healthcare marketing Archives - Binary Fountain

6 Healthcare Marketing Tips for the 2020 Holidays

healthcare-marketing-holidaysThe holidays are upon us, and every year brings new marketing opportunities for your healthcare organization. Of course, 2020 is a historically different year, as coronavirus and flu season come together.

There may be fewer patients looking for services, but a successful healthcare marketing strategy can counteract a slower holiday season for your medical practice. Your online presence is always evolving – even during COVID-19, and even during the holidays.

To make sure your prospects and patients seek care from your providers, you need to know which digital healthcare marketing campaigns will convert them.

Here are seven healthcare marketing tips you can use to promote your medical practice, engage loyal patients and attract new business over the 2020 holidays.

1. Update Website and Local Landing Pages

Our 2020 survey of healthcare consumers showed that patients search for doctors on hospital/facility websites more than any other source. Healthcare marketers need to ensure their website is not only well-designed, but also properly updated.

Update your hours for the holidays on your website and physician profile pages to offer patients transparency when they book an appointment. Moreover, updating your website to reflect the holidays helps connect with your current patients and shows prospective patients that your organization cares about the customer experience.

To gain potential patients’ trust, display star ratings and recent patient feedback prominently on physician profiles. Moreover, be transparent on your website about safety precautions, service policies, virtual care options and other changes related to COVID-19.

Remember that content is key to your website’s online visibility. Post key information, recent photos, and other location-specific content on your webpages and other listings. Even a simple holiday image on your homepage or blog makes your providers look more festive and up to date.

If your healthcare practice has a blog, now is a great time to write specific, helpful content around the holidays, flu season and coronavirus. Topics could include navigating the holiday season during COVID-19, ways to stay healthy during the holidays, healthy recipe ideas, or dealing with holiday stress. Your audience is constantly searching for useful content, so make it easy to find on your site.

2. Optimize Healthcare Facility Listings

A prominent, complete and accurate online presence is essential to every healthcare marketing strategy. It’s even more important during the holidays, when people travel widely and your staff may have less time to field questions.

Your healthcare facilities’ listings on Google My Business, Vitals and Zocdoc are just as important as your website. Presenting a positive, robust brand image on these platforms will draw in residents searching locally.

If you have special holiday hours, communicating that to patients online should top your healthcare marketing list over the holidays. Plus, telemedicine and virtual care availability should be prominently displayed across your listings.

According to data from Binary Fountain healthcare clients, click-to-calls from GMB have skyrocketed since February. Make sure directions and updated contact information are displayed on Google MapsApple Maps and other listings.

Healthcare organizations should also harness the power of photos on Google My Business listings along with updating location details. Add high-quality, recent photos that have good lighting and that feature your staff, facilities and services.

3. Email and Text Message Marketing

Your marketing strategy should include location-specific email and text campaigns over the winter. These two marketing channels can help you stay top of mind, encourage appointments, and build a lasting relationship with patients.

Through feedback data, find out what patients want and need, and offer something of value by email or SMS text. An easy first step is to share important health information with certain patient populations, like flu shot reminders for pediatric parents or updated hours for physical therapy.

Whether it’s a referral offer, safety update or review request, keep the message simple and helpful. And choose your times wisely: Send email and text campaigns on the days patients are most likely to schedule an appointment or leave a review.

Willis-Knighton Health System used mass text messaging campaigns to send immunization reminders to 45,000 pediatric parents and guardians during COVID-19. It reported a 60-100% increase in average online appointment bookings in the three following months.

4. Holiday Social Media Marketing

Social media is a quick, simple way to connect with your patients over the holidays. December presents an especially great opportunity to post on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

tips-2021-content-webinarIt goes a long way to get your entire organization in on holiday social media marketing. Encourage your providers, staff and patients to share photos of holiday moments and tag your brand to boost engagement.

Emphasize a personal connection. Share holiday memories from your providers, employee holiday photos, family recipes, playlists and other posts. Engage directly with patient’s posts, when you can, and communicate consistently throughout the month.

As always with social media, the key is to be specific with targeting features, like geographic location, income and age. Social media management tools can help you draft, approve, schedule and post this engaging content across your profiles.

Most of all, your holiday social media marketing strategy requires compassion and empathy in 2020. The themes of goodwill and togetherness should permeate your online presence through December.

For more tips on mastering social media, read our free, downloadable e-book, “Guide to Social Media Marketing for Healthcare.”

5. Generate Reviews Over the Holidays

The warmer your patients find their experience receiving care from your providers, the more likely they are to post a review that could reach thousands of people. Make sure to ask patients to take post-visit surveys or leave reviews through email and text campaigns.

Review generation is highly beneficial for your star ratings and search rankings. But not every review is positive. Healthcare marketers need to respond to negative reviews quickly and compassionately over the holidays.

If you do have negative reviews on sites like Google, Facebook or Healthgrades, consider taking these steps:

  • Ask long-standing patients to post reviews on a specific review site.
  • Address all negative comments, publicly, across each platform.
  • Create review response templates for your teams to use across all service lines and locations.

Remember that your staff is the key to a positive patient experience. But the holiday season brings enormous additional stress this year. That makes it invaluable to understand your team’s challenges and make them feel appreciated.

Asking for employee reviews, through internal surveys or sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, can do wonders for employee satisfaction. You can learn the real-time pros and cons of working at your healthcare organization. And, simply by asking for feedback, you’re acknowledging the value your providers and staff add to your business.

6. Measure Holiday Marketing Success

No matter the initiative, healthcare brands need to ensure their holiday marketing is measurable. Tracking the marketing and reputation mangement ROI this year can create an even more profitable campaign in (a more normal) 2021.

Survey current patients to learn more about their problems, needs and preferences; and use that feedback data to improve. When you understand the patient experience, you know what prospective patients want to see in your marketing and on your listings.

These quick marketing tips are small but effective ways to enhance the patient experience – one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal this season.

Most of all, the holidays are about goodwill and gratitude. Your brand can reflect those values across your web presence on its path to engaging patients, providing care, and keeping communities healthy.

 

Read more about healthcare marketing and reputation management for medical practices:


Key Takeaways from the HMPS 2020 Virtual Summit

hmps-2020-logoThe HMPS 2020 Virtual Summit had to occur online due to COVID-19, but its advice and takeaways are real and tangible.

