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Tag Archives: tips

Best Tips for Writing Emails to Market Your Healthcare Practice

Best Tips for Writing Emails to Market Your Healthcare Practice

Email marketing allows you to communicate directly with your patients, so don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Once you have email addresses and a strategy for an email campaign, here are some important aspects to keep in mind as you craft the actual emails. Let’s look at each component of an email and what to keep in mind for each part.

Subject line: This is the first thing your patients will see in their inboxes, so make sure it’s enticing enough that they will actually open it. A good subject line should pique interest and do so concisely enough that it will all show up on a mobile device. You can use numbers, “5 Things Every Parent Should Know for Flu Season” or create a sense of urgency, “Limited time only: 20% off sunglasses.”

Preview text: Keep in mind the beginning of your email may also appear as the preview text. Frontload your email’s text with the information or call to action you want to be sure your patients immediately see.

Sender email address: Make sure this is a recognizable email address with your healthcare practice’s name prominent in the address. This will help patients know it’s you and so increase your chances of actually having the email opened and read rather than trashed.

Email design: You want your email to look more interesting than a plain block of text but also avoid being overwhelming to your patients. Incorporate a clean design that prominently features your logo. This will make your email look more inviting and also help your patients recognize it’s you.

Email text: Use an inverted pyramid approach, meaning you should structure your email so that your copy grabs attention at the beginning, then builds anticipation in the middle and ends with a strong call to action. Throughout, put important information in bold. Don’t overdo it; just bold the text that you don’t want your patients to miss.

Call-to-action buttons: Make responding to your call to action even easier for your patients by creating a button they can simply click. For instance, if your call to action is to remind your patients to book an appointment, then a button reading “Book Your Appointment Today” can take them straight to your site where they can do just that. The call to action could also be as simple as “Follow Our Blog” and the button can take them to your blog.

Drafting and testing: Make sure you proofread your email well before you send it out. You should also beta-test one (send the email to a few staff members first) to make sure everything appears appropriately and iron out any glitches.

After you send: Keep track of various factors like which type of subject lines worked and what time of day works best by using analytics.

We can help you get started with your healthcare practice’s email marketing campaign today. Email us at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

5 tips for summer media relations success

Summer is a time to enjoy the warm, sunny days with picnics, margaritas and poolside relaxation, but what about your PR plans?

The season can be a challenging time if you have PR initiatives that must move forward. With many reporters on vacation, your media outreach can take even longer than usual—especially with July Fourth around the corner.

Pitching can be anything but a picnic during the summer. Follow these five tips to make the most of it:

1. Planning is imperative.

Trying to choose the best date for an announcement? Study your calendar. Unless your news has a tie-in to these holidays, avoid major summer holidays, such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day—as well as the days immediately before and after.

Virtual Summit: The mobile revolution is here. Reach customers in 2016 and beyond on their mobile devices.

If you’re making a tech-related announcement, for example, give yourself time it so it doesn’t coincide with a holiday. This will help you achieve maximum visibility. If your news involves a holiday-related trend, deliver your pitch a week or two before the holiday.

2. Allow extra time.

Reporters can be on vacation, so it’s a good idea to build in extra time on pitches during the summer months. For instance, if you usually pitch news a week before an announcement, give yourself two weeks. That way, if a journalist is out of the office, you’ll still have time to follow up.

3. Avoid the dead zone.

Both Independence Day and Labor Day fall on Monday this year, so you can expect the Friday before to be quiet (you can almost hear the crickets chirp!). Some reporters might take off the Tuesday following to create an even longer weekend.

Once they return, their inboxes will probably be filled to the brim with pitches. You don’t want your pitch to get lost in that sea of email, so wait another day or so before sending it.

4. Think about Christmas.

Believe it or not, it’s not too early to think about winter holidays. Gift guides for many print magazines are already in the works. If you have a product that fits in that category, start pitching your gift guides now. Have product descriptions and high-resolution photos prepared and ready.

5. Cover your time off.

If you’re in charge of working with reporters for your organization or client and are planning to take a vacation, have a plan in place should a reporter get in touch during that time.

