Online Medical Marketing Strategies for Any Practice

By | Featured, Medical Marketing

According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 72% of internet users have looked online for health information. It is likely that this number is only growing as the internet becomes the primary way many people run every aspect of their lives. Using the prevalence of internet “medical” shopping to your practice’s benefit could be a game-changer. Here are 5 ways that you can make this happen:

1) Be at the top of the list. Make use of search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s natural search rankings in search engine results pages such as Google or Bing. Be sure that you get a good web content writer to make sure your site has the most effective search terms included, so the website shows up when someone searches for a related topic. This is why web content is so important – it determines how easily people find your website when searching the internet. Search Engines regularly update their algorithms to decrease visibility to sites that try to game their rankings, making optimization a challenging and constantly changing enterprise.

2) Market for free. Be sure to make use of Facebook, one of the most frequented websites in the world. According to Facebook, as of December 2016 they have 1.32 billion active accounts in use daily and their mission is to connect the world. It costs nothing to have a Facebook account and it could help connect your practice with potential patients or their families. Use your practice’s Facebook page to motivate people through fitness challenges or provide great healthy recipes or other valuable health information. If you are willing to make a small investment on Facebook, you can display your ad to people that are representative of your target patient demographic through directed advertising. For example, if your practice is obstetrics you may want to target women aged 25-40.

3) Make your website user friendly. When a user visits your website for the first time, it should be clean, simple to navigate and have useful links that are easy to find. Hiring a company to design your website to make it functional and beautiful can make the difference between a potential patient filling out a referral form and that same patient clicking away and going to a website that is easier to use. Your website should be an extension of your practice and reflective of the level of care you give your patients. While you are at it, instead of stock photos, use pictures of your own office and staff. It is so nice to go somewhere for the first time and see a friendly, familiar face.

4) Utilize Linkedin to grow your medical referral community. LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 414 million registered users and 100 million monthly active users. There are 187 million monthly unique visitors and two new professionals join the site every second. There is no good reason to not be connected on LinkedIn and every good reason to join and begin to discover opportunities to grow your personal and your practice’s professional network. One great way to use LinkedIn is to start a LinkedIn group. These groups are discussion areas on a variety of topics where anybody can share their views, experiences and any other form of relevant information. For instance, if you are a radiologist, you can start a group on reasons to get a 3D mammogram instead of a traditional one. It will get responses from those who have questions about the process and may encourage new patients to reach out to your practice to take advantage of the technology.

5) Use blogging to promote your practice. While your website may have evergreen information that rarely needs to be updated, creating a blog with fresh information helps keep a practice alive in the search engines. This is an opportunity to provide your reading community with new developments in your practice area and include new key words that will improve your site’s search engine optimization. Create an editorial calendar to keep your practice on schedule, and make notes of new ideas as they come to you so you have plenty of fresh material when it’s blogging time.

If you need help with SEO, implementing or improving a website, creating a blog, or any other marketing or advertising needs, Lippman Media is here to help – contact us at http://lippmanmedia.com or call 702.595.4896. Happy Marketing!

Great Customer Service – The Most Important Marketing

By | Medical Marketing

Great Customer Service – The Most Important Marketing

Have you ever gone into a business for the first time because of an advertisement, or even just word of mouth, only to be disappointed by the way you were treated at the front door? Even if a business or medical practice has the best product or service to offer, when patrons are put off by poor customer service every dollar spent on marketing is a dollar lost.

Why is customer service so important? Aside from losing new business from the customers directly impacted, poor customer service can cause irreparable damage to the brand itself and jeopardize future business from other new clients. A study by Dimensional Research found that 95% of people who have a bad customer service experience share it with others, and 54% share their negative experience with more than 5 people. So, for that one person that was brought into to the office by valuable marketing, a bad experience could keep 5 more away, creating a negative return on that marketing investment. And all of this doesn’t even take into consideration what can happen if a negative review is posted online, which could be read by every potential customer looking for service in the area.

What is good customer service and how can your business or practice achieve it? While the definition of “good” customer service could be debated depending on the industry and type of customer interaction, or even the patron being asked about it, primarily consumers focus on the following aspects when considering customer service:

* Pleasantness and politeness when dealing with customers or patients.

