Consumers Drive Telemedicine- Do They Know You’re Onboard?

Posted by barbarahales

The public is becoming more proactive in their own healthcare.  They seek flexibility, availability, convenience, and high-quality care which they can access at any time during the day or night.  This is especially true for the older individual or the one who is either housebound or in a rural setting miles away from medical care.   Telehealth offers this.

Physicians also see the benefit as it is convenient to see their patients through this medium in lieu of getting in the car and dragging themselves to the emergency room in the dead of night or the office on weekends. Instead,doctors can communicate through iPads, laptops, and smartphones to patients with Skype, video conferencing or FaceTime.
It's growth has been exponential over the last year. Not only do patients want this, but also interest has been peaked with insurance providers who can save money with patient-doctor interactions by making healthcare access available with great quality at home settings instead of the more expensive hospital environment.

 

It is no surprise as to why this is becoming so popular.  Telemedicine replaces emergency room and office consultations saving hugh sums while still providing low-cost options to individuals.

The thing is, once you have adopted telemedicine, do your patients know about it?  Do all the consumers which are prospective patients know about it?  If they did, your practice would grow considerably.

So how do you get the word out?

These 8 strategies will put you and your medical practice or health facility front and center with virtually no negative impact on your budget:

  1. Send news releases about new products and services, contests, awards, open houses, speaking engagements
  2. Write how-to articles for newspapers, magazines, trade publications and newsletters.  Offer lots of free advice.  It helps establish you as an expert
  3. Get onto the speaking circuit to community groups and trade associations.  It's a wonderful way to create a buzz about your practice. These groups are constantly looking for new speakers.
  4. Create a website that offers advice, reciprocal links, articles by and about you, story ideas about your practice, an electronic media kit and a list of experts the media can contact
  5. Start an Ezine ( an electronic newsletter) which helps you promote your services to an audience and costs almost nothing.  You can send the ezine to reporters who cover your industry
  6. Look for photo opportunities like local newspapers, TV stations, trade publications and other media which are always looking for interesting photos.  Call the media with ideas or submit your own photos
  7. Give free classes and demonstrations at health fairs, adult education programs or at your own medical practice.  Invite the media to attend
  8. Participate in social media discussion groups and offer lots of helpful advice.  Reporters lurk here and if they're impressed with your messages, they might contact you for a story.

Need help or ideas with your marketing plans?  No worries!  Contact Barbara Hales, M.D. at 561-325-9664.  Get a free consultation to discuss your needs.

 

Inbound marketing to Grow Your Medical Practice

Posted by barbarahales

It's hard enough these days that we have to worry about  diverting our attention from the "business" of seeing patients to the "business of medicine".

Now it is reported that inbound marketing can attract ideal patients organically and help grow our medical practices.  That's great but what the heck is inbound marketing?

Inbound Marketing

Simply put, inbound marketing is a way to share information with prospective or current patients who are actively seeking this information or the solutions to the problems that they are experiencing.  This is much better than traditional marketing where you are fighting for attention, especially in medicine where marketing was taboo until recent years.

Inbound marketing is becoming crucial to the medical practice and consists of:

  • Health blogs: the most personal and effective technique for attracting new viewers to your website. The right individual will be the one who is sparked by your message and finds answers in your blogs.
  • Ezines: enables you to convey the latest medical breakthroughs, the services that you provide and information to various medical problems.
  • Newsletters
  • Content creation
  • SEO (search engine optimization): incorporation of selected keywords that describe your medical practice enables the search engines to find you so that when patients are doing a search, you are the one that pops up and gets a prominent position in the list.
  • Social Media: the various channels provides an avenue to share information with individuals and engage with prospective patients and enables interaction so that they can get to know you, your personality and the services that you provide.
  • Analytics: tools help demonstrate which messages are appealing to your prospective patients and the topics that they find most interesting.

Customize your content to the specific needs and interests of the viewers and your demographics. Integrate it through various channels to approach people where they dwell. We want to attract those individuals who will be right for our practice as opposed to just writing for everyone.

Benefits of Inbound Marketing for the Medical Practice

Inbound marketing strengthens your brand and gives you greater visibility enabling you to become a household word in your community. It puts you together with clients searching for information about your medical practice and the service you provide to:

  • Boost online visits each month
  • Enhance search engine ranking
  • Leads cost 62% less than leads from traditional advertising
  • Better  conversion rates—a higher percentage of visitors become leads
  • Gain thought leadership and credibility positioning yourself as an authority in your field
  • Get more effective use of your marketing budget enabling you to  measure results to the dollar

Need help with your inbound marketing? Ask your questions at Support@CompleteContentPackage.com and they will be answered or for more personalized engagement, call 561-325-9664.  Let's discuss your needs!

