The Challenge of Being Transparent in Hospital Marketing

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Hospital marketing professionals have a range of inordinate challenges before them when it comes to promoting a facility or system in an effective way.

These challenges stem from a variety of causes: healthcare, in today’s world, has become increasingly political and polarizing; consumers largely view healthcare as a commodity and facilities as interchangeable; consumers feel detached from the healthcare process beyond self-diagnosis and choosing a doctor; the labyrinth that is medical billing overwhelms, confuses, and discourages patients.

Transparent communication in hospital marketing can alleviate many of these problems, but that poses a challenge in and of itself. How can hospital marketing pros be more transparent in their communications to earn the trust of their target audience and communicate differentiating quality?

The Obstacles to Transparency

Being transparent and clear about a hospital’s benefits and offerings can be difficult for facilities for a few reasons:

  • Many hospitals don’t want to “pull back the curtain,” so to speak, on medical billings, including cost of services
  • Healthcare in general has become politicized
  • Hospitals offer a wide range of services to a wide range of people
  • Consumers aren’t always willing to talk about their health
  • Costs become difficult to comprehend, especially when insurance companies are in the discussion
  • All services and physicians are not created equal

 

There are also many different stakeholders in the process. It’s not just the patient; it’s the patient’s family, insurance company, physicians and employers. These agents can interfere with clear, open communication.

Creating Transparent Communication

The most effective hospital marketing strategies overcome transparency issues and offer differentiation when it comes to their competition – even if they operate as a de facto monopoly in a given area.

One suggestion for perhaps being more transparent is being open with statistics and conveying them in a direct, easy-to-understand manner. For example, be honest about infection rates, medication error rates, and any other statistic about healthcare that your target audience would be interested in. Do so in a clear way without using jargon. Saying, “A typical post-surgery infection rate is one in 1,000” is acceptable, but it’s not quite as good as saying, “One out of every 1,000 patients who undergo surgery will get an infection.”

One might think that being forward with such knowledge could be negative, but the opposite may be  true; it is a positive way to establish trust and differentiate a facility from the rest.

Another suggestion for transparency is to be clear and open about what the hospital truly excels at – the hospital’s competitive advantage. This is not to imply that a hospital is “bad” at other areas, per se, but it does state, clearly, that consumers have one main choice when it comes to quality care in this particular area. By focusing on strengths, a hospital can begin to set itself apart in a meaningful way.

Additionally, a hospital can be open about the process it uses to bill and charge patients for their services. Many hospitals are loath to reveal specific costs and pricing information, which is understandable. Even if that’s the case, though, finding a compromise or middle-of-the-road path can reap benefits. Consumers are far more likely to choose a hospital that at least makes an attempt at clarifying the billing process and revealing the nature of costs and prices for services.

Having that particular conversation is, in a word, frightening for many in the healthcare profession, but it needn’t be. Transparency ultimately wins the hearts and minds of a consumer, and the more transparent hospital marketing professionals are, the better their results will be.

Consult with a hospital marketing agency like TotalCom to learn more about how you can expand transparency and deliver more effective messages.

 

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Creating a Sophisticated Hospital Social Media Strategy

 

 

Social media has become a pillar of hospital marketing – and its importance grows every year.

According to surveys, nearly 99 percent of all hospitals in the nation are on social media in some facet. But according to the same surveys, only 17 percent believe their social media efforts have been “very effective”.

The disparity comes in the level of sophistication of the social media strategies being implemented. Most providers’ social media efforts are rudimentary at best. These hospitals have social media accounts, but don’t maximize its effectiveness.

Common Mistakes with Hospital Social Media Strategies

This failure to properly implement social media is resulting in such a low satisfaction rate across the nation. (It must be said that those who are satisfied with social media have had great success with the channel, meaning that doing it well may very well be worth the effort.)

Common mistakes include:

  • Lacking a cohesive social media strategy: Many facilities have only a rough idea of what they’d like to accomplish, and haven’t defined goals, objectives, methods, metrics, or anything more specific than “We need to be on Facebook.”
  • Not creating a content calendar: One problem facilities run into is not knowing what to talk about. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process so a marketing department can know what to say, and when to say it.
  • Not sticking to a firm schedule: Most posting is haphazard. To be successful, content must be posted at a regular interval, at opportune times.
  • Leaving social media only to the marketing department. Sophisticated social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility, not just the marketing department. Though it must be managed and overseen by the marketing department.
  • Not having a procedure for responding to visitors. Your patients will attempt to engage with the hospital online; not having a system for handling these comments and responses will hinder the success of the strategy.