* Having a positive attitude when problem solving for someone who is in pain or upset.

* Having a clean, safe environment for customers or patients to be served.

* Displaying signs that clearly explain policies that may be controversial, such as payment required up front.

* Respecting all appropriate privacy (HIPAA or other) regulations.

* Using a first come, first served approach aside from handling emergencies.

Where is the limit? Many may have heard the old saying, “the customer is always right.” Unfortunately, this is an unachievable goal, especially in healthcare where outcomes are dependent on many factors outside of the provider’s control. The focus should not be on meeting every demand of a patient or customer, but instead on presenting an overall attempt to be respectful, polite and accommodating where it is sensible and appropriate.

Having great marketing is a great way to increase initial traffic into a business or practice, but it can’t compensate for poor customer service. As Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

For information on how to market to your target audience, get customer service advice, or discuss reputation repair plans, trust the team at Lippman Media. Contact them today at http://lippmanmedia.com or call 702.595.4896.

Understanding Online Marketing “Buzzwords”

By | Medical Marketing

While one of the most important tools for marketing any size business is the internet, it can seem overwhelming and complicated. Here an explanation of the top 5 online-marketing “buzzwords” to lend some understanding, take away some of the mystery and make it more accessible to your practice.

  • AdWords (Google AdWords): Easily the most confusing concept is AdWords. AdWords is an advertising service by Google for businesses who want to use Google and its advertising network to reach customers on the internet. The AdWords program allows businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. The ad service is largely focused on keywords, and usually uses “banners” on other websites to get possible customers to click on their link.
  • News Feed Ads: Known also as “sponsored stories,” these are the ads that pop up on social media such as Facebook, interspersed with the other stories the reader is looking at. The goal is to get the reader interested in the topic so they will click on the link and be taken to the advertiser’s website.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a method to improve a website’s earned (organic, natural, unpaid) search rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google or Bing. This is typically done by ensuring that the advertiser’s website content has the relevant search terms included, so the website shows up when someone searches for a related topic. This is why web content is so important – it determines how easily people find your website when searching the internet. Search Engines regularly update their algorithms to decrease visibility to sites that try to game their rankings, making optimization a challenging and constantly changing enterprise.
  • Pay-per-click marketing (PPC): Pay-per-click marketing focuses on paying a search engine for higher positioning on a search engine results page. It is not as simple as just paying more money, however. Paid search is more like an auction. Advertisers bid on keywords that are relevant to their business, consequently driving the display of their ads on the search engine results page when that keyword is searched. Sometimes the ad will be displayed below the top unpaid search results, sometimes to the side. Advertisers can also determine if they want their results only for mobile (cell phone) searches.
  • Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing (also called lead generation) is when advertisers have third parties generate potential customers for them and then pay the third party. Affiliate marketers generate leads by getting potential customers to take a particular action, and when the desired action is taken, the affiliate earns commission. Some of the methods used by affiliate marketers to get people to take the action include offering awards or prizes, or discounts on the service they are advertising. The compensated actions can be sending an email, making a call, filling out an online or offline form, clicking a link, completing an online order, or some other action that the advertiser is willing to pay for.

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If you want help marketing your business online, contact Lippman Media by visiting http://lippmanmedia.com/ or by calling 702.595.4896.

Top 5 Marketing Action Plan

By | Medical Marketing

2017 is here! Now is a great time to work on a marketing plan to put your best foot forward. Here are five ideas to consider when planning for marketing and advertising this year, or any year.

  • Look Back

Learning from the past is the best way to not repeat mistakes, and to make the best use of what went well. Review carefully what worked and didn’t work last year by determining the return on your investment. If you can look at an advertising activity and clearly see that it helped you achieve the goal you set, then it was successful. For example, if your practice participated in an event to generate new referrals, did you get the referrals? Did you have a method to track them? How could you improve the engagement? Also, take time to think about things you could have done but didn’t. Are there programs that you have not explored which may bring a new patient base? Finally, be sure you are getting feedback from employees in a variety of areas of your practice to see what they think is working. Sometimes you think something is working but it needs to be changed because it isn’t achieving your goals.

