The Kiss of Death in Health care Marketing…and YOU

Perhaps you are guilty of saying or making the following mistakes:

  • “I don’t need to market my practice.  Doctors are becoming scarce and patients will be happy that I accept them”
  • “With reimbursements declining, I don’t have the money to budget for marketing.  This is not a priority”
  • “I participate in the insurance plans- they’ll refer their clients to me”
  • “My peers and colleagues at work will refer their patients to me”
  • “I don’t have time for a marketing plan”

If you think that it doesn’t really matter what patients think of you and your practice as long as they get their needed healthcare, think again!  As we transition into your payments based on patient satisfaction and a more patient-driven market, you will shrivel and die as a healthcare facility or medical practice unless you drastically alter your thinking.

A referral source can be fickle.  If there is a greater benefit to referring elsewhere, that will be the end of your business affiliation.  Then too, if patients return to an office and complain about you, you can anticipate a loss of recommendations from that office.  They simply cannot afford to ignore the feedback. In terms of insurance participation, unless you are the only doctor for 50 miles around, there are other doctors in those referral directories and patients will travel further to those professionals that better meet their needs.

With reimbursements being reduced, you will need to see more patients.  Even if you convert to a concierge model, you will still need to generate new patients to the practice.  Having a marketing plan or advertising will let people know that you are accepting new patients, that you have the expertise to treat particular ailments and that you are up on the latest in both medicine and technology.

Get the buzz going about your practice.  If you don’t have the time for this now, you’ll have all the time in the world later as your waiting room stands empty!

Reach out to Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com and contact me for a free consultation so we can discuss how marketing can help you.

 

Is Your Health Marketing keeping up with Your Competitors?

Information collected and  compiled by Frost and Sullivan and QuantiaMD in 2011 showed between “87 percent to 90 percent of physicians used at least one social media site for personal reasons, with a further 67 percent to 75 percent opting for more professional postings.”  This has dramatically increased since then with the most commonly used sites as YouTube (which is becoming even more popular as a search engine than google search), Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

So, if you are not using social media portals for your medical business, you are already two years behind!

The good news is that you can correct this…starting today!

Start with the profile page for each site and complete the information in such a way that people are excited to “hear” from someone as important as you (and yet still down-to-earth)  Put in your list of medical publications and accomplishments to add credibility to the information that you will be providing.

Start a blog with a plug-in so that any posts that you publish will automatically publish to all your social media sites.  This will save time so that you don’t have to enter information separately on each type of media or site. It is a great opportunity to place photographs or diagrams that act as teaching aids to further aid in understanding.  Make a short 1-2 minute video  of you as though you were talking to a patient (as will be the case when viewed) of a medical problem and solution.

Comment on the latest medical devices or latest techniques so that your patients can bond with you and not only get helpful information but see how you stand with it.

Allow patients to interact with you by asking questions and allowing you to stay in touch with what your patients are interested in reading more about.  Addressing this will also vastly increase patient satisfaction.

Putting out the latest information shows that you as a healthcare provider or physician are knowledgeable and up-to-date on the latest data and techniques further maintaining your current patients as well as generating new patients to your practice or healthcare facility.

Share with us what you have been doing and the success that you have achieved by it.  Comment in the box below.

 

Special Day

Today is my husband’s birthday. I wanted to give him a special treat (as many of you try to do yourself for those you love)  I also wanted it to be a surprise.

Where better than Washington D.C. for a surprise trip?  As one reflects on our humble beginnings at birthdays and how far we’ve come, one may also wonder that about the wonderful country that we live in.

So, we’ve gone back to the beginning- to view the memorials of our forefathers and read quotes from them to inspire us and remind us about what they thought, what they endured and what we have become.

Our forefathers would be shocked to see how medicine and health, technology and every aspect of our daily lives has evolved, along with our society.  Yet, from all those years ago, their wisdom seems to transcend all the transformations and evolutionary cycles.

So, today in honor of my husband’s birthday, take a moment to reflect on your own life and the small but wonderful ways that you have touched the lives of others.

Social Health Marketing

According to Gartner, Inc (website at www.gartner.com/predicts. see Gartner highlights key predictions for IT organizations and Users in 2010 and beyond) certain trends will continue to alter the nature of business which includes the business of healthcare.

The purpose of Garter’s predictions is meant to “compel readers to action and to position themselves to take advantage of coming changes, not to be damaged by them.”

