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Tag Archives: Should

Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Brand Your Healthcare Practice

Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Brand Your Healthcare Practice

Even if advertising isn’t your specialty, you can probably conjure up in your mind a variety of brands that you recognize and personal associations to go with them. Branding for your healthcare practice is similar in that your brand is what sets you apart from everyone else in your field. Your brand is your identity, which is solidified by how patients perceive and experience your services. Ultimately, it’s what comes to patients’ minds when they hear your name.

Branding your practice isn’t just about coming up with an amazing logo, business card and website. While those all play a part in sculpting your image, so does cultivating a friendly and caring environment, training your staff on cohesive patient/employee communication skills and remaining flexible and professional. But why does creating a brand for your practice matter so much?

Here are the top six reasons why you need to invest in branding your healthcare practice:

1. Gain a positive reputation. Top-notch customer service, scheduling flexibility and a friendly, clean and caring environment are all part of your branded image. When you excel in these areas, you’ll gain an amazing reputation for your practice in the community… which will be reflected in reviews patients write about your practice on sites like Yelp and Healthgrades.

2. Establish yourself as a specialist. Which procedure or condition that you treat brings in the greatest return on investment? Market to that specialty. When you target your marketing in this way, you position yourself to drum up more business in that arena and also make a name for yourself as the provider of choice for that service.

3. Build staff morale. When you create a reputable brand for your medical practice, your staff will take pride in that. You may also find a greater number of applicants coming your way because you’ll also establish a reputation for your practice as a great place to work!

4. Establish credibility and trust. The more your name gets out in the community with positive associations, whether they’re built around the caliber of your treatment or your commitment to customer loyalty, both current and potential patients will be willing to put their care in your trusting hands. News like that gets around fast!

5. Increase referrals. A well-branded medical practice with satisfied customers will gain you more referrals. Plus, other physicians will be happy to refer their patients to you when you prove your worth in the local medical community. Sometimes, even, if your specialty is hard to come by, your referrals may filter in from a greater regional area.

6. Boost your bottom line. You’re in the profession to help people, but from the business aspect you need to remain profitable. If your practice is the type whose services aren’t covered under most insurance programs, like plastic surgery, your patients generally pay out of pocket. They are more apt to do that with a well-branded office that has established credibility, trust and a positive reputation.

Not sure where to start when it comes to branding? Make sure you do it right. Contact us at info@practicebuilders.com or 800-679-1200 to sign up for a free marketing consult with our Practice Builder experts, and we’ll get started!

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Why you should write every day (and how to pull it off)

How often do you write?

If you’re not a professional, your writing habits might be weak and flabby. Let me explain why you should write every day.

Here are three things you almost certainly do every day:

  • Sleep
  • Eat food
  • Drink water

Here are three you probably do (or are nagged by others to do):

  • Make your bed
  • Brush your teeth
  • Wash a few dishes, or at least load the dishwasher

I’m guessing most of you don’t write every day. That’s perfectly OK if you have no interest in writing or no responsibility for doing it.

If, however, you relish the thought of becoming a better writer or one who works with more ease and less angst, here’s why you should develop the habit of writing every day.

1. Writing daily makes the job easier.

If you get more practice at anything—exercising, cooking, making music or playing chess—it starts to become second nature. You don’t have to try as hard, and you have more fun.

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2. Writing daily will improve the quality of your work.

Do something often enough, and you’ll get better at it. If you’re a person for whom writing is difficult, doing it every day will help you pick up the tools and techniques to do it better.

Several years ago, singer Tony Bennett said in an interview that he practices every day to maintain his skill. “If I skip one day, I notice the difference,” he said. “If I skip two, my band notices. If I skip three, the audience notices.”

3. You’ll eliminate the need to make a decision.

This might sound funny or inconsequential, but it’s a terribly important benefit of the daily writing habit. Every time you make a decision about whether to do something, you tire your brain. We each have a limited amount of willpower, which declines as the day goes on, like sand running through an hourglass.

