Insights on Healthcare Marketing

October 11, 2017

If you were going to set out on a road trip, one of the first things you would probably do is plug the destination address into your phone or GPS to map out your route to get there.

Marketing works the same way. You can’t set out on the road, initiating strategies and creating content, without knowing:

1. Where you want to end up (your measurable goals)
2. How you are going to get there (your marketing plan)
3. Any obstacles that might get in your way 

And it is worth investing the time and effort to carefully research and chart your route. After all, the best trips (and most effective marketing campaigns) usually follow the road less traveled. 

September 19, 2017

There is a video clip that seems to circulate social media in recent years whenever there is a disaster — natural or manmade. It is an interview with beloved children’s TV pioneer Mister Rogers talking about how whenever there was something scary or catastrophic on the news when he was a child, his mother taught him to always look for the people who were helping and find strength and courage in them. 

September 6, 2017

One of the first exercises we do with every practice we work with is a SWOT analysis — looking at their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We perform our own but then we also ask the practice — each physician, the administrator/office manager, and key staff members — to do so as well. 

A well-done SWOT is more than just a consulting tool. Done properly, it can be an invaluable opportunity to slow down, focus and evaluate. It requires that you look honestly and introspectively at what is working well and what needs attention. It also means taking time to focus on your competitors and how they are performing and differentiating themselves in your market. 

Let’s break down the key components:

August 28, 2017

We’ve all experienced it at some point — a genuine greeting that instantly brightens our day or puts us at ease. Earlier this week I walked into a new medical building in my community, and their “concierge” at the desk warmly welcomed me and personally directed me to where I needed to be. It felt good, and it made me feel good about coming there. 

Are your patients experiencing the same sort of greeting? 

August 10, 2017

Your employees are a direct extension of you and often have even more direct interaction and conversation with your patients than you do. At times, they are quite literally your right hand, your voice, and sometimes even your memory.

Are they happy? Do they feel appreciated?

Here are a few simple ways to reconnect with them:

August 4, 2017

What have you done for me lately? 

It is a trite statement, but one that rings true for many referring physicians if they don’t feel recognized and appreciated. 

Here are a few simple ways to reconnect with them:

July 26, 2017

It’s so easy to go through our work lives thinking no news is good news. If no one is complaining — patients, staff or referral sources — life must be good.

Yet, despite our increased “connection” through technology, we, as a society, tend to be more disconnected than ever before — in some cases this is actually because of technology. 

Rather than directly addressing conflicts or concerns with you, patients and referral sources may simply move on. And often, by the time a practice realizes that has occurred, it is too late — new relationships have already been established.

So how can you prevent this?  Reconnect.  

There are a lot of simple ways you can do this. Let’s start with patients:

June 30, 2017

It is the title of a current pop song, but it also rings true for our healthcare system.

We may be more “connected” then ever before thanks to technology and electronic health records, but we are having less human interaction and fewer genuine conversations. Yet, one-on-one interaction is key to developing and strengthening any successful relationship — personal or professional.

You can’t single handedly change the entire “system,” but you can take steps to initiate conversations within your own practice and community — among staff, among your partners, with patients, with your referral sources, and with your neighbors. Find out what is important to them. Solicit their ideas and feedback. And because very few do this anymore, people will take notice. 

June 21, 2017

This is probably one of the most common questions I hear from physician practices. No one likes to hear criticism or bad news, especially when it is broadcast on the Internet for all to see. 

While the temptation is to just delete the comment if possible, negative reviews can be relationship-building opportunities in disguise. They provide a platform to engage, to be human, to be transparent, to take accountability, to correct, and to repair.

So, how should you respond?

1. Acknowledge that you have heard the complaint.
2. Apologize for their experience.
3. Reinforce your commitment to patient care, safety and satisfaction.
4. Diffuse the situation and take the conversation offline by offering a contact person and phone # to call.

June 15, 2017

In my last post, I talked about how trust throughout society is dwindling, and trust of physicians and healthcare organizations are no exception. In general, consumers have become more skeptical of everyone and everything, including traditional marketing and advertising.

So who do people turn to when making purchasing decisions?  

In just about every sector, including healthcare, people are increasingly turning to their friends, family members, neighbors and colleagues for recommendations. This is because they trust their experiences and opinions. 

And thanks to social media, these opinions are more readily available. We even turn to the opinions of complete strangers who happen to share our life experiences, health challenges or purchasing decisions.  

June 8, 2017

Trust. It is the foundation of any sustainable relationship — personal or professional. 

In your medical practice, building trust — with patients, referring physicians, your own staff, and others in your community — has become more important and yet more difficult at the same time.

