Insights on Healthcare Marketing

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.

April 5, 2017

A news release or press release is a concise, compelling document designed to share your news story with targeted media. Here are eight tips to make your press release effective and help it stand out from the crowd:

1. Attract attention with a compelling headline.
2. Keep it brief and factual.
3. Write in third person.
4. Incorporate relevant background statistics.
5. Include quotes to add a human dimension and credibility.
6. Be sure to proofread.
7. Include any relevant links.
8. Don’t forget to include your direct contact information.

March 27, 2017

It is Marketing 101 that it costs 10 times as much to attract a new customer as to keep an existing one. Yet, I continue to see too many practices and organizations neglect their existing base as they put all of their focus and effort (and $$) into attracting new patients or customers.

My good friend and colleague Bob Kodzis cautions against taking the “short view” on relationships and instead focusing on “lifetime value.” Here are a few more reasons why this is important:

March 15, 2017

“Advertising is what you pay for; publicity (the result of public relations) is what you pray for.” 

So goes a common business saying.

Both can play a part in your marketing efforts, but it is important to understand how they are different. Here are four primary ways:

March 9, 2017

Your Web site is an extension of you and your practice. Think of it as a way to both attract customers and enhance the experience you provide them — patients, family members and referral sources alike. Here are a few basic building blocks:

1. Performance and Functionality — Make sure your site does what it should whenever and however it is accessed. It loads quickly and correctly. All buttons, tabs and links work properly. Any online forms are error-free and easy to use. And the site performs well on search engines.

March 1, 2017

One of the most powerful marketing tools for any medical practice is right under your nose — actually at your front desk, in and out of your exam rooms, and on your phones:  Your staff.
They probably spend as much if not more time with your patients than your physicians.

Engage them. 
Involve your team in diagnosing practice problems and developing solutions. Share practice news and solicit their input on marketing opportunities. Keep them informed of any marketing strategies or tactics you are implementing.  

February 21, 2017

The best way to build a medical practice is not an ad or even a great Web site (although your Web site is important). No, one of the quickest and most effective ways to build your practice is building and sustaining relationships with potential and current referral sources.

And while your staff can certainly help in this regard, to be truly effective, your individual physicians must put some skin in the game. Of course they should keep their referring physicians informed and take good care of their patients, but go a step further:

February 1, 2017

It is all too easy for established medical practices to settle into feelings of comfort, security and satisfaction. After all, you’ve done the careful, hard work of building your brand and the relationships that support it. It would be so nice to simply coast.

The problem is the world is constantly changing, especially in healthcare. What worked yesterday or even today may not meet the expectations for tomorrow. Patients are more discerning in their decisions. And competitors are looking to capitalize on your weaknesses as well as new opportunities you may have overlooked.

I like the Cambridge Dictionary definition of complacency:  “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder”

January 25, 2017

“I just developed a greater appreciation for how much the human element matters and how much more you can achieve as a team when you have players who care about winning, who care about each other, develop those relationships, have those conversations. It creates an environment where the sum is greater than its parts.”Theo Epstein, General Manager, Chicago Cubs

I recently read this in a Sports Illustrated article about the Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein and the culture he created with his World Series-wining team. The article talks about how his guiding principle is the character of the players he acquires even more than their skill and expertise.

January 12, 2017

The 15-year-old with a torn tendon wants to try to play in her team’s last game at the state softball tournament next weekend.

The 62-year-old cataract patient sews costumes for the community theater company but can no longer see to do her work.

The 50-year-old heart attack patient had been training to run his first marathon — the #1 item on his “bucket list.”

The 23-year-old cancer patient has plans to study architecture abroad next semester as part of her master’s degree program.

January 2, 2017

Building a successful medical practice means building better relationships — with your patients, your staff, your referral sources, and your community. When you think of how many individuals fall into these categories and specific strategies you could employ to strengthen your connections with them, it can be overwhelming. 

So simplify. 

Just pick three people to start with. 

December 19, 2016

There are a lot of questions involved in delivering healthcare.

What are your symptoms?
When did they start?
Do you have any family history?
Are you currently taking any medication?

We all have forms and electronic health records with lots of boxes to check off and fill in to gather the background information we need. This process has become more automated in recent years which while it certainly has its advantages, can have a downside, too. The danger is that we become more detached from the human side of practicing medicine if we are not careful and intentional in our approach.

December 8, 2016

Are you there for them?

 

A patient calls your office … 

 

December 6, 2016

In our last post, we talked about how initiating and growing relationships is critical to the success of your practice. I also introduced you to my friend Bob Kodzis, a nationally acclaimed writer, marketer, and president of Flight of Ideas who contributed to my new book It’s Personal: The Art of Building Your Practice. Bob has developed what he calls The Relationship Continuum©:

I think this is a powerful visual that conveys how relationships evolve:

November 29, 2016

As a practice leader, one of your roles is to encourage physicians in your group to develop and nurture positive relationships with referring physicians.

My friend Bob Kodzis, a nationally acclaimed writer, marketer, and president of Flight of Ideas, shared in my recently released book It’s Personal: The Art of Building Your Practice that, “There is no marketing tool or promotion known to man that is more powerful than a good, sincere, and mutually beneficial relationship.”

I wholeheartedly agree. Here are the traits he believes build good relationships:

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