If you’ve made the global decision that you’re going to write daily, you needn’t negotiate with yourself. No more, “Can I fit in my writing before lunch?” nor “Should I do my writing after dinner?” If you’ve already decided to do your writing daily, it frees your mind to deal with other issues—including choosing the subject matter you want to write about.

4. You’ll inoculate yourself against writer’s block.

If you write every day, you will quickly give up the notion of always writing a blockbuster. Instead of aiming for quality, you’ll be targeting quantity. This is more helpful than it might sound, because writer’s block is usually born out of trying to achieve excellence.

Pssssst! Here’s the secret all professional writers know: Good writing almost never occurs in the writing stage. It comes from frequent, diligent and determinedediting.

5. It will help you become a better thinker.

Writing is only partly about communicating. It’s also about sorting out what you think about an issue. Society tells us that we should write to explain or persuade. It’s just as important—maybe even more so—to write in order to learn what you think.

6. It will give you momentum.

If writing is important to your job—and especially to you—then having momentum will make you feel happier and more relaxed. This feeling of happiness will wash over the rest of your life and start a self-perpetuating cycle, making the writing process easier and more comfortable for you.

7. It will allow you to start small.

Many people think they must designate two to four hours to writing. That’s a misconception, especially if you’re writing every day.

Start with five minutes. So what if you can write no more than a sentence? The act of writing that single sentence is a step forward.

Do it day after day, week after week, and before long you will have accumulated thousands of words. The kaizen technique teaches that we can make gigantic accomplishments from tiny steps.

In my Get It Done program, I work with writers struggling to finish their dissertations, their nonfiction books and their novels. They must report to me, five days per week, telling me how many words they wrote each day (or how much time they spent editing.)

Some ask me if they can write every day. I always tell them no, because everyone needs time off, but if any of them want to write something else, or do “morning pages” or keep a journal, I always encourage them to go ahead.

The practice of daily writing is one of the healthiest habits you can develop.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Publication Coach.
HealthCareCommunication.com

Why Healthcare Practices Should Use Video

Why Healthcare Practices Should Use Video

We’re not telling you to create a Gray’s Anatomy episode. But posting video content on your website is a great marketing tool for your practice. Video humanizes your practice, increases engagement with new and current patients and is easy to pull up on a phone or tablet. Healthcare providers should consider incorporating educational videos as part of their online marketing strategy. Let’s break down the elements that make video a great tool in your healthcare marketing strategy.

It’s a Mobile-Friendly Format.

Thanks to the smartphone, patients are searching for their content on their phones or tablets about 50% of the time, according to Forbes.com. Sifting through written content designed for a computer screen becomes tedious on a mobile device. This means even if you have great written content for your site, it might be pushed aside half the time simply because of the format. Video, however, is very mobile-friendly and easily ingestible on the go.

It Proves You’re Human.

Patients are more apt to connect to a human face and voice than to stagnant words on a screen. They want to know they are being cared for by professionals who are real human beings. Consider a video interview with a doctor explaining signs she looks for to tell the difference between a run-of-the-mill mole and ones that could be cancerous, for instance. Your patients, current or potential, will like the sense of connection from seeing the doctor’s face and hearing her voice.

Also consider using videos of patients recommending your practice. Participation is voluntary, of course, and patients should not divulge specifics of their medical history. They can speak to why your practice is beneficial to them and how the doctors and staff are helpful and trustworthy. Again, this can help establish your practice’s credibility more than written words on a screen. Patients like getting recommendations for healthcare services from people they know. Videos of real patients recommending your practice are the next-best thing.

It Creates More Searchable Avenues to Your Site.

If you first upload your video to a video site like YouTube and then embed the video into your practice’s page, you’ve created multiple, searchable access points to your video content. Like blog posts, videos are searchable based on keywords. Your video content can come up in YouTube, in a search engine like Google and on your site. Videos are also easy to share on social media for even more avenues for patients to find your content.

