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Tag Archives: ways

5 ways to measure better at your hospital

Building a measurement strategy for your marketing/communication efforts isn’t easy. Particularly when you’re starting anew (or dramatically rebuilding what you’ve already done). Someone starting down this path usually begins the process with a look of confusion.

Measuring what you’re doing is daunting. Particularly with all the extra scrutiny we’re facing: tightening budgets, not enough time, an over-arching pressure to show ROI and proving what we’re doing is actually working.

There are so many things you can/should be measuring. There is so much to measure (and many more that you wish you could measure, but you don’t have access to the right data). At times it seems overwhelming.

Consider that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Here are a few tips on how to begin digesting that enormous pachyderm of measurement:

Bite #1: Realize you can’t measure the whole thing—pick one thing to start.
Pick a single marketing or communication activity that you are doing that is important to you—or more importantly, to your business goals. The best way to learn good measurement discipline is by doing it well one time, and then applying that knowledge over others in a broader way.

Bite #2: Pick something you have control over.
Some efforts involve multiple people or teams—either within your organization or outside. When you are getting started, it’s best to pick something you manage directly. Not only will it guarantee you’ll have access to all of the metrics, but you can also adjust and modify the activity if you need to improve.

RELATED: Join us in San Francisco for The Role of Communications in Creating Best Places to Work.

Bite #3: Realize that you can’t measure alone—seek help.
Be realistic about what you can and cannot measure. Sometimes you don’t have access to all the data to measure. Find people within your organization that can help you measure. Become friends with them, share with them your desire to measure and then ask for their help. (Bonus bite: if one of these people are in finance, they love to measure!)

Bite #4: Pick the right metrics.
There are hundreds of things you can measure. Maybe more. When you start measuring your efforts, take some time to focus on those metrics that make sense. Align them with your business goals. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and spend your time measuring just those. Remember: just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to measure. Be selective.

Bite #5: Review, adjust, rinse and repeat.
Once you pulled together your first report, sit down with your findings. Review them in depth to determine if you can improve the way you measure. Share your report with others and ask for their input. Always seek ways to improve—good measurement discipline involves constant review. And then use what you just learned to find another thing you can start to measure.

Taking it one little piece at a time allows you to begin building the internal discipline you need to measure the effectiveness of your marketing/communication efforts.

And it will help prevent you from biting off more than you can chew.

You can read more from Chris Boyer here.

Previously published material.

HealthCareCommunication.com

6 ways Sharp HealthCare employees stay fit

Sharp HealthCare’s comprehensive employee wellness program, Sharp Best Health, encourages team members to incorporate healthy habits into their lifestyles by helping them reach personal health goals. It offers a variety of resources—from healthy recipes to fitness classes to personalized health coaching—all designed to help employees live their healthiest lives.

One of the most important components in the success of this system-wide program is having strong executive support. Here are six ways your organization can keep team members healthy at work.

Supportive policies
Sharp Best Health’s policies encourage a healthy workplace by making it easier to enjoy healthy lifestyle behaviors in the workplace. Examples of workplace policies that support wellness at Sharp include a smoke-free workplace, support of flexible work schedules to allow participation in wellness activities, requiring food vendors to offer healthier selections in cafeterias as well as vending machines, and support of walking meetings and regular stretching breaks.

Wellness initiatives and opportunities
Wellness initiatives at a work site are convenient, cost-effective, fun and help employees stay committed to their wellness goals while at work. Sharp Best Health offers employees numerous fitness and nutrition-related initiatives across its seven hospitals and two medical groups. Examples of such initiatives include: ongoing fitness classes such as yoga, Zumba and boot camps; on-site massage; walking/step challenges; Stairwell Days; Meatless Mondays in cafeterias; and a Community Support Agriculture (CSA)-type produce box that is delivered to employees twice a month.

Staying connected
A significant part of any workplace wellness program is employee communication and education and social media is a beneficial way to expand those efforts. Sharp Best Health has a very active online life, with its presence on a blog hosted on Sharp HealthCare’s intranet, multiple café and healthy vending machine navigation videos, a Fitbit community, a personal health portal and a Pinterest board.

RELATED: Develop a workplace culture that attracts and supports employees of all ages and backgrounds

Involvement with the community
Sharp HealthCare actively supports multiple community health events. Its fundraising and recruitment efforts usually make Sharp HealthCare one of the top fundraisers for the American Heart Association Heart Walk, the Tour de Cure and its local YMCA’s Spin-a-thon cycle marathon.