Ask someone to cover for you and have basic resources ready for them to use for reporters’ requests. These materials should also be posted on your organization’s newsroom, making it easy for both the reporter and the co-worker covering for you.

Don’t leave your clients in the lurch. Give them plenty of notice so you can complete any work they need done before you go. If you’re a consultant leaving for an extended period of time (more than a week or two), consider asking someone, like a trusted consultant colleague, to fill in for you. That person should be on call, should your clients need anything.

These tips can help you make the most of your summer PR initiatives so you can get back to your sunbathing.

Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Five tips to get a jump on your weight-loss resolution

We’re betting you’ve already “treated yourself” a little too much this holiday season — hey, who can resist that extra reindeer cookie?

Pretty much no one.

But here’s some good news. You can get a jump on your resolution to drop a few pounds in 2016 — and it won’t be hard at all. New research shows…


latimes.com – Los Angeles Times

Infographic: Fireworks safety tips for the Fourth

The July Fourth holiday and the summer months invite a slew of injuries from misuse of fireworks. Adult men suffer the most harm during this time.

As the U.S. celebrates freedom and patriotism, there’s an increase in emergency room visits around Independence Day.

The most common wounds that health care providers deal with are burns and lacerations.

The Consumer Product Safety Council’s new infographic on fireworks safety says:

  • Nearly 70 percent of fireworks injuries in 2014 occurred in the month surrounding the July Fourth holiday (June 20 through July 20).

  • More than 35 percent of people injure their hands when using explosives.

  • Some 20 percent of people hurt by fireworks suffer head injuries, including damage to their faces and ears.

To best protect adults and kids from injuries this season, law enforcement and health care officials encourage people to view professional fireworks shows, rather than igniting their own fireworks.

For those gathering in their neighborhoods to use bottle rockets, sparklers and firecrackers, communicators can share the CPSC tips. Take a look:

(View a larger image here)

Fireworks-Infographic-2015-web

(Image via)

HealthCareCommunication.com

10 tips for managing your online reputation

Enhancements to universal search such as embedded videos and indented news results are drawing users’ eyes (and clicks) further down the page. If there’s negative information online about your brand, users are more likely than ever to find it.

What can you do to protect your organization’s name?

  • Keep content fresh. Offer a continuous stream of original content supporting your brand. Update your blog with helpful information about your products and keep your social media profiles up to date.
  • Include your contact information. Make it easy for patients and prospects to reach you by prominently displaying your contact information. Also, invite people to offer feedback. Let them know their comments and input are welcome.
  • Know the difference between personal and professional profiles. Social media profiles are indexed by search engines, which can make any photo, comment or social connection highly visible. Maximize privacy settings on your personal accounts, and keep your professional profiles public. Be careful not to overshare.
  • Be in the know. Actively monitor what’s being said about your brand online. Use Google Alerts for general Web tracking, Technoarati to find mentions of your blog, SocialMention to monitor social media, and Disqus to track your comment threads.
  • Use logos. Display the logos of industry associations or trade groups you belong to. If you participate in groups that speak to the quality and security of your services such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Verisign, and be sure to display those logos as well.

[RELATED: Submit your best work to Ragan’s 2015 Health Care PR and Marketing awards!]

Manage brand reputation issues

Even the most successful brands receive negative feedback and criticism online. Though there is no magic potion to remove it from the Internet, there’s still plenty you can do to keep negativity from marring your brand.

  • Offer good customer service. Offer timely and helpful responses when a customer expresses frustration or dissatisfaction with your brand. Good customer service goes a long way.
  • Keep reviews coming. Search engines rank your most recent reviews highest. If you get a negative review, be sure to ramp up your efforts to get more critiques. Hopefully this will yield positive comments that can help push the negative ones further down the page.
  • Respond to criticism. Know that some review sites such as Yelp allow business owners to respond to negative reviews, so take advantage of this when you feel it’s appropriate.
  • Own it. If you get negative press for a mistake, offer an apology (if appropriate), and tell people what you are doing to fix the problem. Spread the word across all your digital channels.
  • Consider a professional. If things really go south, hire an experienced online reputation manager. They’re experts in helping push negative content down and restoring your brand’s good name.

This post was originally posted here.