Get started with video marketing for your healthcare practice today by emailing Practice Builders at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Should there be a law banning business emails after work?

Summer has unofficially arrived.

The air is warmer, the days are longer, and the last thing many of us want to think about while spending a Sunday dozing in a hammock is answering work email.

Though many employees don’t check their inboxes on weekends or holidays, there are plenty who do. Either way, is it the government’s responsibility to prevent work from spilling into employees’ personal lives?

This issue is sparking hot debate in light of an amendment making its way through the French legislative system. The amendment, tucked inside a labor reform bill, encourages organizations to draft policies that help employees disconnect from the workplace, such as specifying which hours employees should not receive nor be required to answer emails. There would be no penalty for violating the law; organizations are expected to voluntarily comply.

“All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant,” Benoit Hamon, a member of the French parliament, told the BBC.

“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash—like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails—they colonise the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

Many workers would agree that today’s technology makes it difficult to disconnect from work, but is passing a law the key to achieving work/life balance?

 

Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich, believes it’s the responsibility of company leaders to help employees balance work with their personal lives.

“People work differently. Some don’t mind responding to emails from a kid’s soccer game or while standing in line at the grocery store,” Dietrich says. “The work/life balance debate is really about how it works for each individual. It is up to leaders today to figure out the best policies that create the most productivity for their organizations. If that means no email after work hours, so be it.”

[FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Ways to Get Employees to Open and Read Your Email]

For some workers, not being able to answer email or check in with the office could actually induce stress, says Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. “The problem arises when the company expects you to respond to work requests.

“Rather than implementing an outright ban, I would like to see the focus on abuse of employees’ leisure time,” Holtz says. “An engaged employee who wants to check messages or share a thought shouldn’t be banned from doing so.”

France isn’t the only country attempting to prevent work from infiltrating personal time. Germany already has a law barring employers from contacting employees while they’re on vacation.

Will the United States follow Europeans’ lead?

Dietrich thinks it would be difficult to pass such a bill. It “seems to be different for every working professional,” she says. “Some people don’t mind the emails 24/7, while others like to have more carved-out ‘time off.'”

What do you think, readers? Should there be laws against being required to work outside normal business hours? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
HealthCareCommunication.com

When Should You Use PR For Your Practice?

When-Should-You-Use-PR-For-Your-Practice-BIG

Did you know that Practice Builders offers public relations services as part of our healthcare marketing plans and solutions? Public relations strategies can help you reach out to a wider audience. Not only can you focus on potential patients within your community, you can also reach an audience that’s both offline and online.

Like any healthcare marketing strategy, there are some guidelines on using public relations to promote your practice. Here are the best ways to make PR services work for your dental, veterinary or medical practice:

Newsworthy Content Only

PR should only be used when you and your practice are doing something newsworthy. You could send out a PR blast if you’ve updated your office in a way that would directly benefit patients. Or you could use a local TV news spot to promote your practice’s involvement in community activities. If you’re hosting a fundraising event, you can use PR to promote your cause. You could also use PR to promote a new expert who’s working at your practice or if you’ve opened up a new location.

Building Your Reputation

If you want to build up your reputation in your community, PR is a great option. Unlike advertising, you’re not paying for an ad spot in the hope that someone will take notice. PR is an active way to engage your target audience by showing them the benefits you have to offer to them and the community.

Target The Patients You Want

Social media is a great way to make a wide audience aware of your practice, since it has such a far reach. If you’re looking for new patients or referrals, PR is a better strategy because it allows you to target an audience that’s already in your community and therefore more likely to go to your practice for services.

Share Your Success

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? It’s a clichéd question, but it also holds true when you’re trying to promote your practice. If you’ve done something great that benefits your patients or community, PR can help you share your stories with others instead of keeping it to yourself. Why be the only one to know about the success you’ve had with fundraising or launching a new location? There’s no reason to be modest when it comes to the achievements of your healthcare practice.

