Healthcare Advertising

iPhone X Facial Recognition

Could the iPhone X Change Digital Advertising?

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.

Digital advertising can be hard to keep up with, let us do the work for you. Contact TotalCom today.

healthcare budget

Healthcare Marketing: Why You Should Increase Your Paid Social Budget

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.

 

 

 

A Guide to Keyword Research for Your Healthcare Facility

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Hospital Social Media Strategy Checklist

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!

doctorholingclipboard

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.)

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 incredibly 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.

hospital marketing innovation

The Challenge of Being Transparent in Hospital Marketing

 

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.

 

Healthcare Marketing: 9 Ways Social Media is Impacting Business of Healthcare

Hospitals that understand this impact and leverage them within their organizations will be better positioned to meet the needs of today’s consumers

healthcare and social mediaMichelle McNickle, writing for Healthcare Finance News, referenced a report by the Health Research Institute at PwC US in outlining the impact of social media on the healthcare industry.  The information contained it the article is very useful for healthcare marketers.  The article is reprinted here:

According to a recent report by the Health Research Institute at PwC US, nine distinct uses of social media are helping companies to have an impact on the healthcare business, and to take a more active and engaged role in managing individuals’ health.

“Organizations should coordinate internally to effectively integrate information from the social media space and connect with their customers in more meaningful ways that provide value and increase trust,” the report read. “Insights from social media also offer instant feedback on products or services, along with new ideas for innovation. Organizations that can incorporate this information into their operations will be better positioned to meet the needs of today’s consumers.”

The report outlined nine additional ways social media is impacting the business side of healthcare.

1. Communication is shifting to public, more open forums. Which means less money spent on mailings, websites, and other marketing initiatives. According to the report, four characteristics of social media have altered the nature of interactions among people and organizations: user-generated content, community, rapid distribution, and open, two-way dialogue. “In the past, a company would connect with its customers via mail or a website, but today’s dialogue has shifted to open, public forums that reach many more individuals,” read the report. “Early adopters of social media in the health sector are not waiting for customers to come to them.” Ed Bennett, who oversees social media efforts at the University of Maryland Medical Center, agreed. “If you want to connect with people and be part of their community, you need to go where the community is,” he said. “You need to be connecting before you are actually needed.”

2. Patients (or consumers) are taking a more active role in their healthcare. Social media presents new opportunities for how individuals manage their health, the report noted, whether researching a certain illness or joining a support group. “The virtual aspect of social media enhances communications by creating a comfortable, often anonymous, environment for engaging and exchanging information.” In addition, patients are using tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube to better educate themselves. When faced with an important health decision, the report read, social media can provide a new avenue of information and dialogue. “Some may share a health goal to generate support or engage in a patient community to interact with other patients,” it read.

3. Increased access to information means patients are demanding more transparency.  Laura Clapper, MD, CMO of the online community OneRecovery, compared healthcare’s use of social media with that of a bank’s. “As more people go online to interact with their banks and make purchases, they want to do this with their doctors, health plans, and condition and disease management as well,” she said. According to the report, many industry insiders referenced social media site PatientsLikeMe, an eight-year-old health data-sharing platform, as an example of how more than 140,000 patients are connecting with each other. “Social networks will peel back every corner of the health system and drive transparency on cost, value, and outcomes,” said Jamie Heywood, co-founder and chairman of PatientsLikeMe. “The information asymmetry that patients experience will be leveled, allowing the average patient to evaluate and improve his or her conditions, as well as the system’s performance.”

4. More instant feedback can help both consumers and organizations. With patients more actively taking to social media to express opinions, grievances, and experiences, they expect faster response times from organizations, the report read. “Truly social brands will listen to what customers are saying and feeling and use that insight to adapt and create products and services,” said Kelly Colbert, director of strategic advertising at insurer WellPoint. In addition to improving services and creating products to better meet the needs of patients, social media has taken on a more practical approach to basic, day-to-day operations within an organization. For example, according to the report, 49 percent of those polled expect to hear from their doctor when requesting an appointment or follow-up via social media within a few hours.

5. Social information is impacting how and when patients select treatment and providers. It’s no secret consumers are increasingly turning toward social media to make healthcare-related decisions, like what physician to see and when to seek a second opinion. For example, according to the report, 40 percent of those polled said information found in social media would affect the way they coped with a chronic condition, their approach to diet and exercise, and their selection of a specific doctor. “Across the health industry, consumers seem to value information and services that will help them make their healthcare easier to manage,” the report read.

6. Social media allows for higher levels of trust. According to the report, consumer survey respondents said they would be most likely to trust information posted via social media (from doctors, hospitals, etc.) and, they’d be most likely to share information with providers via social media. The reason individuals trust their doctors the most? Human relationships, the report detailed. “You want to trust and connect with the people providing you the care,” said Kathryn Armstrong, senior producer of web communications at Lehigh Valley Health Network. “It’s easier to trust a person than an organization.” Healthcare providers have the ability to form human relationships and connect with their patients, the report added, which ultimately leads to increased trust.

7. Social media is evolving from a marketing tool into a business strategy. Although 82 percent of respondents said their social media efforts are managed by their marketing department, the report showcased how social media’s use is extending into customer service, innovation, and service/product development. “As people go through life events and their health journey, they have changing interests in health,” said Ann Sherry, senior director of Kaiser Permanente’s Internet services. “They want and need different tools and different interactions.” Having a social media strategy isn’t’ enough, she added. “It’s about social strategy.”

8. Providers can use social media as an outcomes-based measurement. The industry is shifting toward outcomes-based measurement, due in part to provisions in the Affordable Care Act, like Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing and accountable care, read the report. “Social media can offer a unique mechanism for collaborating with other organizations/partners to coordinate care,” it read. The report advised using social media to support meaningful use efforts, all while defining a digital strategy and clear usage guidelines. “A hospital’s or physician’s first encounter with a patient is often through its online presence,” it read. “Providers should take advantage of the trust consumers have for them over other health companies.”

9. Health insurers can use social media to help focus on population health. According to the report, health insurers understand that focusing on the individual population will be key, as more partnerships in population health are formed and insurance exchanges bring in 12 million newly insured individuals in 2014, and up to 28 million by 2019. By casting your company as a “patient advocate,” it continued, you’ll get a jump start on understanding the needs of potential members and determining which needs can be met through social media. Additionally, it noted, organizations should begin to determine an approach to data aggregation and understanding the direct and indirect benefits of social media.