These mistakes are preventing hospitals from the level of sophistication that is required for optimal results.

Essential Elements of a Viable Strategy

Creating a sophisticated strategy for a hospital marketing approach require a few essential elements, such as:

  • Who will be responsible?
  • What topics will be discussed?
  • Where will the hospital pull its information for content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • What processes are in place to involve doctors and other professionals?
  • How often will content be posted?
    What procedure will be in place to handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other marketing efforts and channels?
  • What budget does the hospital have for boosting posts and creating ads?
  • What are the demographics of the target audience for social media advertising?
  • What pages on the website will we want to send traffic to from social media platforms?

Answering those questions will go a long way toward creating a sophisticated social media strategy for a hospital that is looking to increase engagement, boost brand reputation, and enhance word-of-mouth marketing for new patients.

Contact TotalCom Hospital Marketing for a hospital marketing agency that understands social media and how to execute it with a layer of sophistication that gets results.

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Adopting Cross-Channel Marketing

 

In today’s hospital marketing world, healthcare systems sometimes still adhere to old-fashioned marketing practices.

Traditionally, hospital marketing has been a siloed endeavor. Hospitals would identify key marketing channels, place each channel in a silo along its own, isolated track, and pursue each channel with its own separate marketing plan.

Now, though, traditional advertising and marketing channels have become diffused. Everything has begun to blend in with everything else, and lines have been blurred.

Plus, consumers get information from a variety of different sources, which means you can no longer rely on just one tried-and-tested channel to deliver positive impact like you could before.

Put simply, the days of isolated marketing channels – a hospital choosing broadcast, billboards, print, and digital, and erecting solid barriers between each and all – are numbered. For hospital marketers the future lies in cross-channel marketing adaptation.

Examining Cross-Channel Hospital Marketing

Cross-channel marketing is essentially telling the same story in multiple, different ways – but in a cohesive and coordinated manner in which all channels depend on each other for success.

For example, a cross-channel hospital marketing strategy could look something like this:

  • A website is created to act as the hub for the campaign
  • Google AdWords pay-per-click campaigns are created for the hospital targeting primary keywords
  • The PPC campaign leads to a landing page on the website that encourages viewers to fill out a contact form or make a phone call to schedule an appointment
  • Display ads are created and sent out through the internet, leading to landing pages
  • Blogs are written and published to the website on a regular basis
  • These blogs are then shared socially via the hospital’s social media channels
  • Social media channels drive traffic back to the website and to the landing pages
  • Print ads give a URL to a landing page, sending people back to the website
  • Email campaigns share blogs, news articles and social content, also driving traffic to the website
  • Broadcast ads prominently display the website URL

In this manner, each channel feeds into every other channel. The chances of a patient receiving a branded message from any of the above channel (and from more than one) is significantly increased, meaning the campaign gets more reach than it would if the hospital focused on just a few traditional channels and there was no interaction or overlap between them.

Using Coca-Cola as an Example

Coca-Cola is one example of a brand that has embraced cross-channel marketing to drive market share and brand recognition for one of its latest products, Coke Zero.

The company realized that Millennials as a whole aren’t drinking Coke Zero (only 15 percent have actually tried it). But those who do try it largely continue to drink it. Coca-Cola launched a cross-channel campaign that incorporated broadcast, digital retail, social media, and traditional media to create a seamless promotion directing customers from one channel to another – all in an effort to promote Coke Zero and get more people to try the drink.

The same principles apply for hospital marketing. Patients are far more likely to choose a hospital that they encounter time and time again, and cross-channel marketing accomplishes that. By using several different channels in a unified way, a healthcare organization can deliver messages to target audiences in a manner that encourages participation, builds brand authority, and increases brand engagement.

Adopting cross-channel hospital marketing is the next level of advertising and marketing. Leveraging all available channels – traditional and digital – and fusing them together in an interwoven approach is the foundation for success in today’s hyper-digital age.

