Is Your Health Website Healthy?

Posted by barbarahales

Take a good look at your website through fresh eyes. Ask yourself whether you present solutions to specific problems. Your viewers are certainly going to your site for this reason- to find answers.

It’s Not About You!

 Once you have decided your branding and how you would like to present yourself, don’t keep it a secret! The real secret is telling your viewers, patients and prospective clients about you in a way that serves them…that solves their problems.

Tell your viewers solutions to their problems right away in the headline (packed with power to elicit emotions and responses). Then tell them again within the first paragraph. Engage your readers and draw them in fast or you’ve lost them.

People make decisions with their heart and justify them with their brain. You’ve heard this before and it’s true. Don’t pack your site with dry information and spew it forth. Instead, write to attract and court your reader. Your data can be on your “about” page.

Give them space

Sure, there is a lot of information that you would like to provide. But throwing it all out there may make it difficult to read. Have white space around each idea or thought- a place for your viewer’s eyes to rest. It will make reading your information much easier.

Can you be scanned?

Time is of the essence and most viewers will simply scan a page to determine if reading it is worth their while. Have subheads, bolded sentences and bullet points to allow scanning to take place and still convey your message or pique their interest.

Ask yourself these questions

Is your website:

  • Easy to navigate?
  • Easy to understand?
  • Easy to see what you stand for?
  • Easy to get answers to their problems?

Make sure to have your address (if you are a brick and mortar business) and telephone number prominently displayed.

Call to Action

Decide what you want your viewer to do and tell them.

Is it to

  • Call you?
  • Send for a free report or tip sheet?
  • Sign up for a newsletter?

Contact me for a free review of your website and some tips to tweak it at:




7 Tips to going Viral in Health care

Posted by barbarahales

Going viral in healthcare and your medical practice is actually a good thing!  It means that just like the viruses, your message spreads like wild fire.  Isn’t that what you want?

The thing is, most of us would like to know how to entice people to spread your message.

Tips on Going Viral

1) Post videos and pictures

If your images can evoke emotion, there is a good chance that it will be shared.  Think of “Bizarre ER” on television or the show “ER” which aired for many years.  People are entranced by medical cases, emergency situations, realistic “blood and guts” photos which to you are run-of-the-mill, everyday occurrences.   What may seem like just an ordinary pathology specimen may be something that people can’t divert their eyes from.  Throwing in a back story is a clincher.

2) Link your content to breaking news in health.  

If you can link it to a celebrity, it is a sure bet that it will get many views.  Consider ambulatory surgery.  The story might be dull.  Now throw in the same story and add Joan Rivers to the mix. Presto!  You’ve got something. there!  Everyone wanted to know how a surgical problem leading to death could happen to Joan Rivers….and if it could happen to her, it could happen to them!  It was shared thousands of times.

3) Write an inspiring quote of the day.  

When it comes to health, there is no shortage of quotes that famous people have said.

4) Share a humorous story.  

People love to laugh and share a joke or two with their friends.  When you get a good joke online, don’t you email it to everyone that you think might appreciate it?  There is humor in medicine.  There are even famous epitaphs on gravestones that are a riot!  A little googling goes a long way here.

5) Offer a solution to the problems that your patients face.

This can be in the form of the most frequently asked questions and answers (FAQ), E-book, patient guide, tip sheet. When someone expresses a desire to get your information, you’ve captured the name and email for your database, for future spread of your messages or to inform them of your services.

6) Run a contest

Consider giving something valuable to your viewer to encourage action (e.g. this may be in the form of likes to your Facebook page or how many friends they could get linking to you, how many YouTube views, Pinterest followers, etc.)

7) Incorporate your keywords

Your keywords should be highlighted and hold a prominent position in website content, blogs and articles.  This will allow search engines to know what you are about so that you stand out in the searches your target audience does online.

The more times your content is spread, the more times your name and services are spread.  This is a very effective way to advertise (without seeming like you are advertising) and a stellar opportunity to strengthen your brand.

Strategy Tip for Health Marketing your Practice- Podcast Creation

Posted by barbarahales

as written by Barbara Hales, M.D. for MedMonthly and published in an earlier issue

Have you Considered Podcast Creation?

MircophoneDocWEBPodcast publication takes medical marketing to the next level.

After mastering article and newsletter publication along with blogging and social media, the next step is podcasting.  This tool complements your other marketing strategies and reaches a vast new market that you may not have reached for new patients and clients.  What’s more, you don’t have to compete for attention as much as with other modalities yet.

