6 Killer Strategies to Increase Patient Referral

In today’s competitive healthcare environment, it is important to have a strong patient referral base. As a healthcare provider, you are probably aware of how powerful referrals can be for generating new patients and growing your practice.

When done right, a patient referral program can add years of income to your practice. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices your office should maintain to get new patients through the door.

Listen to the Medical Marketing Podcast

Build a strong relationship with referring practices

Professional referrals are the lifeblood of every healthcare organization. Building and nurturing those relationships is essential for bringing in new patients.

Always keep the communication lines open with the referring practice and let them know what steps you will take to address the patient’s condition. Email them, call them from time to time, or arrange lunch appointments with them. Quick updates to the referring physician about the condition and progress of the patient tells them that you are committed to patient care.

Don’t forget to thank anyone who refers a patient to your practice. This will motivate your colleague to refer you more often.

Improve customer experience

Not all referrals come from other practices. Happy patients are more likely to give you good feedback as well as refer you to their family and friends.

To create a memorable experience, it’s important to get your internal house in order so it’s ready to welcome new patients to the practice. You want to ensure that patients feel comfortable and cared for, both in the reception area and exam room. You and your staff should pay close attention to the concerns and queries of your patients and make sure that they are cared for.

A percentage of your new patients should come from referrals by existing patients. If not, then you may need to address your customer service policies. Remember, unhappy patients won’t refer you to their family and friends. Worse, they’ll tell them to stay away.

Reach out on social media

Many patients turn to social networking sites to establish an ongoing relationship with their primary care physician.

The point of social media is to effectively reach your target audience and connect with them. It gives you a tremendous opportunity to interact with patients in ways that are not possible during appointments and consultations. This is your chance to talk to them and have a friendly relation with them.

Promote engagement by starting conversations on various health topics, providing healthcare tips, and alerting patients to new services and discounts you offer. Sharing your blog posts on social media is a great way to provide valuable healthcare information while driving patients to your website to learn more.

When done right, social media marketing can help you enhance your online reputation, solidify your brand, and bolster your authority among patients.

Be a thought leader

Most doctors go into medicine to help patients, not bask in the spotlight. But there is no denying that being a thought leader can help you attract new patients.

Being a thought leader in the healthcare industry requires lots of knowledge, effort, time, and desire to impact change. To achieve this status, you need to make your expertise and ideas known.

Write blog posts that are relevant to your practice, but don’t just write just to have content out there. Make sure that you produce quality content. But it shouldn’t stop at blogging. You can educate existing and potential patients on your healthcare practice by creating videos, podcasts, and newsletters. You can also offer speaking engagements at local hospitals.

Have a web presence

Many healthcare professionals feel as though their practice should be able to thrive on its own through referrals. But given the certainty of change in healthcare, it is important for healthcare providers to have a strong online presence.

Many patients will go online to acquaint themselves with the practice prior to making an appointment. Making a good first impression starts with a well-designed, patient-friendly website. Not only will it give potential patients an easy way to get to know you, but it also makes your practice look and feels engaging.

By having your credentials, education, services, and procedures on your website, you can help instill a sense of trust in your future patients.

Get more mileage from patient testimonials

Patients want to make sure that they receive care from the best doctors in their field. Testimonials can help build trust in your practice and offer validation for the quality of your services.

Tell your patients’ success stories in a way that people will take notice. Quotes and written testimonials can be powerful marketing tools, but videos can bring testimonials to life.

Short two-minute video testimonials will capture the attention of potential patients and drive more patients through the door. To get higher-impact testimonials, you can guide patients by asking leading questions. If you are an eye doctor, you may ask questions like “How has LASIK impacted your life?” or “Are you happy with the results?”

6 Killer Strategies to Increase Patient Referral

6 Reasons Why Doctors Should Use LinkedIn

You’ve heard LinkedIn is important but is it really? The short answer is yes.

LinkedIn is a social networking site that allows professionals and business people, regardless of their industry, to connect. With more than 600 million users over 200 countries, it is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. Despite its popularity, many people ignore this platform simply because they do not understand how powerful it can be for exposing and growing their business.

Do you have a LinkedIn account? Here are 6 reasons to create one or dust off your long-forgotten one.

Opportunity to network

We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. LinkedIn was built with that proposition in mind.

If you’re looking to build a strong network, LinkedIn is the best place to start. It is great for building strong networks with other healthcare professionals. It has a decent search feature that can help you find people in your industry. There are also numerous healthcare groups on LinkedIn that you can join in. Use your LinkedIn connections to build a community. It is up to you to decide how much time and energy you want to put into this process.

Professionals who are using the platform are open to networking, connections, and possibly, professional referrals. When you’re an active LinkedIn user, your opportunities to interact with other healthcare professionals are virtually limitless.

Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise

LinkedIn is essentially a digital translation of your CV. It is a great place for keeping all your career information. In fact, there is an entire section available devoted to recognitions and awards you’ve won. This could be an excellent way to tell your audience that you’re good at what you do.

Many people have a Linkedin account. The problem is that their profile is incomplete. Remember, your profile is the first professional impression people will have of you. Completing your profile with your experience, skills, and credentials will increase your credibility. Think of it as your online CV. Go ahead and show off your skills, academic accomplishments, and professional successes.

Content sharing

Unlike other social media platforms, where the focus of sharing is generally personal content, LinkedIn is a suitable platform for professional content.

The open publishing format of LinkedIn provides users an opportunity to both teach and learn. Here, you can share content that reflects your line of work and presents your thoughts and ideas to a wider audience. You can share blogs that have the potential to create a buzz around your name, participate in discussions and express your thoughts or views on certain topics.

Publishing high-quality content regularly creates trust with your connections and positions you as an expert in your field. If your post is featured on LinkedIn Pulse, your reach is exponentially increased.

Tap into industry news

In today’s competitive job market, it is important to stay up-to-date with industry news and trends in order to thrive. With new regulations and technologies affecting the healthcare industry, there are lots of industry news to stay on top of. LinkedIn makes it easier for you to stay relevant in today’s evolving healthcare landscape.

Joining industry-specific groups allow you to connect and interact with industry peers. From here, you can get the latest news, post, and announcements.

Be found online

Whether you like it or not, people are going to look you up on Google. Linkedin profiles get ranked high by Google. That means, your profile can appear toward the top of the search results page.

LinkedIn is a great tool for managing and controlling your professional digital reputation since you’ll have direct control over how your online identity is presented. Plus, it will be easier for future patients to find you.

Your profile will not only appear when they search your name but also when searching for your specialty.

Further your personal branding

Your brand is what people say about you. Try Googling yourself to see what comes up. These are the first impressions people will have of you.

In today’s digital world, first impressions are formed online, and Linkedin is the best place for people to “meet” you. Your profile is a showcase of your skills, experience, and achievements. It is a great way to present your professional experience, tell your story, and the goals you want to achieve. Make sure your profile is 100% complete. Don’t forget to update your profile photo.

Remember, you will never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure that you do it right. Make one that will differentiate you from the competition and reflect who you are.

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Increase patients wiht digital marketing strategy

In this podcast we review the exact strategy Social Speak uses with their healthcare practices to boost new consultations and build brand loyalty online.

Please view the video at Youtube if you would like to see the screen share – click here to access.

The Social Speak Digital Strategy for Medical Marketing (our Roadmap to Digital Marketing) includes:

  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • SEO and Physician Interviews
  • Landing Page
  • Automated Email Follow-Up

The tools discussed in the podcast include:

If you are looking to increase the ROI from your digital marketing in 2020, please reach out to schedule a consultation today! We can’t wait to learn more about your practice.