Free employee health screenings
Sharp offers free confidential health screenings to all team members to help them identify any current or future health problems. Over the span of a few months, close to 11,500 employees were screened in the following indicators: blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, random blood sugar and tobacco use.

Free health coaching to all employees
Sharp Best Health offers personalized health coaching in five different areas: healthy weight management, smoking cessation, healthy eating, physical activity and stress management. Health coaching is a collaborative and confidential wellness program delivered by Sharp Health Plan for all Sharp Healthcare employees. Through the coaching program, participants work one-on-one—over the phone—with a dedicated coach who provides individualized support and guidance in developing the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary to reach their best health.

Previously published material.

HealthCareCommunication.com

5 Creative Ways to Acquire Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

5 Creative Ways to Acquire Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

Patient reviews are powerful. They are quite influential.

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

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

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

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

Who should ask patients to post reviews?

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

What to say to patients?

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

Here is how the staff coordinator can phrase this question:

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

How to ask?

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Creative Ways to Acquire Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

Remember these rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online reviews and HIPAA

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

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

Key takeaways

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

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

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

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

Medical Healthcare Marketing

12 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Conversions

12 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Conversions

When you are working hard to increase your website’s search performance, one of the things that you should do is to reduce a high bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of all visitors who enter and exit on the same web page, without any clicks to other pages on your website. In other words, a high bounce rate is an indication that something is wrong in your marketing strategy – either you are not attracting the right visitors, or the visitors are not getting an efficient user experience.

When you begin to notice a significant bounce rate on your landing pages, it is an alert that your website needs a serious redesign. High bounce rate could mean you do not have an appealing, well-organized landing page. Here are 12 proven ways to reduce bounce rate and improve conversions for your website:

1. Improve your content: One reason that your target audience might leave your website is a lack of fresh content. User experience begins when your content is unique and useful. Specifically, massive walls of text scare away readers, so avoid them.

Here are some of important tips to help you revise your content and make it more readable:

  • Use subheadings to make the information more clear.
  • Use bullet points to explain points worth noting.
  • Use plenty of graphics, charts and images from industry experts, where appropriate.
  • Ask a lot of questions in your content, to encourage visitors to participate instead of just read.
  • End your content with a subheading entitled “conclusion.” This signals the visitor to quickly read the last few words and take action. Make the conclusion actionable.

12 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Conversions

You can check the readability of your website at www.read-able.com.

2. Avoid pop-up ads: In 2013, nearly 70 percent of all website visitors said that they found pop-up ads to be annoying. This has not changed to date – most visitors still hate pop-ups. Among website owners and marketers, it is a debated topic: whether to use pop-ups or to avoid them.

Try not to use pop-ups as they annoy visitors and lead to a higher bounce rate. Some experts are of the opinion that pop-ups work because they can grow your email list quickly. If this is the way you want to go, fine. However, if you want to build a long-term website that generates lots of visitors, consider avoiding pop-ups.

3. Create compelling CTAs: According to a study, nearly 47 percent of websites have a clear call-to-action (CTA) button that takes users three seconds or less to see. Is your website one of them? After you have attracted visitors with your catchy headline and engaged them with compelling content, do not lose them with a weak CTA. According to a study by SmallBizTrends, 70 percent of small-business websites lack any CTA buttons, and this is why they have a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate. Make sure that your CTA is compelling. It should compel visitors to click and see what’s on the other side.

When optimizing the CTA, every element is important. Even a small change can make a significant impact. It can engage users and lead them to a resource page on your website, thus reducing bounce rate. Great CTAs will improve usability, improve your conversion rate and lower bounce rate.

4. Improve your storytelling technique: Storytelling will enthrall the minds of your target audience. However, you have to use it effectively. Remember, your potential patients are wired to recognize and respond to good stories. Storytelling can bring your brand to life. For this to happen, you have to recognize how people read content. Most visitors scan a page, looking for something extraordinary. It could be a subhead, a word, a term or an image. Effective storytelling can help you connect those eye-catching elements with the rest of your content.

5. Through blogging provide fresh content consistently: Keeping your blogs fresh and relevant will always yield an increased ROI. Practices that update their blogs with new content regularly generate more leads more than those who do not. However, it is critical to differentiate powerful content from useful content. Powerful content may appeal more to your readers, but it may not solve their problems. In contrast, useful content will not only appeal to them but will also give them tips to implement and produce results. By consistently adding fresh and useful content, you will be able to build momentum and establish trust. This means your repeat visitors will begin to exceed new visitors, which is likely to increase your conversion rate.

