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Managing Health sites ( Been to your patient review site lately?)

If you thought that review sites don’t hold much importance, you’d be wrong…dead wrong!

As many more patients head to their computers, looking for online reviews is often the initial step in researching a doctor before they make their first appointment.  They want to know about you, your staff, waiting times, and even if you provide patient portals or access to their EHR records.

According to a survey conducted by Software Advice, patients age 25-34 (31%) and 35-44 (29%) represent the market with the largest usage. If your patient population includes this demographic, then you’ve hit the sweet spot.

There are more than a dozen highly-active sites online where patients can post both negative and positive reviews about their experience with physicians.  Most commonly used review sites include:

  • Vitals.com
  • HealthGrades
  • Yelp

It’s true that “you can’t please everyone”.  Even when your entire office staff has done everything humanly possible to make a patient encounter a positive one, there will still be complaints from some patients and they may be eager to share them.  These comments and low ratings can hurt your image and credibility, even if they are false.

According to a survey done by Digital ASsent, a healthcare technology company, 72$ of 341 responders affirmed the view that bad reviews would deter them from going to see a specific physician.

Guide to Handling Negative Views

It is crucial that you are not only aware of any negative views about your medical practice, but have a strategy set up to deal with them as well.  Ignoring them is no longer an option as more and more patients go online and it is easy to tarnish your brand despite all your hard work.

Here are 5 steps that you can take.Tips on How to Respond to Bad Patient Reviews Online

1) Respond to the comment if possible.

Most sites permit responses to comments made. Address the problem in a professional way that reflects your office and that the complaint is not common as well as that you are taking the necessary steps to rectify the problem  This eases patient’s minds and shows that you have flexibility as well as validating your patient’s views.

Don’t respond in a defensive manner as this will challenge the reviewer to banter back and forth with you. (and you will NOT win in the perception game)

***It is crucial that you don’t respond (especially  in the heat of anger) in a way that demeans the patient like “this patient is crazy or has mental problems”.  A comment like this violates a patient’s privacy and may land you in court, or worse yet in the Office of Professional Misconduct.

2) Patient Privacy

Take care not to post any protected health information when responding to a review.  Additionally, do not confirm or deny that the reviewer is your patient to begin with.  A statement like this works well-

“If you are a patient, we apologize for any misunderstandings or lack of communication”.

3) Flood the site

Rather than making a negative comment stand out, why not have it buried.  The easiest way to do this is by having a huge number of positive reviews entered onto the site.  Enlist the aid of satisfied patients and encourage them to give their positive feedback and testimonials.  When one negative view is among fifty positive ones, the poor review holds much less weight.

4) Amend wrong information

If there is inaccurate information about your practice, correct this so that future assumptions cannot swirl around the wrong information.

5) Offer a solution to the complaint

Offering a solution to the problem a patient is facing does a great deal toward defusing the problem  For example, if the patient is experiencing a billing issue, supply the reviewer with contact information to the billing department so that the problem can be resolved.  Let the reviewer know that you are working to address the problem and that you take reviews very seriously.

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See you at the next post! 

 

How does your health website rate? Ask these 7 Questions.

Does your health website get an A+ or is it mediocre, dull-as-dishwater and a downright yawn?

Anyone can make a website.  Even your child in elementary school has become adept at publishing online.  The thing is, does your website look like it was done by your child or is it professionally looking quality? Did you rush to publish your site online without viewing the information to make sure that it was accurate, without errors and no broken links?  You may want to do things on the cheap but you don’t want to look like it!

Ask yourself the following 7 questions (because other viewers and the search engines are asking these very questions):

1) Are you using analytical tools to assess the value of your content and the number of views that you get?

Registering for Google Analytics (which is currently free) will tell you how many unique visitors you got, as well as the amount of time that they lingered on each page. (if in fact they visited that page).  Wouldn’t you want to know which parts of your site garnered attention so that you can see if your efforts have been rewarded?  If a page does not get views, evaluate how to repeat the success ones and not bother with the ones that don’t make sense for you.

2) Is there a call-to-action on your site?

Let patients and viewers know how you want them to navigate your site and what actions you would like them to take, whether it is to send for a premium, sign up for your newsletter and blog, become a fan of your social media pages.

