Posts Tagged ‘LV healthcare marketing’
By: Jessica Schulz – @MassMediaJess
According to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), 25 percent of the US population resides in small towns and agricultural areas. Compared to a more urban group, this demographic still relies on traditional media for news and information, trusts local media outlets and is persuaded by grassroots and community integration efforts. To be successful, you must understand the community, get involved and deliver the right key messages.
Throughout the course of our 15 year history, MassMedia Healthcare Marketing has had the opportunity to work with clients in rural areas across Nevada. Many of our health care clients have turned to us to create messaging and plan outreach in areas such as Boulder City, Pahrump, Ely and Mesquite. More recently, we were asked by HealthCare Partners, a large doctor group we represent, to help them reach the residents of these rural areas as well as develop a sustainable and effective communications strategy. Throughout the course of this campaign, our team learned about the needs of rural Southern Nevadans as well as the best ways to engage them in our causes.
With smaller populations and even smaller resource pools, rural residents are largely underserved. Due to the recent economic downturn, rural sectors have experienced high unemployment rates, which in turn increase the amount of uninsured and underinsured residents. Many patients are simply unaware of their options regarding insurance and treatment. A need exists for improvement in rural health care, and where there is a need there must be change.
HealthCare Partners is at the forefront of this change in Nevada, particularly in the rural areas where it is merging with or acquiring small, independent practices. This type of change can be intimidating to rural residents who are not early adapters to change. When HealthCare Partners entered the community, we knew that to be successful we needed to educate residents about the medical group and quickly integrate it into the community.
The first step before planning any communication campaign is to research your audiences. This is even more important in rural areas. Combining rural residents with metropolitan audiences can be detrimental to your efforts. Another mistake is thinking that rural communities all fall into the same category. Every community is different and you must understand each town’s unique culture and style. To be effective, marketing strategies must embrace the town’s nuances. For HealthCare Partners, the tactics we used in Las Vegas were not the same that we used in Pahrump or Boulder City.
Next, we assessed how news and information are shared in the area. One channel that seems to remain consistent in every rural market is the community’s support of local media outlets. Although the print media industry may be declining in urban regions, the local paper is still a trusted source of information that rural residents read on a regular basis. They still listen and watch local broadcast programming and purchase products and services from those who support the community. One could make the argument that the media is even more important in rural areas, as news tends to spread like wildfire because of rapid word-of-mouth diffusion. We can overcome rumors and misinformation with news articles placed in key outlets viewed and trusted by residents.
With the HealthCare Partners campaign in Pahrump, we worked hard to establish good relationships with the editors and reporters at these outlets to ensure our news was communicated to the community. In addition, we were looked at as a valuable resource for their stories. HealthCare Partners’ doctors served as expert sources for public health and safety articles, and we also submitted guest columns which ran in the local papers.
Another way to ensure success is to build relationships within the community. Being perceived as a “local” is the single most important thing a practice can do to be successful in rural communities. Whether it’s providing a free service to residents, supporting a local cause, attending town meetings or identifying key influencers to engage with, you need to build trust and support to be considered a source in the community.
Throughout the campaign we worked closely with James Oscarson, director of marketing for Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, who says one-on-one communication works well when raising awareness about new services, equipment or physicians.
“Relationship marketing is the most effective tool for health care professionals,” says Oscarson.
He explains that offering health screenings, immunization and flu shot clinics are very successful in Pahrump. “They must be at no cost to the patient. That doesn’t mean free, of course, this service should be subsidized by new groups entering the market.”
As with any relationship, rural community members will accept you as long as you remain true to the things you say and the commitments you make.
“The service has to be demonstrated and available before the advertising begins,” states Oscarson. “Always under-promise and over-deliver; the community will respect you and will be more likely to keep using you.”
By: Melissa Gonzalez – @mmariegonzalez
This September, MassMedia Healthcare Marketing was hired by Women’s Cancer Center Foundation for Research, to plan and execute an awareness walk entitled “Owareness – A Walk for Ovarian Cancer,” a sequel to last year’s Owareness Rally. The challenge of this year’s event was to build on the success of the previous year’s rally by developing it into a community walk to grow additional support and have a more lasting impression for the cause. The new objectives included building support with strategic partners and influencers, overall execution and raising increased community-wide awareness.