6. Select high-value and relevant keywords: Keywords can make or break your content marketing initiatives. If you want to improve your website’s search performance, start targeting high-value keywords as this is where the high-value traffic is. According to a study, a high-value keyword sits at the intersection of the following metrics:

  • Traffic value
  • Conversion value
  • Persona value
  • Brand value

12 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Conversions

All keywords are not created equal. Some keywords will bring you valuable traffic, while others will only keep you waiting for a ride that may never come.
Simply writing content for your website will not reduce your bounce rate or improve conversions. You will need to target keywords with high-value traffic, which will, in turn, direct high-value patients to you.

High-value keywords are influential. They not only improve your website traffic, patient engagement and conversion rate – but they also establish your authority and online reputation.

7. Target the right visitors: Higher bounce rate happens when you are getting the wrong visitor from the beginning. This is a targeting problem. If your content marketing strategy is not attracting the right visitors and increased revenue, it is time to improve. There is nothing more influential than publishing custom content that is relevant to your market, using a content strategy that considers each stage of the buying cycle. According to HubSpot’s report, almost 90 percent of content marketers say custom content strengthens relationships with customers by delivering excellent service.

8. Write unique meta descriptions: Many practices do not optimize their meta descriptions for search users. As a result, their click-through rate continues to drop. They do not understand the importance of a unique and relevant meta description to the success of their website. When potential visitors type a keyword into Google search, any word that matches the search term is bolded, in order to differentiate it from the other results and to tell the searcher to consider that result. Meta descriptions are HTML descriptions that explain what a particular web page is about. Search engines use meta descriptions to display a snippet of your web page so that visitors can understand whether a particular search result is relevant to them, just by reading the description.

The ideal length for a meta description is nearly 155 characters. If the meta description is longer, the remaining characters will not show in the search results pages. This can result in a higher bounce rate as people may feel misled about your website.

9. Create separate landing pages for relevant keywords: The more landing pages you have, the better your conversion rate will be. Landing pages will help you create a richer experience for your visitors. Building more landing pages increases your click-through rate. One of the metrics analyzed by Google Analytics is the exit page. If you look at your dashboard, you will notice that most visitors are exiting your website from the homepage. The rate at which visitors exit your homepage correlates to a high bounce rate. Some practices that have increased their landing pages from 10 to 15 noticed a 55 percent increase in leads. Also, optimized landing pages lower your bounce rate. This will significantly improve your conversions.

10. Improve page load speed: How important is web page speed to visitors? Well, visitors expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. After three seconds, visitors will no longer wait for your website to load – they will just move on to your competitor’s website.

The slower your website is, the higher your bounce rate will be. Moreover, Google also keeps a check on website speed, which can result in lower search rankings if your website is consistently slow to load. This will further result in higher bounce rate. The bottom line is that a slow website can destroy your practice and discourage potential patients from calling your practice for an appointment.

11. External links should open in new windows: Designing the website with the potential patient in mind is critical for a successful design strategy. According to a study, when we open external links in the same tab, we create back button fatigue for visitors. This means every time a visitor clicks a link to an external page, he or she has to click the back button to come back to your website. This is likely to decrease your page views. Also, if a visitor clicks four different external links from your web page, he or she will have to click the back button four times. This is time-consuming and frustrating and will increase the bounce rate.

12 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Conversions

12. Make your website mobile-friendly: Is your website responsive? When potential patients visit your website on their smartphones and other devices, will it display perfectly? This is the right time to take your website to mobile devices as your patients have their mobile devices with them everywhere. Nearly 95 percent of your current and potential patients are on mobile, so your website must be optimized for them. Google has now announced mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor. This means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, no matter how useful your content may be or how easy the navigation may be, it will not rank well in Google results pages.

Conclusion

In this article, we have described several ways to reduce your bounce rate and enhance your conversion rate. However, without high-quality content, even if you succeed in reducing your bounce rate to half, your risk of it increasing again is high. To avoid that, create a content strategy and an editorial calendar.