3) Are you on the first page of local Google searches?

If you have optimized your site with the keywords that represent you, not only will viewers understand what you are all about, but also the search engines will recognize who and what you are, rewarding you with a higher ranking.  You may need to bone up on your search engine optimization. (SEO)

4) Have you tested your site on different browsers?

Your website, newsletters and blogs may look stellar on Firefox but be unreadable due to formatting issues on Chrome or Safari.  Different readers use different browsers.  Make sure that your site is viewed well in all the major ones.

5) Can your site be viewed on mobile devices?

Most people these days are browsing online with their smart phone devices.  For many, the phone has all but replaced laptop and desktop computers.

6) Is your website readable?

Do you have images, videos and easy to read information designed to be easy on the eye?  Are you relating memorable stories that have captivating headlines and lots of subheads and bullet points for those scanning the information?  Consider changing to this format.  Get a graphic designer to review your layout.

7) Do you link your social media pages to your website for fresh content and reader engagement?

Nowadays it is crucial to have more than a supply of educational information.  You must know engage your reader and interact with your fans.

Get a professional review of your site for free.   Contact me at: Support@CompleteContentPackage.com

Let’s discuss your needs.

No health website=No practice before long!

There is a saying that “if you have no website, you don’t exist”.

While this may seem ludicrous to you, in many ways this saying is true. When people are given referrals to see a specific doctor, more than half will go online to check out the website and find out about the doctor. Not having a website is a reflection on the practice and how up-to-date it is.  Furthermore, when someone googles a specialty to find a physician in the area, if there is no website, chances are the physician will not show up in the search.  That means, the physician has lost out on getting prospective patients and missed a golden opportunity for practice growth.

Perhaps the practice gets patients from the referring doctors in network.  This can dry up at a moment’s notice.  It’s true that people need to see doctors…it’s just that they don’t have to see YOU!

6 Objectives to having a health website…and why not having one is foolish

You, as a doctor or healthcare provider,  do not strike me as being foolish. (though someone with a total lack of time, stress, anxiety and naiveté when it comes to having a website, maybe)

So, consider these objectives, even if your office is currently a busy one:

  1. Patient research– As stated above, patients look up doctors online these days before making appointments.  Do you want them to get all their information about you through Yelp and other ancillary sites?
  2. Strengthening your brand– Be considered a thought leader or one who stands out above your colleagues.
  3. Multichannel marketing-Nowadays, people can’t rely on only one avenue of patient referrals.  Rather, many sources are needed to capture new leads or prospective patients in addition to maintaining old patients in the practice.  This includes social media, email campaigns, article marketing and blogs.
  4. Perception of Authority– Having a site that educates and explains the latest information about medical conditions or medical devices places you in a position of authority.  Like a celebrity, this draws patients to your practice.
  5. Impress your referral system– Peers look at your website to see how modern your practice is and how current you are.
  6. Grow your practice– Prospective patients harbor a stronger attraction to see doctors who they feel represent authority and all the latest information to care for them.

Need help or input with your website?  No worries.  Contact Support@CompleteContentPackage.com and we can discuss your needs.

Don’t be embarrassed about being the one without a website in your community and in your hospital.

 

Don’t send out your digital health newsletter if…

As most things in life, it’s all about the timing!  Just as a person is receptive to your suggestions when recommending a particular health protocol or surgical procedure only at certain times, so it is with your health  newsletters as well.

You’ve slaved over the content and presentation of your health newsletter to ensure its educational and entertainment value.  Now you want to ensure that it is actually opened and read instead of merely getting lost in the shuffle. Timing statistically optimizes your opening rate.

So, don’t send out your digital health newsletter if…

1) It is the end of the day.

If your newsletter is for the business person, the E-zine will languish in the email box all night since the person has signed off work and relegated any unread business email until business resumes.  If your newsletter is for consumers, the end of the day ushers in family responsibilities and activities.

2) It is a holiday or vacation break

Typically, emails pile up during this time.  When the person returns from a trip, the hoard of emails are deleted. Many people now have an auto responder which states that they’re on vacation now and not accepting any emails at this time.  So, you’ll have to resend your Ezine again at another time.

3) It’s Monday morning.