We live in an era of skepticism, amplified by social media and allegations of “fake news,” where people are finding it harder and harder to trust. Combine this with how rapidly the world of healthcare changes, and we have our work cut out for us. 

This makes each of your one-to-one relationships and interactions with patients and referral sources all the more important. 

June 1, 2017

I often talk about the 4 A’s that I believe are the cornerstones of physician survival and success:  Access, Availability, Accountability and Accommodation. However, I believe there is a 5th A that is just as critical and perhaps the linchpin to the other four:  

Action

We can think and plan and develop and strategize and analyze, and all of those things are important. However, if at the end of the day, we don’t act on those ideas and do so in a timely manner, we miss opportunities — opportunities to meet, to connect, to communicate, to thank and to grow. Opportunities to forge new relationships and to strengthen existing ones.

Acting on the little things everyday — that is what makes the biggest difference.

May 24, 2017

Woody Allen has been quoted as saying, “80 percent of success is showing up.” 

And showing up means more than just your physical presence going through the motions of the day. It means being being accessible, listening, asking, understanding others’ needs, adapting, learning, improving, evaluating, thanking, and always making the human connection. 

In the technology-driven world we all live in, this is more important than ever before. And it applies to new and established practices alike. In fact, sometimes established practices need this reminder the most. We see it happen in business and sports all the time — successful companies and teams start to rest on their laurels. They begin to take their success for granted and stop “showing up.”  So,

May 24, 2017

Woody Allen has been quoted as saying, “80 percent of success is showing up.” 

And showing up means more than just your physical presence going through the motions of the day. It means being being accessible, listening, asking, understanding others’ needs, adapting, learning, improving, evaluating, thanking, and always making the human connection. 

In the technology-driven world we all live in, this is more important than ever before. And it applies to new and established practices alike. In fact, sometimes established practices need this reminder the most. We see it happen in business and sports all the time — successful companies and teams start to rest on their laurels. They begin to take their success for granted and stop “showing up.”  So,

May 17, 2017

Pens, cups and umbrellas with your logo are great, and these promotional gifts can support your marketing efforts. However, it is the simple gifts — your time, your listening ear, your returned phone call or text, your availability, your proactive communication, your heartfelt and unexpected “thank you” — that build relationships and make the real difference each and every time. 

To learn more about how to nurture relationships that will strengthen your medical practice, check out Andrea Eliscu's latest book, It's Personal: The Art of Building Your Practice

 

May 11, 2017

No doubt you have heard of or played the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. In it, players take turns linking anyone in Hollywood to Kevin Bacon through the roles those actors have played, and they do so within six steps/connections. 

So what does this have to do with your medical practice? Quite a bit actually.

May 4, 2017

A colleague of mine has a chronic health condition and was telling me about her most recent visit with her specialist the other day. I already knew my friend loved this doctor and has thrived under her care. She frequently shares stories of the quality of both the customer service and medical care provided at this practice. What touched my friend the most at this recent appointment though was a simple question the doctor asked at the end of the visit: 

“How is your mom doing?”

See, the doctor remembered my friend had shared at her last appointment how her mother had been going through some tough health issues. This simple question and the conversation that ensued was so genuine and heartfelt, that it endeared this physician to my friend even more. 

April 25, 2017

You know who they are. Or at least you should. And so should your staff.

They are your long-time customers. Depending on your practice, they could be patients or referring physicians or maybe even both. Frequently, they are “ambassadors” for your practice, raving about you in conversations or on social media, and referring their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to you. 

Do you take them for granted?

Make sure you don’t. Recognize and thank them — in person, by phone, in a handwritten note — and do so frequently. Make sure it is personalized, meaningful and heartfelt. 

April 25, 2017

You know who they are. Or at least you should. And so should your staff.

They are your long-time customers. Depending on your practice, they could be patients or referring physicians or maybe even both. Frequently, they are “ambassadors” for your practice, raving about you in conversations or on social media, and referring their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to you. 

Do you take them for granted?

Make sure you don’t. Recognize and thank them — in person, by phone, in a handwritten note — and do so frequently. Make sure it is personalized, meaningful and heartfelt. 

April 13, 2017

So you’ve crafted the perfect press release. Now what?

1. Know the right media outlet(s) and reporter(s).
2. Familiarize yourself with the reporter’s former work.
3. Customize your pitch based on the specific media outlet and address the reporter by name.
4. Be concise.
5. E-mail first. Call later to follow up.
6. Include your contact information and offer to assist.
7. Don’t pit media outlets against each other.
8. Make sure your story is relevant.
9. Provide advanced notice.

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