Contact TotalCom to learn more about an organization can adopt cross-channel hospital marketing for their future campaigns.

Branding Blue Marker

Tips for Creating a Unified Hospital Marketing Brand

Take a look at all of your branded material online — your social media profiles, your website, the blogs you create, the emails you send out, your graphics, your display ads, and anything else that is associated with your brand.

If you were to remove the logos, would all those pieces look similar/related? Would there still be a unified, consistent look among all of those elements — or would you not be able to tell they even came from the same company?

If the latter, you may have a problem with brand consistency for your hospital marketing campaign.

Learn more about why brand consistency is important and how you can build a stronger, more unified brand for your hospital.

Why Brand Consistency Matters

People have an innate ability to recognize patterns. We also have an innate ability to recognize and associate with brands, in that we notice what makes a brand stand out and recognize those elements when we see them later — and also, we build positive or negative connections between a brand and our opinion of it.

For example, seeing a physical example of McDonald’s “Golden Arches” is commonplace. We all know what those arches mean, just as we know what it means when we read McDonald’s tagline, “I’m Lovin’ It” or see one of the company’s advertisements. You could remove the logo entirely from the restaurants and the company’s marketing materials and you’d still be able to tell from the company’s consistent use of various other brand elements that you were standing in a McDonald’s (or reading/viewing a McDonald’s advertisement). And of course, every time you notice one of these elements, you experience emotions and thoughts about the brand (good or bad).

Brand consistency matters because it’s these strong brand connections that ultimately drive business. This is especially important when it comes to hospital marketing. A hospital isn’t a place people go because they want to — they only go there when they need to. And since no one knows exactly when he or she is going to experience that need, it’s important to ensure that your brand is “top of mind” when the time comes. Otherwise, your customer could choose another provider.

The simple truth is, people choose whomever has the strongest, most memorable brand. But you can’t make your brand strong or memorable without also making it consistent, and ensuring that it delivers the same message, no matter where your audience sees it.

Creating Brand Consistency

First and foremost, your hospital should have a brand guide. This is a document that codifies all that the brand is — not just how it looks, but also the brand messages to be communicated. This guide is where you spell out slogans, taglines, core values, messages, talking points, and the like —anything, that is, that can be used to create a message that a potential patient will encounter.

Of course, how a brand looks does also matter, tremendously. That’s why a style guide should be a part of the brand guide. The style guide dictates, to the finest detail, how the brand will look — which is key to ensuring consistency in any graphic you create, whether it’s a Facebook page, a print ad, a display ad, a social media post, an infographic, or a logo for a TV commercial.

Your guide can get very specific in detailing brand directions for each medium. For example, if you run ads on television, your guide can dictate what branding elements will be in each commercial. If you post on social media and create images for the post, you can stipulate what each image must look like and contain.

Everyone on your team needs to have the brand guide and be on board with it. This is crucial for successful hospital marketing. Otherwise, you’ll have different people creating different things — applying brand elements inconsistently across marketing materials. And that lack of consistency dilutes your brand.

Periodically, check your brand and review it to make sure it’s:

  • Coherent
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Cohesive
  • Convincing

All of these qualities need to be in place, especially the cohesive aspect. Your brand should have the same uniform appearance wherever it appears. Checking it on a regular basis — maybe once a quarter — not only gives you opportunities to revise it if needed, but also keeps everyone on the same page.

Get Better Hospital Marketing with TotalCom

If you’re interested in advancing your hospital marketing campaign with consistent branding across all media, contact TotalCom Marketing. We’d be more than happy to help create winning branding campaigns that improve recognition and build trust within your market.

Hospital Marketing in 2016: Three Trends

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Want to know what trends to expect in hospital marketing in 2016? Here are three trends we’ve identified that every hospital will need to follow.

Increase Content Quality 

Content marketing continues to remain a big part of hospital marketing and will only increase in importance as we move through 2016. Last year saw an increase in the quantity of content. This year, we’ll have to see a rise in the quality of the content we produce.

It’s not enough to mass-produce content in order to fill a quota of pieces for a blog. We’ll have to spend more time on each piece of content in order to make an impression. This is actually a positive, because it means we can be really creative and spend more time developing and polishing a few pieces of content – an article for a magazine, a white paper, a video – rather than just pumping out content that is merely okay.