The virtual summit took place Aug. 18-20, with dozens of keynote speakers and breakout sessions discussing the latest in healthcare marketing, digital communications and reputation management.

As the coronavirus spread in 2020, healthcare marketing activities and budgets were sharply curtailed. Tactics shifted to earned and owned media revolving around local listings, crisis management and education. Over three days, HMPS 2020 speakers broke down that shift and what it means for marketers going forward.

Notable presenting companies included Healthgrades, Kyruus, Greystone.Net, True North Custom, Accenture and DocASAP. They were joined by some of the U.S. healthcare industry’s top players, including Cleveland Clinic, St. Luke’s Health System, Geisinger, Ascension, AdventHealth, Mount Sinai Health System and Banner Health.

Some of the healthcare marketing topics covered were:

  • Interactive and digital strategies
  • Taking control of the online conversation
  • Using marketing technology for patient experience and growth
  • Investing in healthcare marketing and communications
  • Vendors, insourcing vs. outsourcing and KPIs

Below is a recap of key takeaways from the HMPS 2020 Virtual Summit, with frameworks and advice for healthcare consumerism, reputation management, mobile engagement, content marketing and digital technology.

Healthcare Consumerism Center Stage at HMPS 2020

The main headline: Healthcare marketing is being forced to embrace consumerism. Retail players are making bigger moves into the healthcare and provider space than ever, so health systems and hospitals need to be “commerce-ready.”

A major focus going forward will be on the business of running hospitals and clinics to fend off the health-retail entrants entering the market. CVS is expanding its Minute Clinic in scope and scale, Walgreens spent $1 billion to launch VillageMD in its pharmacies, and Walmart is creating health centers and launching a Medicare Advantage plan.

Geisinger VP of System Marketing and Brand Jeff Bean puts it this way: “The Netflix-Blockbuster moment is happening right now for health networks and hospitals.”

These retail-type entrants to healthcare might benefit community health, but will certainly take a cut from hospitals and regional health systems. Making retail health familiar to the consumer services we already have today, through peer-to-peer marketing strategies, is key to competing.

It’s easy for healthcare marketers to lose sight of the consumerism angle, with layers of insurance and regulations between providers and patients. But consumers are now reporting the biggest priority in healthcare is the personalization of care.

Marketers need to look at patients as consumers with personal preferences, and give them choices in the patient journey. Healthcare can learn from other industries – like retail and banking – about how to personalize these consumer experiences.

Reputation Management in Healthcare

Healthcare consumerism and online reputation management go hand in hand. Brands that simplify consumer decision making are 115% more likely to be recommended, says Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Megan Pruce. Similarly, 64% of consumers more likely to recommend a brand because it’s simple.

Health systems are behind the retail industry in terms of consumer-journey tracking, but there is sufficient patient feedback data available to make strides and compete with large consumer players. Marketers need to use survey and review data to guide choices in the patient journey.

ebook-online-reputation-management-ROIWays to do this include displaying star ratings on location pages and physician pages, giving consumers choices about their treatment, and making it easy to read reviews and understand insurance options.

Relationships, two-way conversations and proactive patient engagement are key to creating value for patients, providers and payers alike. Plus, hospitals with higher patient satisfaction scores have higher profitability.

Looking forward, healthcare systems need to equip providers with customer experience insights that enable them to proactively engage with their patients.

A large part of reputation management is transparency, which also extends to pricing. Healthcare consumers now want to have pricing information as soon as possible, which means price transparency needs to be introduced earlier in the consumer journey.

Mobile Engagement and Evolving Content

Today’s healthcare seekers are tech-savvy and time-constrained. What follows is that patients’ digital experiences are becoming the preferred method for interacting with providers.

Customers are demanding instant communication, and for many consumers, messaging apps and social media have replaced email and phone calls. Meanwhile, healthcare marketing channels and content need to evolve to stay relevant.

One emerging channel, conversational marketing, uses live chat, chatbots, natural language processing (NLP) and social monitoring to foster genuine conversation and real relationships. It has several applications for health marketing departments:

  • Finding a doctor and scheduling
  • Patient portal questions
  • Digital front door FAQs
  • Visitor policy
  • Amenity info

With that said, old communications guidelines hold true. Renown Health has this advice for COVID-19-related brand messaging: “Engage customers and tell relevant, simple, emotional stories.”

Improved patient communication means improved patient outcomes. Much of this data is available in patient reviews, where NLP can categorize reviews that mention a physician or nurse’s explanation of treatments or next steps.

For example, Stanford’s C-I-CARE framework uses relationship-based care approaches with patients, families and colleagues. Supporting the initiative is real-time feedback data, public star ratings and centralized patient experience reporting.

Technology and Vendors, According to HMPS 2020

All HMPS 2020 speakers agree that technology creates an opportunity for engagement and that every interaction in the patient journey is an opportunity for personalization.

Patient engagement technology was cited as a priority by half of all hospitals in a 2019 Gartner survey. It also forecasted that hospital IT spend will be greater than any other spend in the next five years.

Technology vendors in 2020 and beyond need to act as a staff extension, working within your brand standards and your time frame. These can be more episodic initiatives, like web development, copywriting and graphic design.

Meanwhile, successful technology partners need to have a national, best practice perspective, expertise you don’t have in-house, and a focus on improving the health care customer experience. These are long-term strategic relationships, including customer relationship management, feedback management and strategic communications.

Your technology partners and vendors need to help your healthcare brand be “always on,” with conversational platforms that meet customers where they are, when they want. Advances in AI and machine learning help these platforms provide a deep understanding of patients’ needs, and also allow for continuous improvements based on real-time feedback data.

Applying Your Knowledge from HMPS 2020

It’s clear to panelists at HMPS 2020 that brand awareness and patient experience are interconnected, working toward the ultimate growth objective of increasing patient acquisition, engagement and retention. To hit those goals in the months and years ahead, you need to deliver value to patients and cultivate a strong online reputation.

As summed up in the virtual summit’s final keynote session: “Value today is volume tomorrow.”

