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Generating Medical Practice Referrals Using Social Media

Posted on January 20, 2012 by in Uncategorized

Doctors and other medical providers have traditionally sought referrals only from existing clients. Until just recently, that was the only means. But in today’s world of social marketing, there is another way, and even a better way to go about medical practice marketing.

Who is using social media for medical practice marketing?

More than twenty percent of medical practices nationwide are already using social media for practice building. Twenty four percent of Americans who are active on the Internet report engaging in some form of social media regarding health concerns at least once per month. Eighty percent of Americans look at websites and search engines to find information on health topics.

Patients use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn about and contact medical providers in various disciplines. In other words, social media is a popular source of information gathering for health consumers nationwide. With that in mind, the opportunities for health providers of all kinds to engage in referral marketing through social media are profound.

Social media personalizes your medical practice marketing campaign

Social media is seen to personalize medical practice marketing, creating true emotional connections between provider and patients. The provider is the expert in this relationship, but patients become active participants, too, with the opportunity to become better informed patients at the same time. Social media functions essentially on word of mouth, and this powerful communication medium can lead to effective referral building.

Personal recommendations carry with them the bond that can only come from relationships built on trust. These recommendations are inherently trusted, and therefore promptly relied upon. This is an effective means of generating referrals, and leads to immediately well established relations between provider and patient.

Ensuring your social marketing campaign generates referrals

At the same time, a social media campaign or effort must be evaluated on a return on investment basis as would any other marketing effort. First of all, marketing a medical practice through social media requires a significant investment of time, whether by staff or provider him or herself. Marketing a medical practice through social marketing can also be slow to produce any significant return. Developing followers takes time. Also, a provider’s reputation as developed through social marketing must be carefully managed.

Negative comments are quickly multiplied in the social realm, and any positive effects can be quickly muted. It is also worth testing the effects of the campaign to insure effectiveness and return on cost. Callers and new patients should always be asked for the source of their contact with the practice. Most social marketing websites provide little or no tracking information, so this will have to be collected actively.

Despite the difficulty of starting and operating a social marketing campaign for medical providers, the effectiveness of these campaigns is proven. They are worth the effort. Many consultants specialize in social marketing for medical providers, and one may be worth using or at least meeting with. When all is said and done with social marketing, its advantages far outweigh its costs and difficulties.

Medical Practice Marketing Got You Overwhelmed?

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

From conversion rates and search engine optimization to social media and local search marketing, the complex world of medical practice marketing can seem overwhelming no matter how long you’ve been in the industry, and the  pace of the market seems to be getting faster every year. For professionals who are devote the majority of their energy to professional services and patient care, finding the time and resources to give their marketing campaign a jump start can seem almost impossible.

If you’re like most medical professionals, you probably didn’t enter your profession because you were naturally drawn to the glamour and excitement of medical practice marketing. The fact of the matter remains, however, that getting the word out about what separates your services from the competition is a crucial component of building your practice.

That’s why we created the Power Practice Network. We believe that marketing a medical practice effectively doesn’t have to be a chore so long as you are promoting a message that you believe in and offer a range of services designed to improved your client’s lives.

Our Marketing Jump Start program makes effective medical practice marketing simply by breaking down the process into a series of actionable templates that start with the design of a solid marketing foundation. By working through modules and activities devoted to key components like generating referrals and local search marketing, we provided you with the information, advice and resources you need to create brand authenticity and establish yourself as a thought leader within your professional niche.

Avoiding the Social Media Time Suck in Medical Practice Marketing

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

The results are in. As an increasing number of professional services practices examine their social media conversion rates, they’re finding that this form of practice marketing delivers where it matters most and creates new business opportunities. They’re also finding something else: they’re spending way too much time on it.

The dreaded social media time suck has given comedy writers more fodder than a wet, hot, American sex scandal and wasted more time than Monday morning meetings. Let’s talk about how you can get what you want out of social media and practice marketing without draining your resources.

  1. Commit to a Set Social Media Marketing Schedule: In some ways, social media marketing can turn into a time drain for the same reason email has created a reputation for tying up resources in so many resources. You know the score. Email box gets checked like an OCD patient’s stove top until you break the habit of bringing it up with every second habit. Multiply that across three or four bustling social media platforms, and you’ve got yourself a problem. Draw a line in the sand for your social media marketing campaign by setting a schedule to only update your accounts on certain days and times.
  2. Pre-schedule Your Practice Marketing Updates with Third Party Apps: Third party apps like HootSuite, Seesmic and Tweetdeck all have features that allow you set scheduled posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for days or even weeks in advance. The learning curve on these apps is really very short, and using a single app for all of your social media marketing campaigns. I prefer to use Tweetdeck, partly just out of habit, but many professionals find that the additional features offered by HootSuite are a better fit for their needs.
  3. Focus on Practice Marketing Campaigns that are Actually Effective: As obvious as it might sound to simply drop accounts that are obviously not delivering results, the truth of the matter is that we are creatures of habit and often slow to cut the cord. If you are obviously not getting any traction with a particular account or platform after 30 days, it’s time to either rework your approach or just move onto greener pastures.

