Author: Jimmy Warren

Are Yellow Page Directories Still Relevant for Healthcare Marketers?

 

When was the last time you saw a phone book lying around that actually gets used?

Some marketing experts may recall the time when the good and faithful printed Yellow Pages were a fundamental part of every doctor’s advertising effort. Sometimes it was the entire marketing plan. Everyone in the service area had at least one directory at hand and would use it when locating a needed resource.

But despite the relentless digital march of progress—the Internet, iPhones, Facebook and countless online look-up resources—some phone books and printed directories still survive.

Printed directories have been losing ground, and largely disappearing, for years. But if you’re still considering using Yellow Pages, consumer research says to use it if your audience falls into one of these categories:

  • Reside in smaller, rural areas
  • Have a high school education or less
  • Have an annual income of less than $40,000
  • Have limited access to a computer, the Internet or broadband
  • Be among the Baby Boomer demographic group

These consumer categories may be more likely to still use Yellow Pages for various reasons, including lack of internet access or understanding of how performing a search for a healthcare provider works. If your target audience meets one of these profiles, it may be appropriate to continue Yellow Page advertising.

What can be useful to healthcare marketers is shifting your focus to adding locations in the Google My Business tool. In a nutshell, this free resource allows people to manage their online presence across Google’s search capabilities.

To go one step further, consider Moz. Moz will assist you with the finding and submitting locations to local directories. Moz’s software greatly helps with the search engine optimization efforts of a huge number of sites around the world. It’s even connected to Google My Business, giving users even more control over their locations.

Interested in taking your healthcare facility to the digital side? Contact TotalCom today!

Best Ways to Market Your Healthcare Facility and Standout

When potential patients do not have a recommendation from family or friends on what healthcare professional to use, they typically turn to conducting their own research online. This could entail using anything from the search engines to social media as long as the information they find is trustworthy and extensive.

Ensuring your practice is listed everywhere that potential patients are searching for your services online is the key to driving more traffic to your web properties and therefore, more foot traffic to your practice.

Create Content that Educates

Creating content that educates your audience is beneficial for SEO, driving long-term traffic from the search engines to your website overtime, but most importantly, producing and distributing quality content in the form of blog posts and articles helps give value to readers and build trust between your patients and your practice overtime.

Put yourself in the consumers shoes when you write your material and then ask the following questions:

  • Can I easily interpret the information?
  • Are the terms and definitions understandable, even if I was only 12 years old?
  • Is the content accurate and informative without being overwhelming?
  • Is the explanation sufficient?
  • Are all my questions answered?

Fun with Facts

It’s a fact that people like facts of all shapes and genres, especially in healthcare. Facts and statistics can be woven into certain types of content, such as infographics, to complement the information.

The true beauty, however, is the simplicity. Facts are short and to the point. They are easy to digest, easy to generate, easy to verify 

Video Marketing is Important

Last, but certainly not least, spend time on video marketing to really stand out. Offer testimonials from your patients, ensuring that they are genuinely interested in speaking on your behalf to make the effort as effective and authentic as possible. Create videos to introduce doctors and put a human touch to the faces patients will be seeing.

Utilize YouTube as a hub for your video marketing efforts online, then embed those videos throughout your website. YouTube is a search engine owned by Google, making your video content uploaded there discoverable from both the search results, your channel subscribers and wherever the video is embedded (like your website.)

Again, just like the written content being produced for your web properties, your video content must educate your audience on your expertise in the industry.

Marketing for the healthcare industry doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to think about who your target audience is and how best to reach them. Let us do the thinking for you. Contact TotalCom today to learn more about our healthcare marketing options.

Tackle Healthcare Pay-Per-Click Conversions through Digital Marketing

Beat the Healthcare PPC Wormhole

Digital marketing in the healthcare industry is crucial in a time where 1 out of every 20 google searches are health related, but running a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is challenging. Without advanced techniques, health care companies will waste their money on ad space by failing to get seen.

Digital marketing for hospitals is specifically challenging. Below we have outlined exactly why your hospital may be struggling in the PPC department, and listed a number of tactics to help you beat the PPC healthcare wormhole.

(Are your hospital’s digital ads being blocked? Get around ad blocking today.)

