post relevant content on a regular basis. In addition, if your patients are taking the initiative to leave a comment or ask a question, you must respond quickly.

Having thousands of followers who do not represent your target audience and have little to contribute will fail to produce desirable results. You want to attract and engage potential patients who share the same views and interests and who will be involved in the success of your marketing efforts. By building and nurturing your network, you will gain better access to potential and existing patients and will increase the exposure for your targeted messages.

It is also critical to make your interactions more meaningful! You should set aside the time every day to reach out and write targeted posts, engage in online discussions and share someone else’s content. Your social media posts are useless if no one cares to share or comment on them. Your posts and content should be designed to initiate conversations with your audience. If you do not get these reactions, your overall social media marketing strategy and content strategy should be revisited.

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dental Practice

Mistake #5: Not having a social media marketing plan

Social media marketing will be a waste of time without an effective plan of action. Many medical practices fall into this trap. They randomly post things to their social media accounts, share content here and there and try to attract patients or followers. This is not social media marketing; this is simply lack of planning and goal-setting.

Social media marketing has to be approached the same way you approach any other marketing campaign. You must have specific goals, a budget and a concrete plan of action that outlines what you are trying to achieve, how you will accomplish your goal, how you will measure the outcome and what resources you will need to reach your goal.

If your strategy does not pull in 20 new patients overnight, do not stress. There is an outdated myth that social media marketing will yield instant results. The fact is, social media is all about building up relationships, particularly when you are trying to establish your brand. So, avoid the trap of continually changing gears and switching up campaigns just because they do not yield instant gratification.

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dental Practice

For many practice owners, the world of social media marketing is uncharted waters filled with potential blunders. You do not have to be an advertising genius to avoid these pitfalls and reap the benefits of social media marketing. With the right approach and a little persistence, your medical practice can flourish.

However, medical practice owners need to understand the risks of having their social media accounts handled by inexperienced staff and should have multiple checkpoints to avoid potential blunders. Any content that you share should excite, inspire and engage potential and existing patients, and motivate them to learn more about your practice. Any other kinds of posts are a waste of time and can severely backfire.

Whatever you share online remains there forever. You have to be extra-careful in choosing what to share on social networks lest it harms your precious online reputation. A genuine and sincere apology can be a balm for any mistake. Businesses that have shared irresponsible posts have been forgiven after genuine apologies.

Are you too busy to manage your social networking accounts? Let Practice Builders help! We can plan an effective social media marketing strategy to get potential patients interested in your dental practice! Contact a representative to learn more about our customized dentist marketing packages.

Medical Healthcare Marketing