With a little bit of focus and self control, it’s easy to keep all of your accounts updated and active without disappearing into a social media black hole. At any rate, please note that is a proud member of the Power Practice network. For a limited time, we’re allowing a free subscription the networks Success Tools program, which provides practice marketing professionals with a wide variety of short, timely articles and instruments to help you build your business. Take a moment to sign up now in the field provided above.

Waiting Room Full of Empty Chairs? Give Your Practice a Marketing Jump Start!

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

Importance of Having a Personally Branded Blog for Your Practice

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

As a professional possessing specialized knowledge and skills in a particular field, practice marketing is absolutely essential to build a reputation, bring in new clients, and boost revenues. Most people today use the internet for information on a particular person, product, or service. This trend is going to further increase as internet connectivity further improves and newer innovations transmit information at much higher speeds and with greater efficiency.

Blogs are a form of practice marketing that will benefit you immensely as a private practice professional. It is your skill, knowledge, expertise, and competence that will determine the success and failure of your practice. Blogs are a very important way of differentiating yourself from fellow professionals who offer similar services in the same locality.

Practice marketing through blogs is one method of letting the world know about your unique talents and the benefits of opting for your service. You can use text, videos, and graphics to inform fellow bloggers about your service, personal accomplishments, accolades from organizations of repute and any awards that you have won.

Blogging, unlike traditional writing, requires special skills to ensure that you connect with fellow bloggers and lay people. It would be in your best interest to hire the services of a professional blogger who can take care of the blog design and other technical aspects that will ensure good visibility.

Developing a personal blog with the right content and design will garner attention and increase traffic. Your reputation as a skilled professional will spread far and wide. Your blog will be accorded priority ranking in the local search engine listings giving you maximum benefit.

If you are a lawyer working in a particular city make a survey of the types of cases that come up before courts for settlement or trial in that city. Make a study of other lawyers and law firms who offer similar services. Try to find out the needs of the local population and the areas where other lawyers are found wanting.

You can then design a blog that caters to the needs of the local populace and also answer all the common doubts and misgivings that people might have. Blogs are interactive and this gives you a valuable opportunity to have a direct interface with the consumer.

You can put up a list of useful links that provide more information about the service that you provide. As traffic to your blog increases other websites might make use of your blog or put up back links that will further add to your popularity.

In today’s fiercely competitive world it is extremely important that services are customized to give an enriching experience to the customer. Blogs help you achieve that purpose with relatively less expenditure and greater precision.

Developing a blog with useful informative content will enable you to build a formidable reputation within a short span of time. Doctors, auditors, dentists and other private practice professionals should increasingly use blogs as a practice marketing tool to increase visibility, build a reputable brand image, and augment revenues.

Practice Marketing – Generate Business for your Practice through AdWords

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

The aim of your practice marketing is obviously to build your practice by attracting more patients. While yellow pages, television, and newspaper promotions are effective, a sure-fire way to reach your prospects and clients faster is through the Internet. According to a national survey, Internet statistics in America show that 74% of adult population (18 years and older) uses the Internet; 60% adults have broadband service at home; and wireless connections are used 55% adults.

These statistics reinforce the how imperative Internet marketing is for your practice.
While there are many Internet promotion methods to build your practice, using AdWords as part of your practice marketing strategy is one of the most effective and quickest ways to reach your target audience. A competent AdWords program can create deep brand awareness and drive highly targeted traffic to your dental website.

Understanding AdWords Promotion

AdWords is a form of product/service promotion method from Google. To promote your practice, you need to purchase AdWords keywords. These are specific words reflective of your sale focus and used in general by your target audience to search for such services. For example, if it is your ‘teeth whitening’ service that you want to promote, you need to choose words and phrases that your audience uses to search for this service. If you are providing this service only for a specific audience, say people in a particular location or for children, use keywords that relay this information too. This will fetch you highly targeted audience.

When a user searches Google using these keywords, your advert gets displayed on the right hand side of the search result page as ‘sponsored links’. Your adverts may also be displayed on
the top of the search results. If someone clicks your advert, you pay Google a pre-agreed amount (PPC/Pay-per-Click), whether or not the click converts into a client for you.