If you’ve done or are thinking about doing something newsworthy for your practice, we can help! Contact one of our healthcare marketing consultants at info@practicebuilders.com for more information on our PR services.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Should Instagram Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy?

Since the rise of Facebook, social media networks continue to grow and expand. If you’re using social media as part of your healthcare marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the new social networking sites that launch and how they can help your healthcare practice, so you stay ahead of the marketing curve.

Instagram is one of those new social media sites. It allows you to share your “visual story” by posting an image with a caption. While mainly for personal use, Instagram is looking to expand by increasing perks for business accounts.

Is Instagram right for your medical, dental or veterinary practice? We’ve put together a list of the pros and cons to help you determine if you should start a healthcare Instagram account:

Pros:

Visual Medium

Instagram is all about posting photos, which is a great way to connect with your patients and followers on a more personal level – like sharing photos of your practice and staff.

It can also allow you to share images with important healthcare facts, so you can show your expertise to your patients and followers and mark your reputation as an expert in your field.

Advertising

Like Facebook, business accounts on Instagram allow you to create advertisements for your practice, so you can raise your exposure, build your brand and gain new patients, referrals and followers.

Links to Other Social Media Accounts

Your Instagram posts can be linked to other social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook. By sharing the same images among your social media accounts, you can stay consistent in your branding and messaging.

Hashtags

Also like Facebook and Twitter, you can use hashtags to organize your Instagram posts and make them searchable for other users, so you can gain new patients and referrals.

Cons:

Advertising

The advertising for business function on Instagram is still in development, so it’s not as advanced as other social media networking sites. Instagram ads aren’t widely available, so your healthcare practice may not be able to reap the benefits of advertising just yet.

Less Context

Since Instagram is mostly a visual medium, there’s less opportunity for you to explain your posts or provide more health information and context than on a social media site like Facebook.

Still Growing for Healthcare

Using Instagram for your healthcare practice is still a growing market. While you may be ahead of the trend by using it, you may find fewer professionals to connect with, fewer followers and fewer new patients and referrals than you would for other sites.

If you’d like to learn more about Instagram or other social media networking sites to see if they are right for you and your healthcare practice, our healthcare marketing consultants are ready to help. Contact us at 800.679.1200 or info@practicebuilders.com for more information.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Jeb Bush breaks from GOP candidates and says U.S. should accept refugees

More from Trail Guide Nov. 16 GOP presidential candidates assail Obama’s ISIS plan, but their ideas sound similar Nov. 15 An estimated 8.6 million watch Democratic debate Nov. 14 Democratic debate: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley sharpen their views on foreign policy, guns, immigration Nov. 13 Ted Cruz…
latimes.com – Los Angeles Times

10 Toxic People You Should Avoid At All Costs

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people […]
Forbes.com: Most popular stories

How Doctors Should Handle Negative Online Reviews

If your first question is, “How do I get a negative review removed?” you should know that it’s not easy, regardless of which online review site you’re dealing with. Each site has its own rules and most major sites make removal almost impossible. But you do have recourse. Here are some tips for getting a negative review removed…

Take a Positive First Step

Review the site’s policies and terms of service (TOS). Once you understand the site’s dispute/removal policies, your next step should be to contact the reviewer by phone, if possible, and ask for any insights that may help you resolve their problem. The easiest way to get a negative review removed is to politely ask the reviewer to remove it. If that does not work, then craft a carefully written response. Your first public response to a negative review is critical.

Avoid HIPAA problems by not revealing ANY details about the patient you are responding to – in your response post, emails or texts. Apologize to the reviewer for the negative experience that fueled their review. Offer to correct the problem immediately, if possible. If you have already corrected the problem, share the steps you took to ensure better patient care or service in the future. Your goal is to win back that dissatisfied patient with a caring, thoughtful response. Your public response can also demonstrate to potential new patients that you really care.