Binary Fountain’s unified customer experience platform equips you with the business intelligence you need to provide maximum value to patients. Book a free demo today to learn how we can analyze your patient feedback, generate reviews, engage consumers online and automate your healthcare marketing operations.

Schedule a Demo

 


5 Tips for Influencer Marketing in Healthcare

healthcare-influencer-marketingFrom HIPAA compliance to strictly regulated verticals, marketing for healthcare has always been a test for industry professionals.

However, over the years many different innovations including SEO, reputation management and even influencer marketing have made things a little easier for healthcare marketers.

While influencer marketing can seem like a challenge in this industry, there are a few best practices that can help you ensure you are getting the most out of your influencer campaigns and building your reputation as a trustworthy brand.

In this article, we will discuss ways to frame and optimize your healthcare influencer marketing efforts, including:

  • Focusing on trust more than reach
  • Asking for backlinks to your site
  • Setting goals for influencer marketing campaigns
  • Making sure healthcare influencers follow privacy regulations
  • Choosing influencers who will improve your online reputation

What is Influencer Marketing?

In the simplest terms, influencer marketing is getting a trusted person with an online following to promote your brand.

In truth, influencer marketing has been around in healthcare for years, but it has significantly ramped up in recent years with the diversification and widespread use of social media platforms. You may remember the earliest form of influencer marketing: television commercials where a celebrity tries to sell you a certain car or credit card. It’s the same concept, just a different medium.

While a lot of social media influencers may not have the following of Hollywood’s elite, they have very dedicated tribes of followers who hang on their every word and follow their recommendations for products and services.

Influencer Marketing Campaign Tips for Healthcare

By following these five tips, you can ensure your influencer marking campaign not only generates new leads for your business, but also is in compliance with any regulations.

1. Focus on Trust More Than Reach

Many marketers forget that influencers are influencers for a reason: people trust their recommendations and are interested in the content they put out. When they endorse someone, their reputation is on the line.

With a heavy saturation of ads, and a general distrust of advertising, most consumers don’t want to be force fed recommendations that may not seem genuine. Because of this, influencers are very careful about the businesses they promote – especially for health products or services – so that they don’t break their audience’s trust.

Just because you would like an A-list celebrity to endorse your practice, doesn’t mean it makes sense for your brand or for theirs. Here’s a short list of social media influencers whose values and content align closely with healthcare marketing.

A natural partnership helps influencers maintain their position as influencers and will drive better quality leads to your medical practice. Focus on the quality of influencers, not who has the most reach.

2. Ask for Backlinks to Your Site

Many times influencer campaigns only ask for social media posts or mentions on YouTube or a podcast. While this is great, it only scratches the surface of an influencer’s power.

Asking for backlinks on their website or blog can go a long way in building up the authority of your own domain, making it easier for you to rank for your target keywords. For better or worse, trusted backlinks are an important component of any SEO campaign.

Much like building your online reviews, backlinks are like positive reviews of your site, showing search engines you are a trustworthy business that others are willing to link out to. They also align your business with the influencer, adding an extra layer of trust to your brand.

An important note here: Spamming backlinks is a quick way to get Google and Bing to penalize your site from appearing in search results through what is called a “manual action.” Because of this, it’s important to choose the right links from the right sites to ensure you are following search engine guidelines.

3. Have Clear Goals in Mind

Business development coach Zig Ziglar once said: “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”

ebook-covid19-survey-healthcare-marketingMuch like any marketing campaign, if you don’t measure the right things and set clear goals, you aren’t going to know if your investment was successful for not.

Here are the KPIs we recommend when evaluating how an influencer marketing campaign performed:

  • Increased activity on your social media platforms
  • Increased inquiries about certain treatments or services
  • Increased traffic to your website
  • Quality of leads generated for your practice
  • Appointments booked

4. Ensure Healthcare Marketing Influencers Follow Regulations

Because healthcare is such a tightly regulated vertical, make sure your influencers are following the right guidelines, or you could be in trouble with regulators.

Influencers shouldn’t be breaking any patient privacy laws in their posts or videos, and they also shouldn’t be selling a specific product. They can talk about their experience at your practice or about one of your services, but should not make a direct sell.

In addition to all the normal legal and HIPAA limitations in healthcare marketing, influencers need to make sure they are compliant with all ad guidelines including letting their audience know when their endorsement is sponsored. If they don’t, you could be on the hook for any legal recourse.

5. Choose Influencers Who Will Improve Your Online Reputation

Lastly, you want to make sure you are working with healthcare influencers who make you look credible, boosting your online reputation and building a trustworthy brand.

Choosing the right influencers means you are increasing your brand equity and trustworthiness by tying your brand to theirs. Many influencers become long-term brand advocates if it makes sense for both parties, meaning that you are getting a trusted partner in growing your brand awareness.

This means finding the right partners like providers, scientists, athletes, health or nutrition experts, even “normal people” who have gained massive followings talking about their personal healthcare experiences.

Personal referrals have been a staple of growing practices forever, and an endorsement from an influencer can feel like a referral from a family member or friend for their most loyal followers. Influencers not only humanize your brand; they build up your reputation.

Interested in Growing Your Online Reputation?

With influencer marketing as an important piece of the puzzle, healthcare practices need to be investing in their online reputation. Most healthcare consumers read online reviews of healthcare providers before selecting the one that’s right for them.

If you’re interested in growing patient acquisition and improving your retention rates, you need the right tools to monitor what patients are saying about your brand online – and who’s saying it.

Learn more about our comprehensive reputation management software today.

 

Check out these resources for more on healthcare marketing strategies:


How to Improve Your Digital Front Door Strategy

digital-front-doorThere are a lot of discussions these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and health systems offer to healthcare consumers. According to the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development, 77% of consumers search online before booking an appointment, making every healthcare organizations’ web presence critical for attracting and maintaining patients.

We will cover what a comprehensive digital strategy looks like for healthcare systems and what steps your organization needs to take.

A Consumer Optimized Website: Your Digital Front Door

Consumers want the same online experience with healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings. Therefore, visitors who arrive at your digital front door, or your website, expect convenience, ease of use, and accessibility.

For example, visitors want to quickly find answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Many will not “search harder” if they can’t easily find the answers on your website, they’ll simply search elsewhere. As a result, you’ll miss an opportunity to connect and engage.