See the following  predictions and then we will discuss how this is going to affect you…and what you can do about them.

Facebook will become the hub for social network integration and Web socialization. Through Facebook Connect and other similar mechanisms, Facebook will support and take a leading role in developing the distributed, interoperable social Web. As Facebook continues to grow and outnumber other social networks, this interoperability will become critical to the success and survival of other social networks, communication channels and media sites.”

Internet marketing will be regulated by 2015, controlling more than $250 billion in Internet marketing spending worldwide. Despite international efforts to eliminate “spam,” marketing “clutter” is abundant in every marketing channel. Pressure for greater accountability means the backlash from annoyed consumers will eventually drive legislation to regulate Internet marketing. Companies that focus primarily on the Internet for marketing purposes could find themselves unable to market effectively to customers, putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage when new regulations take effect. Although experiencing high growth, vendors who focus solely on, and sell predominately to, Internet marketing solutions could find themselves faced with a declining market, as companies shift marketing funds to other channels to compensate.”

“By 2014, over 3 billion of the world’s adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile or Internet technology. Emerging economies will see rapidly rising mobile and Internet adoption through 2014. At the same time, advances in mobile payment, commerce and banking are making it easier to electronically transact via mobile or PC Internet. Combining these two trends creates a situation in which a significant majority of the world’s adult population will be able to electronically transact by 2014″.

“Gartner research predicts that by 2014, there will be a 90% mobile penetration rate and 6.5 billion mobile connections. Penetration will not be uniform, as continents like Asia (excluding Japan) will see a 68% penetration and Africa will see a 56% mobile penetration. Although not every individual with a mobile phone or Internet access will transact electronically, each will have the ability to do so. Cash transactions will remain dominant in emerging markets by 2014, but the foundation for electronic transactions will be well under way for much of the adult world.”

“By 2015, context will be as influential to mobile consumer services and relationships as search engines are to the Web. Whereas search provides the “key” to organizing information and services for the Web, context will provide the “key” to delivering hyperpersonalized experiences across smartphones and any session or experience an end user has with information technology. Search centered on creating content that drew attention and could be analyzed. Context will center on observing patterns, particularly location, presence and social interactions. Furthermore, whereas search was based on a “pull” of information from the Web, context-enriched services will, in many cases, prepopulate or push information to users.”

So, one of the first things that you can do is have a Facebook page.  Doing so will enable you to:

  • put out information that is interesting to your patients
  • attract new patients
  • establish yourself as an innovator
  • answer the most commonly asked questions
  • become a resource by highlighting the latest medical breakthroughs
Next you can format your website and digital content for viewing on mobile devices.  If everyone is getting their information through their mobile services, you want to be able to be read.

Sign up for more helpful tips in health marketing your practice at the opt-in box above.

Improve Your Healthcare Marketing for your Own Survival

As the link between physician reimbursement and patient satisfaction becomes forged, so too will the importance be of marketing to your patients.

The patient of today is informed, empowered and interested in finding not only solutions to her problems but also how best to achieve health in a proactive way.

Patient-centered Healthcare marketing

We all live in a technical world now where 90% have smartphones turning their cell devices into mini computers, internet service and health apps for these smart devices numbering in the thousands and increasing daily.  Though not all the health information online is accurate, patient access is readily available and there is an obvious desire by patients to get this information.

With Pay-For-Performance being heralded in to replace the old pay- for- services rendered model, it will be paramount to promote yourself as the “one who cares” and the ones who can set themselves up as authority figures in the specialty.  This is done with “marketing”.  The word marketing may seem distasteful to you, or maybe even a bit nebulous.  But, it is just a method of strategies and  “spreading the word” communication about who you are and why your services or practice is unique.  The first ones that establish communication will be the ones that set themselves apart from the pack and will ramp up their practice…and revenue.

With the mandate for physicians to digitalize their records with patient access highlighted in the Affordable Care Act, it is a natural transition to communicate digitally as well.

Consider having a “disease of the week” on your website where there is a little discussion regarding symptomatology, diagnostic tests and treatments.

Put out a blog where people can read about the latest breakthroughs in health and technology.  Why not be the one that patients come to as a source!  You will be the one in their mind to come to if you provide value.

Consider having a forum on your site where patients can go to see how others have been helped by following your suggestions and advice.