  • Define Your Goals

Marketing goals should be measurable and realistic. For example, do you want to create a new website in 2017? Then you need to have an action plan to do this and realistic time frames and budget to support your goal. You will need time to hire a web development firm, work on content and do thorough testing of the site. Or, maybe this year you want to increase the number of referrals you are getting from a certain other type of practice. You will want to have a plan to market to those practices and a method of measuring which patients came from the program. Having defined and measurable goals this year makes next year’s planning easier, too.

  • Create a Calendar

Try to plan what you can, but allow for changes. Reach out to publications and other outlets where you are interested in advertising and find out what their schedules are so you can be sure to meet their deadlines. Make a list of events you want your practice to participate in and schedule in time for preparation, such as creating a booth or preparing content. Think about any milestones your practice is celebrating this year, such as a big anniversary or another announcement, and plan how you want to publicize it, such as through media advertising or press releases. The key is allowing yourself lead time to prepare for all your marketing activities so you are not always playing catch up and you can make the most of your time and budget.

  • Set a Budget

Using your look back to 2016, determine what your new advertising budget should be. Think about your target audience, such as other practices for referrals, and find out the best way to reach them. Consider how each dollar you spend will be returned to you in new business. To do this, look at the types of marketing you are interested in, such as SEO, print, outdoor, television, etc. and find out from the provider what the usual impact is as far as audience reached and trackable returns. The bottom line is that you want your investments to have the best return for your money, so know who your audience is and the best way to reach them using the least expensive and most effective methods.

  • Get Ahead with some Help

Consider hiring an advertising agency such as Lippman Media to create and execute a marketing plan for you this year. Lippman Media has an expert team that manages online advertising, web design, graphic design, newsletters, social media presence, press releases, reputation management and more. The team utilizes various tools to assist with web search optimization, and provides result reporting on lead tracking and other strategies as part of their marketing package. Plus, they negotiate lower rates for space in publications, billboards, bus shelters, radio and television air time, passing the savings on to you. For information on how Lippman Media can help you with your 2017 advertising program, visit http://lippmanmedia.com or call 702.595.4896. Happy New Year!

Referral Marketing Reliability

By | Medical Marketing

Referral marketing is a different approach to traditional marketing efforts. Standard healthcare marketing focuses on techniques such as advertising campaigns, website SEO, email or traditional mail marketing, and public relations. While these are all important methods to promote a practice and its physicians as a “brand”, they are not always the most effective in influencing new patients to choose that practice.

Instead of attempting to connect to a large volume of potential patients, referral marketing uses a streamlined process to create a connection between the practice and potential referring physicians. Individual patients have a variety of possible needs that can influence their decision about which practice to choose, making it very difficult for a physician to know where to focus their marketing. Patients may be looking for electronic communications, cutting edge medical equipment, or they may be directed to different providers based on their insurance plan. They may be concerned about the possibility of high deductibles. So, instead of trying to address all these possible scenarios, referral marketing casts a wider net of influence, focusing on the entire base of patients with which a referring physician already has a trusted relationship. Connecting with these other practices is where the role of a physician liaison becomes beneficial. There is a growing field of marketing practices that can be hired to call on doctors’ offices, maintain relationships, and generate referrals to the practice.

The physician liaison creates connections between their client or employer and potential referring physicians. They develop this new relationship, helping to establish and maintain a new patient referral process and contribute to the growth of the medical practice they represent. Physician liaisons effectively become a representative of the physician or practice, attending events on their behalf, setting up meetings and lunches between physicians, and delivering marketing materials and referral sheets to the referring physician. A marketing firm that offers physician liaison services will establish tracking and reporting for measurable goals that can help the physician or practice see results and decide what is working or not working.

Referral marketing through a physician liaison is one of the most effective ways any size practice can increase its incoming patient referrals. Large hospitals have had physician liaisons for years, using them to reach out daily to general and specialty practitioners to present to them their range of treatments and reasons to refer patients to the hospital. If a small specialized medical practice wants to increase referrals to their practice, they can benefit from using the same tactics of large hospitals at a more personal level.

Get started on building a referral marketing strategy for your practice today by contacting Lippman Media. The expert marketing team has years of experience working with top physician liaisons and have strong relationships across the Valley. Visit www.LippmanMedia.com for more information on referral marketing for your practice.