Remember that your website visitors are searching for solutions and results. If your website does not instantly give them the required answer, they will bounce. The navigation, design, content and calls-to-action must work together to communicate that you provide what they are looking for.
If you need our help in lowering the bounce rate on your website, sign up for a free consultation and learn what our products and solutions are all about.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

When most people hear about search engine optimization (SEO), they think of researching keywords and building links. While this is somewhat correct, that is not all there is to modern SEO. These days, analytics and content play a significant role in improving the ranking of your healthcare website.

However, if you have been persistently working on keyword optimization but are not getting the desired results, you need to consider other factors that impact SEO ranking. It is important to consider that search engine algorithms not only rate the relevance of your keywords, they also assess vital information such as the average duration visitors stay on your website, bounce rate, pages viewed, broken links, outbound and inbound links and many more.

Getting visitors to stay on your website and engage with your content can boost your website’s ranking, and you can achieve this by making your website easy to navigate and by providing useful content.

Including well-researched keywords to get visitors to click through to your website is only half the story. You will need to optimize your website for visitors who use search engines and endeavor to make user-friendliness an important goal.

In this article, we will look at the various aspects of website usability that impact its ranking and how you can improve ranking by enhancing your website’s usability.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

So, what exactly is website usability, and how can it improve SEO ranking?

The usability of a website includes many design elements, most of which are tied to conversion rates. Here are some of the key elements that affect your website ranking:

  • Effectiveness: Are visitors able to achieve their objectives when they land on your healthcare website? Do they find your website easy to navigate? Can they quickly find the information they need?
  • Efficiency: In addition to being easy to navigate, how quickly can a visitor find the desired information on your website? If visitors cannot find the required information effectively and efficiently, they will navigate away.
  • Learnability: Are the calls-to-action prominent? This is because if visitors are spending too much time searching for information on your website, they will spend less time consuming that information.
  • Memorability: Are the keywords associated with your website search-relevant and memorable enough so that visitors can find your website again? Repeat traffic can help boost your Google ranking.
  • Error Prevention: A broken link error can affect not only user experience but also SEO ranking. For instance, a 404 Page Not Found error or a broken link that is no longer valid can severely impact user experience and website usability.

Search engines prefer websites that are user-friendly and provide useful content. Google favors websites that are not only rich in keywords but that also establish visitor engagement.

SEO ranking improves significantly when visitors stay on your website longer, view more sections or pages and repeat their visits. The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely visitors are going to return to it.

Here are eight elements that not only increase your website’s usability but also help improve SEO ranking:

  • Keyword research: The most important step of a successful SEO campaign is keyword research. While doing keyword research, try to find which keywords or phrases potential patients are using to find your website and then decide which ones to target. Ideally, the keywords with more potential are the ones with a higher search volume and low competition. Unfortunately, your competitors must be doing similar research. This makes these keywords limited and insufficient to support your SEO campaign. Try to include long tail keywords. You must analyze your competitors’ online marketing practices, improve upon them and create your SEO strategy.
  • High-quality content: Without useful content, you cannot practice effective SEO. In order to develop an effective SEO strategy, you will need to create and publish content that is appealing to your target audience and optimized for search. Creating relevant content that generates leads means building a strong brand that improves your credibility, strengthens your brand image and expands your market presence. According to research, content between 2,000 to 2,500 words is likely to rank higher in search engine results. Although word count does not rule the SEO world and nobody will read your content if it is not informative, longer content gives you the opportunity to include more keywords and outbound links and get people to spend more time on your website. Another reason to create compelling content is that when visitors bookmark your website or content on Chrome, it helps to improve your SEO ranking in Google.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