The team developed a strategic plan which included media relations, social media, promotional materials, website updates, sponsorship outreach and special events coordination.
The agency revised the name from “The Rally for Owareness” to “Owareness – A Walk for Ovarian Cancer” to communicate the key message and purpose of the event without changing the established Owareness branding. Fliers, posters, e-blasts and the Owareness website were updated from the previous year to promote news of the event.
NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice became the name celebrity and to raise awareness for the event, promotional materials were distributed through multiple channels, including the Women’s Cancer Center office and OB/GYN offices throughout Southern Nevada. Tthese materials were also provided to ovarian cancer groups and organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Network (OCAN) in Southern Nevada.
The agency’s team used the Women’s Cancer Center and Owareness social media platforms to make announcements, promote sponsors, engage new supporters, and provide education about the detection of ovarian cancer. Videos of patient testimonials, community partners and physicians were also posted to social media sites. In the two months leading up to the event, MassMedia grew the Owareness Facebook page by 81 likes, the Twitter page by 68 followers and quadrupled the amount of engagement from the previous year.
To further its reach, the agency partnered with OCAN, which assisted by promoting the event to its members, support groups and other cancer organizations throughout Southern Nevada.
In addition to the promotional outreach, the MassMedia team also assisted the center with outreach to sponsors. The agency contacted many service providers of the Women’s Cancer Center to secure support and help offset costs associated with the event. More than 13 companies provided their support and helped fund the cause.
The event was held on Saturday, September 24 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) student union. The one-mile walk took place throughout the tree-lined interior of the campus. Sponsors were allowed to set up booths around the perimeter of the event. Balloons, signage and a DJ helped create a fun atmosphere. Dr. Nick Spirtos, director of the Women’s Cancer Center; Jerry Rice; Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Congresswoman Dina Titus and cancer survivors spoke to the crowd.
Approximately 200 people attended the event, doubling last year’s attendance. The attendees included survivors, patients, family members and community leaders. The agency secured interviews on five TV stations and segments on various news and radio talk shows. The event also received positive press coverage in several print publications. The Owareness social media pages continue to grow with 262 Facebook fans and 1,394 Twitter followers to date.
After months of planning and outreach to organizations and sponsors in the medical industry, MassMedia raised more than $20,000 for the foundation to go toward research, helping uninsured and underinsured ovarian cancer patients pay for chemotherapy treatments and continued education in the community about detection and screening for the disease.
Watch the following video to learn about one of MassMedia’s newest Assistant Account Executives, Melissa Gonzalez, as she talks about why she loves working with healthcare clients, her past experience and more.
By: Pam Myers
Healthcare decisions are extremely important to older adults and thankfully seniors are living longer these days. That means advertisers need to make sure they are communicating effectively to older adults through an integrated approach within their daily lives. This group will be most engaged through traditional media outlets.
Can you guess what one of the most effective ways to reach seniors is? Through the local newspaper. Even though most newspapers are continuing to suffer revenue declines, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports, adults 65+ have the largest readership reaching 113,700 (30.2%) daily and 130,000 (26.4%) for the Sunday paper. In addition, according to the State of the News Media 72% of seniors consistently read the daily newspaper. Many of the younger generations are getting their news through online sources such as Twitter and News apps, but seniors like to touch and feel their daily newspaper.
Where else are seniors obtaining information? Traditional advertising channels such as television and radio. According to a study conducted by Marshall Marketing, within the past week 94% of seniors watched television and 64% listened to the radio. By working with the stations you can craft a schedule where your message will be heard by the target audience. Pulling show rankers will allow you to review and analyze the shows they watch and listen to, along with getting the most reach and frequency for your advertising dollars. In addition, of all the traditional media, the audience for AM/FM radio has remained the most stable during this tumultuous couple of years.
Knowing your audience, what they do during their daily lives, and where they get their news will make your marketing efforts more effective and impactful. It requires a great deal of research and planning, but will be well worth it.
