If we suggested you use a portion of your healthcare marketing budget to take an ad out in the Yellow Pages, you’d think we were crazy—and we would be. After all, the Yellow Pages are no more! But business directories still exist—this time digitally—and they’re just as important to your hospital marketing efforts today as those massive yellow tomes.(more…)
Why Reputation Management Is Key for Hospital Marketing
Reputation is everything in business. It’s even more important for hospital marketing because a hospital’s reputation is its most important asset.
Without a strong reputation, your hospital’s patient intake will suffer. After all, people don’t want to entrust their health to a hospital that has a poor reputation. (more…)
How to Make Your Community Hospital Stand Out with Hospital Marketing
Running a community hospital in an area dominated by larger hospitals with more brand recognition and bigger budgets can be very difficult. It’s hard to stand out unless you have a convincing brand value proposition, a competitive advantage to exploit, and a smart hospital marketing strategy to gain market awareness. (more…)
Every hospital and health system wants to grow its patient base. That is the job of hospital marketing: to increase brand awareness and build positive relationships between the hospital and potential patients.
There are a lot of methods that hospitals currently use to market themselves. From buying billboards to airing TV commercials, creating a Facebook page, and even sending out direct mail, marketing strategies can work together to create a total-package approach that targets a patient from multiple angles. (more…)
We’re at the beginning of a new year.
Now is the perfect time to take a step back, analyze the what you did over the past 12 months, and build a strong plan for 2018.
This may seem like a daunting task. That’s why you should start planning now. We’re giving you a checklist of the most important things you should do in the coming weeks.
- Ensure business listings are accurate
If you’re not already on top of this, potential customers may end up someplace other than your healthcare facility. Don’t let old phone numbers or former street addresses drive your customers to the wrong hospital or clinic. Fix whatever data errors you can this year, and make a New Year’s Resolution to keep an eye on it during 2018.
- Add special hours to Google My Business
With the end of one year and beginning of a new one, hours can change. Maybe your clinic is changing hours in the new year. Either way, add your new or extended hours to your Google My Business page. No customer wants to show up at your clinic and find you are closed for the day when Google says differently. Negative brand impressions lead to negative reviews of your healthcare business, so check these hours twice.
- Social media ready to go
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest that your customers rely on most, start brainstorming ideas for healthcare content in the new year. Don’t leave it to last-minute scrambles to think of something to say. Make a spreadsheet and schedule days and content for your posts.
- Website pages updated
Been putting off updating your site’s blog or adding that new employee to the site? Get on it now to ensure everything is crossed of your list when January rolls around. Customers like a completed, up-to-date site, and you will too.
While many people are cherishing this time of year and in the jolliest of moods, there will still be unhappy reviews coming in. Be prepared for reviews, both good and bad, in 2018. Come up with a strategic plan on how to handle and respond reviews about your facility in a timely manner. Make sure everyone in your company who handles reviews is well versed in the plan as well.
The start of a new year is a great time to get started on these healthcare marketing resolutions. But get ahead of your digital resolutions now so they don’t get pushed aside until 2019. If this list seems too daunting to handle on your own, let TotalCom help! Contact us today.
You took the plunge about the iPhone X and you’re not even sure if you’re supposed to say iPhone X or iPhone ten.
But what’s the big difference between this model and the one you had before collecting a new monthly payment added to your stack of bills?
Facial recognition is the big difference. Are you unlocking your phone or is it unlocking you? This could bring in a new era for marketers. Since the announcement of the iPhone X, facial recognition has quickly become the topic of dinner conversations everywhere. Facial recognition used to be reserved for top secret labs or something you saw the President use in a movie. But now we have access to it as well (celebrities, they’re just like us!)
While this feature is marketed as a security function for unlocking your phone, a consumer device used by the masses is a seriously powerful technology.
It is said 90% of personal communications is nonverbal. Every day there are instances where we don’t understand the nonverbal cues of the person on the other end of our screens. We use emojis and GIFs to try and share emotion within our digital interactions.
For all of us in the communications business, we know good experiences lead to trust and loyalty while bad experiences lead to brand rejection. So what could we do as marketers if we were able to obtain real-time reactions from a consumers? Imagine a world where we have access to consumer’s facial expressions and emotional cues in reaction to products and brands?
If we could access the facial cues from patients waiting for an extended time in the emergency room? The excitement on someone’s face when they try out a restaurant’s new dish. Or the skepticism on your face when you’re indulging in a purchase you shouldn’t be.
Currently, Apple is keeping detailed facial recognition data local on the phone and not storing it on its servers. App makers can use the iPhone X, with the user’s permission, to read a rough map of a stream of facial expressions. While Apple may never store this information for public use, it’s interesting to think about a world where we design advertisements based on the most unique human feature. This technology would tell us more about our consumers than we’ve ever known before.
These days, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms are changing the way patients interact with their healthcare providers. Social media is certainly something that you can’t afford to ignore.
Paid social is having a banner year in 2017. Analysts from HootSuite predicted that social ad spending will top $35 billion this year. Judging by the past several years, which have each seen consistent growth, that growth will continue into the future.
As long as you do it right – paid social is an excellent investment in your healthcare marketing plan. Here are 3 reasons why.
Paid social is a necessity if you want your brand to be seen on social media.