Listen to the Podcast

Watch the Video

Read the medical marketing transcript

00:01 Caitlin McDonald: Hello and welcome to the Social Speak Network podcast. My name is Caitlin McDonald and I am one of the co-owners over here at Social Speak. So today, we were gonna wrap up the year talking about SEO as we’re moving into 2020. But I’m kind of pulling an audible and I really want to take the time to share the exact strategy that is working right now for our healthcare clinics. Now, this strategy is one that we’ve been utilizing for quite a while. However, it’s really working right now, so I want to make sure that moving into 2020, you’ll be able to implement this for your healthcare practice. Now, we also are available to help out as well. This is our specialty, managing the marketing campaigns for clinics and hospitals across the country. So if you do wanna schedule a free consultation, we’d love to chat with you, see if we’re a good fit, and I give you a couple of tips and pointers to get you moving in the right direction.

 

01:08 CM: So this strategy really utilizes a lot of different marketing techniques, but it is pretty straight forward. So I’m gonna be… If you’re on our podcast, I’ll be talking through everything. If you jump over to our YouTube channel, you’ll be able to follow along and I’ll be able to show you some of the tools that we do utilize for our clinics and if you prefer reading, the transcript will be on our blog probably next week.

 

01:42 CM: So let’s get started. Let me share my screen here. And as I mentioned, the first part of our process really begins with the strategy. So when we’re taking a look at the strategy, we want to focus on a few different things. First and foremost, we do still utilize social media marketing. Social media is there to expand your reach and spread your authentic brand voice online. If you’re targeting younger individuals, older individuals, it really doesn’t matter, you need to prove that you are active online and a legitimate business. One of the ways to do this is by posting to social media accounts.

 

02:28 CM: So doing this builds brand loyalty by staying true to your values. It also helps you stay top of mind. Yes, your posts won’t necessarily reach everybody who’s following you online. In fact, it’ll probably only reach a couple of people, so we utilize ads to help with this as well. However, if somebody is actively looking for you, most likely your Facebook page will show up high in the search results so you wanna make sure that you are active there. And then, Facebook and social media also help you cultivate relationships and attract clients.

 

03:03 CM: The second piece of the strategy that we follow is blogging and SEO. Creating content, any content isn’t gonna work anymore, it’s creating the right content at the right time for your target market. So what does this actually mean for you? It means creating timely information so that you are found online, and it helps to build trust with your audience. For a couple of practices, what we are doing is doing physician interviews or interviews with your staff and transcribing those in a Q/A format, so that you are answering the questions that people are actually looking for online in a way that’s easy to digest and where they can really start building trust with the physicians in your practice.

 

03:55 CM: And then the last way is through lead generation. So with lead generation, really, our goal is to capture prospect information. Yes, you have to be aware of being HIPAA compliant, but we’ll dive into that. So here, you need a strategy to boost your new leads, to shorten the sales cycle, or that cycle for actually getting a prospect in the door, booking a consultation, and then also to increase your recurring revenue. So if you know somebody who typically comes in for one procedure, then ends up coming in for follow-up visits for something else, it might be good to focus on that first procedure and getting leads for that so that you can then share information through email marketing or in the office itself to get them booking those follow-up appointments as well.

 

04:52 CM: So this is where it gets really fun and it’s actually putting together that plan and diving in to do what you need to be doing for your marketing. So this is our roadmap to digital marketing and really goes through all of the different steps. Today, I’m gonna be focusing mostly on this lead generation piece. So, in lead generation, we’re really reaching people during their patient journey. So, as I mentioned, we’re figuring out what symptoms they have, what problems they’re experiencing and how they want to live their life differently if they come in and see you.

 

05:33 CM: So when we’re doing this, we’re utilizing Facebook ads for brand awareness and to get leads, Google AdWords for search targeting, and this is a great way to get people when they’re making that decision about who they’re gonna work with, and Facebook ads for re-targeting. So here, Facebook and Google really are the ad networks that we are utilizing for this. So I’m gonna jump on over here and I have up Google AdWords. Most of you probably already have an AdWords account. However, if you call… This is kind of a nice little tip, if you’re just getting started, tipping your toes in the water, you can actually call up this number here in the top of the page and a representative can help you set up your first campaign. If you don’t have someone on staff who knows how to set up AdWords, I do recommend utilizing Google’s own network of consultants who can set that up because it’s complementary. And again, a great way just to get started. Now, as you’re building more in-depth campaign, setting up conversion tracking and things like that, I do recommend working with an expert. Our team has a team of experts on staff who can help out with setting up campaigns, restructuring them from what Google originally sets up or what a previous agency has set up to make sure that they’re actually working for you.

 

07:08 CM: We oftentimes come into clinics and see that the geographic area isn’t quite right, or maybe a mixture of different services are piled into one ad group. All of these things can be detrimental for your practice. So an example of this, I just did a search for “pediatrician, Marlborough, Mass” and there are three that come up. But if you take a look, there’s no ads here. So if you are a pediatrician around there, it’s a great thing, [chuckle] a great opportunity for you. But what you’ll see is there are oftentimes fewer ads than there are doctors and other listings that come up. So that’s a great way to make sure as you are creating your campaign, that you’re showing up up here at the top. I don’t have Facebook up, but Facebook is very similar as well. Oftentimes, a health clinic will come on in… Or, excuse me, a marketing agency will come on in, they’ll set up a Facebook account and, or even someone on your staff. And one problem that we’ve seen is that oftentimes, these ads aren’t targeted for your audience correctly. So you want to make sure that you are being very specific in your targeting at least at the beginning, so that you can learn who’s responding to your messages and who isn’t.

 

08:42 CM: For Facebook, for example, let’s say you are working with individuals who have non-healing foot ulcers. Typically, this is caused by diabetes, so you can actually target people who have shown an interest in the National Diabetes Association, for example. They’re not gonna say on their profile that they have a foot ulcer, but they are going to be following, or most likely going to be following or have expressed interest in a national organization or a magazine, or another coach or something like that who has targeted them already. So this is a great way to kind of refine your messaging.

 

09:26 CM: Additionally, let’s say, your practice focuses on, I had pediatrics before, what you can do is you can target people, potentially, who just got married, or who have a toddler or have a… Or following other parenting pages. And this might be a great way to narrow down your target market there. Now, within those ads themselves, there are a few things that you need to really do in order to see a return on your investment. So one of the first things that we utilize is lead pages. Now, lead pages is not HIPAA compliant, however, you can embed a form on here that is HIPAA compliant so that the leads go into your system, the lead capture system, and the landing pages are just hosted on your website, built by lead pages.

 

10:30 CM: The reason why we do this is because we want them to be very specific and tailored towards that one service and towards that one target audience. So if you’re targeting a, I don’t know, a family member of somebody, who has somebody else in the family who’s suffering from addiction, you’re running ads to raise awareness about the support and resources that are out there, that landing page is gonna be different than what you want to appear or the language that you want to have that’s geared towards that person who’s suffering themselves. So here, lead pages is just the tool that we utilize. You can build a landing page just through WordPress, but we love lead pages because it is very easy to alter the page style, it allows you to do AB testing, so create two different versions of the same landing page, and have lead pages automatically show which one, whichever one, and then over time, you can tell which one is performing better. It also has great graphs. So typically for healthcare centers, we utilize conversion tracking a few different ways on lead pages itself. We want to optimize the number of people who are clicking on a link.

 

11:51 CM: Here’s a little example right here to schedule a consultation. That will then open up a pop-up, on that pop-up is the form that you create through that third party. So, on lead pages itself, we can’t tell how many people have then filled out the form, but that’s why we use the Facebook Pixel and Google Tag Manager. So here, lead pages, again, it’s just a great, easy way to set up those landing pages and test them. And have it be where it’s just a single page rather than going to… And I’ll just click on, I don’t know, one of these… So let’s say this is your website, this is the UMass Memorial Health Care Center. So if somebody goes to this page from an ad, there are so many other places to click. So we found that that is not good for increasing your ROI and conversion rates. So having a page that they go to where it’s just that single page with the call to action of scheduling a consultation, it works really well. Then there’s a question of what content should you utilize on that page and in the ads. So we actually have a form on our website, and I’ll put this in the description, socialspeaknetwork.com, work with us, onboarding lead generation.

