Hospital Internal Audience Marketing

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.

Healthcare Marketing Management: 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses

80621090The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

This blog usually addresses marketing issues or ideas relevant to healthcare and hospital marketers.  But realizing that most healthcare marketers also supervise others I think the thoughts here can be very helpful.  Because being a great boss is just as important as understanding marketing strategy and principles.  To be the best you can be, to get the most out of those you supervise and to create an environment of excellence, you must also know what qualities are required to be an outstanding boss.

So I share this article written by Geoffrey James for Inc Magazine

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

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Which ones should you address? Which one is priority? What action steps will get you there?

Healthcare Marketing: Google Buys Into Newspaper Advertising

Google buys a newspaper ad to show why newspaper ads don’t work

In a most interesting irony, Google bought an ad in the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper to advertise its search-advertising business, which is in direct competition with newspaper advertising.  The point was to show that newspaper advertising doesn’t work.  Well if that’s true, why make your point in a newspaper ad?

Lauren Indvik posted the ad on mashable.com after it was tweeted by reporter Steve Ladurantaye with the caption, “An ad for Google ads in today’s Globe demonstrates the value of print ads, yes?”

The ad asks, “You know who needs a haircut?  People searching for a haircut.”  And then adds, “Maybe that’s why ads on Google work.”

What an ingenious marketing approach!  Reach newspaper readers to convince them newspaper advertising doesn’t work.  But if Google really thinks newspaper advertising doesn’t work why waste money trying to make their point there?  And even more amusing, they included a promotional offer in the ad.

So what does this have to do with hospital advertising?  Not much really.  It’s just ironic and funny.  And proves that sometimes as hard as marketers try to make a point, their strategies end up making the opposite point altogether.  Sometimes unintended consequences can doom even the most creative and unique ideas.

 

Hospital Marketing: Customer Satisfaction Scores Decline in Healthcare and Energy

Hospital customer satisfaction levels declined in the past year, joining the energy sector as the only two industries whose scores declined.  And this in spite of a strong emphasis on patient satisfaction by hospital CEOs.

Times have been tough in this economy.  For almost everyone.  And it’s true for hospitals as well.  It has led to implementation of various cost saving initiatives in most hospitals.  And in some, it has necessitated layoffs.  It appears the result has also caused a decline in patient satisfaction.  According to American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which measures consumer satisfaction for ten economic sectors, hospitals’ satisfaction scores fell 5 % over the past year. Only the energy sector joined hospitals with a decline.  It’s clear why there was a decline in the energy sector but both surprising and troubling there was a decline with hospitals.

The results were reported by Philip Betbeze in HealthLeaders Media.  Overall hospital satisfaction dropped 5% with inpatient satisfaction recording the largest decrease.  This is especially interesting when more and more hospital leaders are stating they are placing a stronger emphasis on patient satisfaction.

In fact, Betbeze reports that in the 2010 HelathLeaders Media Industry Survey, many leaders are making patient satisfaction their number priority.  Over 38% selected patient satisfaction as their top priority and it was near the top in most of the other surveys.

Hopefully, this increased emphasis on patient satisfaction will turn the tide and lead to significant increases in future surveys. It needs to.  Declining patient satisfaction will lead to trouble in many other ways and will certainly negatively impact our hospitals’ brands.  When that happens there are long-term effects.

Sure there is great pressure in hospitals to cut costs in the face of a struggling economy, decreased reimbursements and an uncertain industry environment.  But as Betbeze correctly states, “investments in patient satisfaction require more commitment than cash. In fact, relative to other investments hospitals have to make, such as high-tech imaging systems, new patient towers, and new operating suites, patient satisfaction improvement is instead based on clean rooms and hallways, better, hotter food, better service, and more eye contact, among other, seemingly simple fixes. Those things improve with culture”

It is certainly disheartening to see satisfaction scores decrease while management makes it a top priority. Hopefully it means there is not just lip service to the problem but the results just haven’t been fully manifested and thus not appearing in the survey results yet.  It is certainly a necessity to stop the decline and improve satisfaction scores.  So much depends on it.  There are many things in healthcare that management cannot control but a patient-centered culture and a commitment to patient satisfaction is one that can be impacted.  It must be!

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Hospital Marketing: The Future of our Brand is Determined by Random Contacts with the Patient

The brands that top the charts in customer experience are also winning the loyalty battle.

Forrester Research recently released its list of top brands for customer service.  Surveying over 4600 U.S. consumers about their customer experiences, Barnes and Noble topped the list.  Others making the top five were Marriott Hotels, Hampton Inn, Amazon and Holiday Inn Express.  At the bottom of the list were Charter Communications, United Healthcare and Citigroup. (A complete list can be seen here).