Article Submitted By:

Glenda Monkarsh, CEO                                                                                                                                                              Lippman Media

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MARKETING & MEDICINE

By | Medical Marketing

Branding Basics: Building Your Brand and the Future of your Practice

Branding is not something that many medical practices have been concerned about in the past, but that is changing. After all, they have had a built in clientele – people get sick and have to go to the doctor, right? But in the world of modern medicine, things are shifting. Medical practices are competing for business, working to win contracts with healthcare organizations and ultimately their patients. Even practices that are not-for-profit have to stay in business to provide their services. Having a unique brand that represents what a practice stands for can make the difference between having a surviving or a thriving practice.

Defining It. A brand is a symbol that differentiates and identifies a product or service from others in the marketplace. It can be a figure, or even a stylized version of the name of the product or service, or in this case the practice. The brand should be meaningful in defining what the business stands for and what kind of service is being provided. The key is that it is easily recognizable, simple and can make an imprint on the brain of people who view it. Note that just because a company is the biggest in their field does not mean that their brand does not have value. If “bigness” was the only important quality, then why would larger companies work to acquire smaller brands to get their following? For example, why would Volkswagon acquire Bentley, Porsche or Bugatti? The value lies in the brand, not the overall revenue. Acquiring those brands brought credibility and prestige to a brand that was associated with commuter vehicles.

Why Have It? As Scott Goodson, founder of New York advertising agency Strawberry Frog, explains in Forbes Magazine, “Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark as opposed to a trademark. Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products. Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Brands are valuable. Many companies put the value of their brand on their balance sheet.” The idea is that a brand is something that does not change over the life of a company. The doctors in the practice may change, but the ideals and values of the practice itself remain the same. Patients and other providers learn to associate the brand with the ideas and values that are a constant.

Making It Stick. Brand development requires that people learn to recognize the brand by creating an emotional attachment and causing a memory to be associated with it. According to Heather Andrew, CEO of Neuro-Insight, a leader in neuroscience-based market research, “Emotion is very important, but you need to make an impact on the audience’s memory if you want to change their attitude towards your brand. So if you’re creating a TV advert, for example, it is vital to ensure that there is a strong link between the emotional response and the brand.” Building brand loyalty is ultimately about touching people’s minds – and hearts – and winning their business.

When a patient has choices, branding is what can make the difference between your practice getting the new business or a competitor. Think about your practice and consider what brand suits it best. You can always enlist the help of experts, too. Lippman Media offers services such as creating a branding guideline that can help you create the brand symbol and develop it to help grow your practice. Visit www.LippmanMedia.com for more information on branding your practice.

Article Submitted By:

Glenda Monkarsh, CEO

Lippman Media

 

Healthcare Marketing in the Digital Space: A Prescription for Success

By | Medical Marketing

By Casey Floyd

Vice President of Integrated Marketing

MassMedia Health

Digital advertising by U.S. healthcare firms will approach $2 billion in 2016, a 15.4 percent increase over last year, according to a presentation developed by Patricia Orsini, market analyst at eMarketer. This trend shows no signs of slowing; mobile and social advertising spend is expected to show double digit percentage increases for at least the rest of the decade. Today’s healthcare organizations must supercharge their online presence or risk being left behind.

The reasons for this exponential growth in digital healthcare advertising is clear. As tablets, web-enabled cell phones and laptop computers become ubiquitous among physicians, hospital administrators, payers and patients, organizations must project themselves where they can be seen, evaluated and present themselves as industry leaders and experts.

The tactics that will be effective in accomplishing these goals, however, are as unique as the firms using them. Corporate values, competitors, the nature of the industry and geography in which they compete, their go-to-market strategies and a host of other variables bear on how healthcare industry participants can best employ the power of online marketing.

Ironically, though healthcare is among leaders when it comes to embracing technological advances for treating patients it is often slow to adopt tech to communicate, manage and grow their markets.

Your competition likely fails to leverage the available digital resources to attract prospects, engage, inform and convert them to patients, shape their opinions and turn them into evangelists. If so, the door is open for you to claim additional market share. The key is to partner with an agency that thoroughly understands the digital advertising and content space, one that possesses both the insight to identify and the resources to implement the strategies, messages and dissemination methods that will attract and resonate the people who need the services you provide.