 

13:27 CM: And this is geared towards kind of a broader audience than just healthcare centers. But you can fill it out and here you can select free consultation is what you’re trying to get. But then we have questions here that really will help you identify those key concerns, key questions, key fears of your patients, your target patients, and we have the questions so that they lead you through exactly sort of what you need in order to create the ad text as well as the text for the landing page. And so, we help you kind of really identify and nail down your target market and then create a story around it. So, in this story, we often do actually start with a sentence or two that’s somebody’s story. It could be your own story, a patient testimonial, or even just a made-up story that fits in with the benefits that you can provide for your clients, for your patients. From there, we go into the benefits of actually coming in to see your practice, and finally, the call to action to schedule a consultation. Creating a doctor video around this as well is also a great way to increase brand awareness.

 

14:56 CM: So again, work with us, onboarding lead generation, the link is down below. But you can just go through this exercise, and at the end, I believe that we do have, even go through an email sequence that you can utilize at the end, when you click submit, we will send you in an email those answers that you put in there so that you can then copy and paste or utilize them, you could also print out that form if you don’t wanna submit the information. However, we’re happy to chat with you about the process as well. So those story ads work really well on Facebook. And then, on Google, we’re utilizing headlines and short calls to action to contact you.

 

15:52 CM: Now, once somebody clicks on an ad, they go to lead pages, then what happens to them? If you don’t have to be HIPAA compliant, we recommend utilizing MailChimp. It’s very cost-effective, it’s a great way to get started, and it has wonderful bells and whistles that a lot of the big boys have. So it’s a great way to create those welcome series, as well as quick follow-up emails and everything.

 

16:22 CM: Now, if you are HIPAA complaint, we highly recommend utilizing Influx MD. It looks like not all the images have loaded on here, however, we have a great relationship with them. And so, a lot of our clients utilize us to help facilitate the creation of emails and everything, and basically, Influx MD takes somebody from being a prospect to scheduling their first consult. From there we’re really able to track the ROI. Influx MD is able to tell through our tracking where the patient or the prospect originally came from. It can automate and systematize the process of sending those initial questionnaires and forms that somebody needs to fill out. And then it can directly sync up with your patient management system. We really like it, just because it helps with the customer relationship as well as the lead management and then it has that sales and email marketing automation as well. So it really reduces the burden on your staff and helps prove how effective the marketing is. So, we utilize this a lot. We utilize Google analytics and we utilize Facebook Pixels as well, just to see where leads are coming from, see the cost per lead and everything like that. So, let me just jump back over here, see if there was anything else. Okay, and this is… It’s actually just a health coach, but it kind of shows you that process with the landing page, they click the button, here’s the form, and then they get a drip sequence of emails.

 

18:13 CM: So if you have been wondering if your marketing is working for your healthcare practice, maybe you didn’t quite have as good of a year in 2019 as you had projected and hoped. This process is really what we’re seeing to work right now. So we start with the Facebook just having information going out to your accounts to build trust in your brand, then we utilize blogging as one piece, and a physician interviews as another piece of your SEO strategy. What we’ve really been seeing work well for SEO is building back links. And so, submitting your website to different directories, different websites to have the link added to content. We have a whole team that’s working on that. It is a very manual process, but we have seen tremendous results there because you do wanna make sure your organic listing or your website is showing up organically as well as the ads and the map listing and everything. And another piece of that SEO is building reviews on Google and on Facebook, just so that you can have that social proof. So those reviews work really well to make sure that your map listing is showing up higher, as well as social proof.

 

19:42 CM: And then, it’s running the ads. So we run ads based on interest targeting on Facebook, keywords on Google, and then retargeting ads on both Facebook and Google, to make sure that if we’ve already paid for somebody to get to the site or landing page, we are recouping some of that cost by showing them repeat ads. Of course, we haven’t collected any information about them, it’s just based on the cookie on their website, that Facebook and Google are in charge of. [chuckle]

 

20:16 CM: From here, we utilize or we recommend utilizing a tool like Influx MD to make sure that you are remaining HIPAA compliant as you are emailing and creating relationships with these prospects who have become leads. And throughout this whole process make sure that you have the Google Webmaster tool… Excuse me, Google Tag Manager, so that you can track conversions, as well as clicks for phone numbers, or map clicks. And the Facebook Pixel installed on your site so that you can really track the ROI from Facebook ads.

 

20:53 CM: So I hope that this has been helpful leading through the actual techniques and strategies that we utilize for our clients. If you do want to schedule a consultation, we are more than happy to schedule a time for you. And we’d love to learn more about your practice, your target market and what you’re currently working on and struggling with right now. Thank you so much for tuning in and we will see you in the New Year on the Social Speak Network podcast

6 Best Practices for Physician Referral Marketing

According to a report in the Annals of Family Medicine, 45% of physicians receive new patients through referrals. Like any medical practitioner, you want to make sure that your practice is supported by your referral partners and your community.

We know that you are doing your part in referring patients to other physicians whom you feel are the best. But are they returning the favor of referring their patients to you?

If you’re looking for ways to get more referrals, keep reading. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices your office should maintain to maximize the potential of your patient referral program.

Get out of the office

In a fast-paced hospital setting, it can be especially hard to connect with colleagues. If you want to bolster your referral network and keep your business thriving, then you need to make the decision to get out of the office, even if it’s just once a month.

Meet new physicians and healthcare leaders in your community. Reach out to existing providers who you refer to and who refer to you.

Identify physicians you want to partner with. You’ll want someone who is a good match for your practice, share your values and hold themselves to a high ethical standard.

Build a relationship

The best way to grow your referrals is to build, maintain, and improve your relationships with referring providers.

Professional referrals are based squarely on sound relationships and expertise. Doctors and their staff will only refer their patients to people they trust, like, and feel are competent.

Make a continual effort to show your referring doctors that you value their partnership. You can call them up just to see how they and their families are doing, drop by with a frappuccino for them or take them out for lunch.

In most cases, it is not the doctor, but a key staff person who actually handles the referral mechanics. If you want to grow your referral base, then you should take the initiative to get to know not only the physician but also their staff. Be certain to identify and include the key gatekeepers. Capitalize on those connections and they will be more likely to pass your business card on.

Simplify the referral process

Most doctors would simply advise their patients to book an appointment with a certain doctor.

Unfortunately, 50% of professional referrals never result in a doctor’s visit. The referral process should be quick and simple.

Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a big slice of the referral pie. Even if the referring physician and their staff adore you, they’re not going to send patients your way if your referral process is frustrating, time-consuming, and just plain clunky.

Simplify the referral process by investing in a secure online referral portal, where they can send you the patient’s information, including contact information, suspected diagnosis, and reason for referral.

Since you already have the necessary information, it will be easier for you to decide the course of action and how quickly the patient needs to be seen. As a result, you’ll be able to serve both the referring physician and the patient better.

Make referring physician look good

When doctors refer their patients to you, it means that they trust you. Your office will serve as an extension of theirs, so they are counting on you to provide patients with excellent service.

Often, patients report back to their primary physicians about their experience. Make a special effort to accommodate the referred patient as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you take good care of the patients and treat them right.

Ensure the referring physician that there will always be room for their patients at your practice.

Be grateful

We grow up learning the importance of good manners, and that usually starts with saying “thank you”.

If a patient is referred to you, take the time to call the referring physician to thank him/her for the trust and confidence. You can also send a hand-written note if that’s your style. Let the referring practice know that you appreciate the referral.

Stay in touch with the referring physician

When a patient is referred to you, it is always vital to follow up. This is a crucial step that many physicians do not do.

One study suggests that 40% of patients that follow through with a referral never went back to their primary physician after the care is initially provided. Always send the patient back to the referring physician. The last thing you want is for the referring doctor to feel that their generous referral has cost them a patient.

Let the referring practice know that the patient has already been scheduled and that you will continue to communicate about what transpires. You want to assure the referring doctor that you’re invested in their patients’ health and that the patient will be receiving the best care possible.

6 Best Practices for Physician Referral Marketing

Facebook Groups for Health and Wellness Practices

Today’s podcast is about Facebook groups and how to utilize Facebook groups to get in front of prospects, to build a community around your services, and really create that brand image where you are sharing valuable information and building conversations with your target market. So Facebook groups really have a few different purposes.