Put out a tip sheet of the ten most asked questions in your practice and the solutions. (this will help you in the long run because these questions won’t be asked of you, taking away valuable time)

So, why is it that you are not the one providing this information?  Why are you not harnessing the power of digital technology and making use of a stellar website for your patients (and perspective patients)? Ask yourself why you have not adopted new ways of communication.  Not doing so will have patients wondering what else you have not been keeping up with!

Sign up for more helpful tips at the opt-in box at the top left of the screen.

See you at the next post!

Should you be syndicated?

Syndication is simply providing website material to be available or viewed on multiple sites or various media outlets (i.e. radio stations, television states, websites, newsletters, newspapers, magazines)

The question is whether or not syndication is a good thing.

Article Syndication: Benefits and Drawbacks

While not everything is rosy, there are many benefits of distributing your articles.  This includes:

  1. Celebrity Status

    When your articles appear on multiple online sites and receive mention on others throughout the web, your name or business undergoes massive recognition.  You are established as an authority in the field and people will come to you for more information or advice.  They will look to you for solutions to their problems and you will have a greater esteem in their eyes.

  2. Byline Referrals

    Having links back to your site in the way of your URL in your byline, allows others to visit your site when they are looking for more information on the topic that you have discussed in your articles.  Keep in mind that for people to seek you out regarding a topic, you must be helpful and offer loads of information, not be a thinly veiled advertisement.

     

  3. Higher Rankings on Search Engines

The more links back to your site from other websites, and the more associations that the spiders and bots find that link you to them, the higher your ranking will be.  The importance of this is that you will appear on the first page of a keyword          that people are searching, not buried on the 25th page that no one sees.

 Syndication Downside

 Editing at Will

Just as the submissions to an editor of a newspaper or magazine, your articles are subject to alteration by the webmaster of the site you have submitted to. (key word- submitted)  The changes that are made can possibly alter the meaning or the compelling message that you have slaved over in your writing to get just right.  This fear however can be avoided if you have a written agreement that prevents editing of your work without your permission each time.

Loss of Byline

Rarely, your byline is removed or the links that you have embedded are deleted so that your readers can not find you.  Again, by having a written agreement preventing this, you head off this problem at the pass.

Old Hat

Your article can become out-of-date rapidly and seem like you are not adopting the changes unless you are able to edit and review the articles periodically.  This can harm your credibility as an authority. A solution to this problem is to embed it in a JavaScript.  Because this is hosted on your url, you can then modify and update the article periodically and this would automatically update it on the other sites simultaneously!  Insert the following <script language=”JavaScript” type=”text/javascript”src=”http://your.domain.example

Copyright Infringement

When you have given permission for your article to appear on a site, the editor may not be savvy enough to understand right of first printing only and may use your article in other ways that benefit the webmaster.

Your uniqueness may be Marred

If the information that you give on your website appears on other sites and your personality is “spread around”, you lose your unique edge.

 

So is  Syndicating Articles right for you?

If you have a large following and hugh database now, probably you would prefer to promote your own website and keep all your articles intact on your own url.  However if you are just starting out, or need to build up your database and get “more eyes, then appearing on more well established websites may be just the thing you need.  Only you can answer that.

Sign up in the opt-in box for this blog to get more helpful tips.

 

 

 

How to Attract People to Your Health Site in Only 10 Steps

One of the biggest goals to having a website is getting people to your site.  The question is how. The solution is easier than you may think.

1. Publish an e-zine and offer a bonus or premium to sign up to your free newsletter.  This bonus or premium can be a list of FAQs that are most commonly asked in your niche or business.  Tip sheets are helpful and not hard to create.

2. Attach a blog to your site.  The content you provide will be fresh and will serve to update your website in both the eyes of your clients/patients and online search engines.  Have an opt-in box and comment box so that your readers can comment .  Invite them to do so for group participation and involvement.

3. Offer a free list of the ten most talked about issues or news of the week in your field.  Becoming a valuable source of information will get people to visit you often.

4. Offer a free white paper or report on topics that would be meaningful to your patients or clients. Let this be reprinted by other people for viral spread.

5. Hold  a free online classes or teleseminar  where a medical condition can be discussed and callers can be given an opportunity to ask general questions. This links you to expert status on the issue discussed.

6. Have a forum or chat room where people can come together, providing solutions or solace to each other regarding their issues or health problems

7. Publish an article in local papers and other websites with a byline containing your url to link back to your site.

8. Write guest posts on other blog sites that have a wider viewing audience with links back to your site. Make sure the information is helpful and fresh.