Focus on Simple Scheduling

People in 2016 will value convenience more than they did before. Amazon now has one-click buying that allows you to buy in a snap. Other platforms have rolled out one-click buttons to shop and buy. Hospitals can take advantage of this trend by having simple, convenient scheduling with just one click of a button.

This changes things. Formerly, a hospital’s campaign would feature landing pages that ask the consumer to learn more. But they’ve probably already learned a lot by the time they get to the landing page. When they arrive there, the instinct for instant gratification kicks in, and they’ll probably want to just go ahead and schedule an appointment.

So, we’ll have to retool our landing pages to reflect that desire. Allow your patients to sign up for an appointment right then and there, and you’ll have more success translating marketing into action.

Take Advantage of Moments

Over the past few years, consumers online have started to experience more “moments”. A moment is a short amount of time in which people turn to the Internet to find something that they need at that moment.

For example, they may want to know something about symptoms of a condition or illness. They may want to go somewhere near them, which means they’re searching for a local provider. They may want to know how to do something, like create a healthy exercise plan or cook something tasty yet healthy.

A hospital can live in these moments by creating content that takes advantage of this inspired activity. If you want to get people who want to know things, produce content that shares information about symptoms and illnesses and other health items that may be in the news. You can market the hospital and your doctors with geo-targeted campaigns that zero in on zip codes. You can create how-to videos on healthy living.

Living in these moments with your potential patients will place you closer to them in the moments that they appear online.

Even though these are the trends, the challenge for many community hospitals is to have the resources to keep up with the trends. Limited personnel and limited resources for technology will continue to hinder some from taking full advantage of these emerging trends.

For more information on hospital marketing in 2016, talk to the experts at TotalCom Marketing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Hospital Social Media Strategy

Social Media for HospitalsSocial media has become a pillar of hospital marketing – and its importance grows every year.

According to surveys, nearly 99 percent of all hospitals in the nation are on social media in some facet. But according to the same surveys, only 17 percent believe their social media efforts have been “very effective”.

The disparity comes in the social media strategies being implemented. While most hospitals have a social media presence, it is what is being done with them that counts.

Common Mistakes with Hospital Social Media Strategies

This failure to properly implement social media is resulting in such a low satisfaction rate across the nation. (It must be said that those who are satisfied with social media have had great success with the channel, meaning that doing it well is well worth the effort.) Common mistakes include:

  • Lacking a cohesive social media strategy: Many facilities have only a rough idea of what they’d like to accomplish, and haven’t defined goals, objectives, methods, metrics, or anything more specific than “We need to be on Facebook.”
  • Not creating a content calendar: One problem facilities run into is not knowing what to talk about. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process so a marketing department can know what to say, and when to say it.
  • Not sticking to a firm schedule: Most posting is haphazard. To be successful, content must be posted at a regular interval, at opportune times.
  • Leaving social media only to the marketing department. Effective social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility, not just the marketing department.
  • Not having a procedure for responding to visitors. Your patients will attempt to engage with the hospital online; not having a system for handling these comments and responses will hinder the success of the strategy.

These mistakes are preventing hospitals from achieving optimal results with their social media marketing efforts.

Essential Elements of a Viable Strategy

Creating a sophisticated strategy for a hospital marketing approach require a few essential elements, such as:

  • Who will be responsible?
  • What topics will be discussed?
  • Where will the hospital pull its information for content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • What processes are in place to involve doctors and other professionals?
  • How often will content be posted?
  • What procedure will be in place to handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other marketing efforts and channels?
  • What budget does the hospital have for boosting posts and creating ads?
  • What are the demographics of the target audience for social media advertising?
  • What pages on the website will we want to send traffic to from social media platforms?

Answering those questions will go a long way toward creating a sophisticated social media strategy for a hospital that is looking to increase engagement, boost brand reputation, and enhance word-of-mouth marketing for new patients.

Contact Jimmy Warren, president of TotalCom Marketing for other ways to improve your healthcare marketing including both traditional and social media.

Essentials for Creating a Hospital Blog

hospital blog by TotalCom

One underutilized component of hospital marketing is a blog.