Clinics, healthcare partnerships, pharmacies, etc. generally take a shotgun approach to marketing. It’s a vestige of traditional marketing, when anad in the city telephone directory and the Sunday newspaper was considered a comprehensive marketing plan. When you ask a healthcare group who its primary target market is, the response typically is “All people nearby,” or “whoever we can get!”

Digital marketing ushers in a new paradigm and calls for radically different execution. While the concept of market segmentation is not new, the digital tools available to healthcare professionals make it possible to tailor specific messages for specific potential clients – based on their demographics, lifestyles, online behavior, interests and beliefs.

We put away the shotgun and take a sniper approach to deliver relevant messages to specific people by building profiles around these patients and then delivering value-added services that are important to them.

A strong digital marketing platform and a knowledgeable partner also position pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device producers, therapists, hospital and other B2B healthcare businesses to react to changing market trends. For instance, Medical Marketing & Media’s latest Healthcare Marketers Trend Report notes that barely half the healthcare industry participants surveyed ranked patients and insurers among their top three target markets. While physicians and other providers rightfully remain the top target of healthcare firms’ marketing messages, companies that neglect payers and consumers, again, ignore the shifting paradigm.

Today’s treatment options are governed as much by how much of the procedures’ costs will be covered by insurance as by their efficacy and need. A portion of healthcare firms’ digital marketing budget should be allocated to educating payers and advocating for coverage both to generate revenue and to promote optimal patient wellbeing.

At the same time, consumers are taking greater responsibility for their own healthcare decisions. Reputation and brand identity play an increasingly large role in consumer choice. And with ratings sites, social media platforms and instant access to information proliferating, digital channels ultimately will shape user opinions.

However, consumers continue to be inundated with generic brand messages promoting “quality” care from physicians’ groups, empty promises from insurance companies scare tactics from pharmaceutical companies warning of dire consequences for failing to use their drugs.

Digital marketers that provide accurate healthcare information will find a voracious audience (witness the popularity of WebMD and other less accurate sources for self-diagnosis). Establishing trust through proven online and social platforms such as content marketing and blogs can attract readers and convert them to clients.

More often than not, healthcare providers and companies are stuck in an analog marketing world. They continue to throw money at digital marketing ventures with no true understanding of how to accomplish their goals or even what those goals really are. Their mistakes can be your goldmine. The healthcare industry is extremely competitive and it is a zero-sum game. Patients generally use one doctor, one dentist, and one lab. When you out-market them in the digital workspace and cause them to switch, the effect is doubled. Your practice gains a patient, while your competition loses one. This makes it imperative to outperform others in your industry when it comes to marketing. The others will not invest the time and resources to analyze the competition and establish a position that will set their message apart. You will not make that mistake if you hire a digital marketing and public relations agency that will dig into the competition’s weaknesses, accentuate your strengths and develop a tactical ad placement schedule that will magnify the effects of laser-guided messaging, making sure it is delivered at the right place, at the right time.

For instance, when I partner with a healthcare client, I work with them to first determine what online action we want a potential customer to take. It might be something as simple as watching an educational video on the client’s website or subscribing to an email list so we can capture information that will guide our optimization of future engagements. From there, I can “reverse engineer” our methods and tactics, creating messages and contact points that will achieve the client’s objective.

Where your competitors get digital marketing wrong, there is opportunity to jump in and do it right. Generally, healthcare marketing is cold and unauthentic. It does not connect with the consumer. Testimonials tend to do well, because there is some authenticity there. But consumers are wising up to this ploy. Noble as it is, healthcare organizations are businesses. It’s time they started acting like it in the digital marketplace. Non-profits, consumer-oriented, and even B2B and government websites often exhibit a more authentic human approach. Healthcare should take a page from their book by providing curated content for their audience and delivering it in niche locations and niche media. The industry should connect on every level to the consumer and react to feedback. And it should say something different than the same old platitudes the competition spouts and capitalize on the competition’s cluelessness. They should experiment with marketing dollars. A little bit goes a long way in digital marketing, and healthcare organizations can improve their images, attract traffic and ultimately increase revenue with an active, dynamic social media presence. Answering patient questions. Showcase true patient interactions. Put a face to your brand!

For help with your healthcare organization’s digital strategy, please contact by email at Paula@massmediacc.com or by phone at 888.777.5146.