9. Highlight a medical condition of the week and discuss diagnosis, symptoms and treatments. This can be offered to members only as a subscription site.  Exclusivity is a powerful tool.

10. Sign up for 3-4 social media sites.  Make sure that your profile is written well on these sites with a good photograph so people can relate to you.  Tie your blog posts or e-zines into automatic posts onto these sites with links back to you.  Answer all comments that are directed to you.

Following these steps will get you a wider audience and increased popularity with perspective clients/patients.  They will view you as unique in a sea of health professionals- one who takes the time for them and one who cares.  And after all, isn’t that true?

Sign up for future blog posts in the opt-in box at the top left corner of this page for more helpful solutions.

 

8 Simple and Costless Ways to Promote Your Services

While advertising is one way that you can rise in prominence on search engines, it can be very costly.

But here’s the thing.  You can plan to get noticed (TM) without spending a dime!

Here are some ways to become widely known:

  1. Participate in forum sites that discuss issues reflecting your niche, goods or services.  Answering questions on these sites, discussion boards and chat rooms, get’s your name out there and promotes you as the authority in the field- the go-to person for solutions.
  2. Submit comments and compliments on blog sites that discuss issues similar to yours
  3. Write a guest blog on a well-travelled site where there is already a built-in audience
  4. Publish some articles with bylines linking the readers back to your site
  5. Write a testimonial for products and services on other sites with links back to your own
  6. Send out a press release highlighting something new in your business and what makes you unique
  7. Post some youtube videos giving people useful information or evoking emotions
  8. Offer copies of your ebooks or newsletters on other sites and cross-promote if the website has complementary services to your own.  A good example would be a limo  service if you had a dating service.  Offering information about in-home care or drivers is very helpful if you care for seniors or chronically-ill patients

Thinking “outside the box” or typical mundane ways allows you to amp up your visibility in no time!

Are you offering these services currently?  What is it that you do?  Comment in the box below.

Health Writer Gives You a Gift for Tax Day Survival

In honor of Tax Day Survival, I would like to bestow a gift on the first 7 people that request it. Hope you had a successful day with your accounts as well!

This award entitles you to a Press Release for Personal or Business Use.
Arrange for a consultation through email:
Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com

Effective for 6 months from today (April 15th)
Valued at $150.00

Press Releases are among the easiest way to get news out about you,your products and services. It also lets everyone know what is unique about you.
With the information going viral, you will get noticed in a short time.

Health Writers and Marketers, Are You Pinning?

The following is a great interview and explanation of Pinterest, the latest social media site, from Constant Contact.
Analytics establishes this site as an effective “new toy” for business promotion. As a health writer and promoter,
don’t forget that a picture is worth a thousand words! (and better remembered!)

Read on:
Ask an Expert: How to Get More Out of Pinterest with the New Pinterest Analytics

With spring finally here, it’s time to start digging into some of those projects you’ve been putting off all winter.

Whether it’s finally getting around to finishing something around the house or revisiting one of those resolutions you made back in January—the change of seasons comes with all sorts of new possibilities.

Spring is also the perfect time to try something new for your business—like trying a new social network for example.

One of the networks we’ve heard a lot of questions about over the last few months is Pinterest.

In fact, when we asked our fans on Facebook, which network they’ve been dying to start using, Pinterest was by far the number one response.

That’s why this week, I decided to sit down with two of the people behind our Pinterest page here at Constant Contact, Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing Erica Ayotte and Corporate Community Manager Danielle Cormier!

What are some of the ways that Pinterest has changed or evolved as a marketing platform?

Danielle: I would say that Pinterest hasn’t really changed that much as a platform per se, but instead the way businesses use Pinterest has changed a lot. It’s put more of an emphasis on images, even more than the other social media channels have.

And you can do a lot of fun things like contests or have your customers curate boards or use it for content creation. For us, we use Pinterest for a lot of tips and different content that we like to show off.

Recently there’s been an update where they allow you to verify your Pinterest account and you can also use the analytics that will show you the analytics of your website right within Pinterest.

Erica: Right and I think one of the ways that folks are starting to look at Pinterest is more of a pre-shopping cart. There’s been a lot of studies recently about how Pinterest is actually driving more sales than Facebook and Twitter combined even.