Digital Marketing For Hospitals: Challenges

There are a number of reasons why digital marketing for hospitals using PPC poses challenges:

  1. Medical information is sensitive: You have to be careful with your ad word choices with strict HIPAA privacy laws in place.
  2. Retargeting: a recent adjustment of Google’s policies prohibits health care facilities from remarketing themselves.
  3. Competition: Because of the above retargeting restrictions, staying visible on search engine result pages (SERPs) is incredible important, but keywords are highly competitive (and expensive).
  4. Knowledge Graphs: In an effort to provide more correct medical information, and panicked patients, google has implemented knowledge graphs (certified medical information) that takes over the right hand side of SERPs.

All of that considered, there must be a way to effectively use digital marketing for hospitals with PPC.

Contact Information

Is your contact information readily available for other businesses and patients to view? Check, check, and check again! This is critical for your PPC plan. A patient searching for hospital care digitally is most likely in need of services sooner than later. Having your contact information positioned clearly can set you apart from competitors. Be sure to set up call extensions, location extensions and sitelink extensions to your ad. This makes for a larger ad, and is known to contribute to higher rankings on SERPs.

Contact information is the number one way to gain conversions, so place it on every landing page. If it’s hard to find your phone number, and easy to find a competitors, you will most likely lose a potential patient.

Mobile Marketing

Going mobile is imperative. If contact information is a key factor for a PPC strategy, so is going mobile. Contact information involves communication, and if you need fast contact, you have to call. Using your phone to find and contact a hospital makes it simpler. If your hospital is mobile, a potential patient simply needs to click the number that pops up on the Google page to call you.

Be sure you are tracking your Adwords performance by specific devices. Pay close attention to what mobile campaigns are and are not working. Make your bid adjustments accordingly.

Know Yourself

Finally, understand your target audience. Determine what your patients are searching for the most. There are many types of patients to consider for a hospital. Are your patients generally looking for urgent, emergency care? Are they searching hospital options knowing they will be in for a long term stay? Do your patients even know what they are looking for at all?

Step into the patient’s shoes and consider what you would search for if you were them. Think of triggers that grab their attention that you can then incorporate into the text of your PPC ads. Knowing what sets you apart from your competitors helps you create a PPC campaign that stands out

Interested in learning more about using PPC for your hospital’s digital marketing strategies? We specialize in using dedicated PPC campaigns to boost results for hospitals looking to gain an edge in the paid digital space. Contact us today.

Integrating Email and Social Media Marketing for Hospitals

Digital marketing continues to forge ahead in effectiveness for healthcare providers but many are overlooking one major technique: the integration of email and social media marketing. Social media has proven to be effective for healthcare organization. And of course with a good email list you can communicate directly with your previous patients and potential patients.

So why choose one over the other? It’s clear social media is here to stay, and as the digital world increases, it gains in significance. Email marketing is the most effective digital marketing platform available. Combining the two will help drive patients to your hospital.

Here, we have a few examples of how integrating email and social media marketing can work for you.

Upload Subscriber Lists

One of the best ways to gain a following on social media sites is to follow yourself. Where better to start than by following people who are already interested in your hospital’s content?

Your email subscribers are the perfect start to a strong social media following. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook are among the most popular social sites that allow you to add contacts from your email. We’ve all seen those pesky notifications that say “add connections via email.” Most of us fail to use it on our personal social accounts because, quite frankly, the people we email aren’t necessarily our friends. Because we consistently overlook this feature on our personal accounts, it often goes unused for businesses as well.

It’s a major bonus feature that connects the two seemingly different worlds of email and social media marketing.

Retargeting

Retargeting is digital marketing gold, but even the experts often forget about retargeting socially. By only targeting users who have received your hospital’s email newsletter and clicked on an ad, you eliminate the (expensive) guesswork.

Creating this type of email campaign and then only displaying retargeted ads on social platforms is affordable and gets your ad seen. Retargeting socially greatly increases the chances of a conversion.

Subscribe Socially

Have more social followers than email subscribers? Let your patients know about your emails! Patients who are following a hospital on social media are doing so to stay informed. They will most likely be pleased to see you offer further information via newsletter.

Patients can sign up for your newsletters from Facebook and Twitter. On both of these platforms you will create a call-to-action button, giving your user an effortless way to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • On Twitter, click Twitter Ads → Creatives → Cards → Create Lead Generation Card.
  • On Facebook, go to your business page and click Create Call-To-Action → Sign Up → then enter Subscription Landing Page.