Follow Pam on Twitter @pammyers310 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Carmesha Thompson
MassMedia Healthcare Marketing has always encouraged our clients to use social media to provide their current and potential patients and/ or constituents with useful health content pertinent to their practice/organization. As a result, their target demographic will perceive them as being a valuable resource and trusted source of health information. By posting this content on social media applications, practices/organizations are bringing the information to their patients and/ or constituents, saving them from otherwise having to look for it themselves. We also recommend that practices/organizations take advantage of the accessibility of others through social media and use it to interact with and influence their target audience.
Recently MassMedia launched the social media pages of Nevada Early Childhood Advisory Council whose Head Start and Early Head Start programs promote school readiness for economically disadvantaged children by enhancing their social and cognitive development through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services.
Using their Facebook and Twitter pages as well as their blog, Head Start plans to interact with and influence media, political and community leaders, and of course Nevada parents on a daily basis. By establishing a branded presence, interacting with influencers and sharing appreciated and unique content, Head Start and MassMedia will create an online community that provides valuable information and fosters increased engagement.
These networks will feature tips for parents on keeping children healthy, cognitive development (such as counting games), and family activities that are local. Their social media pages will also include useful facts and health-related news, trends and reminders regarding children. In addition, the networks will also include links to assess children’s development and milestones as well as links to tips and resources to help children learn and understand (such as printable worksheets to practice writing). Many of the updates will be translated in Spanish to further the reach of the message.
Be sure to ‘Like’ their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/NevadaEarlyChildhood) and follow them on Twitter (http://twitter.com/NevadaECAC) to not only receive this beneficial information, but to also observe how we utilize social media to engage and inform their audience.
By: Melissa Gonzalez
I was recently tasked with determining how relevant localized social marketing like Four Square, Groupon and Facebook Places is to the healthcare industry. As an engager, it’s easy to overlook the obvious progression of social media changes, but through a marketing lens the changes and patterns that are beginning to shape and drive consumer habits are quite enlightening.
We all know the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt social media; for an often very conservative industry it’s uncharted territory. But recently the industry is beginning to accept its importance and get involved, realizing it’s vital to continue to engage with consumers/patients where they are – and right now, they’re online.
Here are some recent social media trends on the rise. Don’t be surprised if you find healthcare joining the ranks of the many small businesses that are using these resources to get their brand in front of the computer and most of all, move the needle.
Group-Buying Websites: Groupon and Living Social
Group-buying sites like Living Social and Groupon grew ten-fold in the last year. Living Social had 7 million unique visitors in March alone, up 27 percent from the previous month according to ABC News, April 2011. With Facebook small business accounts growing daily, users are able to share local deals sent to their email with online friends and social media networks.
Tim O’Shaughnessy, the CEO of LivingSocial says, “The business model is based on two fundamentals: People can’t resist a bargain; and small businesses are always looking for more customers.” It’s astonishing how one little email can generate more business than some could have ever possibly imagined and it’s because of the ease of use to share these deals with friends over social media.
Healthcare providers that would work the best with Groupon include dentists and optometrists who can perform a routine service that is often paid out of pocket. Groupon could be considered a strong alternative to the typical couponing they might otherwise do.
Targeted Localized Marketing: Foursquare, Facebook Check-ins and Google Places
When trying to engage and interact with your consumers/ patients within their community, healthcare providers will need to take a more localized approach.
Targeted localized marketing in a more defined geographic area can benefit consumer engagement, especially in day-to-day transactions that surround family life such as grocery shopping, getting an oil change or going to the doctor’s office. Web searches for products and services in specific geographic regions or neighborhoods done on the computer or smart phone are growing increasingly common; i.e. “Dentist Summerlin Las Vegas.” If you are a dentist in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas, you want to make sure your practice shows up in search results such as Google Maps.
Applications such as Foursquare, Facebook Check-ins and Google Places lets consumers share their whereabouts with the ability to comment. In fact, some businesses have gone as far as to incentivize checking-in with coupons codes for discounts on products and services. Facebook Places has benefited from this high level of adoption, soaring past Foursquare to reach a 32 percent current usage rate; while Foursquare’s location-based service has remained steady over the past two quarters.
It appears that the important message for healthcare is this – stay current with localized social media and how your consumers engage with it, and make sure you’re brand is involved.