You can view them as a forum on Facebook, you can view them as a way for people to connect with a community around a certain topic or even in a specific location. And we have seen great success for wellness coaches, dietitians, nutritionists, wellness centers, healthcare organizations, creating groups were their own prospects and members as a way to make sure that they have more consistent communication with those individuals.

Listen to the Podcast on Facebook Groups for Health Care

Watch the Video about Facebook Groups in Health and Wellness Marketing

Read the Transcript

00:00 Speaker 1: Hello everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of The Social Speak Network podcast. I’m your host, the sweet Caitlin McDonald, the founder over here at the Social Speak Network, and over the past couple of weeks, and moving forward into the next, maybe even a couple of months, we’re going to be talking about the top 10 things that your wellness practice Health Care Center can do on digital marketing to see a return from their investment. And so today, I’m going to be talking about Facebook groups and how to utilize Facebook groups to get in front of prospects, to build a community around your services, and really create that brand image where you are sharing valuable information and building conversations with your target market. So Facebook groups really have a few different purposes. You can view them as a forum on Facebook, you can view them as a way for people to connect with a community around a certain topic or even in a specific location. And we have seen great success for wellness coaches, dieticians, nutritionists, wellness centers, healthcare organizations, creating groups were their own prospects and members as a way to make sure that they have more consistent communication with those individuals.

01:42 S1: Now, in order to make this happen, you have to really make sure that you’re not making the group about you. The group has to be about fostering a community, fostering conversations, and relationships and making sure that you’re not just talking about your own services and your own business. Yes, it’s a great way to share content that you create, but that content that you create, as we’ve said over and over again, really needs to be educational information that your target market and your prospects can take and run with. So for example, let’s say you are a health coach and you have new programs that are coming out. And so these programs, you really wanna share to your community. Now, you could go ahead and share them to your Facebook group. But rather than doing that, I would recommend creating a behind-the-scenes information that somebody might be able to find more expansive version of within the group, excuse me, within the program itself. However, you’re sharing just enough to get them started on the right path. This allows people to do it themselves if they want to, or to understand your expertise, so that they can turn to you for help with guidance down the road.

03:09 S1: Now you don’t wanna just be in there, posting about the group, excuse me, posting about your services individually, because this turns people away, it’s not interactive. Instead of doing that, post questions, answer questions, hop on Facebook live just in front of your group members and really try to foster that, those conversations. Now, it is important to note that right here, I’m talking about a group that is specifically to build a community around your services, and your practice. However, there are a lot of other more broad groups that already exists on Facebook. So, before you create that next group on diabetes, let’s say, make sure that there aren’t groups already out there that are doing a great job. If you’re trying to recreate something that’s already out there, it’s going to take a lot more time and effort to get people to join your group, because they’re already invested in these other groups. Now, I’m not saying don’t do it [chuckle] Facebook Groups are great thing to create, for your practice, but it does definitely take more time if it’s already existing in your space and in your specialties.

04:33 S1: Now, what you could do, if there is a group already made in your area of expertise, is go ahead and join that group. Offer guidance and ask questions, comment on other people’s posts and really start positioning yourself as an expert in that space, and as someone who is trustworthy or as an organization that’s trustworthy. And doing this helps you get that brand recognition, but again, you can’t talk about your services in somebody else’s group. Typically, there are guidelines about this, and it’s just not very professional behavior. We call this in, I mean in most industries, coaching clients from somebody else. And yes, a lot of times, your clients may have worked with somebody else in the past, but you don’t wanna be too salesy as you are trying to build that trust, and really come across as a figure in the space. Then the next tip about utilizing Facebook groups, and this is going back to creating a group yourself, is to be really specific about the purpose and to recognize that it’s going to be difficult to manage the group by yourself.

05:51 S1: And so in terms of understanding and being specific about the group’s purpose, this really helps set the expectations for your group members as they’re joining the group, what they’re going to see, what type of content they’re going to see, and how they can utilize the group to help further their own knowledge, education, and health. And so you want to, if you have a specific purpose and you’ve written the guidelines for the group, it’s important to actually stick to those. So somebody joins, they see the guidelines, maybe they answer a few questions before being approved, then you have to make sure that you are really sticking to those guidelines and being truthful yourself as well as holding other people accountable. Then the second piece there, was [chuckle] inviting other admins and managers to the group. So, in a group, you can have multiple managers. We recommend not just having one person in charge of the group. This really makes it so that there’s less… What we’ve seen in our experience is that there’s less interactions if there’s only one manager. When there are more managers you can even help foster discussions between one another, and people always can have their questions answered more quickly.

07:13 S1: So you can either divide the management based on your own expertise and what topics you are comfortable talking about. Or you can divide it by day of the week, or even time of day. Depending on how active your group is, you might even need somebody on call over the weekend to make sure that those questions are being answered. If somebody’s posting something in the group, and nobody is commenting back in replying, people are going to stop writing back. Now, having multiple group member, or excuse me group admin also makes it easier to keep new conversations forming in the group. So by this I mean, let’s say it’s been a quiet week and no members are really posting anything. As a manager of the group, you can then go in and post something to start spurring the conversation. Maybe you have the first week of the month, you have a standard question that goes out and you see how it changes over time. Maybe it’s asking people for their favorite exercise routine or their favorite activity of the season with their family. Potentially, it’s posting recipes that have to do with a single ingredient that’s timely or seasonal. So all of these things are things that you can do to help boost that engagement on the group, and because you are managing the group, that helps you prove your own expertise and position within the space.

08:47 S1: One other thing I recommend is having individuals introduce themselves when they join the group, and by doing this, you are getting people one, committed, two, participating in the group. If the first thing they do once they join is they start posting in the group, typically they’ll keep on doing it. If you don’t ask them to introduce themselves, oftentimes, they’re not going to. And then another thing that you can do is make sure that when somebody’s requesting to join you ask them questions prior to joining. So you can ask them what topics they’re most interested in, so that you talk about those topics, and for their email address. Now, this email address, if you have a disclosure there, you can mostly add that to your newsletter as well, or you can check to make sure that they’re already on your newsletter and they have to be part of on your newsletter in order to then join your group. So it’s a great way just to build your email list as well.

09:53 S1: So above all, the biggest takeaway when it comes to Facebook groups is really making sure that you are being considerate of others. You aren’t selling yourself too much and that your really, your main goal is to build that community and those relationships with the members of your group. So again, my name’s Caitlin McDonald. I’m the co-founder over here at the Social Speak Network. And thank you so much for tuning into our podcast on Digital Marketing for Health and Wellness Practices. Next week, Amber is going to be diving into utilizing on some tools for social media. So be sure to stick around there. You can download and subscribe to, our podcast on iTunes as well as Podbean and it’s also over on our website, the socialspeaknetwork.com. Thanks so much, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Digital marketing is becoming the new wave of healthcare marketing. With the growing competition in the healthcare industry, it is important to stay on top of digital marketing and keep your organization at the forefront of change.

Ever wonder what it takes to create a successful healthcare marketing campaign?

We listed down some tips that you can incorporate into your marketing plan right away.

Know your target audience

A successful healthcare marketing campaigns starts with knowing who your audience is and what they value. To produce great results, you first need to create a well-defined persona profile.

Vividly picture who is it that you want to attract to your doorstep and what matters most to them. The more specifically you define your audience, the more likely you are to inspire a positive response.

Carefully and precisely defining your target audience will ensure that you’re not making the wrong assumption about what your audience values. Plus, it will improve your efficiency since you’ll have a good idea about what media to use and how to shape a compelling message that brings a response.

Combine healthcare and social media

Today, social media isn’t just a place for family and friends to stay in touch. It also allows doctors and medical experts to connect with their current and potential patients.

Now that you know who your target audience is, use social media to reach your key audience. Tapping into online communities and sharing health information can be a game-changer in your healthcare marketing plan. Keep in mind, though, that each platform has its own voice and audience. When you create social media content, make sure that the message is tailored to different audience and channels.