  • Page loading speed: Most search engines include page load speed in their website ranking algorithm. Visitors may leave your website if they have to wait an extra few seconds for each page to load. This may increase bounce rate and reduce the number of pages viewed, which will impact your SEO ranking. Some studies indicated that 40 percent of visitors would abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. There are many effective ways to increase page load speed, such as using a caching plug-in, keeping the code clean, optimizing images and minimizing redirects. Correctly optimizing images can help reduce file size and improve page load speed. Upgrading your web host to a virtual private network (VPN) can help reduce page load times.
  • Technical optimization: Search engines such as Google and Bing use software called crawlers to read your website’s content and code. If your practice website is not technically perfect, it may be difficult for crawlers to read and understand its content, which will impact its rank in search engine results. It is critical to check the following technical points:
  • URL structure: Try to keep the URLs under 100 characters long, use dashes instead of underscores, and avoid special characters.
  • Title tags: Include a unique title tag on every page, and restrict the length of the title tag to 75 characters. Be sure to include relevant keywords in the title tag.
  • Meta description tags: Include a unique meta description tag on every page. Meta descriptions should ideally be up to 160 characters long and briefly describe the page.
  • Heading tags: Headings are part of the webpage’s HTML and are visible to visitors. Every web page should have only a unique H1 heading tag. Correct use of header tags can help divide your content into sections that are easier to read. Search engines focus more on keywords in header tags. By including relevant keywords in your header tags, you can boost your SEO ranking.
  • Duplicate content: These issues occur when the same content exists on your website under different URLs. This can have adverse effects on your website’s ranking as search engines may not know which version to include in their index. It is recommended to either remove the duplicate content or create redirections between the different versions.
  • Structured data: Structured data allows you to add special markup to your content, which helps the search engines to understand its type. Structured data can also provide rich snippets for your web pages in the search results pages, which can help you achieve higher rankings.
  • Quality of outbound and inbound links: To make your content more relevant, you can link out to authority websites for providing in-depth information to your readers. This will not only increase the credibility of your content and increase the time visitors spend on your website, but it is also likely to send trust signals to search engines to improve SEO ranking. However, too many outbound links can make the content hard to get through.
  • Video content: A variety of graphics, including videos and slideshows, can enrich the user experience and help to deliver content in a way that is best-suited to your target audience. Video content is increasingly gaining importance in driving user engagement and conversion. According to research, websites using videos can achieve a nearly five percent conversion rate compared to a three percent conversion rate on websites that do not use video content.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

  • Mobile optimization: Being mobile-friendly is as important for healthcare websites as it is for other businesses. Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly by bringing down their search ranking. More and more patients are consuming online content on mobile devices, and not being mobile-friendly will affect user experience and conversion rates. Going mobile does not have to be restricted to just having a responsive website. You can take it a step further and develop an app. By making your website mobile-friendly and offering a related app, you can make made your services easily accessible to a target audience.
  • Social sharing: The number of posts and shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms can significantly influence SEO ranking. Installing social sharing buttons on your practice website not only makes it easy for patients to share your content but it can also help you rank higher on searches. Social sharing can also drive purchasing behavior.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

Conclusion

If you feel you have to squeeze a keyword into a sentence, you are approaching SEO with the wrong approach. While keyword density was a common concept a few years ago, it is not very relevant these days. Instead, focus on creating content that your existing and potential patients will find useful.

If your website content sounds unnatural because you are trying to optimize it for search engines, change it. Search engines are cracking down harder on keyword stuffing, so these age-old tactics are likely to cause your rankings to drop, killing your online reputation.

You do not have to spend a lot of hard-earned money to dramatically improve your search visibility. Even simple steps can help you achieve a major SEO boost. In the end, SEO is all about improving the user experience and enhancing the usability of your practice website. Any positive change that makes your visitors happier and more comfortable navigating your website is likely to make search engines happier, too.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

4 ways to get your medical staff into PR mode

We all have a lot of responsibilities at work.

Between long hours, busy schedules and important patient matters, it can be tough to get your medical staff involved in marketing. Budget cuts also mean health care marketing departments have to stay creative with their outreach efforts, all while keeping an eye on costs.

Here are a few quick ways to get medical colleagues involved in your PR program. They might even enjoy it:

1. Develop a speakers bureau. Handpick a small group of well-spoken, amicable doctors who can speak to members of the media. The participants will feel special for being chosen, which will enhance their commitment to your efforts.

Ask the participating doctors which hot topics they can address, then pitch those stories to journalists. Be sure to create a formal—yet brief—program overview so your medical staffers know what you are looking for and what their role will be when representing the organization in media interviews. 

2. Hold media training classes. Some medical staffers might be intimidated by the thought of talking to a reporter. To ensure that they feel confident in their abilities to interact with journalists, hold a brief prep program, including HIPAA guidelines.

Your session could include the dos and don’ts of media interviews and how to respond in concise, punchy language that’s easy for laypeople to understand. Assuaging the group’s fears will make them more comfortable with PR, and it might inspire them to become involved in your initiatives.

3. Encourage content sharing. When communicators post content to your hospital’s social media properties, do you ask your staff to share it? Employees provided a powerful engine for marketing via social media.

Consider sending internal emails when major press announcements are made. Invite co-workers to share the news with their own networks, too.

4. Capitalize on your email signatures. Electronic messages are an effective way to share links and news with current patients and business connections.