According to Edison Research, almost 50% of Americans over the age of 12 (70 million) have listened to or watched a minimum of one podcast over the last year.

Benefits of Podcasts

There are several benefits that podcasts offer for healthcare providers, which include:

Strengthening Brand Recognition

The more places that people see your logo, message, voice, name or practice, the stronger your brand becomes.

Simply put, brand recognition is the level at which the public can identify a company by its features or intellectual property. When the general public can recall a brand simply by hearing or seeing associated characters like logos, taglines, slogans, colors, voices and programs, then the brand increases strength and revenue.

By having podcast programs on a regular basis, your message is spread and you stay in the minds of your current contacts while attracting a new audience and new prospective patients.

Increasing Online Traffic

Podcasts link to your website, increasing search engine ranking while simultaneously creating fresh material on your site. With discussed topics laden with your targeted keywords, you further improve the association of these keywords with you and enhance your search engine optimization (SEO).

Enabling a modality for instruction

Podcasts provide a way that you can explain techniques, preoperative and postoperative instruction or new medical breakthroughs.

How to Create a Podcast

Start by answering these questions:


What is the goal of your podcast?


What is the motif of your podcast?  Will it be education?  Does it reflect your practice?  Will you be able to recycle it to your website?


How frequent will the podcast be aired?  Make sure that you are consistent here.  If a fan wants to hear the program through a live streaming mode, don’t disappoint this fan and essentially turn away interested individuals, unlikely to return.


What format you might distribute your podcast in?  This just depends on which theme you select and the technology you use.


If you don’t already have the necessary gear to begin a podcast, you either need to invest in the basic gear – a computer with Internet access, a microphone, and headphones – or invest in a computer that already contains these items.  Keep in mind that these are the basic tools.  If you want to include video, you’ll need the proper equipment for that as well.

Structure of an Effective Podcast

Consider the “4 Ps”.

1) Plan

Planning out the podcast will help you focus on your goals, prevent babbling, and create a much better podcast that will attract more listeners.


  • Topic
  • Format of the podcast
  • Length of each episode
  • Frequency that new shows will be released

Select a topic that both reflect your medical practice and your passion. Write an outline that keeps you on track without losing focus during recording. The outline will also help listeners know what they expect to hear.

2) Production

Consider giving interviews.  This is a great way to demonstrate your authority while having someone else do the talking, helping to relieve the pressure of being the sole content creator.

Engage your listeners.  Have them call in and ask questions, which creates content, not only for the specific show, but also as a basis for a future show.  This also lures listeners into tuning into a new show to hear a continuation of a program that was of interest to them.

3) Podcast Publication

To publish your podcast to the Internet:

  • Register a Web Address (this is also called a domain name)
  • Find/Buy Web Hosting (this is to help store your blog and or site and your audio files onto the internet)
  • Start a Blog (this is your personal web site for posting your show notes, links, and anything else)
  • Create an RSS Feed (this is the feed that your listeners will subscribe to so they can automatically download new episodes of your podcast straight to there mp3’s)

If you can tie the podcast into your website, or linked to a tab on your website, it will promote additional traffic to you.

4) Podcast Promotion

The first step in promoting your podcast is the description itself.  It should be clear and give an accurate representation of the contents.

The next step is to get it out there; there are tons of sites that list podcasts. There are podcast directories, forums that discuss podcasts and then there are the search engines also.

The last step is growth management.  This is where you will have an ever- increasing number of listeners and may even attain cult status for your podcast.

If you need help with your podcast creation or would like to kick around a few ideas, contact me for a free consultation at

I would be happy to help you get started.


Is your health marketing Old School?

Posted by barbarahales

Clearly what had been working for you over the last few years, will not continue to work for you in the future.  Just as medical practices have had to change or die, so does marketing for medical practices and health facilities change over time.

As Darwin pointed out, the strongest do not survive.  It is the one who adapts that survives!

So, just what is trending in health marketing as we move toward the new year?

Let’s take a look at the information based on Marketing Profs and Content Marketing Institute’s  B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report.

The top take-away message of their meeting and report was “if you want to be more effective at content marketing, document your strategy”.