Make wellness a lot more fun

Health and wellness is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean that your campaign should be boring and uninspiring. Let’s take cues from UnitedHealthCare’s successful healthcare marketing campaign – We Dare You.

UnitedHealthcare created an interactive campaign that dares people to make one small change to live healthier lives and document it on social media. Each month, there are new challenges and quizzes aimed at inspiring people to live a healthier lifestyle. There are prizes involved too.

The multi-awarded “We Dare You” campaign not only led to healthier habits, but it also fostered an interactive online community of brand loyalists.

Establish an email marketing plan

Email marketing is an effective means of transmitting messages to your current and prospective audience. In fact, studies suggest that email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers as compared to Facebook and Twitter. When done right, it can help you grow your practice and reach a larger amount of patients.

With email marketing, the audience is openly receptive, and relative cost is low, and the rate of return can be exceptionally high. You can promote your services in a cost-effective way while building a relationship with your patients.

Google yourself

Studies suggest that physicians and other medical practitioners receive up to 45% of new patients through referral. Though most patients would consider the referral of other doctors, family, and friends, the majority of them will run a Google search of your name and check out your reputation before booking an appointment.

The survey revealed that 60% of patients wouldn’t book an appointment with a medical practitioner that has bad reviews. This is why you should Google yourself now.

By running a quick Google search of yourself, you’ll have a good idea of how your practice looks from a consumer’s perspective and know where to start when creating your digital strategy. 

If you unearth some negative results when you Google yourself, try to have the post taken down. But if that doesn’t work, then the best thing you can do is to suppress them with positive content.

Be a source of helpful information

In today’s digital world, most people’s inclination would be to open up a browser in Google and research about their own or their loved one’s condition. With so many people turning to the internet for answers, it is important that healthcare marketing is there to be a helpful and supportive guide.

Regularly post high-quality content that answers people’s questions and help them learn more about medical conditions they may be searching or procedures they may have to undergo. It is also a good idea to share important and relevant medical information to help people improve their health. This will help build your credibility and position yourself as an authority in your field. People may not run off and make an appointment, but you will be in their minds the next time they get sick.   

6 Tips for a Successful Healthcare Marketing Campaign

Facebook Advertising for Healthcare Industry

In this podcast episode we talk about how Facebook Ads work and the top benefits for having a Facebook ad campaign running for your wellness business.

  1. The first benefit is getting in front of new people, new prospects. So you’re actually helping your business see an ROI from the social media efforts that you have.
  2. The second thing is that you are nurturing those relationships of people who have heard about your brand or your practice, but haven’t taken that step to come in and learn more or meet with one of your staff. Running these Facebook ads helps you make sure that you stay top of mind to the people who haven’t yet come in.
  3. Then the third thing that it does, is it helps you re-engage with the patients who have been in to see you and just need a reminder every once in a while, that it’s time to come back in and schedule their next appointment.

Take a listen and read the transcript below!

Facebook Advertising for Healthcare – Digital Marketing Podcast Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Social Speak Network podcast. I’m Caitlin McDonald, one of the co-owners over here at Social Speak, and in today’s podcast episode, we are going to be talking about Facebook ads. Facebook ads are really important for health and wellness businesses and for healthcare.

Facebook Ads help you establish brand recognition and brand trust quickly and easily. They also allow you to get in front of the right people at the right time. Managing Facebook Ads for your healthcare business is really to not only build your prospect list, but also to nurture those prospects.

Last week, Amber talked some about creating a social media content calendar and figuring out how many times to post and what topics to post about, and so this is taking your social media presence to really another level.

Types of Facebook Ads for Wellness Center

On Facebook, there are a few different ways that you can advertise your business. There’s organic posting, there’s boosting those organic posts, and then there’s a whole slew of different ads that you can run from the Ads Manager.

In our digital marketing for healthcare we try and focus on the conversion ads. The reason why we do this is because it helps tap into Facebook’s algorithm for figuring out who’s going to be most likely to take that next step, and we’ll get into this in a few weeks, but that next step often is signing up to be a lead on your website.

This is something I’m going be getting into in a few weeks here. However, I did want go through a couple of real life Facebook campaigns that we’ve managed for some of our clients. The reason why I’m bringing­ up real Facebook Ad campaigns for some of our wellness clients is because I want to set the stage about the amount of time and effort is can take to nail down and optimize a Facebook campaign that’s going to work for your unique offerings and your unique target market. So let’s dive in.

The first business that I want to highlight is a Healthcare Education Association. They provide healthcare resources and education to constituents online and through live conferences and events. This group has a tremendous following, however, they are trying to grow and boost their new members. Over the years, just because of some ideological differences between some of the older members and the newer members, they have dropped some of their old membership base. Now they’re trying to really grow with new members that are more aligned with where their organization stands. This healthcare organization had only ever run boosted posts before. Yes, this does boost an organization’s exposure and engagement, but are you really seeing a return from that investment?

This is where the Facebook conversion ads come in that we created.

The Social Speak process with Facebook ads, typically, is having some sort of free resource or free download, even free consultation, that somebody can sign up for when they click on your Facebook ad. We’ve used webinars, e-books, and, in this case, we took articles that the client had previously written and bundled them together in the form of an e-book. Our first ads tested out the interest in this resource, which audiences lead to the most clients and conversions, ad what imagry and text were most effective. In this first go, there were three different audiences, but we did not see anything more than a 1% conversion rate. We spent about $160 in advertising budget spread across our A/B tests and saw one lead come in. Giving these tests a rest, we moved to the next digital project.

When optimizing Facebook ads for your wellness practice you shouldn’t just work on testing how you position your free resource or content upgrade, but also what offer is going to align most closely to the needs of your target market.

At this stage, we moved on to their next resource that we could offer and we did this a few different times, and we came across a quiz that they had. After repackaging the quiz so that it lived directly on their website we were ready to capture the leads directly into their email system rather than going through a third party. With this quiz, we found that through running the leads ads on Facebook rather than sending somebody to a landing page, we’re able to get the cost per lead down to almost $2. Additionally, we tried two different other campaigns, one for a fact sheet, and one for an e-book, focusing on a different topic, a different service that they provide from the first e-book, and each of these were able to get a sub $3 cost per lead as well. We’re still in the process of testing new services to promote new offers to promote, new educational resources to promote for them. We’re building another quiz that has to do with that second topic that we are talking about with them, and through this process, we’re continually able to decrease that cost per lead and get consistent results.

The reason why I shared this one first and kind of that failure story of spending $160 for one lead, is that your whole staff and your whole board needs to have the expectation that optimizing Facebook ads does take time. And so yes, you want to have an end goal of, I want to only spend $10 per lead, $15 per lead, $1 per lead. You need to have that goal, but you need to have the expectation that you’re not going to be there right now. So for this organization, we want that cost per lead to be lower, and we are working to get there. But we are testing out different audiences, different offers, different ad content, as a way to get there. I think in all, we’ve run over 100 or 150 different ads for them, that maybe it’s the same ad text but a different picture, different ad text, same video, or different audience, same audience, merging audiences together. And so it really is a process where you need to let the data speak for itself. And if it doesn’t stick on the first try, try again. So have kind of that budget in mind and that end goal right into the forefront.

The next client I wanted to share is a dietitian and health coach. She has been working with us running ads for over the past year. For any ad campaign, we do recommend giving it at least six months to make sure that with that first example is process that you are giving it time to really figure out if you’re getting results or not. Afterwards you have to then convert the leads into actual folks who are booking appointments with you, coming in, signing up for those paid services, or purchasing a product from you. So with this health coach, this dietitian, she has been running ads long before we even first sat down with her. And for her, our technique is really to focus on each of the different e-books, downloads, free offers that she has. She is very geared towards sharing educational resources, as are most of our clients. And for this client, we’ve had a few home run offers, timely offers, holiday diet tips and back to school tips and things like that, that have worked really well; with landing pages getting 60-70% conversion rates. However, the cost per lead has still been a little bit higher.