Both of these platforms allow you to measure success by using their analytics features. This is great to help determine how integrating email and social media marketing works for your hospital.

These are just a few of the many digital marketing tactics you can use by integrating social media and email. By joining email and social media forces, you position your hospital to gain more attention on each platform.

 

Interested in utilizing your digital marketing platforms more efficiently? Contact us today.

How Guerrilla Marketing Lessons Make Hospital Marketing Better

Hospital marketing is becoming crucial, and as the world becomes more digital, so is the need to be seen. How do you stand out?

Exploring non-traditional marketing techniques, like guerrilla marketing, could be the answer. Hospital marketing services everywhere are overlooking this technique. Let’s talk more about how we can learn valuable lessons from guerrilla marketing that can be applied to more traditional marketing efforts.

Defining Guerilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing hasn’t ever been fully defined. Most marketers view it as a method of grabbing attention for a brand in a bold, unexpected, and low-cost way.

But, there is more to guerrilla marketing than just being cheap and surprising. An effective guerrilla marketing campaign also produces an emotional connection. It must captivate an audience by affecting its mood through humor, empathy, fear, etc.

Guerrilla marketing tactics must also be beneficial to the customer. Customers enjoy being a part of something bigger than themselves. Guerrilla marketing tends to lend itself to that, but it takes highly innovative hospital marketing services team to create such a campaign.

You Have To Get Creative

As with any marketing strategy, guerrilla marketing requires a fully fleshed-out plan.

First, you must have a strong understanding of your target audience. With a deep understanding you can create a campaign that is more likely to produce an emotional reaction from your audience. Step inside their shoes to know what they are looking for.

Second, you must dig deep into your creative mind. The most essential part of guerrilla marketing is innovation. In the day and age where YouTube videos are going viral daily, it can be difficult to produce such a campaign. Focus on capturing attention, and then providing something that an audience feels benefits them.

Think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People all around the world were throwing buckets of ice over their heads to feel a part of a community, and more importantly, to feel like they were making a difference.

What did they get in return? A good feeling, a sense of community, and an opportunity to better the world.

It takes creativity, but when properly implemented, guerrilla marketing can be remarkably effective.

Non-traditional Hospital Marketing Services

Guerrilla marketing is out there. It represents something far from traditional marketing, but as marketing for hospitals grows more and more necessary, exploring more non-traditional techniques is important.

By learning from non-traditional methods like guerrilla marketing, you could set your hospital apart from the competition, gain new patients, and create a stronger sense of community within your current clientele.

Are you interested in taking lessons from non-traditional marketing styles and applying them to marketing for your hospital? Contact TotalCom Hospital Marketing today!

Hospital Marketing: Media Buying Negotiations

As any hospital marketing director knows, media buying is essential to the success of a marketing campaign. But one overlooked skill in buying media is negotiation.

Negotiating is key because ad budgets are limited, and the better the rates you can get for your placements, the more reach you can effectively generate. Also, advertising space is not unlimited, which creates a need for negotiating and being selective when choosing channels.

Here are tips for negotiating during your media buying process to get the best deals from your vendors.

Negotiating Radio and Broadcast

Generally, rates for radio are negotiable because there is a fixed amount of inventory. Competition drives prices for these rates up; a lack of competition pushes them down. Fortunately, there is usually a wealth of radio outlets in a given market (if it’s large enough), which means you will more than likely have several chances to reach your target audience. This helps you because you can play one station against another and get lower rates.

For broadcast, that same principle applies. Another principle is timing. Since many broadcast outlets publish their fall schedules in May, buying at that time can give you special deals and packages in an effort to convince you to pay early in the year.

Negotiating with Print

Print is a different animal than broadcast and radio because there are few opportunities to negotiate on rate. Rather, what you’re negotiating for is what comes with your buy i.e., other services they can include, such as additional ads, special positioning, reader response cards, free color, and so on.

Since many print outlets are now also digital outlets, there are even package deals with their online properties and ad networks that can be negotiated for. (Often this works in reverse, too; if you are placing ads digitally with them, they often offer special incentives to place ads in the print edition as well.)

Hiring a Hospital Marketing Agency

The best all-around negotiating advice is to leave it to the professionals who negotiate regularly with media buying representatives at outlets. Agencies are advantageous for hospitals because they not only have experience, but also have established relationships with outlets over the years that can be used to your advantage.