When you post something on social media, you’re competing with what feels like 1,999,999 other healthcare businesses- and we’re just talking about ones that are advertising. Realistically, there’s no way that your posts are going to get engagement from more than a few people unless you pay to promote them. With social media algorithms becoming more and more complicated, it makes it even harder for current and potential patients to see your content.
Organic social is still important, but if you want your posts to be seen, it’s time to set aside some budget for paid social ads.
Paid social allows you to target users with incredible specificity.
It’s really amazing how specific you can get with your ad targeting these days.
Look at Facebook, for example. You can customize your audience by everything from level of education and field of study, to online activities, to simple demographics.
This ultra-targeting means that you’re a lot less likely to be wasting your ad dollars. Instead of showing your ad to people who almost certainly aren’t going to buy what you’re selling anyway – men and gynecologists, for example. Through targeting, you won’t be annoying people with ads they would never be interested in and you’re cultivating an audience that may eventually lead to a loyal customer.
It’s highly resource- and cost-effective.
When you’re just starting out with paid social advertising, you don’t have to know it all. You can create relatively basic ads with a relatively basic audience and budget. You also don’t need a huge budget to begin with. Base your budget on factors including your company size, the number of people you want to see your ad, etc… This is especially helpful when your hospital is just starting out and not sure where to begin.
The key is to be patient and be proactive. Watch your analytics, stick to your goals, and don’t be afraid to experiment when needed.
Social media can be hard to navigate, to improve your chances of succeeding, allow TotalCom to help you.
There’s no need for me to go on and on about why keyword research is essential for your hospital’s marketing success. It is important however, to note there is no universal approach to executing keyword research. It will vary based on:
- Website (authority, number of pages, quality of content, etc);
- Goals and objectives (branding, exposure, traffic, leads, sales);
- Budget, resources and deadlines;
- Industry and competitive landscape.
I am going to give you a keyword research framework that can easily be adjusted depending on the goals and resources of your healthcare facility.
- Evaluate top healthcare websites.
By doing this, you can identify the most common navigation items and categories on leading industry sites. Just by studying your niche well, you can discover some great keywords.
- Use advanced search operators.
While searching for top healthcare websites, you can use Google’s advanced search operators to dig even deeper. You have operators at your fingertips that can provide significant and useful information.
Example: Searching “related: health.com” will bring you to sites similar to health.com. From here you can find more content and common keywords on other sites in the same industry.
- Google Suggest
The best free tool for keyword research is Google itself, especially with all of the features it uses to help searchers find exactly what they’re looking for. Google Suggest, is the feature that drops down a list of suggestions from the search box as soon as you start typing. For example, Google “doctor” and don’t hit enter. Instead make note of the drop-down search suggestions.
- Google Keyword Planner
Using Google’s Keyword Planner, paste your saved keyword list from the steps above into the “Product or Service” category and then evaluate the average monthly searches and competition for your area. Keyword planner will also suggest keywords and phrases to use based on your categories. Remember high competition is not always a reason to give up on a keyword. It all comes down to the balance between the business value of that keyword.
Since it all begins with words type into a search box, keyword research is considered one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the digital marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your healthcare website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.
Let us do the keyword research for you! Contact TotalCom to learn more about our healthcare marketing options.
Are you satisfied with your hospital’s social media efforts? Perhaps it is time to review and possibly revise your social media strategy. Here are some social media strategy DO’s and DONT’s for healthcare marketers.
Common Mistakes in Hospital Social Media Strategy
FIrst of all, taking a look at what “NOT” to do can be helpful. So here are a few of the “DONTs”.
- Poor planning up front. “We need to be on Facebook” is not enough. Therefore, clearly define the goals, objectives, and metrics for measuring. After all, knowing what success looks like is important.
- No content calendar. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process. In addition, the calendar needs to coincide with other hospital communication efforts, local events, and even the seasons.
- No set schedule. Most posting is haphazard. Instead, post content at regular intervals, at opportune times.
- Don’t leave it to marketing. Effective social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility. Therefore, involve the service line managers, physicians, HR, and department heads.
- No procedure for responding. Because patients and others in the community will attempt to engage with your hospital online, have a system for handling these comments and responses, ahead of time.
Essential Elements of an Effective Healthcare Social Media Strategy
In addition, your social media strategy should answer many of these questions.
- What are we trying to accomplish?
- What does success look like? Furthermore, how will we measure success?
- Who is responsible? In addition, who is on the team?
- What are the priorities?
- Who are the target audiences?
- Where will the content come from? Also, what about photos?
- How will we involve doctors and other professionals?
- What is the posting schedule?
- How and who will handle comments and responses?
- What level of integration will there be with other communication efforts and channels?
- What about boosted posts? And if so, what about budget?
In conclusion, if you are looking to improve your hospital’s social media efforts, a review of the basics may go a long way.
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 many 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!
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.)
Digital Marketing For Hospitals: Challenges
There are a number of reasons why digital marketing for hospitals using PPC poses challenges:
- Medical information is sensitive: You have to be careful with your ad word choices with strict HIPAA privacy laws in place.
- Retargeting: a recent adjustment of Google’s policies prohibits health care facilities from remarketing themselves.
- Competition: Because of the above retargeting restrictions, staying visible on search engine result pages (SERPs) is incredibly important, but keywords are highly competitive (and expensive).
- 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.
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.
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.
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.