It kind of depends on which study you look at, but its driving a lot more sales and that’s because people approach the platform with a shopping mindset. It’s a little bit different than how folks approach Facebook or Twitter per se.

One of the things you talked about, Danielle, is Pinterest Analytics. I know there’s been a lot of news about that lately. Why is having these analytics so important to businesses or marketers on Pinterest?

Erica: Right. Yeah, so as a marketer or a business, you want to make sure that any activity (and any marketing activity) that you are engaging in is actually driving results for you. So, just in general it’s great to have some analytics, so you can know if your content is getting picked up, if your audience is responding to you, and how that’s affecting your funnel.

So the fact that Pinterest has now added some native analytics has really made it easy for marketers and businesses to see that what they’re doing on that platform is having a full effect or having an effect on their business.

So, I was hoping they’d do it a little sooner, but we’re happy that they did do it. There had been some companies before that were able to display some Pinterest analytics, but the native analytics are usually going to be much better.

Danielle: I think with Pinterest, you’re going to be pinning maybe a hundred or maybe 50 things when you go to visit the site in an hour or however long you spend. When you’re on Facebook, you’re maybe engaging with 5 posts max. So, a lot more engagement is happening within Pinterest, compared to the other social media channels.

You want to see what other people like—maybe you can see other trends with businesses similar to you that are really popular with people. And maybe you can have new products with that or see which products are most popular.

As far as looking at these metrics the analytics are providing, are there certain metrics that stand out that a business should pay more attention to?

Erica: I would say what Pinterest really focused on is the Site Metrics section of the new analytics. What that means is that it’s tying activity on Pinterest to your website traffic.

So there are a couple different things you should look at within the Site Metrics section. One is “pins from your website”. That means if someone goes to your website and pins an image, then it shows up on Pinterest.

It also tracks clicks to your website from Pinterest, which is really important, especially in terms of ecommerce. Even if you yourself have pinned a product from your website, you can actually measure the amount of traffic that pin drove back to your website.

And then also unique visitors to your website as well.

So those are the three key ones that I would hone in on. The other metrics that Pinterest included are more engagement based metrics— so how many pins, how many different pinners, that kind of stuff, which is all important for gauging how healthy your community is.

But it’s really the website metrics that are closer to the business results that you want to get to.

Danielle: And something else to mention is that only the Pinterest accounts that are verified accounts can access these analytics. And you can simply go the Pinterest Business section and they give you the coding that you can put in your website into the HTML. And that way you can become a verified account.

So when you look at all these metrics, you understand the ones that are beneficial to you. How could a business use these metrics to improve their business or improve what they’re doing on a site like Pinterest?

Erica: I think we touched on this a little bit earlier, but I think really looking at (especially if you do ecommerce or you know that there a certain pages on your website that you know are converting pages), you definitely want to look at the traffic and visitors to those pages to make sure that you’re driving the business results to the key areas of your website.

Danielle: I also think it could really help you rearrange your website. If something gets a ton of pins and is 3 or 4 clicks deep in your website, you might want to bring that content to one of the first pages or your Home Page, or feature it in your blog. Maybe it’s a product or content that’s gotten buried but can become really popular because of Pinterest.

Erica: I would also say, make sure that if you’re getting a lot of traffic back to your website from Pinterest, it may be worth you adding a Pinterest button to your webpages to directly encourage people to start pinning and let them know that that’s an option for them.

Taking a step back, for someone watching that’s brand new on Pinterest and still learning the ropes, can you share some advice for someone just getting started on Pinterest?

Danielle: I would say, maybe take a couple days to browse through and think of one board you really want to create. Then start pinning content from other people and other websites. Add the “Pin It” button to you browser in Google Chrome or Firefox, whatever you’re using.

And start with just one board. You can even make a secret board now and keep it private until you want publish it, in case you want to just try something out or play around with it. I think that way, once you get comfortable with a couple boards and you add a few more, you’ll get comfortable and have even more ideas.

Erica: Yeah, and I think one of the big benefits of Pinterest is that it really turns the curation model on its head, meaning that someone can choose to follow your whole presence, or they can choose to follow selected boards. So you can really look at it as a branding exercise and you can choose to create boards that maybe aren’t “smack on” brand, but still related to your company. Then you can see if folks are interested in that type of content from you. You can use it as an experiment and if things are getting picked up on Pinterest, maybe move that to your website or Facebook or another channel.

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