Dedication to putting users first is what separates the largest and most successful online retailers from the pack. From easy-to-use navigation to one-tap contact options, users care more about functionality than artistic design.

For example, visitors want to quickly find answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Many will not “search harder” if they can’t easily find the answers on your website, they’ll simply search elsewhere. As a result, you’ll miss an opportunity to connect and engage.

Dedication to putting users first is what separates the largest and most successful online retailers from the pack. From easy to use navigation menus to one-tap contact options, users care more about functionality than artistic design.

Easy Site Navigation

Intuitive site navigation is the backbone of a successful digital front door. If consumers struggle to navigate your website, they’ll navigate to a competitor. Your digital front door must direct visitor traffic to the appropriate healthcare services and care options.

To start, organize your pages into categories with standard terms in the words your users would understand. Rename pages and menu tabs to make their meaning clear. For example, if you have an “About Us” section, don’t name it “Meet our Team.” You must always consider how patients will interact with your navigation.

Embedding click-to-call capabilities in your healthcare system’s websites is a must. Being forced to copy your phone number and then paste it in a sperate phone dial menu creates unnecessary friction. The same is true for directions. It’s the little things that add up to superior patient experience and a strong digital front door.

If you do not offer online scheduling for appointments, invest in the technology you need to make it happen. Your patients and bottom line will thank you.

Embrace SEO Strategy

While consumers depend on clear site navigation, online search engines depend on keywords and other indicators to direct their search engine traffic.

SEO Keywords help search engines “understand” the content of each of your webpages. If a user searches for “kidney stone” Google will primarily direct them to webpages that repeatedly mention kidney stones. Note that sites mentioning “nephrolithiasis” but not explicitly “kidney stone” will likely not appear in this search’s results.

Use keywords on all of your webpages, as well as your content marketing and physician profiles, to make your digital front door visible to search engines. There are several free online tools that can help you do this.

Backlinks, SEO Titles, and meta descriptions are also digital tools you can use to rank higher in search engines.

Build Trust Through Content

Healthcare consumers are using the internet to research medical information before setting foot in an exam room. Explain why your practice facility should be the first choice for the patient. Binary Fountain found a 167% increase in consumers concerned with their healthcare providers’ reputation from 2017 to 2019. Healthcare consumers want to know they are going to a trusted provider with a trustworthy history.

If your facility has won awards or if you have patient testimonials, proudly display them. Patients choose medical facilities they feel like they can trust for exceptional care. Similarly, post your star ratings from surveys.

Remember to post your content on a variety of platforms, and experiment with different content types on each platform. Edit and update older content, but also make room for new developments. Google and other search engines pick this content up and rank sites more highly that feed them fresh and unique content.

Don’t Just Focus on the Homepage

The digital front door for your facility is more than just the hospital home page and search window. Dayton Children’s Hospital, for example, identifies some 80 ‘microments’ in the consumer healthcare journey, progressing from discovery to exploration to evaluation to engagement and experience.

This analysis brings Nurse Chat, ED, and Urgent Care check-ins and patient portal into their front door strategy. It also includes social media, star ratings, and local listings.

Build Optimized Provider Pages

Provider pages are great opportunities to showcase your doctors and build trust. Taking steps to optimize your profiles ensure you and your patients get the most of these online listings.

Some things to include in your provider pages:

  • Provider ratings
  • A quick bio (consider a video bio)
  • Offices
  • Specialties or areas of interest
  • Accepted insurances
  • Ability to schedule an appointment
  • Schema markup

If you aren’t leveraging Schema on your provider profile pages, they may not appear in search results. Schema is a certain kind of tag that helps search engines like Google organize data and accurately display it for users.

Schema tagging your provider pages will ensure search engines have the right information to prioritize your pages in their search results. As a result, it increases the chances people will find your provider pages. You can find out more about Schema markup here.

Including online patient reviews on your provider pages could also build your site traffic. These reviews are a top source of information patients use to choose providers. Many are specifically looking for reviews online. Including reviews on your website can help bring patients into your website, and this traffic should raise your SEO rankings. They also build trust by showing healthcare consumers the “entire picture.”

For more on digital front door, browse these related posts:

Quick Guide on How to Market Telemedicine on Your Website

Ihow-to-market-telemedicine n a recent survey, Binary Fountain discovered that half of all marketing departments are planning to focus on telemedicine initiatives once they emerge from COVID-19. Competition to promote telemedicine is only likely to increase in the coming months and years. Learning how to market telemedicine now could give you an advantage in this rapidly changing field.

This guide will teach you how to utilize your website to promote your telemedicine offerings. We’ll show you how to optimize your pages and the tools you can use to increase your rankings in search engine results (SERPS).

1. Create Effective Messaging to Market Telemedicine

The first tip in our how to market telemedicine guide is to start by determining who your telemedicine customers are. Then adapt the messaging on your page to meet their concerns. For example, if you typically treat chronically ill patients, write messaging that highlights how your service allows them to avoid inconvenient travel, saves them the cost of a travel attendant, and other travel expenses, and avoids unnecessary readmission. Tech-savvy patients will respond well to the on-demand nature of telemedicine. Rural patients will appreciate not having to drive for long distances to receive care.

Two common concerns about Telemedicine are that it’s more prone to misdiagnosis and doesn’t offer as good quality of care. While these concerns appear to be dropping with time, it would be wise to address them. Explain how your online care offers the same accuracy and quality of care as in-person visits.

2. Have a Telemedicine Webpage That Features an FAQ

Telemedicine is just now breaking into the mainstream, so many of your patients and future patients will have questions. A crucial part of your telemedicine promotion will need to be answering those questions to put patients at ease. While you could make telemedicine additions to an existing general FAQ, it would be wise to feature common questions and answers on your telemedicine’s main webpage.

how-to-market-telemedicineSome universal questions you may want to answer are:

  • Are you seeing new patients or just existing patients via telemedicine?
  • What specific health issues can you help with?
  • What is the cost of this service?
  • What insurance do you accept?
  • What is the process?
  • Are patients immediately connected with a provider?
  • Do patients fill out a form and then hear back?
  • What days and hours are you available?