You’ve heard this…”ugh, Monday morning and back to the old grind”. You’re viewers and prospects turn on their computers and get barraged by all the emails from late Friday and the weekend.  They sift through, finding the important ones for work and your digital health newsletter gets overlooked in the sea of emails. In addition, the mentality is to delete all the nonessentials in their eyes to catch up with work.

Key- “to stand out in the crowd, don’t be part of the crowd!” – Dr. Barbara Hales

No one likes clutter.  Don’t be part of it when it comes to your inbox.

The Timing Trick- When is the best time?

The trick is to know your viewers and target audience.  Picture yourself in their shoes.  When do they sit down and read their emails? When is the optimal time to send your health Ezines to prospects?

Well, there is no simple answer to this question. That’s where knowing your audience is crucial.

If you are trying to draw attention to business professionals, sending your emails out during work hours is fundamental for open rates.  If on the other time, you are seeking out consumers, nights and weekends when they are home from work and sitting at the computer is key.

General rule

Business-to-business: daytime Tuesday to Friday and business-to-consumer: nights and weekends.

For more tips in health marketing, sign up in the box at the top left corner of this page.  See you at the next post!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match your holistic healthcare approach to your website

The philosophy of holistic medicine encompasses the belief that an individual is the sum of interdependent systems and if one isn’t functioning effectively, a cascade occurs whereby all the others are affected.  The main objective for ideal health is achieving proper balance.

The same holds true for your website and marketing!

 7  Steps to a holistic approach to websites

Just as in a human, the integral parts affect the whole and they all interact.  To be effective and meaningful, the following systems in website creation and marketing interact and must be addressed as well.

1) Measurements

Constant tracking and reporting enables you to evaluate your actions and assess which of your efforts work and which don’t.  You needn’t spin your wheels and waste your valuable time on work that isn’t effective. Find out your ranking for each long-tail keyword so you can observe how it trends for you.

Have your marketing firm supply regular reports (if you are not doing it yourself) and have regular meetings to discuss which tools are effective so that they may be modified.

Think of blood pressure readings.  You have a chart with a baseline and how one reacted to the medications so that you know whether the medication worked.  The same principle holds true for website tracking.

2) Optimization

SEO (aka search engine optimization) should not be limited to your own website online.  Rather it is a process including the whole picture- both online and offline optimization.

Online optimization: liberal usage of the keywords that you have chosen to represent yourself and your services help others associate them with you.  Include them in each website page, linked blogs and articles as well as your video marketing.

Offline optimization: acquiring incoming links from websites related to your medical practice (big names are best) for keywords that you would like to rank for.

3) Conversion Rate

Conversion rates are those when viewers of your website perform your desired call-to-action. This means signing up for your newsletter, calling the office for an appointment, or any other action that you have specified. Google Analytics (which is still currently free to register for and use) tracks email form submissions and call tracking phone numbers for telephone calls.

4) Click-through Rate

This is a key performance indicator which reflects how effective your SEO campaign is and is also tracked by Google Analytics.

5) Article Marketing

The beauty of publishing articles online is that you get link backs to your site for the keywords that you have written about, you get exposure to a wider audience and your byline allows people to sign up with you to get the premium that you are offering within the byline box. This is easily tracked by seeing how many people respond to getting the premium.

6) Content Marketing

Fresh content (containing or about your keywords) on a regular basis, of which article marketing is included, helps promote your website in addition to representing you as a thought leader.

7) Social media marketing

Consider which social sites your target audience visits most and provide your content there.  This is a great opportunity to interact with your viewers and engage them, not only with your captivating content but by answering any questions or responding to their comments.

The affiliation between SEO, content marketing and social media represent the triad one focuses on to succeed using a holistic approach.

Sign up in the box at the top left corner of this screen to get more helpful tips.  See you at the next post!

5 Easy steps in Health writing to set up a Google+ Business page

Yesterday, we discussed the advantage of having local SEO for building or increasing a professional practice.  For those that haven’t availed themselves of this, let’s discuss how to set this up to your advantage.

Your 5 steps

1)  Select a Gmail account 

Rather than using a personal Gmail account, select one that reflects your medical/dental practice- one that people would be searching for. The account should be accessible to multiple members of your team.