In this recent campaign, she had a great idea of grouping all of the resources together and having a complete resource library that folks who enter their name and email would gain access to. We created a new conversion campaign for this and a new landing page. And rather than creating individual ads for each of the different items that we want to test, we used Facebook’s, it’s not new, but newer feature where you can actually test multiple headlines, bodies and calls to action in each of the ads that you’re running and images or videos. And then Facebook will automatically pair and match and test the different items for you. So it takes a lot of the guess work out of creating those 100 or 200 different ads to make sure that you’re testing all of the different combinations. So for her this new campaign, we’ve been able to bring her average historical cost per lead from about $3-$4 all the way down to $0.50 cents. Now at this 50-cent mark, she is just pushing money towards this campaign and we’re continuing to see Facebook’s algorithm lead to better and better results. Now for her, because she is getting this quantity now, we are making sure that we still have that quality.

We’re working on that next part of the campaign, which is that email marketing follow-up. And here, we’re testing to make sure that that open rate and click rate on her emails actually is going up rather than going down as we’re getting more quantity in there.

Setting Goals for your Healthcare Facebook Campaign

The goal for your Facebook campaign should be within the first, I’d say, three months to really start seeing movement in a positive direction. And that could be starting with a cost per lead or conversion of $60 and working it down. But you don’t want to throw all your money at something until you see that upward momentum towards positive return. So for this dietitian for example, we are telling her to throw money at the campaign because it is currently working, and she’s getting conversions from it. If it was that first example that I gave, we did not spend their whole monthly budget until month three [chuckle] when we were finally able to push the dollars behind a campaign that was getting the results in the price point that they needed.

Always start small, test multiple things at once, and utilize Facebook’s ability to really optimize the campaigns for you.

A trick for optimizing a Facebook Ad Campaign

Now, one of the tricks that we have for tapping into how Facebook can optimize this is utilizing a landing page or a lead page sort of alternative. You can put this directly on your WordPress website or Square Space website. We typically use LeadPages, which is a software to build the lead pages. You can send an automated email afterwards and test to make sure that it really works. I recommend doing this for your business, your healthcare center as well. But of course, if you need any help, we are here to help.

As I wrap up, let’s just talk again about those top benefits for having a Facebook ad campaign running for your wellness business.

  1. The first benefit is getting in front of new people, new prospects. So you’re actually helping your business see an ROI from the social media efforts that you have.
  2. The second thing is that you are nurturing those relationships of people who have heard about your brand or your practice, but haven’t taken that step to come in and learn more or meet with one of your staff. Running these Facebook ads helps you make sure that you stay top of mind to the people who haven’t yet come in.
  3. Then the third thing that it does, is it helps you re-engage with the patients who have been in to see you and just need a reminder every once in a while, that it’s time to come back in and schedule their next appointment.

In terms of what to expect, don’t expect results in the first day. Yes, you might get lucky and you might find that combination where they are coming in right away. Most likely it might take upwards of three months. Now, don’t spend your whole marketing budget in those first three months. Wait for you to see that upward momentum and that path towards getting a positive ROI. From there, give it another three to six months to really run its course and make sure that you are getting after you get that lead, that prospect, that you are then getting someone in the door.

In health care, yes, there are services that need immediate bookings of appointments and somebody needs to come in right away for a consultation or even a surgery. However more often than not, for health and wellness, it’s about educating, teaching people why they need to come in and getting them to know, like and trust your brand. Again, my name’s Caitlin McDonald. This is the Social Speak Network podcast. You can follow us on Podbean, on iTunes or head on over to our website to check out our blog posts and social media as well. I’ll see you next time on the Social Speak Network podcast.

Engaging Patients and Prospects with Empathy – Interview with Rod Thomas of Scorpion

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Rod Thomas is a Director of Regional Sales for Scorpion Healthcare, an award-winning digital marketing partner that has helped more than 250 hospitals and healthcare providers improve their digital presence and achieve their business goals.

Scorpion Healthcare

Rod has consulted on digital strategy for healthcare organizations of varying sizes and services – including individual provider practices, private orthopedic groups, addiction treatment centers, small rural hospitals and major health systems.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two amazing children.

In this interview with Rod, we focused on tracking marketing efforts, sticking to a digital strategy, and making sure your business goals, and patient empathy, stay at the forefront of digital marketing efforts for the healthcare industry. We covered:

  • How Inbound Marketing, Web design, and traditional marketing work for healthcare brands.
  • Current trends or wellness practices with digital marketing in 2019.
  • Why you shouldn’t just track Cost Per Click and Impressions with your digital marketing campaigns.
  • The top 3 things that a healthcare center should be doing online to see a return from their SEM efforts.
  • The top strategy that should be followed, but often marketing teams get wrong.

Learn more about how to use Digital Marketing for your Healthcare center.

Biggest Takeaway from Podcast

One of the biggest takeaways I have from today’s podcast is the role that empathy has in your digital marketing. It is so important to be empathetic and everything that you do online, you need to connect with a customer, with a client, with a patient who is going through a difficult health choice.

Now, maybe the health choice seeing simple for you, potentially, you’re a dentist, and somebody needs to come in for a routine cleaning. This could be somebody who is absolutely terrified and has had negative experiences with every dentist that they’ve worked with up until stepping in your door and sitting down in your seat.

So you need to understand as we’ve talked about in multiple episodes that customer journey.

What is their patient journey as they’re going from recognizing that they might have a problem to finding a solution, to actually calling up and scheduling appointments, and how can we be empathetic to them in their situation, every step of the way?

Yes, the main goal of digital marketing and online marketing is to increase your bottom line revenue, but in order to do that, you need to make sure that your story and your marketing and messaging is empathetic to the customers who are out there.

Watch the Digital Marketing Interview with Scorpion Healthcare

 

Listen to the Digital Marketing Podcast

 

Podcast Interview Transcript

Hello and welcome to the newest episode of The Social speak Network podcast. I’m Caitlin McDonald and I am so excited to have Rod Thomas on our show today. Rod Thomas is a Director of Regional Sales for Scorpion Healthcare, an award-winning digital marketing partner that has helped more than 250 hospitals and health care providers improve their digital presence, and achieve their business goals.

Rod has consulted on digital strategy for health care organizations of varying size and services including individual provider practices private orthopedic groups addiction treatment centers, small rural hospitals and major health systems.

Rod is a graduate of Northwestern University and lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two amazing children.

Caitlin McDonald: I’m so excited to have Rod on the show today, let’s give him a warm welcome. Welcome Rod, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Rod Thomas: It is a pleasure to be here. Thank you for asking me.

CM: To kick things off, tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing.

RT: Well, I’ve been at Scorpion for over two years now and that’s really where I got my start in digital marketing. I’ve been solely focused on health care digital marketing in those two years. I entered into the space as a corporate employee and I’ve worked over that time, I’ve worked with a lot of different organizations. I’ve worked with rural hospitals, critical access hospitals. They have a unique set of circumstances, unique challenges, all the way up to large multi-hospital systems, which is another game.

I provided digital marketing for addiction treatment centers and individual doctor practices or larger physician groups. So it’s within healthcare, but even within healthcare, even though it seems like a very specific vertical, there are a lot of different the groups, business goals, and challenges that each group of faces on a regular basis.

I’ve enjoyed learning about all of those different aspects of those groups and helping them figure out what you can do online to make connections with your community because it’s all very different.

CM: That’s right, some of the messaging that you have with all of these different types of practices has to be very different. Someone dealing with addiction is going to be very different than the customer lifetime journey of somebody who needs a knee replacement. So it’s really how do you speak to both of those?

RT: Even within hospitals, I mean you have a critical access hospital and a primary objective of theirs is just to keep their market from feeling like they have to go to a big city to get a higher level of care. They often have fewer resources than the other hospital, the urban hospital, so that’s their focus.

But if you look at urban hospitals, they have competitors down the street. They are competing against all the other organizations that serve that market.

Even those two comparisons of rural hospital trying to just maintain its market versus a larger hospital in the city that’s trying to elbow its way up with the competitors, that has down the street, shows how different your digital marketing goals need to be.