Ask your staff to add a link to your company’s newsroom in their signature line so the people they email can see the great coverage your hospital is earning. It’s subtle, and it works.

Amanda Guagliardo is an account coordinator at the boutique branding and PR firm, Vitamin. The original version of this post was published on the company’s blog, Living Organism.

This article was first published in April 2015

HealthCareCommunication.com

Infographic: 5 ways to help kids ingest medication

As if toilet training, tying shoes and riding a bike aren’t enough, teaching children to swallow pills and hideous tasting liquid meds can be a challenge.

Here are a few tricks you and your medical team can offer to frustrated parents:

  • Tilting the head

  • Using throat spray

  • Starting with small sizes and working your way up

This infographic, shared by Advocate Health, has encouraging advice that health care providers can pass along to patients:

(View a larger image)

5-tips-to-help-your-child-take-medication

This article was first published in August 2016.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Top 25 Ways to Attract More Patients to Your Medical Practice

Top 25 Ways to Attract More Patients to Your Medical Practice

Marketing is essential to the success of any business, and medical practices are no exception. For a medical practice to grow, a doctor should see 30 to 50 new patients every month. Moreover, to attract new patients, a practice must offer competitive services at reasonable pricing. Retaining existing patients also demands hard work and dedication.

While it is important to maintain a relationship with your existing patients, it is equally important to grow your practice and add new patients. Of course, there are the usual ways to achieve this, including marketing techniques and referral programs, but there is much more you can do. Here are some proven ways to help you grow your practice and add new patients:

1. Know your target audience: Before you reach out to potential patients, you need to understand your current patients. Take a look at your office records and observe the average age, gender, profession and location of your existing patients. This data will help you find the best marketing techniques to promote your practice and attract new patients.

2. Train your team: Your team will get to interact with your patients before they meet you. So train your staff to present a great first impression and address patients’ questions regarding your practice. Your staff should not only know about the services you provide but also offer specific details such as pricing, equipment used during procedures, what to expect during a consult, etc.

3. Follow up with patients: Most of the practices spend about 90 percent of their resources to attract new patients. However, retaining existing patients is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to grow your practice. Also, nurturing relationships with existing patients will increase referrals.

4. Build a mobile-responsive website: Having a modern and easy-to-use website is critical for the growth of your practice and for attracting new patients. Make sure your website is responsive and works equally well on mobile devices. The objective of your practice website is to educate your potential patients so they can make an informed decision and call your clinic for an appointment. Creating a relevant and informational website is probably the most important marketing tool at your disposal.

5. Start a blog: Blogging adds fresh content to your site and also helps with SEO. Consistently posting relevant and original content on your blog shows that you know your practice and are happy to keep your patients informed. You may provide wellness tips, announce local events and share updates about your practice. You can promote the blog using Twitter and use it to engage with existing and potential patients.

6. Host contests: Contents can be an excellent way to get your target audience to know about your practice. Offering prizes and giveaways in exchange for spreading the word about your practice may bring you plenty of leads.

7. Encourage online reviews: Reviews are one of the most efficient ways for attracting new patients and growing your practice. Encourage your patients to share their feedback in an online review. You can do this by sending a follow-up email thanking your patients for their visit and encouraging them to review you online. You can offer discounts or free services to motivate patients for posting online reviews for your practice. With the patient’s permission, you can also make their reviews public by sharing them on your practice website. It will not only help in maintaining patient relationships but will also get your name out there.

8. Connect with the community: Connecting with your community will give you an opportunity to educate people and expand the list of potential patients. You can host a seminar for kids on how to care for their health and ensure hygiene. Parents will not only appreciate this but will also consult you when they need a doctor.

9. Stay active on social media: When your current patients “like” or “share” your content on social media, their entire social circle sees it. That can direct user traffic to your page and may help generate leads. The trick is to share informational content that is relevant to your target users so that more and more people feel motivated to share your content.

10. Monitor your online presence: If your practice has some negative reviews, look for the most common reasons for the complaints. If the review sites allow, make sure you respond to both positive and negative feedback to show that you care. The more positive feedback you can collect, the more calls you’ll get from potential patients.

11. Embrace technological advances: Young patients are keen on having a technologically connected healthcare experience, and you can easily achieve it through cost-effective technical updates. For instance, instead of calling your clinic, patients should be able to download their lab results from your portal. If patients are satisfied with the convenience offered by your clinic, they’ll be more likely to refer other people to your practice.