Managing media and ad buying is not easy. Hire an experienced hospital marketing agency to help you develop your marketing network and manage your media purchases. Learn how with Jimmy Warren at TotalCom Marketing today!

The Evolution of Hospital Marketing

Healthcare is an ever-changing field with new technological advancements and discoveries being made every day. Healthcare marketing is similarly constantly developing. For this reason, competition is fierce. Learn from a hospital marketing agency what is essential to carry your organization to success.

Identify Your Customer

Identifying the customer has evolved significantly in the healthcare marketing field. Formerly, the only differentiation was by geography. A hospital could target those who were in its general vicinity, but that was it. Now, however, the specialization of healthcare – mixed with new digital technology – allows us to go further, beyond those limitations.

For those of us in healthcare, it can often be challenging to explicitly establish a target audience. However, it is different for every type of organization.

Therefore, it is important that you know your audience in order to cater to their wants and needs. Does your consumer need immediate medication or do they want personalized bedside care? Do they need immediate emergency room services or do they want to lose weight and look better? Through a hospital marketing agency, your hospital can tailor your message accordingly.

Depending on your services, a hospital marketing agency can help you cater to specific demographics. You can target income, age, geographical location, even personal preferences. Creating health programs or incentives often drives consumer traffic. Beyond that, engagement online is critical.

Make Digital a Cornerstone of Your Strategy

Over the past decade, healthcare marketing has become more common and more digital. Practices, healthcare organizations, hospitals, and rehab facilities are all engaging with potential consumers online.

For your marketing efforts to be successful, your organization must comprehend the importance of engagement in healthcare marketing. Like with any relationship, communication is key and must work both ways. Establishing an online platform makes you responsible for proactively listening and responding to feedback from your customers.

Digital marketing is of crucial importance today. Boston Children’s Hospital, for example, grew net revenues from $1 billion to $1.4 billion largely on the back of a shift to digital marketing over a period of just one year.

Also, keep in mind, 84 percent of all patients turned to the Internet to choose doctors, specialists, and hospitals. A third of all patients use online reviews to make judgments on where they will receive treatment.

Combine your digital marketing strategy with traditional methods like radio, television, and print ads to truly see your ROI increase. Hire an experienced hospital marketing agency to help you develop your marketing strategy. Learn how with Jimmy Warren at TotalCom Marketing today.

Is Precision Marketing the New Strategy for Hospital Marketing?

Many buzzwords are thrown around in the marketing field.

One of the newer ones is precision marketing, a term to describe a data-driven, individualized approach to marketing that seeks to create loyal customers through highly targeted campaigns based on customer segmentation. Its goal is to retain existing customers rather than acquire new ones.

This makes sense, given that creating a new customer costs five to 10 times as much as selling to a customer you already have. In hospital marketing, your customers are patients, and you want them to return to your providers for years of treatment rather than go elsewhere.

Is precision marketing a viable strategy for hospital marketing? Or, is it yet another new buzzword with few practical implications?

Examining Precision Marketing in Detail

The major foundation of precision marketing is using data to help drive desired patient retention outcomes. For this reason, precision marketing is most often executed using digital marketing campaigns.

Digital marketing gives a hospital access to technology that can not only reach a large number of people in a small amount of time (using a smaller percentage of a marketing budget), but can also segment these individuals and target demographics with a laser focus.

For example, a hospital that seeks to retain obstetrics patients know that the typical customer for that department is female aged 20 to 35. Using social media and digital ad buys, a hospital can focus on that demographic and spread the message about the obstetrics practice. A hospital can also use a combination of surveys, social media, email marketing, and ad retargeting to directly target and illicit data from current and previous patients to not only learn more about their behaviors, but also build loyalty through repeated outreach and touchpoints.

The idea is that a personalized approach using data is preferable to mass-market appeals, especially with such a personalized and emotional field like healthcare. Customers are getting turned off and desensitized to marketing messages, which necessitates a more personalized approach.

Incorporating Precision Marketing into a Hospital Marketing Strategy

How does a hospital take advantage of this marketing method?

A hospital must first invest in a digital strategy. Precision marketing is best used in conjunction with a fully involved, multi faceted digital marketing campaign. Only digital provides the tools to combine data collection with coordinated, personalized reach to the individual.

Additionally, a hospital must invest in data collection and analysis. There must be a more concerted effort to build in-depth profiles about typical patients and demographics. Profiles should be as precise as possible. This allows the marketing department to build customized and personalized messages to be distributed via social, email, ads, direct mail, and more.