Latest Trends in Medical Marketing

Posted by barbarahales

Why is knowing the latest trends in medical marketing so crucial for your practice?  Simply by knowing which gives you the highest rate of investment (ROI) or rate of return is important to know where to concentrate your marketing dollars and which you may want to devote less of your budget.

A report was recently issued by Opticall which reflects their 2015 marketing review and how each category garnered more patient appointments as a result of marketing using a specific technique.

They ranked 9 categories and showed which increased and which decreased.

booked appointments as a result

  1. Referrals                                51.49%
  2. Internet                                  27.9%
  3. Radio                                       9.1%
  4. TV                                             2.6%
  5. Signs                                         2.05%
  6. Insurance company                1.67%
  7. Print                                         .90%
  8. Direct Mail                              .59%
  9. Health Fairs/events               .53%

Only the first two categories increased in the last 16 months and the rest declined.

It is no great shock that the highest number of appointments booked were due to word of mouth referrals by other patients, neighbors, friends and family members.  This has been the case for a long time.  The thing is, the percentage of patients booked as a result of referrals increased over the other marketing channels.

Capitalize on Referrals

  1. Staff: No matter how great physicians and healthcare providers are, patients want an overall good experience.  That means that each staff member that the patient will encounter, must also provide a great experience.  Interactions should be polite, respectful and helpful.
  2. Profiles: Even though the initial referral may have been the result of someone that they know and trust, prospective patients will then go online to check you out.  Besides Yelp, there are many physician ranking sites that are available.  Know what they say about you.  A great way to capitalize on the exposure, is to have a stellar profile on each site (which is available for you to enter data on).  In addition, you can create stellar profiles on social media sites and it is a great opportunity to let patients know more about you, your practice, services that you provide and staff members.
  3. Loyalty Program: implement an incentive program to entice your current patients to refer you.  This can be an eBook, tip sheet or other information that your patients would be interested in.  Don't forget to send a thank you card for referrals.  Acknowledging your patients for their efforts goes a long way!
  4. SEO: remember to incorporate keywords into your blogs and digital newsletters or ezines so that search engines can find and rank you higher.

Need help with content marketing for your medical practice?  Contact me at 561-325-9664 for a free consultation.  Let's discuss your needs and get you going down a more efficient path!

Helpful Tools for your Medical Blogging and Health Articles

Posted by barbarahales

Blogging is all about getting your message across while strengthening your brand and gaining visibility.  While this may seem intuitive, how to go about it may not be.

There are tools that help you achieve readership and make your messages more captivating:

The Readability Test Tool:

In trying to convey your message, it is easy to get caught up in medical terminology and complex explanations which you may think sends the impression that you are knowledgeable about your topic.  Unfortunately, your readers may not easily get what you are trying to say.  Ideally, since you are writing for the general public, you will want to stay between grade 8 and 9 in comprehension.

Since you may have an impressive vocabulary, it may not occur to you that certain words are more difficult for others.  This is where the readability test tool comes in handy.  Highlight what you have written and the tool will let you know the average age level that your content is geared to.  In addition, it will highlight words that you could simplify to achieve the reading level that you are after.  You may think that simplifying your material is insulting, but throwing in words that they would have to look up to define is a way to turn off your viewers instead.

Pictures

Images that convey your story and that appeal to readers, helps attract eyes to your articles and sprinkling into the body of your content goes  a long way to captivating your viewers.  These images don't have to cost a great deal of money.  There are several sites that you can visit.  Two that I like are:

Pixabay- while some photos here have a charge, most are royalty free and can be downloaded without charge. Look to see if the photo is designated as public domain.  Others can be used with a simple credit under the photo to the photographer.

Unsplash- site that provides copyright-free photos for you to download.  The stipulation with this site though is that there are only ten new photos posted daily.  By visiting often, you can amass a library of photos that will be useful for your future articles.

Highlighting Keywords

It is crucial that as you compose your content in blogging or articles for publication, that you incorporate keywords that reflect your medical practice and help with your medical marketing.  This is where the next tool comes in:

Soovie (soovie.com)

Typing in your practice keyword allows you to find out which keywords are the most effective in all the major search engines. (i.e. Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, YouTube).  As you type in an entry, each search engine reflects the most used keywords on their site.  In addition, you can discover which keywords are the ones used most on a daily basis.  This captures new viewers as prospective patients in the future.

soovle

Try these tools out and let me know how it went for you!  Contact me at Support@CompleteContentPackage.com  When you do, I will let you know more helpful tools that are not listed here.