The UNC Medical Center’s Virtual Urgent Care page is an excellent example of a FAQ page. It answers many common consumer questions before the patient even has to ask.

3. Homepage Banners, Pop-Ups, and Other CTAs

You’ve honed your messaging and created an FAQ page that answers consumer questions regarding your telemedicine offering. Now you need to drive internal web traffic to your telemedicine web pages.

A homepage banner is a natural place to start. Generally, a homepage banner is a great way to drive patients to a new service.

The Billings Clinic’s homepage banner accomplishes this with bright colors and large, easy-to-read text. It’s an effective way to direct traffic in the “lobby” of your website.

market-telemedicine-website-pop-up
Advanced ENT’s homepage pop-up

Homepage pop-ups are another option you could consider. Advanced ENT has instituted a pop-up that displays automatically over the homepage banner when users open their homepage. While pop-ups generally aren’t thought of as something web users enjoy, pop-ups that offer users something of value and aren’t challenging to close do get positive results.

You may want to consider using pop-ups on other high traffic pages as well, along with telemedicine call to action (CTA) buttons and text.

Not all of your website visitors begin their visit on your homepage. Current patients might skip your homepage and go directly to a page they’ve previously visited.

In response, you should also draw attention to telemedicine on your topmost visited webpages to ensure all patients are aware of your telemedicine services. If you have an appointment scheduling page, we highly encourage you to advertise telemedicine on this page. Sites with chatbots should also consider using this tool to inform patients about telemedicine.

4. Help Patients Decide If Telemedicine Is Right for Them on Your Appointment Scheduling Page

how-to-market-telemedicineAppointment scheduling is one of the most crucial points in the customer journey for telemedicine promotion. It’s imperative that patients consider telemedicine while setting up an appointment.

Cone Health’s appointment scheduling page is a powerful example of how a website can guide patients to the ideal appointment type for their condition and budget. While your organization may not offer the same number of service offerings, your patients will appreciate your guidance on the appointment type that is best suited for their needs.

Readers should also take note of the way COVID-19 instructions are built into this webpage. If you are seeking to use telemedicine as a tool to shield your providers, be sure to direct your online traffic to book online care when they go to schedule appointments.

5. Make Sure Telemedicine Marketing is Part of Your SEO Strategy

Now that you’ve taken some steps to integrate telemedicine onto the face of your website, you’re ready for the last step in this how-to market telemedicine guide. The final goal is to ensure that the SEO on the backend of your site is set up with telemedicine promotion in mind.

Updating your meta information is a great place to start. Be sure to use keywords and phrases for your telemedicine service in the meta descriptions of all applicable webpages. When appropriate, you may even use a telemedicine call to action phrase. This could entice higher click-through rates for viewers who find your webpages through search engines, and indirectly lead to higher search rankings. These keywords should also be used in the meta title of your telemedicine specific webpages.

Once this is done, ensure that all of your telemedicine webpages have been indexed. If your site has duplicate versions of the same content, such as a .pdf that has the same content as a webpage, use canonical tags on both assets to instruct Google as to which asset to display in search.

Structuring your FAQ data to be displayed in Google is another great SEO best practice that may allow your questions and answers to appear in zero click searches. Adding the correct data structuring will allow your questions and answers to appear in the Q&A formatted snippets carousel. This guide from Google explains the concept further. You may need to consult your web team to institute this. However, this guide explains how to use structure data if you have a basic understanding of HTML and JSON syntax. Structuring your FAQ data for Google Search could help you increase your SERPS, which makes it an optimization that could pay off quickly.

For more on how to market telemedicine, browse these related posts:

[Blog] The Numbers Behind Telemedicine: What Healthcare Marketers Should Know
[Webinar] COVID-19, Telemedicine and Your Online Presence
[Blog] Telemedicine Marketing: How to Manage Listings for Virtual Care


[Webinar Recap] COVID-19, Telemedicine and Your Online Presence

webinar-covid-19-telemedicineCOVID-19 has shifted everyone’s priorities, especially those of healthcare marketers. Team members’ roles have changed, top initiatives have shifted, and spending has been cut.

In this webinar, Kate Slonaker, VP of Growth Initiatives at Binary Fountain, sat down with Niklas Kubasek, SVP of Partnerships at CareDash, to analyze the priority shifts Healthcare Marketers have made in the face of the pandemic. Next, we took a deep dive into telemedicine and explored the beneficial impact it can have on your online listings. We also discussed tips on optimizing your brand and provider listings.

You can find a link to the on-demand webinar here and at the bottom of this page. Here are some of the key takeaways:

How COVID-19 Has Shifted Priorities for Healthcare Marketers

Binary Fountain surveyed over 300 healthcare marketers to determine how this health crisis has changed their daily routine and marketing priorities. Below we highlight a few of the key findings:

  1. Internal communication could have significant implications for future employer brand. 77% of respondents reported that team members have been laid off, were at risk of being laid off, or had been reallocated. Less than a quarter (23%) reported no changes had occurred. During this uncertain time, internal communications could be critical to maintaining your future employer brand.
  2. Spending cuts have enhanced the value of transparency in communications with staff, contractors, and vendors. Media spending and paid advertising, such as ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, saw the biggest cuts in our survey. 38% of our respondents reporting reduced spending. Content marketing saw reported spending cuts of only 25%. This seems to indicate that healthcare organizations are still spending on efforts to keep patients informed.
  3. Online directory listings and crisis communications are the two most important COVID-19 initiatives. Before the pandemic, content marketing (46% before, now down to 32%) and email marketing (40% before, now down to 33%) were the top two marketing initiatives on average. The top two initiatives appear to have shifted to crisis communication (currently at 48%, was 33%) and updating online directories (now 34%, was 31%). Online directories include sites such as Google My Business, Vitals, Yelp, and CareDash.
  4. Marketers are mainly communicating with patients individually via calls, emails, and texts. The top medium of marketer-to-patient communication in our survey was phone calls (62.8%). It was followed by email marketing (62.5%) and text messaging (49.1%). But the large share of COVID-19 related online comments surrounding healthcare brands appears on Twitter. Only 18.4% of our respondents reported using Twitter to communicate with patients. Marketers not communicating via Twitter feeds and Instagram may be missing opportunities to provide patients and consumers with valuable information.
  5. The coronavirus pandemic has spurred providers across specialties to accelerate the adoption and promotion of telemedicine. When we asked which projects and initiatives marketing teams are planning post-COVID-19, telemedicine initiatives (50%) were the top response. This was followed by physician directories and online appointments (43%). We expect interest in telemedicine will continue long after the pandemic. This is because providers and patients are getting the opportunity to utilize the technology. The increased focus on listings management and online appointments highlights the importance of removing friction from the healthcare selection process.