Only 35% say they have documented content strategy.  Those who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness -60%       70% of content marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago

The top 5 social media platform usage (for B2B) which works well for referrals and conferring with colleagues:

  • LinkedIn-94%
  • Twitter-88%
  • Facebook-84%
  • Email-72%
  • Google+ 64%

The top 3 challenges of content marketing:

  • Creating engaging content
  • Producing content consistently
  • Measuring content effectiveness

The top 5 goals for content marketing:

  • Brand Awareness 84%
  • Lead Generation 83%
  • Engagement 81%
  • Sales 75%
  • Lead Nurturing 74%

Key differences between B2B (doctor to doctor or hospital interaction) vs. B2C  (doctor to patient interaction) 

B2B    vs.  B2C

  • Creating a better mobile strategy: 58%  vs. 74%
  • Better understanding content marketing technology:  70% vs. 77%
  • Leveraging user or fan generated content:48%  vs. 70%
  • Real-time content marketing:47% vs. 58%
  • Content personalization:44% vs. 70%
  • Developing a Channel plan for social media:47% vs. 75%

Content Marketing Tactics

The average number of tactics used in business is 13.  The top 10 are:

  1. Social media content (other than blogs)  92%
  2. eNewsletters  83%
  3. Articles on your website  81%
  4. Blogs  80%
  5. In-person events  77%
  6. Case studies  77%
  7. Videos  76%
  8. Illustrations/Photos  65%
  9. White Papers  68%
  10. Online presentations  65%

Which of these tactics are you using for your health marketing?

Certain techniques or tools lend themselves well for both B2B and B2C health marketing- drawing in both referral bases and attracting more patients by strengthening your brand.  Consider an eNewsletter.  There is no outside expense such as postage here and it provides an opportunity where you can highlight:

  • procedures that you are doing (that are unique to your practice) or that are new in your field
  • new staff members
  • new affiliations
  • new insurance participation
  • disease or technique of the week
  • process patients follow in case of emergencies or signs to look for necessitating a call to you
  • who covers the practice
  • new medical devices

The health content pertaining to you is endless.  Remember, it may be old hat information to you but not to your patients and prospective patients!  They will be educated and appreciate your time and interest in them.

How many of your referrals may say, “I didn’t know that this doctor provided that service”.  Wouldn’t you want them to know?

Sit down and figure what you can commit to and have fun with it!

If you would like to discuss your needs further, I would be happy to chat with you.  Contact me at

Is it a Phone or a Medical Device?

Posted by barbarahales

According to a survey by comScore, a digital research firm, there are 173 million Americans with smartphones representing 71% of the U.S. population over age 16.  It’s growth mirrors that of tele health which is growing exponentially. Phones hold thousands of health apps and help engagement between patients, hospitals and physicians.

While diabetics whole-heartedly embrace mobile health with digital glucometers and transmitting data to healthcare providers, people with other chronic ailments are eager to use mobile health to promote their health in a convenient manner.

Many physicians express gratitude for the mobile which helps them get messages from patients and receive feedback that enables caring for them virtually.  Dr. B. Christian Balidin, a surgeon in an orthopedic group in San Antonio states:

“having a mobile tool to communicate with a patient and get feedback is instrumental in providing good care for that patient.  I wish 100% of my patients would do stuff online.  I really do think it improves patient care.”

Chief medical officer at AMC Health, NY,Dr. Kevin Fickenscher states “We’re beyond the innovator stage.  A Tsunami is coming in how U.S. healthcare providers use tele health communications to improve outcomes”.

Interoperability Plan

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is in the process of creating a 10-year health IT interoperability plan starting next year.  Patients will be “accessing and contributing” to their electronic health-record information on a regular basis.

Quite possibly, the ONC will require EHR developers to interface their systems with application programing, enabling mobile apps to link with the EHR.   Almost weekly, new mobile patient engagement apps are appearing and new companies are being launched.

Obstacle to Implementation

Performance-based payment rather than fee-for-service reimbursement, is driving mobile tool implementation just as an absence of insurance payments for these services represents an obstacle.

Nathan Lacktman, a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner which deals in tele health, points out that although private insurers are not as quick as public insurers to adopt reimbursement for tele health,

“I have some clients that are able to negotiate payment for tele health services from some payers.  But without states requiring payers to cover these services, you won’t see any meaningful tele health adoption”.

Currently there are still many healthcare providers and physicians not using mobile patient-engagement apps but they should start.  As these tools evolve and become more sophisticated, there is greater demand and if not available, they will be left in the dust while their patients run to the doctors that are more amenable to their wants and needs.

Have you started to enable your patients to engage with you by using health apps?   Share your experiences in the comment box below.

Why Do You Engage in Social Media as a Doctor? As a health marketer? As a health writer?