2) Create a page

Once you have the Gmail account that you want tied to your business, you are ready to create your page.

Go to http://plus.google.com/pages/create, and follow the template in choosing the following:

  • Local Business or Place
  • Product or Brand
  • Company, Institution or Organization
  • Arts, Entertainment or Sports
  • Other

From here, you can add your pertinent information such as your business website URL, medical or dental practice name.

3) Personalize your Profile

 Here is the opportunity to insert your tagline.  If you don’t have a tagline, think of the services that you provide or the unique solutions that you offer. When you hear “good to the last drop” you think Maxwell coffee.  When you hear “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”, you think m&ms.  How about “all the news that’s fit to print”? Yes, The New York Times.  Can you come up with a line that is memorable and easily associated with just you and your practice?

A logo can be inserted here as well.  If you don’t have one, there are many graphic artists and less expensive servers like 99Designs.com or FiveRR.com that can design one for you.

Add a few pages at this point with updates about your office.  Got new equipment and medical/dental devices?  Is there a procedure that you do which is unique?  Do you offer the latest and most modern services around?  These can all be discussed and highlighted.

Google loves sites that educate, which is something that you are very skilled at.  Talk about a topic and then add some links so that people can read more.

4) Page Promotion

Google will prompt you to promote your page and after you have added the above information, you are ready to have your page circulated.

5) Socialize

Google+ is part of social media and a great way to have your site viewed is to share fresh content on an ongoing basis.  Add captivating articles, medical or dental breakthroughs, and latest news. Interact with your viewers,  If they ask questions or make comments, don’t ignore them.  Respond back. This will be important on the latest Panda algorithm for rankings and you will be rewarded with higher rankings for your page. This means that you go to the head of the list when people are searching for your practice and services that you provide.

Need Help?

If you don’t have the time or patience to set up your tagline or business page, you can outsource it.  I would be happy to discuss your needs with you.  Call me at 516-647-3002 or Support@CompleteContentPackage.com

Doctors and Dentists helped by Local SEO

People moving to a new area and need to find a doctor’s office or healthcare facility nearby, search Google. A quick search for “doctor nearby” on any smartphone lists all the doctor offices within a specified distance including useful information like office hours, address, phone number, fax number and patient reviews.

According to Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist of Google:

“about 1 in 3 of queries that people just type into a standard Google search bar are about places, they are about finding out information about locations…”

If you have your own practice or work at an offline site, local SEO is a great place for you.  You are not only found by prospective patients, but improve your rankings as well!

How does Local SEO differ from regular SEO?

Unlike the regular SEO where you focus on your website with keyword optimization, in Local SEO, you are honing in on Google+Local business page views.  Here, not only is the page displayed, a map is shown in the upper right corner with your location (as a pin).

Beneath the map, one can view your important data like office hours, telephone and fax numbers, website address and any additional information that your prospective patient might find useful.

Google+:Your PR agent

When a nearby person is searching for your service, Google recommends you over colleagues that are not located within a certain specified distance.  The whereabouts of your office represents an important factor in the ranking algorithm.  Let’s face it, if a person is looking for a local doctor or dentist, getting the names and addresses of out-of-state professionals is not very helpful and Google recognizes this.

This translates to Google becoming your PR agent of sorts by letting people know about you and your office.  This gives you an edge in Google ranking when prospective patients are searching close to your practice catch basin. Although, the further a prospective patient is located, the less apt you’ll be to appearing on the first page of the search.

Everything being the same, the practice nearby the prospective patient searching for your services, will be the one most likely to have the edge.

Interested in more helpful tips?  Sign up in the top left corner of this page.  See you at the next post!

Content marketing for health should be about your Patients, not You!

So many times you see content marketing as glorified ads about the company or copies of press releases. That’s just plain WRONG!

Do you fast forward programs on television to get to the commercials-wanting to see the ads instead of the show?  Of course not. That sounds ridiculous! But that’s just what some physicians and health facilities do with their online content marketing.  Instead of providing true value with education and entertainment,they use their content marketing for self-promotion.

The fastest way to lose your fans and readership is to constantly just promote yourself. In order to keep your readers and attract new ones for the purpose of growing your practice and readership, is to publish relevant content on topics that will interest them (and of course topics that are in sync with your practice).