Many hospitals are on social media, and most hospitals use digital media in addition to traditional media. But few have a dedicated blog focusing on health, patient care, and information – and that’s a missed opportunity.

Take the Cleveland Clinic, for example. The Cleveland Clinic has transformed their website into essentially one giant blog that features daily content from their professionals and providers on a wealth of health-related topics.

People from all over the country go to the Cleveland Clinic website for information and education, meaning this clinic has one of the best, most recognizable brands in the industry.

Any hospital could do this – all it takes is starting with a simple blog and growing it into a dedicated resource for health-related information.

Why a Blog for a Hospital?

What value does a blog have for a hospital?

As any doctor knows, people are hungry for health-related content and will turn to the Internet before they ever think about speaking to a physician. They’ll also get it from anywhere they can – including many places of questionable integrity and veracity.

Because demand is so high for health-related content, a blog makes perfect sense. Through a dedicated blogging program, a hospital can:

  • Help patients by pointing them in the right direction for care
  • Raise the profile of their individual physicians
  • Increase trust and respect in the community for the hospital
  • Boost brand recognition and authority
  • Convert prospects into patients

A blogging campaign, if properly administered, can fulfill all of these functions and be a vital cog in the hospital marketing machine.

Start With a Blog Content Strategy

To begin, every blogging campaign needs a dedicated content strategy.

A content strategy is essential because you want to know what topics you will discuss, how often you will discuss them, and who will be creating the content (or serving as the source for it). This gives the healthcare marketing professional the opportunity to create cohesive, cogent structure for a campaign and plan everything well in advance.

A content strategy for a blog should contain:

  • The target audience
  • Broad topics to cover
  • More specific blog titles (these can be changed as needed)
  • Keywords to focus on
  • Internal links to promote
  • A regular schedule for drafting
  • A regular schedule for posting
  • Who will be responsible for supplying the information (i.e. physicians, department heads, outside sources, etc)

Honing the strategy should be the first step.

Develop a Smart Keyword Plan for Your Hospital Blog

Inside of your content strategy should be a plan around keywords. You should know what keywords you want to focus on and how they’ll be incorporated.

Ideally, choose one focus keyword per blog. Keywords in this context can be the same as those used elsewhere on the website and in online advertising. They can also be a bit more general. “Hospital in Tuscaloosa” may be a target keyword for the website, but a blog keyword could be something like “flu symptoms” or “how to treat diabetes”.

Keywords for a blog generally revolve around what people actually search for when they’re looking for information online. Stick to those keywords instead of keywords that relate to the hospital itself.

Remember: blog posts can rank in search engines, which is one of your ultimate goals.

Develop an Information Gathering System

One of the most valuable hospital marketing assets a facility has are the physicians who work there.

Physicians, nurses, and technicians are the experts in their respective fields. They know what marketing professionals don’t: the ins and outs of a diagnosis, a condition, a treatment, and anything else you’d want to talk about.

Finding a convenient and stress-free way to get information on a regular basis from your experts is the key to any successful blog.

Some doctors like to write and prefer to write posts themselves. Encourage this whenever you can. Most doctors, though, don’t have the time nor the interest to write a post and would rather just give information. That’s fine – develop a system to take their input and turn it into a full-fledged blog.

Distributing and Re-purposing Your Hospital Blog

Once a blog has been written and posted, you need to distribute it.

You can use blog posts as landing pages for ads. You can share them on social media. You can send them out via email. You can even do paid campaigns like Outbrain to direct people to the blog post. All of these approaches work well to distribute your blog post.

Then put on your PR hat to see what opportunities might exist. An individual post could be great source material for a reporter.

Outsource Some or All Blogging Responsibilities

A hospital marketing department can handle a blogging campaign in house, but it may make sense to outsource it to seasoned professionals who are skilled and adept at creating and executing blogging campaigns.

Contact Jimmy Warren, president of TotalCom Marketing for more information on outsourcing blogging and developing a powerful brand reputation online.


 

ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

3 Hospital Marketing Trends That Are A Must

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Hospital marketing is a challenge. Engaging consumers and convincing them to turn to your physicians and services – all while building brand recognition and authority and expanding reach to new potential patients.