Furthermore, a hospital should invest in technology that allows advertising dollars to be spent in a more targeted manner, instead of a mass-market approach. For example, banner ads can be useful, but what is more useful is ad retargeting – ads that target visitors to a hospital’s website and then follow them around on the Internet for up to 120 days or beyond. These are more effective in connecting with current or previous patients and encourage visitors to revisit a website – which dramatically increases their chances of seeking the hospital for services in the future.

Taking the hospital marketing game to the next level means learning to adopt what works from precision marketing and using it to fill out a hospital’s digital efforts. Adopting the approach of data collection, analysis, market segmentation, and personalized approaches using a digital framework of message delivery could be a potent combination for hospitals in today’s age.

Contact TotalCom to learn more about precision marketing in hospital marketing campaigns.

The Growing Need to Market Primary Care in Hospital Marketing

The rise of alternative ways to access primary care – namely through the advent of primary care services offered by pharmacies, such as flu shots, medication management, and health/wellness advice – poses a challenge for hospitals that traditionally have relied on the strength of their primary care physicians to attract new patients.

Now, in today’s world, patients are turning to sources outside of hospitals to find primary care providers and are turning to hospitals either for specialty services or for emergencies – leaving a hole in a facility’s patient-acquisition funnel.

This leaves contemporary hospitals with a hospital marketing challenge: attracting new patients to a system for primary care versus only conducting service-oriented marketing campaigns that emphasize a specialty.

While there is still a place for specialty service oriented hospital marketing, the time is now for hospitals to take seriously the task of promoting their primary care physicians to the public.

The Role of a PCP as a Care Manager

These days, patients look to PCPs to serve as overall care managers instead of merely being care providers.

Patients aren’t going to PCPs so much for routine care as they are advice and guidance with managing everything from prescriptions to specialty care. In this way, a PCP is a gateway provider to a wide range of specialty services that a hospital provides. The PCP, in this respect, has become the main source of referrals to more specialized services – a source that, as time as gone by, has gotten away from hospitals and into the realm of private practice and non-hospital, non-clinic providers (like major pharmacies).

The rise of the Internet has also caused the role of the PCP to change. Patients are becoming more accustomed to self-diagnosing online and contacting a PCP only for a referral to a specialist. When viewed in this context, a PCP is no longer the frontline provider but instead is a portal to other services.

Since patients are looking for PCPs to be care managers, it’s important that hospital marketing campaigns portray them as such, and promote a PCPs as trusted, reliable resources for overall health and wellness for patients, especially since our population is aging.

Hospital Marketing Campaigns for Primary Care

To remain competitive, and to be a top-of-mind choice for initial care, hospitals need to do a better job of marketing their primary care physicians and promoting them to potential patients who are always in need of medical consultation and information.

Paid Search Advertising

One direct way to reach potential customers is to use paid search ads to promote individual physicians. These days, it appears that most marketing budgets go toward specialty care, leaving individual doctors behind. But even PCPs need concerted marketing support, and paid search can offer that in the form of clicks to individual doctors’ websites from people who are searching either for PCPs themselves (such as “family doctors in _____”) or information.

Content Marketing

Each PCP on staff should also be actively involved in content marketing, in the form of contributing to bylined blogs and articles.

Since patients are searching for this information, having a PCP deliver it in a trustworthy, reliable format (that is also easy to read) is enticing to a typical patient or parent who is choosing a PCP for the family. Content ideally should come from the doctors themselves and should be informative, educational, and engaging – offering advice and consultation for health and wellness that most patients will find useful.

Social Media Advertising

Promoting PCPs on social media is also effective, especially when coupled with social media advertising targeted toward those searching for providers online. Facebook in particular is a powerful platform for promoting posts featuring content from a highlighted doctor or for creating ads specifically designed to either promote a piece of content on the website (and by extension, the doctor whose name appears on it) or the physicians themselves.

The goal in all of these channels is to promote a hospital’s primary care physicians as the first-recourse resources. The benefits of taking a primary care centered approach are numerous, but most hospitals still shy away from emphasizing primary care in their hospital marketing campaigns.

Contact TotalCom for more information on how you can forge a new hospital marketing campaign that places the spotlight on primary care and opens the gates for new patients.

 

 

 

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.