Advantages of Practice Marketing through AdWords

  • Vast Exposure – Since Google is used by billions of people to search for general or specific information, you advertise your practice to a huge audience across the world, or a local audience, as per the needs of your practice.
  • Targeted Reach – A huge number of website visitors does not help if they are not really your targeted customers. Since AdWords practice marketing focuses on keyword-based adverts, it brings in your target customers.
  • Faster Results – Contrary to traditional Internet advertising methods, AdWords promotion gives you quicker results. Since your advert appears for a specific keyword, awareness creation is instant. The time and efforts required to realize the promotion are also lesser. You need to select your ideal keyword and create an appealing advert around it, and you are all set to put your ad.
  • Cost Control – The cost control is in your hands. It is you who decides how high or how low to pay for the keywords. Moreover, you only pay for the clicks your advert generates.

AdWords is an essential tool for your practice marketing. The inherent benefits are powerful and can help you realize your marketing objectives effectively.

Developing Your Referral Formula: Part 1

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

The key to every successful referral development strategy is finding the right formula for generating a sense of urgency amongst your peers that will encourage them to spread the word about the quality of your service. Having a solid referral formula at the backbone of your marketing strategy is the difference between using a strategic plan for generating high quality referrals and simply trying to wing it from one day to the next or endlessly reinventing your system. Before you and your team start contacting your existing client base, it is crucial that you establish a systematic approach to your campaign so that you are do not make the mistake of leaving your success up to chance.

The first step to engineering your custom formula for referrals is to examine what techniques or strategies you currently have in place to generate qualified referrals. In a best case scenario, you are probably already encouraging your clients to ask their business partner to look into your services. If you have only begun to start taking your referrals seriously, you may barely even be speaking to your clients about spreading the word about your business at the moment. In either case, it is more than likely that you do not have a clear understanding of which clients you should ask, how to speak with them about referrals or perhaps even how referrals are earned.

There is a general misunderstanding out there that referrals are generated spontaneously as a result of customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, this is simply not how the world works. In the world of professional services, positive word of mouth is much harder to come by than negative comments. To put it another way, referrals simply do not occur in a vacuum.

Take a moment to reflect on how you behave when a service completely fails to meet your expectations versus your behavior when you are getting everything that you could reasonably expect out of a service. If you are like most people, you probably share your dissatisfaction with everyone who will listen about the first service until your disappointment fades, while you do not mention the high quality service to anyone unless it happens to come up organically. To make matters worse, the large number of people that you have complained to about your bad experience are quite likely to pass on your comments to others, and the few people that you mentioned the top-notch service to are likely to forget your comments shortly after your conversation. It’s simply human nature.

This is why having an powerful referral formula in place is so tremendously effective. If you want to get past the small trickle of word of mouth referrals that you are currently experiencing, then you will need address the key factors that determine the success of your referral marketing campaign: identifying targets, transferring trust and establishing a high level of endorsement.

Practice Marketing – The Money is in the List

Posted on December 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized

One very successful practice marketing technique is opt-in emails. Since it is a personalized message or newsletter carrying information that the client has requested he is also looking for it and is sure to read it.

What is the source for an email list? Who are the people looking for your services? How will you create your email list?
Here are some tips on opt-in email list building:

  • 1.   Talk openly about your practice. It’s an important aspect of practice marketing. Publish newsletters, e-brochures, books etc. on a regular basis and people will want to know more. Once they know what you do they will sign up your online form to reveal their email address to get more information.
  • 2.   Your website should make an offer of sending information to the readers email address in case he is interested. For example a nephrologist who has a private practice can offer to send e-brochures regarding the functioning of the kidney and ways to take care of it.
  • 3.   The content in your website should be of good quality and keep the reader engrossed. This prompts him to read your emails regularly or else you might be spammed.
  • 4.   It should also feature the opt-in email address form prominently. Is it easily accessible? If it is a tedious process people get put off so simplify the form filling process.
  • 5.   When you address a gathering regarding your work make the speech so attractive that people will want to learn more and will willingly give you their email addresses. Remember your money is in it.
  • 6.   Your regular clients might be willing to divulge information. When they approach you for a consultation you can get them to fill up a form to give you their personal details and also their email addresses. A column in the form can ask for reference emails too.
  • 7.   Whatever the method you use for your practice marketing, remember to live up to expectations. You should keep your promises and also deliver the goods.
  • 8.   You should be very cautious if you are considering buying an opt-in email list. There are numerous companies selling opt-in email lists but you have to weigh the benefits of doing so before jumping into the fray. It’s most likely that such emails will be just not opened or considered spam by the receiver.

However, it is also likely that many of the email addresses that you have on your list might be submitted against the concerned people’s wishes or inadvertently. Hence a system which cross- checks with the recipient if he has indeed opted for this has been developed. It’s called double opt-in.

Whether you are a lawyer or a doctor, an accountant or a fashion designer, your clientele depends on trust and quality. What can you do to retain your opt-in email list? Earn their trust. Deliver the goods. Be clear, concise and simple. No false promises in your emails. Opt-in emails make a major contribution towards practice marketing so it is imperative that it is done with ethics and integrity.