Posted by barbarahales

Before investing your spare time into social media engagement, sit down and ask yourself why.  What is your goal?   If your aim is to get as many likes or fans as possible to increase your search engine ranking, then you have a problem.

Matt Cutts,an engineer at Google who leads the web spam team and SEO issues, aids people in understanding how SEO works and what it does.

According to Matt, though it is natural to believe one would have a higher online ranking by getting tons of “likes” or fans, these figures are not part of search engine algorithms.  Cutts revealed:

“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our index.   As far as doing special or specific work to sort of say you have this many followers on Twitter or this many likes on Facebook, to the best of my knowledge, we don’t currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithm.”

The problem with ranking for social media involvement is that Google has not been allowed to “crawl” through the sites and if this does not happen, then it is not set up for ranking information on the  site either.  In addition, social entries can be incorrect or change as one’s mood does.

Cutts points out that it is easy to think that likes and links contribute to ranking since often high ranking sites have a great following.  However, the cause is because it is a site online that has high quality, educates and entertains.  This is what generates a large number of links, likes and retweets.

Benefit of Social Media 

While engagement and visibility on social media health sites may not contribute to higher search engine rankings, it does garner much more traffic to your health website which is ultimately what you are shooting for.  It also gives you much greater visibility and therefore gets your name out to your target market.

So, when you are interacting with others on various health sites online, you don’t have to worry about rankings as your benefit.  The ultimate benefit comes from people who have met you and want to know more about your services and want your advice and services.

Isn’t this what social media is all about?

No time to engage in social media?  No problem!  That is the role of the Social Media Manager!

Contact me at or 516-647-3002 if you would like to discuss this further.

Here’s a Present for Thanksgiving

Posted by barbarahales

I owe it all to you!  Blogging is just a bit of self-indulgence if the only one reading the post is oneself.  After all, the purpose of blogging for health is not just “blogging for health”.  It is to inform, educate and entertain.

So, as Thanksgiving approaches and one waxes nostalgic as well as thankful, I would like to express my gratitude for all your wishes and support over the course of the year.  Many of you have been with me a long time (more than 600 posts ago).

I’m glad that with the health marketing tips and health marketer guides that I have provided that many of you grew your healthcare business and boosted your medical practice.

Recognizing You as a Celebrity

In appreciation, I am giving you a great gift- 60% slashing discount on one of my most popular programs- the authority package. The program establishes you as a celebrity and entitles you to have “as seen on” with major network logos (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox) on all your information, for the rest of your professional life.  This includes brochures, websites, business cards, newsletters and any printed material. A press release is issued broadcasting your new found status to the world.  Just think what that will do for your health business and medical practice!

The catch is this- you can get this present for only this week-to celebrate the holidays.  After that, it’s business as usual.  So if you would like to receive this gift, go to:

Thanks once again,

Barbara Hales, M.D.

Blog Posts can Launch your Health marketing…or DESTROY it! (Find out what to avoid)

Posted by barbarahales

Blog posts provide an online presence in the health market which attracts viewers to your website and provides an opportunity for you to educate or inform these visitors.

While blog posts are simple to start, there are mistakes to avoid.

 7 Blogging Errors to Avoid in Health Marketing

1) Difficult Readability

If a viewer has to struggle to understand or read your message, the reader won’t struggle for long!  There are too many other sites so the viewer will click off yours and go to your competition.  They will not be your fans or stay your fans.  With this in mind:

  • Avoid technical terms or diagnoses- these words may be second-hand to you but the viewer may not know what the words mean or in what context you are conveying your message
  • Long run-on sentences or multiple sidebars with tremendous amounts of information- the eye needs a place to rest.  Wide expanses of white space will allow a gaze to settle on the message that you want to be seen
  • Avoid eye strain- reading black letters on a white background is easier than reversing this.  Having a dark background with colored letters produces an eye strain- one which the reader may not want to struggle with.

2) Don’t be Irrelevant

If your website and blog reflects a specific niche (which I strongly recommend for visibility), then your posts should be reflecting that.  Readers come to the blog for information that is relevant to them.  For instance, if you are a cardiologist, presumably you are writing about issues dealing with the heart or cardiovascular system.  Topics you may add include issues related to this system.  You wouldn’t want to continually write about your favorite sports, the weather and the latest dope on Jay Z.