6 Smart Tips for Better Medical Blogging

Posted by barbarahales

Now that you have committed to being consistent with posting your blog and getting your message out, keep the following tips in mind so that your blogging is well-received and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Don't Be a Bore

This is the most important rule to keep in mind! People appreciate the written word but in general are more entertained by dynamic content.  If possible, include video or audio when thou get a chance.  Most blogging platforms today can easily integrate content from YouTube or any video site.

Be a Collaborator

You don't have to be the author of all your blog postings.  Collaborate with colleagues.  This is a great opportunity for cross-promotion.  "You write for me and i'll write for you".  This also gets you viewed by a wider audience of patients that might not have seen you otherwise.

Do it the Easy Way

Don't get complicated with your blog.  If you have to depend on someone to maintain it for you, make sure it's someone you can count on.  The moment the blog stops being fun, the moment your interest starts dwindling because positing is complicated…that's the moment your blog starts to die.

Be Hard on Yourself

Make sure you have the discipline to post at least twice a week if you want to create a disciplined following.  Be consistent about when you post new info. If your posting schedule is all over the place, you stop being a reliable source of information and people are going to place their attention somewhere else.

Tag, You're It!

Make sure to tag all your articles and entries.  This will make it easier for the search engines to find you and can be used to navigate better on your own blog.

Let a Pro Do the Designs

Even the tastiest morsels of information are hard to swallow when a Blog looks dreadful.  A badly designed site has a negative impact on your credibility; it's like showing up to work unwashed, unshaven and in your old clothes.  In most cases, people will have a hard time getting to your message be causes your appearance is not consistent with it.  So, unless you're a designer, leave it to the pros.

Use a professionally designed template if possible or hire somebody that knows the way around blog design.  If you're not comfortable with your writing skills, consider hiring a freelance copywriter to handle the task for you.

Contact me at 561-325-9664 and we can discuss your needs, or email me at Support@CompleteContentPackage.com.  Let's get you started!

 

Getting Subscribers to Your Newsletter- Part 2

Posted by barbarahales

Okay, you have started to implement some of the tools that we discussed yesterday.

Here is some subtle additions that you can add to the mix that will spur additional signups.

Have I got something for you!

Offer something that your viewers would find interesting or of value to them.  It could be a tip sheet, which supplements will improve various conditions, an ebook, the most recent breakthroughs in medicine, an FAQ (frequently asked questions with answers) etc.  Be creative and think of something that only subscribers are eligible for. Consider offering special videos, podcasts, guides or discs to first-time subscribers.

Signature

Insert the newsletter name and link after your email signature and have it appear consistently, whenever your name appears.

Talk about the newsletter

Promote your newsletter to audiences when you attend seminars or give talks and let them know what benefits they can receive by signing up.  Have some handouts or samples of the newsletter with you and a subscription link or QR code for them to access the enrollment form. Make a slide of your newsletter to appear with your other slides at the end of your presentations.

Display testimonials

Let perspective subscribers know what your raving fans have to say about you and how complimentary they are!  Place this adjacent to the opt-in box after you have gotten permission to do so.  Even more powerful is having the testimonials in video format on the website.

Publish articles

Write pertinent articles and publish them everywhere- online, other people's sites, and in trade shows with a mention of the newsletter and link to it on your resource box.

Use Friends as Resources

Encourage friends and peers to promote your newsletter to their fans and friends or mailing lists.  Offer to swap information from your friends to your list in exchange.

 

Keep your list fresh!  People's data changes, they more, or they may opt-out.  Continually promote the newsletter to grow the data base list.

One of the main purposes of writing and/or marketing medical newsletters is to grow your practice, get potential patients to make that appointment or consultation with you and to strengthen your brand with name recognition in your community.

Perhaps you would like to have a newsletter but don't have the time to create one.  No worries!  Outsource it!  We can customize your newsletters or Ezines for you. Contact me, Barbara Hales, M.D. and we can discuss your needs and get you started!

Medical Newsletters- How Do You Get People to Subscribe to Yours?

Posted by barbarahales

Your happy patients and biggest fans are subscribers.  They've raised their hands and stated enthusiastically that they actually want to hear more of what you have to say; they want you to contact them.

More importantly, they are eager to interact and engage, and want to know more about the services that you provide.  What's more, avid subscribers will pass the information on to friends and families, increasing the subscription base and increase your medical practice along the way.