If you see the same negative comments repeated in multiple reviews, use them to improve your practice. Not only will this reduce future negative reviews, it will give you a competitive advantage by making your practice more attractive to patients. The one silver lining in negative reviews is that they often provide a different perspective on what may not be working in your practice. If patients frequently complain about long waits, impersonal treatment or rude staff members, you may need to address those issues and avoid future negative reviews.

More Ways to Beat Bad Reviews

Here are four potentially surefire methods and conditions for having negative reviews removed. Just remember that the burden of proof is on you.

TOS violations – Every review site has a TOS policy where they list what’s allowed or disallowed. The TOS, for example, does not allow personal attacks on you or your staff, including defamatory or derogatory comments about race, religion, disability, ethnicity or other factors. Contact the review site and let them know you believe there is a TOS violation. Many review sites use a ticketing system that’s programmed to look for certain words. If you mention “TOS violation” in your subject line or message, your comments will go directly to someone who deals with TOS violations and improve your chances of having the review removed. Also reply directly to the review stating that it is a violation of the site’s TOS and you have requested it be removed.

Legal violations – Highly offensive or illegal posts can be grounds for removal. Examples of legal violations are threatening, racist or sexist comments, graphic language or content or content that is a copyright infringement. Google offers specific advice for submitting complaints about such legal violations.

Slander by competitors – If an unscrupulous competitor slanders you on a review site, you can often have the review removed or hidden. One way to prove your claim is to show that the reviewer’s email address belongs to a competitor or someone who works for that competitor.

Erroneous reviews – Sometimes customers write reviews for another practice on your page by accident. Sometimes patients write stellar reviews but accidentally click one star instead of five. Contact the reviewer using a polite, professional tone and explain the situation, and they will often amend the review or remove it. Reviewers can always update/amend/remove their own online reviews.

  • Always check to make sure the reviewer is really a current or former patient (if not, simply post that “This false review is not from my current or former patient.”
  • Always contact the reviewer calmly, politely and nicely.
  • Always attempt personal contact first, in person or by phone.
  • Always try to understand their frustration or why they are upset.
  • Ask them to remove or at least modify their review.
  • Always provide proof that a review is false using clear, unemotional facts, but…
  • Never divulge ANY personal information about ANY patient in ANY public medium, including websites, posts, review responses, emails or text messages as this is clearly a HIPAA violation.

Find a Partner in Online Healthcare Reputation Management

Handling online reviews can be extremely time-consuming. You would much rather devote your time to patient care. That’s why Practice Builders offers myPracticeReputation, a complete solution that streamlines the whole online reputation management process. Monitor your online reputation 24/7, capture positive reviews from your patients and automatically publish them on the Internet.

You will be able to see all of your online reviews and reputation management activities on one convenient dashboard. This technology even automates sending “please review us” emails and simple instructions to your patients, streamlines the review process for them and much more. With myPracticeReputation, you will gain more positive reviews and make those few negative reviews look more and more like outliers.

You can immediately request your complimentary Online Reputation Assessment by clicking here. Your assessment will include all the reviews that you have ever received on all review websites – including some you may not even know about – as well as your reputation score, which is on an A-F scoring basis. Overall, you will be able to see what patients are saying about you on the Internet, which is priceless (click here to start).

Learn more about Practice Builders and the benefits of using myPracticeReputation by emailing us at info@PracticeBuilders.com, calling 800.679.1200 or visiting myPracticeReputation.com.

If you wish to comment on this electronic newsletter’s content or subject matter, please email the editor at: hedgar@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

My Lunch With Shkreli: What We Should Learn From Pharma’s Latest Monster

Martin Shkreli You already hate Martin Shkreli, the bratty former hedge fund manager who raised the price on a drug to treat infections in AIDS patients by 5,000%. Now it’s time to get to know him. I’m not saying you should get to know Shkreli because you’ll like him in the end. […]
Forbes.com: Most popular stories