It’s always interesting to see how consumers rate businesses in regard to their customer service experiences.  And to examine what businesses do to improve their customer service.  It’s also interesting to see the correlation between customer service and other brand attributes.

One thing we know is there is a strong correlation between customer experience and brand loyalty.  Those companies that deliver superior customer service also build strong brand loyalty.  The brand image and perception are largely determined at the point it interacts with the customer.  Brand loyalty is determined at the point of customer contact.

As hospital marketers, this is invaluable information. We often put our emphasis on technology, convenience, services and a host of other things.  But how much emphasis are we putting on that point of customer contact?  What is happening when our brand interacts with the patient and the patient’s family?  Brand loyalty is being determined at those random points of contact.  The future of our brand is determined during these interactions.

This is undoubtedly the most difficult thing to control.  There are so many within our organization that have contact with the patient and each one of them can make or break the experience.  It’s very difficult to control all of these contacts.  But it is imperative that we create a culture, an environment, where there is consistent attention and a strong emphasis on positive customer service. Yes technology, convenience, services and a host of other things are important, but in a consumer-directed economy, customer service is at the top.  The customer experience will determine how our brand is viewed and if there is any brand loyalty.

Barnes and Noble and the other companies at the top of the list make great effort to create a customer-friendly atmosphere and attempt to deliver the highest level of customer service.  They make it their corporate culture.  The future of our own brand largely depends on how well we create that culture within our organizations.


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Hospital Marketing: Want Satisfied Patients? Make Sure Your Employees Are Happy

smiling faceResearch indicates that highly satisfied employees deliver higher levels of patient satisfaction.

How do you create a successful marketing strategy to improve patient satisfaction?

1.   The latest technology.

2.   Remind employees to provide a high level of service.

3.   Having patient reps check with patients to address any needs or concerns. 

4.   Solicit feedback from patients and provide a process for dealing with issues of  concern.

5.  Implement quality initiatives throughout the hospital. 

All of these are extremely important.

But a recent study indicates that maybe the largest factor in patient satisfaction is employees who are highly satisfied with their job and work environment.  A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University at a New York Hospital and commissioned by Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement indicated that patients have a higher level of satisfaction when their care is delivered by highly satisfied employees.  Forum President, Michelle Smith, stated, “In the healthcare industry, as in other service-related businesses, having engaged, empowered, loyal employees can lead to increased retention, lower costs, enhanced reputations and a profitable business picture.” 

Regardless, of all the quality initiatives imposed on employees, unless they are happy and satisfied with their job, patient experiences will not be good.  Happy employees deliver superior service.  In fact, the research indicated that patients are more likely to recommend a hospital to others if happy, satisfied employees treat them.

 It’s obvious isn’t it? A satisfied employee delivers better care. We really don’t need research to tell us that do we?   Even though it’s intellectually obvious, hospitals spend so much time and effort imposing guidelines and mandates and quality initiatives without investing in employee job satisfaction.  Certainly the emphasis should be on the patient.  But there must also be a strong emphasis on employee satisfaction. 

  • Creating the right environment
  • Encouraging and empowering employees
  • Honoring and recognizing outstanding employee service
  • Demonstrating genuine concern and interest in employees

These things pay huge dividends!

Competitive salaries are important but ALL the components that create employee satisfaction must be emphasized.

Want to provide a high level of patient care and better patient experience?  Do everything possible to make employees happy.  It will be an investment that will pay rich dividends for the patient and the hospital.   

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Healthcare Marketing: Internal Marketing is as Important as External Marketing

Your brand must be embraced and embodied internally before it can be sold externally.

healthcare

How many times have you been excited about purchasing a new service, but in doing so, find out that the experience is not at all what you expected? Because of a crafty, clever, or appealing advertising message, you expected and hoped for something outstanding but the staff just didn’t deliver. And you come away disappointed.

Marketing professionals spend so much energy and time to establish a brand by creating advertising that is emotional and beautiful and that effectively speaks to the consumer in just the right tone and style. But is the brand promise delivered when the consumer responds to our advertising messages?

It’s not enough to create great ads. To effectively build a brand, the brand promise and the brand essence must be embraced internally.

The staff, with every customer contact, must reflect and manifest the brand. There must be buy-in from everyone in the organization. And that is not easy to accomplish. The marketing goals and efforts should be effectively communicated and sold internally. There must be internal ownership of the brand personally.

It may be better to communicate a weak brand message than to communicate one that is not consistent with the consumer’s experience. It’s very difficult to retain customers if when sampling the brand their expectations are not met.

That’s why internal marketing is so important. Marketing the brand internally is essential to creating the brand externally. The entire team should understand the essence of the brand and know how important it is for them to embody that brand and to be diligent in delivering the brand promise.

Is your organization’s marketing effective? Sometimes that’s determined long before consumers ever see the first ad.

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