So how do you get these avid fans?

The Secret to Capturing Subscribers

1) Opt-in Box

The opt-in box leading to the enrollment form for the newsletter needs to be prominently displayed on your website.  If website navigation is difficult, and the opt-in box is not readily visible, potential subscribers will not take the additional time and effort looking for it.  You will have lost this viewer.

Studies show that most visitors only see the first half of a website and don't scroll down, so having the opt-in box on top instead of the bottom of a webpage, can triple those signing up for the newsletter.

You have to make your opt-in box easily visible.  Place the sign-up on:

  • Every page of your website- visitors may not return to your home page when perusing your site.  Don't make it a missed opportunity
  • All your social media sites- let your peers, like-minded people and fans know that you have a newsletter for them to subscribe to
  • Share- ask your social media friends and fans to share
  • Swap links- get more exposure by placing a link or ad on other sites
  • Bylines from your guest posts- exposure on other sites with new audiences may sign up to read what other solutions you offer them
  • Bylines from published articles- a great opportunity to capture subscribers by adding a catchy description of the newsletter with a link to the subscription page
  • After your name on email responses- place an attention-getting depiction of the newsletter.  As the email is spread around, so will chances for new subscribers be disseminated.
  • Bylines on public forums or chat rooms- when you solve problems that people are struggling with; they want to read more about what you have to offer
  • Business cards- add links or QR code to the newsletter sign-up to let everyone know that the newsletter exists and is open for subscribing.
  • Call to action- let people know to subscribe to your newsletter from your blogs

2) Social Media

Produce an attention-grabbing icon for the newsletter, which links to the newsletter's enrollment form. Place this link on the front of your Facebook Page in a prominent location.

As each new issue of the newsletter is published, create a synopsis with a reminder on the various social media sites (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook)  Ask people on your social media sites to sign up for the newsletter.

More ideas for you will appear in the next post.  Don't miss it!

 

Postcards for Medical Marketing

Posted by barbarahales

If your marketing activity doesn't include postcards, you're overlooking a highly effective and very low-cost sales tool.
Here are 12  reasons postcards should be part of your medical marketing program.

  1. Postcards Design is Easy- designing an effective postcard is not complicated.  It can be as simple as printing your best small message on a 4 6 card and sending it to a list of potential patients informing them about your office or a new procedure that is being done in your practice.
  2. Postcards Promote Good Will- send out Thank You cards to show your gratitude in friends and family members referred to your office.  Send out birthday cards to recognize their important day.  Send out reminder cards to get current patients coming back and keeping their care consistent.
  3. Postcard Printing is Relatively Inexpensive- You can print postcards with your own computer for pennies each or have them printed professionally for around 4-8 cents each.
  4. Postcard Postage is Thrifty- Unless you get into specialty sizes, it costs less to mail a postcard than a letter.
  5. Postcards are Read More Often- because postcards are delivered "ready to read", almost everybody will read it- even people who usually throw out other types of direct mail without opening it. (even people coming into contact with the card may read it- an added bonus)
  6. Postcards Produce Fast Results- Because postcards are simple and easy to use- they produce results fast.  You can mail postcards within a few days of deciding to use them…and you'll start getting calls for appointments within 2-3 days.
  7. Postcards Can be Posted- Postcards can be posted on bulletin boards or attached with magnets to refrigerators so that they are in easy site to remind the individual to contact your office.
  8. Postcards Can Be Shared- Postcards are easy to handle and can be passed on to others- friends and family providing referrals for prospective patients.
  9. Postcard Results are Easy to Measure- Postcards normally generate over 90% of their total response within 7-10 days.  This enables you to quickly and accurately evaluate the results of a postcard campaign.
  10. Postcards Make you Standout- Nowadays, much of the "mailing" is done online so that returning to snail mail, makes you stand out from your competitors
  11. Postcards Hit Their Targets Better- You can accurately target your patients by sending postcards only to mailing lists of prospects likely to be interested in the services you provide.
  12. Postcards Put YOU in Control- You can quickly boost or reduce your office appointment load anytime you want by simply regulating the number of postcards you mail and how often you mail them.

Ready to start a postcard campaign?  Give it a try.  Contact me at 561-325-9664 and I can get you started!

Medical Tweets- Who shouldn’t you follow?

Posted by barbarahales

It goes without saying that when you are representing yourself as a physician or health professional in social media,  you do not want to be argumentative or use profanity.  You also don't want to get into specifics about any one patient as this is a direct violation of HIPAA regulations.

But who should you NOT follow?