CM: So Rod your business is really a one-stop solution for technology and marketing. How does this differ from a typical approach to digital marketing?

RT: Well, I don’t know that there is a typical approach. There are so many companies out there that do digital marketing; they’re not a lot of barriers to entry into the place into the space.

You can build a website and basically say, “I’ve got experience managing Google AdWords and Facebook and Facebook campaigns.” And you’re off to the races. So there are, there’s a lot of competition out there.

I think you’ve got people who build websites, on certain platforms or whether it’s an open source or proprietary platform. Then there are other agencies like us that do digital marketing. You’ve also got agencies that are more broad-based agencies that do everything from print to TV and film, branding of all of your entire marketing service line and channels.

I’d say what sets Scorpion apart is our specialization in digital marketing combined with our history and the technology platform that we’ve built.

We’ve been in the business for 18 years – that’s a pretty substantial history, and we’ve invested over that time in our platform and our systems. We are really pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and being able to drive efficiencies with that system. Having a platform where you have the website, you have your landing pages, you’re able to track and have transparency on all of those entry points into the system, so to speak. So that if, not to get too into the weeds here, but if somebody clicks on an ad, and they look at the landing page, but they don’t convert, for example they’re not making a phone call, or filling out a form, but later they come back to your website. If it’s on our system, we actually can see them, we’ve noted them, and can narrow it down to, “He clicked on the ad,” we realized when he comes back he’s not necessarily an organic lead. He is someone who actually saw an ad, they just didn’t convert until later.

But that platform, it has a lot of intricacy built into it that gives us a big advantage in the space.

CM: Awesome, and I’m assuming you’re going to come back to talk about that a little bit more when we talk about Scorpion, but let’s keep going with these digital marketing questions. So what current trends are you seeing for health centers with digital marketing in 2019?

RT: Well, healthcare tends to continue to be slow to adapt.

I’m going to give healthcare a bit of a pass on one end because health care is just different. It’s not the same as shopping at Amazon, or Target, or Best Buy Online. You’re dealing with HIPAA issues, you’re dealing with personal or private, personal health information. So there are different obstacles in healthcare to do this responsibly.

But that being said, healthcare is just not been as advanced in terms of addressing the opportunity to connect with their community online.

And when they do make an aggressive move they often just get it wrong. So that’s a trend, that’s one trend.

The other trend I would say just in terms of digital marketing in general is video.

Video is king. That type of content is really great. People respond very differently and have a closer connection with video. We’re just seeing a lot of that’s paying dividends down the road.

If you’re investing in that video and having that open to using it, that’s a huge strength.

Utilize video to help your healthcare practice stand apart online

CM: Are there any tactics that were expected to perform well or had a lot of hype, but failed to take hold or deliver the results that they want to in 2018?

RT: I don’t know that there are tactics. I think we’re often monitoring the platforms that are in popping up online like Snapchat for example, or both which maybe not to me, people know about, but those types of platforms that are all of a sudden held up as the next opportunity to connect and they don’t really take shape or don’t take hold the way that would you anticipate. And I think that comes back to a very key component, which is understand that we can’t control consumer behavior.

CM: Yes, That’s key. We can’t force people to interact on Snapchat in a way that they’re not doing naturally.

RT: Twitter is the same. You can’t force Twitter to be a platform that it’s not. And so what we have to learn to do is just be respond to what consumers to the consumer behavior that we’re tracking online and getting a message that’s going to resonate with the right person at the right time, on the right platform.

CM: I think that that’s a really interesting point. You always want to pay attention to what the data says, but you also need to pay attention to the messaging that you’re actually putting out there and if it aligns with the actions that people are used to taking on that specific social media network.

RT: You can’t just throw it out saying, “No, this is never going to work.” Find a way, if you really want to make it work, find a way to make that messaging really stick with the people who are on that network, it and find a way that you can connect with them.

The message may be on point, but it just may be the delivery system that’s wrong.

CM: So what are the top three things that a health care center should be doing online to see a return from their digital marketing efforts?

RT: Well, first of all, you have to get your economics right you have to tie what you’re doing to your business goals and we tend to get squarely on this, we… So these are business issues. You have to consider what the lifetime value of a patient is. What does that revenue look like that you’re going to generate from a patient and what is the cost of acquiring a patient?

There is a mission to healthcare, and we hate kind of talking about the economics of it, but if you’re not taking care of the economics of it, you’re going to be out of business.

So say if you’re spending more than you’re taking in, you won’t be able to serve that mission.

And so I often kind of frame this in terms of… “Look, if you take care of these business issues, you’re going to improve more business, but you’re also going to improve the health outcomes of the people in your community because you’re going to be connecting with the people who need your service, quicker, getting them help earlier, hopefully and getting them back to their life healthier and with better health outcomes.” I went off the tangent here, but I get your economics right.

The second thing I would say is, develop a strategy and stick with it.

People often are saying… “Well, I tried it for a while, I’ll try it for a month and didn’t see anything,” but that’s not adequate.

Develop a digital marketing strategy and stick with it for your healthcare organization

If you’re trying to dip your toes in and out and trying to really make a lot of adjustments and try this and then try that and try to just pull levers to see which one’s going to work, you’re not going to see the return.

Be thoughtful about developing a strategy, and then put it on the field, so to speak, and watch it. You’re not going to get it right, right away, so it’s going to require some adjustments. Don’t give up on that.

And then the third thing I would say is that you have to track everything with digital marketing.

Digital marketing is not like putting an ad in a newspaper, in the old days, or even putting a billboard. With digital marketing, you can tie consumer behavior to a marketing campaign.

You need to be able to track a variety of items in digital marketing for healthcare:

  • How many leads are we generating?
  • How many patients are we getting in the door off of this marketing campaign?

With this, you know what’s working.

In Healthcare Marketing Look Beyond Cost Per Click

This goes beyond the number of impressions or just to cost per click. If you just know the cost per click and you’re monitoring your results based on the cost per click, then you’re monitoring the wrong thing because that’s not tied to revenue.

Track Marketing Metrics Related to Revenue

You could waste tons of money just trying to get to the low cost per click, because it’s just somebody clicking your ad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right person.

So really making sure you’re tracking the back end, to say, “How are we doing in terms of generating patients in revenue with this digital marketing campaign investment?

CM: And I like how Scorpion, with your own system, you have a way to track it, it not only if somebody became a patient or a lead that first time that they click the ad but also if they came back a week later, a month later after they’ve already seen the ad, and they come back to your website, to then book an appointment. I think that that’s so powerful because it provides even more information about that cost to acquire a patient will bring that down and really show you the long-term effects of the strategy that you have in place.

RT: Yeah, that data is important and even with that system, it’s difficult, so it’s not perfect, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

There are a lot of different data points. It’s not just somebody clicking on an ad and I shouldn’t say it’s not always… Somebody’s just clicking on an ad calling you. And that’s a conversion. This ad may be a point that they’ve talked to their friends, they’ve looked at reviews. There are a lot of different points online and offline that go into establishing trust, and that’s really what it is, connection and trust with a potential patient but the data is important, even though it’s not perfect, it’s important to make sure that what’s happening if you’re investing that money.

CM: Yeah, absolutely, so what is the top strategy that should be followed, but often, marketing teams get wrong?

RT: The top strategy as opposed to the tactic?

CM: And I want to try making a difference here – you can answer the top tactic as well. I think both are very, very important.

RT: Yeah, I think that’s good because the marketing tactics change. The tactics, as we discussed, even with different practice vs an orthopedic group, the tactics are going to be different if you’re trying to connect with a dad or a guy who’s out to a playing softball on the weekends in in a league, that’s going to be a different tactic to connect with him versus connecting with, say somebody like my father who’s in the ’70s and golf and needs a knee replacement, but he’s not looking for it.

Those are different. So, you’re going to have different tactics for your target market and who you’re speaking to in the marketing strategy.

The top strategy that should be followed but often gets wrong is empathy, it is really empathy.

Focusing on the patient.