12. Be responsive: Always staff yourself adequately if you notice an increase in the number of patients. Recruit extra staff to expand your existing services and, if possible, add new services to meet the needs of new patients. You can promote the new services strategically to the target audience. By meeting local demands in a strategic and timely manner, you can increase the number of patients and grow your practice.

13. Deliver quality service: There is no way your patients will refer your practice to others if they aren’t satisfied with your attitude and services. You have to show real interest in your patients. Your manners and the look and feel of your clinic are extremely important. You must be able to communicate well with your patients and make your presence positive and uplifting.

14. Be flexible: Your office hours and appointment schedule must suit that of your patients. If your patients need early morning appointments, lunchtime or evening hours won’t work for them. You have to make yourself available at their convenience.

15. Ask for references: Patients usually don’t refer unless you ask. The simplest way to ask for references is to inform your existing patients that you have room for new patients or that you are adding new services. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and don’t forget to thank them for referrals.

16. Become a referrer: Fostering relationships with other doctors is a two-way street. Other doctors will be interested in referring patients to you if you’ve been referring patients their way. It is always best for the patient to refer them to the best-in-class doctors.

17. Send email reminders: Emails are one of the best ways to remind patients to come by for scheduled checkups. You can schedule follow-up emails after each appointment to ensure your patients never miss their checkups. You can also stay in touch with your regular patients throughout the year with hygiene tips, health news and updates about your practice.

18. Use email marketing: Email marketing is not an efficient method of staying in touch with your existing patients. But you can use emails for sending reminders, promotional offers and general updates about your practice to your existing patients.

19. Invest in local SEO: Make sure you include local SEO strategies in your marketing mix so that your practice shows up in local search results. This is because when potential patients are searching for doctors and medical services online, you want your practice to come up with the first few on top. Having your practice website appearing in the top five slots of a search engine is essential for attracting new patients.

20. Get listed in local online directories: More than 70 percent of people searching for medical professionals make their selection based on local listings in online directories such as Google+, Yelp, White Pages, etc. Listing your practice in an online local directory is a great way to steer targeted traffic to your website.

21. Generate media exposure: The right amount of media exposure can attract a large volume of new patients and increase the branding of your practice. Generating media exposure requires time, effort and a thorough understanding of how each media works. When done properly, media exposure can bring tremendous results for your practice.

22. Post real pictures of your staff: Personalize your practice website and make it an extension of your clinic. Instead of using stock and generic photos on your practice website and social media profiles, post real-life pictures of your team and office. Real-life images will display the comfort of your clinic and add some personality to your practice website.

23. Re-engage past patients: Set up a system for monitoring patient appointments and sending reminders to those who have been missing their appointments for a particular period. Even if a patient seems reluctant to return to your practice, you might convince them to come back with a few small gestures.

24. Take all cases seriously: Always answer patient calls, especially emergency calls, promptly. If patients are suffering and you are not available for them, they will never come to see you again. If you are available for patients in times of an emergency and go above and beyond for them, they will not waste a minute in spreading the good word about your practice.

25. Brochures and business cards: Brochures kept in your office or mailed to potential and existing patients can be an effective marketing tool. Information available in catalogs can be an educational tool that creates awareness about your practice. Moreover, displaying business cards in your reception area will keep your name intact, and patients will have access to your contact information for future reference.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

9 Ways to Make Your Practice’s Website More Responsive

9 Ways to Make Your Practice's Website More Responsive

The very first encounter many of your patients will have with your practice is their Internet search for you, making your website your first opportunity to attract and convert patients and boost patient satisfaction. The user experience you provide should be one that loads quickly, states information clearly and navigates effortlessly. Many desktop sites don’t offer this when viewed on a mobile device. According to a KCPB Internet Trends 2015 report, people spent more of their Internet time on their phones vs. other computing devices. Bottom line: If your website isn’t responsive, you’re already missing the mark to attract patients and achieve high scores on those patient satisfaction surveys!

The concept of responsive web design is simple: One single website designed so that it adapts on-the-fly to fit various viewing devices (screen sizes, orientations, etc.). Eliminating the need to maintain multiple websites, designing a responsive website is crucial for the success of your practice.