Offering Telemedicine Has Boosted Online Listings Engagement During COVID-19

According to Niklas, CareDash saw a 32% increase in providers and facilities that answered yes to providing telehealth services on their CareDash profiles. In response, CareDash users were 75% more likely to book an online therapy appointment. The company also saw a 9% increase in online urgent care clicks.

The Telemedicine Boost for Online Listings Will Likely Continue After the Pandemic

Telemedicine will boost your online listings engagement if patients continue to search for it. This is likely, as both sides are finally utilizing it. Even before the pandemic, telemedicine was growing in popularity among physicians and patients.

Physician adoption doubled from 14% in 2016 to 28% in 2019 in one AMA study, signaling this pre-pandemic growth. This growth exploded with the coronavirus pandemic, with Teladoc reporting 15,000+ requests per day in mid-March. We know that telemedicine is growing in importance here at Binary Fountain. 77% of our healthcare clients offer the service. The American Telehealth Association predicts that over 50% of all healthcare services will be consumed virtually by 2030.

On the patient side, COVID-19 has spurred experimentation and acceptance of telemedicine. An April 2020 YouGov study showed that the number of people that have used telemedicine has risen 3% since November 2019, a mere five-month period. During the same time period, comfort with and trust in telemedicine also rose by 10% in both categories. At the same time, the top two concerns with telemedicine, misdiagnosis, and quality of care, both dropped 13% and 11%, respectively.

How to Inform Your Patients That You Offer Telemedicine on Your Online Listings

Below are a few best practices for managing online listings for telemedicine.

  1. Activate any telemedicine options that exist in each of your business or provider listings’ sites. This will activate any visual indicators that you offer telemedicine. In addition, it may also ensure your profile is visible to consumers searching for telemedicine.
  2. Mention telemedicine early in your profiles. This is a helpful indicator for consumers and may help the word telemedicine show up in search previews.
  3. Use keywords to rank in searches for telemedicine. You will want to use keywords such as “telemedicine” and “virtual care” in the copy of your listings. Don’t forget to use commonly searched names for your specialties as well.
  4. Use the unique tools built into each listing site. Google My Business now offers an online care options tool that displays in Search and on Maps. Some practices have taken advantage of Yelp’s customizable COVID-19 Update Banners to direct their patients towards their online care options. Several websites such as Healthgrades have filters that allow patients to search exclusively for telemedicine providers. CareDash just launched an API update to support telemedicine availability and appointment scheduling tools.

The Most Effective Online Profiles for Highlighting Your Telemedicine Care

Organizations and facilities should start by claiming and optimizing their business and provider listings on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and CareDash. You should certainly use CareDash’s new API that supports features for availability and scheduling. The site also has a bulk upload tool to update and manage provider profiles.

Individual provider profiles on CareDash can be updated directly from their account dashboard as well. In addition, we also recommend that organizations and facilities ensure individual providers have profiles on Healthgrades, WebMD, Vitals, and RateMDs.

Telemedicine Can Improve Your Online Reputation

Because of its online nature, telemedicine is a great way to encourage new reviews and recommendations. It gives you increased access to contact information you can leverage to drive reviews and testimonials. Email addresses are an opportunity to send surveys and review requests. Cell phone numbers allow you to communicate with your patients via texting tools to send out surveys and review requests.

Speakers:

  • Niklas Kubasek, SVP of Partnerships, CareDash
  • Kate Slonaker, VP of Growth Initiatives, Binary Fountain

To learn more about how COVID-19 has affected healthcare marketers, telemedicine and your online presence, check out the free, 30-minute webinar – now available on-demand.

Ready to watch the webinar? Click here.

 

For more on telemedicine and managing your online presence during and post COVID-19, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page.

We also suggest the following resources:


[Webinar Recap] COVID-19: Healthcare Marketing During a Crisis and the New Normal

webinar-covid-19-healthcare-marketing-crisisMost industries will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with healthcare near the top of the list. Is your marketing team adjusting your strategy and preparing your brand for life after the coronavirus?

We brought together Reed Smith, Vice President of Digital Services at healthcare marketing agency Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, and Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Clifford, to analyze current crisis communications strategies and look at the future of healthcare marketing in the wake of COVID-19.

In our latest webinar, they discuss monitoring and engaging with the online conversation, building long-term trust with patients and communities, and coming changes to the digital marketing landscape.

Here are some of the topics they covered:

  • Tracking the online conversation surrounding COVID-19 and updates to third-party listings
  • How to tailor healthcare communications strategies in this new environment
  • What the coronavirus outbreak means for the future of healthcare marketing

Here are some key takeaways:

On Healthcare Communications Strategies in a Crisis

Now that healthcare organizations are past the milestones that come first in a crisis situation, like changes in visitation policies and service availability, they’ve moved into highlighting the frontline providers and heroes we’re seeing across the country. Healthcare marketers do this anyway, but now is an opportunity to amplify those supportive campaigns and feature your health experts. Consumers already trust local healthcare providers more than news sources and national organizations, so having these heroes as spokespeople will boost confidence in providers from their communities.

Some physicians – especially in elective care – are not as busy now, creating an opportunity to tap into staff who are media-trained and not seeing as many patients as before. Burnout is very real in this new healthcare environment, so it’s important to still be cognizant of what you ask of staff.

On Building Long-Term Trust Through Social Channels

Transparency is essential to building trust, so organizations need to honestly communicate their short-term and long-term plans for managing the crisis on all relevant third-party platforms. Beyond explicit communications, the healthcare industry is realizing the value of updating listings to accurately reflect hour changes, location closures, testing sites and other essential information.