We think the technology is the just launching a pay per click campaign, and these tech tools are going to get the job done, but it is important to realize that it is a tool.

So it’s an avenue, it’s a way to connect with someone. It is not the connection. Google, Facebook, YouTube, these are delivery systems. And so effective marketing is not about how much you’re doing, it’s about connecting with the patient putting yourself in their shoes, understanding their fears in the moment, the need that they have at that moment, in time, and then treating them with empathy.

It’s, it’s the first chance you have to serve them as a patient and if you can serve them as a patient before they’ve even picked up the phone or set up an appointment, you’re going a long way to winning them as a patient in your office.

CM: Yes, that is so important. It’s important in any industry, you have to really know your story and those pain points of your consumers or patients. So I love that answer, thank you.

RT: Yeah, yeah, I’ll say one of the things, and something that I hear a lot when I get on a call. So I was like… We need to be doing social media are we are not doing it, we need to do it as a… It’s almost like we have to check it sounds like we have to check that box.

CM: Yes, and it’s like, well, first of all, yes, there’s a great opportunity on social media to connect, but not just to do it to do it if you’re just going to do it and say Hey, Happy 4th of July from you, the doctor group, or Happy Memorial. That’s not that check in the box.

RT: Oh yes, but it’s not really thinking in terms of where you can connect, how you can connect with someone. So that’s the difference. I would kind of specifically differentiate the two.

CM: Yeah, that’s great, that’s great. So your business, Scorpion Healthcare, is to top rank digital marketing agency for Healthcare practices. Can you tell us a little bit more about your company, and the services?

RT: Sure, we’ve been in business for us at 18 years, we actually got our start in the legal industry back in the day, so the scorpion started as a marketing… Marketing agency to help law firms develop the websites get found online through SEO and through the ads to help lawyers connect with potential clients and help them build their client base.

We branched out since then. And we do home services, and we also have done healthcare for over 10 years. Our chief revenue officer and I’m going to paraphrase what he says here, he says, “we’re in the Oh-No verticals.”

In other words, everything was fine. yesterday, something happened in day and all of a sudden… Oh no, I need a lawyer or… Oh no, I need a plumber or… Oh no, I need a doctor.

And so, those moments or people are reaching for their phones now, it’s like, “Oh no, I got a need and I pull out my phone.” So that’s where the connection point is.

So over that time, we’ve developed a… Our own system, I’ve talked about, it’s a platform that is a CMS that holds the website and from the very beginning, when we started developing with SEO. We’re doing SEO services, we’re doing paid ads where on any channel, that’s online any different connecting points. So, primarily we’re taking about Google or Facebook, but that could weigh and programmatic or native advertising and retargeting and go targeting all of those different tactics. We we’re doing listings management, we’re help in a reputation monitoring, we’re doing content marketing. So as much as we can provide in terms of one partner for our clients that will solve as many issues of their digital footprint their online presence as possible, so that they’re not trying to juggle multiple vendors and trying to get everybody to work nice together.

So that’s really as we stick to really being very specific in terms of delivering our technology and our marketing expertise.

That’s our team that knows can talk and understand what business goals a particular company are, and then develop strategies based on those goals, and then help them monitor it and optimize it over time. That’s an important aspect of what we do as regularly checking in, following what’s happening, and making adjustments as we go.

Whether the business objectives are changed or whether the market has changed, if there are market conditions that require a change, that you have to make sure that you’re just not assuming that everything is working now, the way it worked even two months ago.

CM: Yeah, and I mean really a lot of digital marketing and sponsored advertising is at the whim of whoever you’re doing the advertising through. We recently saw a change with how lead optimization campaigns we’re working on Facebook and our testing almost exclusively now using the lead form directly on Facebook, rather than sending someone to a landing page. And how does that conversion rate differ? And that’s something if the platforms never changed, then I would make marketing a little bit easier, but consumers change, the platforms change and everything, so you have to really stay on top of that, right?

RT: The rules change in… So, absolutely it.

And Google’s always makes changes. Facebook so they’re trying to optimize and make sure the… So when they make a change, you’re not going to know this, fact you may not know exactly what the implications are.

CM: Lastly, are there any digital marketing strategies that your team is currently testing that you don’t think many other agencies are implementing for their clients?

I would say this platform that we’re developing on is really unique and so the advances we’re making in terms of machine learning and it’s a form of AI, where the platform itself is tracking conversions and across multiple variables, and adjusting based on those variables.

So in other words, you have industry standards, there’s certain benchmarks in the industry and I throw out I’ve heard typically mobile devices convert at a 20% better than desktop. So let’s just say that is about average, right?

And so then, is going to track that, but it’s also going to not assume that 20% is the standard it’s going to investigate, it’s going to take a look at the specific campaign, the specific industry, the specific market and it maybe in a particular market that that’s actually higher it may actually these campaigns may convert it at like 30% on mobile or less, it could be less.

And our system is what we’re developing the system that’s going to adjust the spend and adjust the budget, based on those variables that are unique to the specific campaign, unique to the specific client. So it’s adjusting geographical targets, it’s adjusting time of day, adjusting device.

It could be keywords, it could even be on the ad to content to… We have constantly been doing AB testing and a lot people do a AB test, but I have a system that is doing it automatically, as opposed to a person coming in and taking a look and having to do that comparison. I think that, I know that that is going to change the game.

Yeah, I for our clients when this system is and we tested it in a lot of different verticals and it’s really effective when you see a machine just kind of making those adjustments and shifting tactics and shifting budgets on the fly based on the actual data that it’s seeing and that’s a very powerful tool that comes from 18 years. It’s not something that someone can put together right right a way.

And being able to bring that to someone like a sole practitioner, a small Orthopedic Group, or other verticals, a couple of guys who are a couple of lawyers, or even a plumbing company being able to bring that type of power to their campaigns – it’s going to change the game for them.

CM: So powerful, so powerful, it’s exciting, it’s exciting to…

RT: I’m excited about our team that is very good at this. We get to… Often, we have meetings where we’re talking about it, learning more about it, and it is exciting to see what they’re doing and how this could really help potential clients at that way.

CM: So is there anything I should have asked but I didn’t?

RT: I mean you could have asked about my golf day but that would have been a, I’ve been Chicago coming out of the winter and my golf game is terrible.

That’s not a good question, no, I don’t think so, I know no this has been great. And I don’t know that there’s a lot of things you could have asked, but it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I really, I get a kick out of figuring these things out with clients and so it’s, it’s always a puzzle because each office is different in each market is different. My day is never the same. It’s always taking somebody where they are, whether they are just starting out, or whether they’re already farther down the road and they’re trying to get better.

CM: Definitely, definitely. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to be on our show and to answer these questions for the interview, I know that you spend some time thinking about what your answers were going to be, so I really appreciate that, and it was very insightful in hearing all of the insights.

It was wonderful having you on the show.

RT: Thank you so much, that was my pleasure, thank you for asking me to join.

CM: So thank you again to Rod for being on our show and talking more about the insights he has with Scorpion. Now, one of the biggest takeaways I have from today’s podcast is the role that empathy has in your digital marketing. It is so important to be empathetic and everything that you do online, you need to connect with a customer, with a client, with a patient who is going through a difficult health choice.

Now, maybe the health choice seeing simple for you, potentially, you’re a dentist, and somebody needs to come in for a routine cleaning. This could be somebody who is absolutely terrified and has had negative experiences with every dentist that they’ve worked with up until stepping in your door and sitting down in your seat.

So you need to understand as we’ve talked about in multiple episodes that customer journey.

What is their patient journey as they’re going from recognizing that they might have a problem to finding a solution, to actually calling up and scheduling appointments, and how can we be empathetic to them in their situation, every step of the way?

Yes, the main goal of digital marketing and online marketing is to increase your bottom line revenue, but in order to do that, you need to make sure that your story and your marketing and messaging is empathetic to the customers who are out there.

So again, my name’s Caitlin McDonald. You’ve been listening to the Social Speak Podcast, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes or Podbean and we look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Engaging Patients and Prospects with Empathy – Interview with Rod Thomas of Scorpion