HealthCareCommunication.com

3 tips to turn your website into a conversion machine

Your hospital website must be the center of a digital ecosystem—a place where prospective patients can find meaningful answers to their health needs.

As you learn more about consumer wants and needs, you have an opportunity to generate leads and use your brand site as an instrument for patient conversion.

According to a recent Klein & Partners study, the top three sources people tap for health-related information are:

  • WebMD

  • Google

  • Friends and family

What does that mean for your health care brand?

There are many strategies for building conversion-based hospital websites. Here are three principles that will help you to begin transforming your website into a true sales conduit:

1. Every page is a front door.

It’s likely that the person visiting your site is looking for solutions to her health care needs, not for your brand. That means your prospective patient could be 500 pages into your site. That’s why every page of your website should be treated like your home page.

Each point of contact must give your audience a clear indication of where she is on the site and how to learn more about your services. A clear path in helping someone navigate resources and information will encourage readers to choose your brand.

[RELATED: Get creative with digital signage, internal video and mobile apps. Register for the Digital Employee Communications conference in Las Vegas.]

2. Every page engages hearts and minds.

Health care is serious business, and the content on your site should speak to the audience you are trying to attract. Provide rich descriptions for your intended audience, as this will guide you in the tone and type of content you publish.

Having a patient-centered website shows that the people within your organization understand your audience and can speak to their hearts and minds. Engaging with your patients on a personal level drives conversion and assures people that you care.

3. Every page inspires actions.

Each page of your website should help prospective patients take the next step, whether it’s signing up for a seminar, opting in for an e-newsletter, booking an appointment or contacting your physician referral call center.

Your “sales cycle” may vary by service and may be months or years in the making. That’s why it’s important to offer multiple calls to action on each page. If your prospective patient isn’t ready to schedule a joint replacement surgery right now, she may be interested in attending a lecture from one of your orthopedic surgeons. Give your audience different ways to take the next step in becoming a patient. In traditional sales, we call this “lead nurturing.”

Use your website to cultivate relationships with qualified candidates, and the result will be a flurry of new patients.

Margaux Sprinkel is a digital content and marketing professional at FranklinStreet.com, where the original version of this post was published.

HealthCareCommunication.com

7 tips for dressing up health care communications

In health care communications, a picture is worth a thousand words and can create a lasting impression in the viewer’s mind. Following is a list of dos and don’ts to ensure you look professional on camera. After all, you want your target audience to respect you, not question your judgment for wearing the tacky tie Great-aunt Susie gave you for your birthday.

Wardrobe tips for hospital videos and advertising

  • Do wear a solid or subtle-patterned shirt/blouse. Don’t wear stripes or obvious patterns-not only do they add pounds, but they can create havoc when combined with screen resolution.
  • Do wear clothing that makes you feel good about yourself. Don’t dress for the garage or beach.
  • Do wear a suit to convey authority, but wear shirtsleeves or a dress or blouse to convey approachability.
  • Do wear what you typically wear to work (a lab coat, scrubs). Don’t wear clothing that displays your work (blood, stains).
  • Do avail yourself of stylist services, if offered—a little professional makeup and hairstyling go a long way. Don’t distract the viewer with uncontrollable hair or an elaborate hairstyle.
  • Do look in the mirror (closely!) before you get in front of the camera. Stray eyebrow hairs, nose hairs, dirty eyeglasses are seen and magnified by the camera and don’t look good!
  • Do relax and be yourself—go ahead and steal the scene!

RELATED: Learn how to make the most of video for your hospital communications. Attend the only one-day summit specifically for health care communicators.

Lynn White is project manager at Smith & Jones. This article first appeared here.

HealthCareCommunication.com

13 communication tips to help survive Thanksgiving

I usually write about business communication tips, but since most of us won’t be working on Thanksgiving, we’ll have to communicate with relatives or friends.

It might be easier to go to work.

Here are 13 quick communication tips to help make your day festive and enjoyable. Bookmark this post, as it will come in handy for the entire holiday season.

1. Forget previous holidays, discussions, disagreements, and conversations. Go in with a clean slate and an open mind that you will have a fabulous and relaxing day.