It’s also important to focus on brand reputation alignment for the future. More comments are coming into healthcare brands through social channels than before; and though traffic will eventually decrease, the current influx of online engagement likely will help long-tail organic search results. Marketers that find ways to maximize content that is currently attracting engagements can improve the foundation of their online reputation for the long term.

On the Future of Healthcare Marketing Post-COVID-19

We are moving into a new normal for marketing and won’t be able to backtrack once the crisis subsides. If you are spending more time answering questions on Facebook or promoting telemedicine, that will turn into the new expectation from healthcare consumers.

Looking ahead, healthcare marketers will need to field many questions around billing and service availability. It’s important to start communicating about suspended specialties and elective services as they start to come back online. With so many consumers looking to local providers and hospitals to answer their medical questions – along with pent up demand for elective procedures – timely communication around those changes will become a necessity in the coming months.

For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar.

 

For more on reputation management during the coronavirus health crisis, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and read these articles:


The Complete Guide to Content Marketing in Healthcare

content-marketing-healthcare

Just two decades ago, when people had a sore throat or a lump on their body, they visited the doctor, got a diagnosis, got some medicine and went on their way.

Today, the internet is the first stop for patients seeking medical information. Though many people still visit their doctor for help, most people don’t think twice before Googling their symptoms and finding causes.

While it’s great to see people interested in their health, the internet has raised two problems:

  • Sometimes search results replace a doctor’s advice with questionable medical advice websites
  • Some of the medical advice out there is totally inaccurate

That’s disappointing, as people shouldn’t publish false medical advice. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for you to set your healthcare practice apart through content marketing. Unlike many of these questionable websites, you are medical experts, and you can use your expertise to help people and influence them in a positive way.

Today, we dive into what content marketing is in healthcare, explain how you can create a content strategy for your practice, and answer frequently asked questions about content marketing.

  • What is content marketing?
  • What’s the purpose of content marketing in healthcare?
  • Does healthcare content need to be HIPAA compliant?
  • How can you create a content marketing strategy for healthcare?

What is content marketing in healthcare?

Simply put, content marketing for healthcare is the creation of educational materials that help patients understand their health or medical problems. Everything from a blog article about cardiology to a social media post about skin cancer to a video about a lung procedure can be a part of content marketing.

What’s the purpose of content marketing?

Content marketing is a long-term content strategy, and when done well, establishes your practice as an authority in the space. Google prefers sites with rich, unique content and ultimately wants to see that you are taking the time to invest in showing why you are a subject matter expert.

Through this content, you are also able to create a strong bond with your readers – so strong that they choose you as their healthcare provider.

Does Healthcare Content Need to Be HIPAA Compliant?

Yes, you want your content to be compliant with HIPAA guidelines, especially if you plan on using customer stories. If you break HIPAA compliance, you may get fined or lose your license.

You can still create excellent content that’s HIPAA compliant. In fact, these guidelines were created to fend off bad content. Follow these three steps and your content will be HIPAA compliant:

1. Respect your patient

Don’t share protected health information (PHI) about patients, even if you have their consent.

2. Advise but don’t diagnose

Never diagnose or promise to treat an illness. You can talk about symptoms and treatment, but you should never make it sound like the content is a stand-in for you, the healthcare provider. Always recommend the reader should schedule an appointment at your practice.

3. Source information correctly

Be aware that everything you write will carry the weight of a medical expert. So be clear about what expert sources you are referencing.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Healthcare

Now that we have definitions and compliance out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff—creating your content marketing strategy. Depending on your expertise and the size of your organization, your strategy will vary, but these seven guidelines are applicable to any content marketing strategy.

1. Focus on your expertise

You don’t need to write about every topic in the healthcare industry. In fact, you will gain authority faster if you constantly speak on one topic, whether it’s cardiology or child psychology.

Be as specific as you can. For example, you may be an ophthalmologist but if you know eye diseases better than anyone else, then write about eyelid twitching or cataracts. The more you establish yourself as an expert on a specific topic, the more you’ll stand out.

Since you are the expert, be sure to stay up-to-date with medical news, especially new studies and breakthroughs in your field. When something big happens within the scope of your business, you want to be the first to report it to your audience. Nothing establishes your authority more than simplifying complicated medical articles and jargon-filled reports.

2. Understand your target audience

Imagine the patients you’ve helped (or want to help). What age group are they? What problems do they have? Why did they choose you over another similar provider?

The answers to these questions point to your target audience. 

Your target audience is not the “general public.” Your target audience is a specific group who have symptoms and problems that you can solve. When it comes to content strategy, your goal is to connect to the heart of this audience.

To connect to the heart, learn everything about your audience. Talk with your patients and empathize with their pains. What are their biggest concerns? What keeps them up at night? Then, create content that gives them peace of mind.

You can even ask them what content they prefer. Does reading help them understand their symptoms or watching videos? Do they like content that’s simple or do they want to go more in-depth, with stats and graphs?

Speaking directly to your patients’ problems in a language they understand is the best way to lift your content strategy off the ground.

3. Figure out what kinds of content you’ll create

Once you identify your target audience, it’s time to create content that will reach them. Again, your audience should determine what kinds of content you create. But, in general, most patients will consume the following three.

  • Blog Articles: Yes, there is still demand for articles on healthcare and medicine. But if you’re going to write a blog article, make sure it focuses on one idea (or answers one question). Sure, your area of expertise is massive, and it may be tempting to stuff everything you know into a couple articles. This usually results in scattered or unfocused writing. Tighten up your articles with one idea, and you’ll keep readers engaged with consistent, consumable content.
  • Videos: Even if you’re not a great videographer, you can tell a compelling story with video content. Think deeply about what your video could be: Don’t be the healthcare provider who puts out another boring, monotonous video. Show us your doctors, your patients, your clerks. Tell us success stories and recoveries. Explain something complicated in a simple and engaging way.
  • Social Media: The point of content marketing is to establish trust between you and potential patients. What better way to do that than to connect with them on social media? Not only will this make your patients feel secure, knowing they can reach out to you with questions, but it also allows them to connect with you on a deeper level. They can see you’re more than a healthcare provider: you’re human. And it’s that shared sense of humanity that makes your practice more welcoming.

You don’t have to limit yourself to just these three, especially if your patients prefer multiple forms of content. Here’s a quick list of other pieces of content you could create.