3) Optimize your blog posts

Put yourself in the mind of your target audience.  What words do they type in the box when they are doing a Google search if they want to find you?  These are keywords.  Even better would be “long-tail keywords” which are 3-4 words strung together to find you easier.  An example is “Boca Raton cardiologist” to set you apart.  Not only is it easier for your prospective patients and clients to find you, it is easier for the search engines to find you (and understand who you are).  This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

Having blog posts that contain your keywords (one per post) and including them in the title, will enable search engines to categorize you, making it easier for viewers to find and read your post.

4) Be Consistent

If you are lucky, you will develop a large fan base- an audience that keeps coming to your blog posts to get the latest information.  If they have come to expect a post on a particular day of the week and you don’t post then or for a few days after, they won’t keep coming back to check for when you do post.  You’ve lost them.

Decide how many times each month you can commit to writing your posts or how often you want your posts to appear before you get started.  Blogging does not have to be done on the day that your post gets published or the night before.  There are several tools available that will enable you to sit down and write a series of posts, scheduling them for the time and date that you would like them to be seen.  Bear in mind that you still need to go into your site on a regular basis to address and respond to the questions that people may enter into the comment box so that you can interact with them and keep them engaged.

5) Don’t go it Alone

Although your blog reflects you and the information that you would ultimately liked published, you don’t have to be the only one generating the post.  Consider enlisting the aid of your staff members and assign them with the task of writing once a week, or once a month on different prospectives they have in the office, what the latest hours are, new staff to be highlighted or new medical equipment that the office has obtained.

6) Own the Site

This is one of the biggest mistakes that I see among doctors and other healthcare providers.  They are listed in websites under their specialty owned by various participating insurance companies for whom they are providers.  It’s easy to leave web responsibilities to them and simply blog under a site owned by them.  The problem is that they own the information.  They can edit it.  If you decide to withdraw your participation in the specific insurance company down the road, you also lose access to the blog that you have been building up over time.

It does not cost much to own a domain name (which can reflect the name of your practice or your specialty).  For under $10 per year, you can purchase the name (and one for your own name before anyone else sharing your name does!)

7) Registration

Enrolling your blog domain with major blog search directories, will help you get seen instead of just leaving it to chance.  The most outstanding company is Technorati.

If all this is more than you can handle with restraints of time and business obligations, you can still have a successful blog by outsourcing it to a social media manager.  I would be happy to discuss this with you further.  Call 516-647-3002.

You the Authority? Yes!!

Posted by barbarahales

I’d like to give you an apology that you have not received the number of interesting blog posts that you have come to expect on this site.

The truth of the matter is that I have been focusing on a very exciting product which you can find on and on

Each of us likes to think that the message that we have to spread is important and that it would improve the lives of others.  It is equally true that people are more receptive to hearing or reading the message if they perceive the information to be coming from a celebrity or an authority in his/her field….like YOU!

Check out the site.  I think you will get great benefit from it.

Why Health Marketing needs Social media

Posted by barbarahales

Social media acts the same as spreading word of mouth about you and your business.  The only difference is that it’s  on a computer screen. Participation affords many advantages.


  • Your social media posts and comments are available to millions of viewers
  • Prospective patients will decide to use your services over competitors and peers who are absent on social media
  • If a problem exists with your practice or a disgruntled patient complains about a dissatisfied result or care received, you can nip the problem in the bud before your reputation is injured
  • Solutions you provide to problems people are struggling with, sets you up as a guru or authority in your field
  • Increases traffic to your website from people who are interested in what you have to say, increasing your patient base
  • Moves people down your funnel to up sell services or goods
  • Converts prospective clients or patients into paying clients when they may have earlier been on the fence

Don’t be afraid to add a  personal touch.  Provide education and entertainment  with a light touch to enable your personality to come through.

Social Media Manager

Perhaps you have sensibly decided to participate in social media but due to time constraints, it is not feasible or you don’t know quite how to go about it effectively.   Hiring a social media manager is a great way to solve this problem.

Sit down with the social media manager and clearly communicate how you want responses to be made, information to be highlighted and topics for discussion.  By talking it through, you can have the information posted in your voice.  You will be necessary to allow access to your accounts but it will be secure by drafting a written agreement which will enable you to have control of the account including usernames and passwords once the manager is no longer in your employ.

Broach the subject of  who will own the content that is posted after the job is paid for and have this in writing, signed by both you and the manager.    Copyrights can belong to you or the writer (after first rights) depending upon the agreement that you have made.  Failure to discuss this will spell disaster and discord down the road.

To hire a social media manager or see about getting a content package, go to