There are several categories of people that you would be best served by shying away from them.  These individuals can be described as:

  1. The Non-Follower: While there are major twitter feeds that I like to keep up with like NJM, Mayo Clinic, British Lancet for instance, I will not follow those who do not follow me.  It stands to reason that if a viewer sees that those following you are a mere fraction of the number you follow, it will appear that you are a small fish in a large pond- hardly a guru in your field. In other words, they create a bad image of you by causing poor statistics.
  2. Fake Website: Check out the URL on the twitter site.  If it is not valid, chances are that the creator of this tweet is a spammer
  3. Fake Moniker: if the twitter handle is just the name of a company or profession (and has nothing to do with the health field) and there is no real name, it is a good idea not to validate them
  4. Chatty Cathy: If someone is dominating the Twitter stream with irrelevant or insignificant posts, don't tie up the feed.  Your other viewers will get "fed up" and stop viewing you, missing the messages that you will want to convey
  5. Fan Club: Don't follow people who are only following you and want you to reciprocate to drive up their numbers.  Often they also advertise that they can get you more followers for a fee or have other products that they would like you to buy.
  6. The Bore: If someone is a total yawn and is not informative or entertaining, cut the association.  Reading them will be a chore and nothing more.
  7. Negative Nelly: Get rid of those who only want to cut down people, complain about services and bad-mouth the health profession.
  8. Aliens: If a twitter site is comprised only of nonEnglish posts, there is no value.  If you can't speak the language, you can't understand the post.  In other words, there is no point to the post for you.

Keep in mind that the real benefit of twitter is forming relationships with them.  Since the above people will not enable you to do so, there is no real reason to follow them. Think of those you enjoy reading…those who are entertaining and educational- and your viewers will too!

Need help tweeting on a a regular basis?  That is where a social media expert can help.  Contact me at: 561-325-9664  and we can get you started!

5 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Medical Website

Posted by barbarahales

As a physician, you have spent a great deal of time and money to making sure that you have a professional online site that is in sync with your services and puts in your best light to attract referrals and prospective patients.  The thing is, how are you going to get it seen?

The key is medical marketing.  The thing is, most doctors don't understand the value of setting aside time or budgets to drive viewers to your website.  As competition increases, this will be crucial….But the beauty of marketing is that you can do it with very little financial investment.  How, you ask?

Social media!

Results of a February 2015 report by Forbes, showed that as much as a third of all referral traffic to websites came from social media in the 4th Quarter of last year.

While you may want to add Facebook or Twitter ads to the mix down the road, you can begin getting free traffic from social media with these 5 steps.

use twitter to drive traffic Readers go to Twitter for useful content and now the site has changed to allow videos and images as well!  Post during the hours that your patients view it the most frequently, like when the kids are in bed or lunch breaks.  In the beginning, you may want to post sporadically until you find that sweet spot for the times that your target market is on the site.

Keep in mind that twitter posts are constantly scrolling so that you need to post often or the majority of viewers will never see your posts.

 

use facebook to drive trafficFacebook allows you to have sites or pages that are specific to your medical practice.  Do not mix it with your private page where your Aunt Tillie and Cousin Ed are posting family photos or obscene jokes.

Then too, post content that is in sync with your medical practice.  Talking about the latest Ferrari model will turn off your fans faster than hitting the delete button!  Instead, mention the latest in medical breakthroughs, techniques and procedures that you do, what to expect when they visit your office, information regarding various medical conditions and the most frequently asked questions and answers.

Spice it up with some videos, and inspirational quotes.  You can even have a question of the day or a contest having people guess the caption under an image that you post.

 

use pinterest to drive trafficIf done right, Pinterest could drive traffic to your site for YEARS. Use your selected keywords in the board title along with pin names.  When interest users search for these words, your pins pop up.  Make them attractive and informative and more of your pins will be shared with others and then others, having them grow exponentially.
Blog posts enable you to inform, educate and entertain your viewer.  While there are several sites, the most popular and easy to use is WordPress.
 In addition to posting information on your blog, you can add a call to action such as a sign up for your newsletter, call for an appointment to your office, or email to get slides or tip sheets.

Podcasts

We have discussed having podcasts during the week, but podcasts allow you to put on your own "radio/ipod/smartdevice show.  Here you can interview other experts, talk about medical conditions or the latest in medicine for your field.

Outsource

If all of this seems overwhelming, don't be a victim of "Paralysis by Analysis".  Simply outsource it.  If you need help, email Support@CompleteContentPackage.com and your needs can be met instantly!