  • transparency-ebookE-books
  • Email sequences
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Testimonials
  • Quizzes or symptom assessments
  • Newsletters
  • FAQs
  • Case studies
  • Trend analyses
  • Webinars

4. Create Content That is Simple

This is where you can really stand out. Many healthcare organizations write content like, well, a healthcare provider. In other words, they use stuffy, high-brow medical language that fails to connect emotionally with their patients.

When readers can’t understand what you’re trying to say, they’ll find someone who can explain it better.

So, how can you write simply? We recommend using shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences and shorter words. You should always be reviewing your content from the perspective of a non-expert, which helps you see how accessible your content is. Here are some questions to help you step outside your perspective:

  • Have I clearly explained my main points?
  • Am I expecting the reader to know more than they do?
  • Do I use language that most people understand clearly?
  • Have I answered the question or addressed the problem for which the reader came?

5. Avoid self-promotion

Content marketing is not advertising. Mentioning your practice or services over and over will not create trust with your potential patients, nor will it be engaging. Always uphold the golden rule of content marketing: It’s never about you; it’s always about your reader.

As you write your content, ask yourself: what will the reader take away from this? How will it be beneficial for them? Am I being salesy or pushy?

CTAs to book an appointment and call the office are fine, but make sure you aren’t spamming those important asks.

6. Stay Organized with a Content Calendar

When you write a blog article that helps someone, make a video that gives someone peace of mind, or teach someone about a medical condition over a free webinar, you become an influence in their lives. But this influence won’t happen overnight: You must spend months, sometimes years, building it.

This is where most healthcare companies fall off the map. That’s good news for you, because it means you can beat competing healthcare providers simply by continuing to post content.

Most marketing departments post infrequently not because they’re lazy, but because they haven’t created a content calendar, or a schedule of what they’ll publish and when they’ll publish it.

A content calendar helps you find a rhythm that works. You don’t have to post content every day, nor do you have to post every week. You just need to find that sweetspot between what you have time to create and what your audience has time to consume.

7. Learn from your mistakes

Lastly, once you’ve published content and have an audience who loves what you’re creating, don’t neglect reflection. Always ask yourself: What’s working? What’s not working? Are we overlooking any of our patient’s problems?

A great way to keep your content marketing strategy from drying up is to give your patients a chance to leave you a review, which, in turn, gives you a chance to respond. People love when you listen to their feedback, and you’ll gain more trust as you interact with your audience.

Reputation Management Doesn’t Have to be Hard

Now that you know how to use content marketing to grow your practice, it’s time to take a look at the big picture: reputation management. You can’t post articles and monitor reviews on your social media accounts, your blog, your website and other sites and still run your practice.

The good news is that you don’t have to.

At Binary Fountain, we’ve created reputation management software that makes it easy for you to monitor and respond to reviews across all your social media platforms and website listings. You can demo our reputation management software for free here.

Read more about best practices for healthcare marketing:


4 Ways to Include Patient Engagement in Your Healthcare Marketing

patient experienceAs a healthcare provider, your success depends on the satisfaction of your patients. Providing current patients with the best experience possible, then, should be any provider’s primary goal. But why is patient engagement important in this equation?

The more engaged patients are with you as their healthcare provider, the more likely they are to remain loyal and refer you to others. This increased patient engagement helps build your brand’s reputation and online presence. It also gives you valuable insights into the patient experience. Ultimately, this engagement helps providers acquire and retain more patients while providing them all with a better experience.

With that in mind, all healthcare providers and marketers should focus intently on patient engagement this year and beyond. Here are four ways to include patient engagement in your healthcare marketing.

Create Health and Wellness Campaigns

As health information becomes more accessible online, consumers are taking their health into their own hands. Healthcare marketers are in the perfect position to provide useful guidance for this audience.

Consider creating both short- and long-term health and wellness campaigns to increase patient engagement and loyalty. For instance, a campaign might suggest daily, weekly, or monthly nutrition and exercise regimens to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Many participants will remain actively engaged with your campaign through its duration, giving you the opportunity to convert them into new patients.

These health and wellness campaigns may be generalized or catered more specifically to target audiences, such as middle-aged women, elderly men or millennials. You can distribute and boost these campaigns on your website and social media pages, providing additional links to relevant resources.

Develop a Reputation Management Strategy

Increasing patient engagement relies heavily on improving patient experience. Potential patients care about a healthcare provider’s reputation, seeking out online reviews and ratings. And current patients will leave one provider for another if they are unsatisfied with the care they are receiving.

Healthcare marketers need to pay close attention to all the feedback their brand receives. You must also open a line of communication with your patients to address their concerns and gain valuable insights that will drive operational change and improve brand reputation.

Online reputation management services will allow you to access all reviews and ratings across multiple platforms. Natural language processing (NLP) algorithms can quickly analyze data from text-based forms to uncover common issues that require attention. By having these reviews and insights in one centralized location, you can effectively respond to all reviews, increasing patient engagement and loyalty while also building brand awareness.

Focus on Content Marketing

Informative, optimized content has become a valuable currency for all online marketers, boosting a brand’s online presence and encouraging consumer engagement. Therefore, you should focus on developing different kinds of content for all channels, including featured news articles, blog posts, infographics, case studies, patient stories, and more.

This optimized content should include some kind of call to action to encourage users to follow a link, join a mailing list, or simply share the post to their social media page or blog. Content marketing also plays a part in reputation management, helping your brand become more of an authority in the industry. The more useful and targeted your content is, the more people it will reach, building patient trust and loyalty.

Do Social Media Right

Many healthcare providers still struggle to fully leverage social media to increase patient engagement. To take full advantage of these platforms and their algorithms, you should create posts on a regular basis and actively engage with your community by replying to and liking comments, creating surveys, and asking questions.

Additionally, invest in targeted advertising campaigns, with content specifically aimed at key demographics. The more personalized this outreach, the better. Users will more likely engage with your content and website if your social media ads are relevant to their interests, concerns and age group.

These four strategies will help you engage with your current patients and acquire new ones. People will continue to look for health advice online from reputable sources. Meet them where they are by providing informational, authoritative, engaging content on all channels, and be a part of their lives.

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can give your online reputation a boost?

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