Here are nine tips to make your website design more responsive:

1. Avoid flash. Keep videos and large images to a minimum, as they increase the loading time for your pages.

2.Make sure your viewport accommodates various sizes. A viewport is a meta tag at the header of a page that tells browsers how to display the site’s content. If you do not have a viewport meta tag, mobile browsers will default to desktop dimensions, which is cumbersome on mobile devices. You also shouldn’t specify dimensions in the viewport information, but leave it as width=device-width to accommodate for different screen sizes. Google has a step-by-step tutorial here.

3. Create “tap-able” links and buttons. Fingers on touch screens need a larger target than someone working with a mouse at a desktop would. Make sure the buttons and links are spaced far enough apart that mobile users don’t accidentally hit something else.

4. Enlarge fonts and image resolution. For fonts, 16 pixels is the recommended minimum. For images, use high-resolution photos that can withstand the scrutiny of high definition screens and the ability to zoom in.

5. Include a working telephone button on your website so that users can tap it and call your office right away.

6. Keep the most important information at the top of the page. Remember that mobile users have to scroll. Don’t force users to scroll through a lot of content in order to find out how to contact you or make an appointment. Put that information – how to make appointments, find your office, etc. – toward the top of the page.

7. Listen to Google. Google has a list of factors it considers part of mobile-friendliness. Get familiar with them so you understand how your site’s usability stacks up and what the problem areas may be. You can peruse the “Mobile Usability” section of their Search Console guide here. Google also provides a free Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

8. Use YouTube for videos. To make sure your videos display properly on devices of all sizes, upload your healthcare site’s videos using YouTube. YouTube’s code is responsive already, meaning it will show up in the right proportions based on a device’s screen size.

9. Test your site on multiple mobile devices to spot any trouble spots. Try each button, video and link, and fill out any forms on your site on each device.

A responsive website is a crucial part of your healthcare marketing plan. Practice Builders will give you a free marketing consult to evaluate your website and create a plan of action to make it more responsive. Sign up for a free consultation with us today; simply call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at info@PracticeBuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

7 Ways to Motivate Patients to Achieve Their 2017 Health Goals

7 Ways to Motivate Patients to Achieve Their 2017 Health Goals

Patient compliance is a challenging issue for the medical professional. Your desire to help your patients succeed is often derailed when they don’t do their part. Get a jump-start in January and use the New Year’s motivating force to your advantage!

Use these seven strategies to motivate patients to change, and help them meet their healthcare goals:

1. Set simple goals. You know where your patients need to be and the steps it will take to get there, so break their big goals into smaller ones and present them one at a time. For example, if you’re a physical therapist and know your patient’s end goal is to walk again, break that down into manageable goals that your patient can meet. It will be less overwhelming for your patient to reach a smaller milestone, and the progress will be a motivating factor in continuing their regimen at home.

2. Educate patients with handouts. Keep brochures on hand relating to a variety of health conditions. Then hand them out to patients, highlighting any important statistics or tips that relate directly to them. For example, seeing the mortality rate from heart disease might persuade your patient to maintain a better diet.

3. Make community connections. If you know of a community service your patient would benefit from, provide them the necessary info to get connected. For instance, if your patient needs help losing weight, a support group for overeaters might make a difference. Sometimes just a little extra support is all they need to stay motivated between appointments.

4. Host a workshop. Host a workshop that educates patients how to live with their chronic condition. For example, if you serve a large diabetic or cardiac patient base where diet is crucial to managing the diseases, offer a free workshop on how to read and interpret food labels and uncover the hidden dangers of certain foods.

5. Give homework. Make sure your patients know their success is largely in their own hands. Tell them exactly what they need to do at home, and let them know you’ll be checking their progress at the next appointment. Give your patients an exercise or diet journal to log their progress and hold them accountable to bring it to every visit.

6. Keep in touch. Make sure to schedule regular follow-ups with your patients and consider having a receptionist phone or email to check on them between appointments. Let them know they can call or email with any questions or concerns between appointments, too. The added attention will boost their motivation.

7. Eliminate obstacles. Does your patient have a cognitive or physical challenge impairing his/her ability to follow your medication or therapy regimen? For example, maybe he/she doesn’t understand medication dosing guidelines, can’t tolerate certain pill sizes or have difficulty opening medication bottles. Knowing of an impairment is the first step in removing it.

Practice Builders can help you motivate and educate your patients. Just email us at info@practicebuilders.com or call us at 855.898.2710 today for a free marketing consult. Whether you need brochures, webinars or blogs, we’ve got the tools you need to help your patients meet their health goals.

Medical Healthcare Marketing