2. Have a drink. I didn’t say get drunk, because things could turn ugly. One drink can help you relax and take the edge off.

3. Remember, not every comment or statement requires an answer. Silence and a smile can be very powerful. In other words, bite your tongue.

4. Use the phrase, “Isn’t that interesting?” If Uncle Grouch starts in at the table with off-color remarks, recite these three magical words. “Isn’t that interesting?” neutralizes virtually every situation. This phrase leads to a verbal dead-end. Then smile politely.

5. Mingle with the kids. This can bring levity to the day.

6. Take a walk. Invite someone special, or the entire group, to take a walk around the corner. The dynamics will shift, the conversations will lighten up, and the fresh air will be rejuvenating.

7. Keep a few friendly and neutral small-talk starters or stories in mind. Be ready to drop one in if things get awkward or tense. 

[FREE White Paper: Learn to measure your communication efforts, align PR objectives to business goals, and prove your value within your organization.]

8. Pass on being a “topper.” If Uncle Fred is bragging about his week in Florida, let him have his moment. Don’t chime in that you just returned from a free month in Bermuda because you were the No. 1 sales rep.

9. Be nice. Gossip often rules at family gatherings. Steer clear of pettiness. Don’t say anything behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face.

10. Avoid touchy subjects. There’s a lot of angst out there with unemployment, money, and everyday life. You don’t know everything that goes on in other homes, marriages, or relationships. Focus on positive topics and stay away from turning your feast into a “pity party.”

11. Cite three good qualities of someone who is with you that you dislike. Think of these traits before you join the crowd so you can get rid of “old baggage.” Plan to relax and have a good day.

12. Offer to help. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with family and friends have taken place while we’re clearing dishes, taking out the garbage, or loading the dishwasher.

13. Communicate your gratitude. Regardless of how happy or unhappy you were during your visit, tell your host that you appreciate their efforts and invitation.

A version of this story first appeared on Get In Front Communications.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Seeking work but lacking experience: Some tips that can help

The economy may be slowly improving, but that doesn’t mean there are jobs aplenty for all who want them. And finding a gig can be especially challenging for those without a lot of experience.
Business – Los Angeles Times

10 tips for getting patients to come to your blog

How many times have you asked yourself, “How can I increase awareness of my hospital’s blog?” Putting up a blog is one thing. Getting people to pay attention to it is another. Creating an engaged audience for a blog is a common problem for many health care organizations, including hospitals.

The good news is that there are many ways you can bring people to your hospital’s blog and most of them don’t cost very much. Here are ten tips for making it happen:

  1. Use search engine optimization tactics to make your website attractive to search engine bots as well as patients. Remember: Patients won’t find you as a resource unless you show up in search engine results.
  2. Link all of your blog updates to your social media accounts. Any time you post a blog, you should also send out a tweet and post an update to Facebook. By doing so, you widen your potential audience.
  3. When it comes to offline marketing, don’t forget to include your online efforts. Add your blog URL to all of your brochures, print advertisements and any other traditional marketing materials.
  4. Make sure your blog is highlighted on your hospital’s home page. If a patient visits your hospital website, an obvious call-to-action (CTA) should entice them to visit your blog.
  5. Highlight your blog at patient events. If you are doing a live event, ask event participants to visit your blog and leave comments or feedback on articles that are of interest to them.
  6. Make sure that the content created for your blog is focused on your target audience. If you are a children’s hospital, the majority of your content should cater to parents and focus on their child’s health needs.
  7. Add diverse content. Aside from text-based content, add video, audio and other elements . Mixing things up increases reader interest and makes your blog more attractive to search engines.
  8. Be original. This can be hard to do in the world of medicine with so many voices out there. However, originality will make your blog more attractive and memorable.
  9. Use e-mail as an avenue. If you have e-mail lists, include links to your blog in your newsletter and other communications.
  10. Connect to the places where your patients hang out. Many online communities have health forums so don’t be afraid to take an active role there. Participate in conversations and link back to relevant blog posts when appropriate.

Once you can get people to pay attention to your blog, you will start to see your website numbers and overall engagement increase.

This blog originally appeared here.

RELATED: Ragan’s new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.

HealthCareCommunication.com