What Health Content should I provide?

Think for a moment about your last office session.  What were the questions that were asked the most frequently?  What are the questions about health that people ask you at a cocktail party?  These are great hints at topics that you can cover.  Peruse the web and see not only what other health topics are covered, but also what is trending.  Ask your social media fans.  Send out surveys asking what people most would like to see covered.  Most patients and readers are happy to tell you.

Visit health forums and chat rooms.  Look for questions that come up.  If you can jump in and answer these questions, you will be thought of as a thought leader and go-to person.  They will follow you from these sites to yours.

Maybe your target audience likes to see videos.  You can throw these into the mix by recording your medical devices and how (and why) they are used.  Add some interviews with solutions to questions that your patients are struggling with.

By doing this, you will have a wide audience of viewers in no time!

I’d be happy to discuss your needs with you further.  Feel free to call me at 516-647-3002.  Speak to you soon!

Why you lost your Health website viewers

Publishing content on your website as well as in newsletters, blogs, podcasts, social media, does a great job to maintain the loyalty of your current patients, attract prospective patients to grow your practice, and establish yourself as a thought leader. It’s key to health marketing success and increases traffic to both social media sites and your online health site as well.

But what if you’ve lost  your audience?

Four Reasons why your patients and viewers are snubbing you

1) It’s too technical: some physicians and healthcare providers mistakenly think that if they do not use medical jargon and write too simply that they are not viewed as professional or knowledgeable.  This is a common trap that professionals fall into.  They may feel that they are perceived as “talking down” to patients.

Simply, some doctors forget that patients don’t have the same training, knowledge or experience. Your missive needs to be easily conveyed. The typical individual wants to find solutions to their problems fast and get at the direct meaning right away.  If they have to look up every few words in a dictionary, they will delete your message and without regret or looking back, will move on to a different site.

Add lots of bolded subheads for the skim reader, lists, bullet points and numbers to get your ideas across.

2) It’s unreadable:  some health writers “stuff” the articles on their site.  They identify keywords that they want to be associated with, and repeat them too often within the context of the content.  These health writers or healthcare providers are actually writing the articles for the search engines instead of real people.

Algorithms on most search engines now, are looking to see reader engagement and interaction.  If you are merely writing for the search engines, you will incur hefty penalties and readership loss.  (Search engines may not even list your site when prospective clients search for the particular keyword or bury you within the last pages) Yikes!

3) It’s irrelevant: the information that you provide should be the type that your patients and clients are looking for.  As a thought leader, you are supplying the solutions to problems that they are struggling with.  If you do health writing for the mere sake of filling the page, your readers will go elsewhere.

Run surveys (many are free as in SurveyMonkey) to find out what your audience is looking for.  Encourage comments to see where their interests lie.

4) It’s manure:     let’s face it- no matter how brilliant a professional may be, he or she may be a lousy writer.  Not everyone can write in a captivating and compelling manner. If you hire a cheap writer from a Pacific island or a cheap writing service, that is just what you may get- cheap, ineffective articles.

Write the content yourself and if you are strapped for time or interest, outsource it to a professional health writer that will give you a boost with your health marketing.

Feel free to consult with me for all your writing needs- Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com

 

Your Health site ranking is Your Street Cred…What’s Yours?

Your Street Cred or credentials are synonymous with your reputation.

But, no matter how good a professional you are, your reputation is entwined with your ranking.

Sure, it matters what patients and clients think about you.  They are going into health ranking sites and entering their opinions.  If they are glowing reports, you have it made.  If they are not, you better address them.  However, where you are in the search engines is even more important.

When someone searches for your profession and specialty, do you come up #1 or buried deep within the bowels of the search results on page 25?

Penguin 3.0,Google’s algorithm (6th  update),  has been going for a few months now- enough for you to see if you have been helped or hurt.  If your traffic tanked, chances are that it was a Penguin attack. Your long time site links may have lost it’s advantage or even a link penalty!

Keep your eye on the ball by scrutinizing your data on Google analytics.  If you see that you sustained a dramatic fall, it’s time to clean up your site.

What are you doing to guard against penalties by Google?  Share it with us in the comment box below.