It helps to identify important hospital marketing trends that will make an impact over the next year. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at trends to follow in 2016, but for now, we’ll examine three trends that have made an impact in 2015 and should be followed today.

Here are three important hospital marketing trends to include in your marketing campaign, if you haven’t already.

Tap Into Search Marketing

Before the average patient ever sees a doctor, he or she will have searched online for answers to their symptoms and problems. In fact, 72 percent of Internet users reported looking online for health-related information within the past 12 months, according to Pew Research. This is why WebMD is so popular. This is why countless other sites including medical reviews exist – to provide a steady supply of health-related information for people searching for it.

A hospital has to find ways to tap into search. This is not so much a trend as it is a way of life.

The more information a patient gets from a source online, the more likely it is that that patient will use that facilities services. Tapping into search can mean taking advantage of SEO and SEM, writing blogs with keywords relevant to searches (i.e. find what health questions people are asking online and then writing blogs focused on those answers), and even spreading the message through guest posts and articles that link back to the main hospital website.

This leads us to another major trend: having a robust repository of knowledge.

Create Content and Post

This is another trend that is more like a way of life. A hospital’s website should be a virtual resource for health-related information, complete with topics that help patients find answers to their problems before they ever see a doctor.

This can take many forms. We recommend a hospital blog. But other options are static content that reads like an online encyclopedia or a FAQ page.

The content should then be re-purposed across all of your channels. It also forms great material for PR pitches, both traditional and digital.

Use a Reputation Management Service

Over 60 percent of patients use online doctor reviews before choosing a physician. The number of patients who use online physician and hospital reviews jumped by 68 percent from 2013 to 2014. These two stats alone reveal just how important it is to use some kind of reputation management service for your hospital.

A service can gather reviews and encourage patients to leave reviews on websites. They can also curate these reviews and let you know when one has been posted. Review tracking is a powerful way to manage your reputation, as is the ability to reach out to patients and encourage them to actually create a review. More and more patients are leaving reviews these days, but the more positive ones you have, the better your reputation will be.

Social media is a strong channel for this. You can solicit reviews and have them on your Facebook page, as well as direct patients and followers to external websites for reviews.

Reach for Better Hospital Marketing in 2016

In the coming weeks, check back here for what we expect to be crucial in 2016 for hospital marketing. For now, form a plan to implement the trends outlined here.

ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

Maximize Medical Reviews to Market Your Hospital

Online Reviews to Market Your HospitalWhen it comes to healthcare, patients are consumers, just like with any other industry. Consumers like to share reviews on how their experiences went with a provider, and healthcare is no different.

In a day and age where the average adult spends over 20 hours a week online, with 28% of that time on social media sites, it’s impossible to ignore the potential of internet marketing and management.

It’s imperative to understand the clout of online patient reviews.

One in four new patients report having chosen a physician based on a website reviews. Furthermore, the power of influence is growing, with some insurance companies even linking patients back to these sites. While posts on medical review sites (such as Healthgrades, Yelp, Vitals, etc.) are anonymous, there are tactics that can be used to elevate the good and combat the bad, overall boosting a hospital’s online reputation.

 

Visibility

With around 80% of customers searching the Internet for information on doctors, it’s important your healthcare facility is visible on all of the most important medical review sites.

Studies have shown that Healthgrades® is the most searched medical review site, with Yelp following close behind. Placing your hospital on these sites gives consumers an enormous amount of confidence in the brand. It is greatly advised that you do not discourage patients from critique with tactics such as a contractual agreement that prohibits a patient from public reviews. Many hospitals and practices have such tactics in place and are building a relationship of mistrust, suspicion, and hostility.

That being said, too much visibility can negatively affect your online reputation just as easily. Be sure to have a policy in place that advises all of your staff to have private social media accounts for socializing, and public/professional accounts for engaging in medical groups and gaining public trust.

 

Request

Positioning yourself online, in any platform, makes your hospital open to extreme criticism. There are a few tactics one can take to encourage positive reviews and dissuade the bad from emerging.

As each new generation enters the age where they are seeking health care without parental supervision, the Internet savvy of hospital consumers increases. Newer patients searching for online medical reviews can tell the difference between an authentic and fake review. When requesting reviews, ask your patients directly. Do not rely on family and friends to boost your positive feedback. Advise physicians to ask their patients they have a strong relationship with to take a moment to review their work and the hospital. Not all patients will oblige, but some will.

Another tactic to generate positive commentary is to give surveys to recurring patients while they wait for their scheduled appointment. Linking to an online review site at the end of a survey could generate traffic. You can also link to review sites through a follow-up email. Think of your follow-up emails as a medical thank you card. Kindness goes a long way with patients, and sending a thank you card encourages a strong bedside manner.

Want to discourage consumers from ranting and raving their negative experiences online for the world to see? Presenting complaint cards to patients provides the consumer a chance to get their anger out before going public, declining the likelihood of taking it online.

 

Reply

Once placed on any medical review website, commentary on your services (good and bad) will begin to appear. It’s important to do a consistent scan of these sites for new reviews. It is highly likely that more than a few patients will be disappointed in the outcome of their treatment and say so online.

Respond to these reviews in a timely and conscientious manner. With a proper response, other patients may even come to your defense. Acknowledge the person’s complaint, show a commitment to improving your service, and encourage the distressed patient to contact you directly in order to discuss their complaint and come to a resolution.

Utilize the power of medical review websites! Not only do they encourage more patients to use your healthcare facilityl, with enough positive reviews, you can boost your credibility with Google and receive a higher ranking on search engine results!

Want to learn more tips to market your hospital online? Check out this blog for more information!

Need help marketing your healthcare facility? Contact Jimmy Warren today.


ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

5 Tips for Boosting Your Healthcare Google AdWords Budget

TotalCom Healthcare Marketing

 

Google AdWords is a highly-effective tool for healthcare marketing. When executed correctly, a healthcare organization can decrease the cost of leads, gain a deeper understanding of their patients, target a very specific audience, and increase market share.

Merely running an AdWords campaign, though, doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you want. There are many factors that come into play that have a role in generating results. For example, keywords, especially for a hospital, can be costly, so you want to choose carefully to maximize your budget.

Below we have tips to help boost your Google AdWords budget.

Monitor Your Account Regularly

Make use of Google Analytics daily. Using their tools can help you determine which of your keywords do and do not display your ads.

Also, change the view of your campaigns by sorting your cost per conversions from lowest to highest. Maximize the money for campaigns doing well, and decrease, or stop, your unsuccessful campaigns.

Use all match types for your keywords and continuously oversee their effectiveness. One broad match keyword may cost you less, but be receiving little conversions. Through frequent monitoring and adjusting, your Google AdWords campaign can become an effective powerhouse.

Use Targeting

Google allows you to target specific ages, geographic locations, gender, and much more. A thorough study of your target audience for a specific service could greatly increase your conversions, making the most out of your budget.

Track Click Through Rates (CTRs)

It’s important to track the click through rate of your campaigns. You want to make sure one keyword isn’t getting a great deal of search hits, but few CTRs.

By tracking CTRs, you can also figure out which keywords are over performing and which are underperforming.

Fine Tune Campaigns

What are patients truly searching for? Fine tune your campaigns to meet those searches. Most people aren’t Googling “emergency.” Perhaps your facility offers a specialty that others in the area do not. Focus on bringing in new patients by boosting those keywords.

To boost your budget, narrow down your Google AdWords strategy to the few keywords that are maximizing your conversions.

Check Your Google AdWords Budget

Some of the most common mistakes healthcare facilities are making on Google AdWords involve overbidding and underbidding on a keyword. Many times a business will overbid on a term to ensure their ad pops up. While effective in helping you reach PPC goals, it can greatly increase your cost per conversion. Underbidding guarantees a competitor’s ad will outrank your own. It’s important to stay in charge of a keyword, without overspending.

As you can see, Google AdWords is an extremely effective marketing tool, and will continue to be as the digital world maintains its steady progress. With any marketing strategy, consistent overview is important, but it’s imperative for Google AdWords.

Since fine-tuning an AdWords campaign is very time-consuming, your hospital would benefit greatly from hiring a professional to oversee your campaigns, so you can focus on everything else on your plate.

If you are interested in marketing your hospital using Google AdWords, contact Jimmy Warren today.


ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!