Follow Melissa on Twitter at mmariegonzalez or contact her at email@example.com
By: Jocelyn Torres
What does the department of motor vehicles, an airport and a doctor’s office have in common?
They all make you wait long hours in waiting rooms.
One of the top complaints that people have about doctor’s offices is the waiting rooms. Patients are waiting too long, being treated poorly or simply just bored. Some healthcare companies have focused their attention and budgets on improving online communication but unfortunately have forgotten about basic face-to-face interaction, which happens mostly in waiting rooms.
Improve your waiting room interaction by staying away from these three common mistakes.
1. Rude Receptionists
Some patients will overlook a rude receptionist if they have a great relationship with their doctor. However if no previous relationship exists and your first contact with a particular doctor’s office treats you rudely, chances are you are not going to book that appointment. It is important to remember that all employees not just the doctors are brand ambassadors for your company.
Keep your patients busy. Provide them with brochures to read, surveys to answer, your social media tags, etc. The key is to give your patients something to do that will benefit both themselves and the practice.
3. 30 plus minute wait
Reducing the waiting time may not be an option; however there are ways to make the long wait bearable. The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health in New York updated their waiting room to include TV’s with health information and family-friendly cable programming, computers and adjustable group sitting areas. In addition, they allow patients to use their cell phones. Ideally you want to make your patients forget that they are waiting in a doctor’s office.
Do not waste an opportunity to market your brand and communicate with your patients.
Treat your patients politely and be considerate of their time, and you will see an improvement in your patient’s attitude towards and investment in the brand.
Follow Jocelyn on Twitter at @Jocy_Torres or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Carmesha Thompson
What do you think are the top five things that come to mind when someone thinks about your practice? Hopefully one of these associations involves your practice’s branding.
Most people think of branding as just a logo, but branding is more than just creating a recognizable logo. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
A strong and distinct brand will create name recognition, deliver a strong message about your company, confirm your credibility and connect with your audience. Your health care brand affects all forms of communications, from advertising to public relations to product packaging so it should be well-thought out and carefully developed.
To build your brand you must start off by asking yourself a few questions about your practice that will help with the conceptualization of your brand:
- What are the benefits and features of my practice?
- What qualities do I want my customers to associate with my practice?
- What is my practice’s mission?
Once you have answered these questions that help you pin down your company’s identity, it is now time to bring this identity to life through the intelligent use of design. Meet with an Art Director or Graphic Designer to discuss your vision and make your brand visual, by creating or updating your logo and tagline.
After your brand has been created, it is important to ensure that it is consistent and seen on all of your marketing materials such as ads, your website and direct mailers. Doing this will help your brand resonate with your current and potential patients. The more times the public sees your brand, the more likely they will instantly recognize it and associate it with your company.
Branding is a major reflection of a practice and conveys its mission, environment, core essence, character, purpose, features and benefits. If done correctly, it should be memorable and so deeply ingrained that it is top of mind when someone thinks or hears of your practice.
Follow Carmesha on Twitter at @carmeshathomps or contact her at email@example.com.
Paula Yakubik, managing partner of MassMedia Healthcare Marketing, discusses the importance of having a website, how it can streamline your practice, tips to keep in mind when building a website, and the impact that utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) can have on your website.
1. How important is it for a medical practice to have a website?
It is vital that in today’s information-driven society all medical practices have an online presence. Before launching any formal marketing plan, you should establish this presence. More and more Americans are turning to the Internet to do their research, comparisons and decision-making.
According to a recent study done by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, in 2010 approximately 61 percent of American adults looked online for health information. Physician practices that integrate an Internet strategy into their overall marketing plan have a better chance of achieving success. Your patients and customers are online looking for information and providers. If you are not there, they will seek out a second source. A well-planned, informative site that is easy to navigate will benefit both the physician and patient.
2. How can a website help a medical practice cut costs?
A good website can help any practice save time and money. A useful website will cut down on the number of phone calls into your practice by including information such as directions to the office, hours of operation, frequently asked questions, and links to healthcare information that website visitors may find helpful. A medical practice’s website should also include downloadable patient forms that patients can fill out prior to their appointment.
3. What are some key tips to keep in mind when building a website?
First, your healthcare website should be geared towards making your potential patient’s decision easier and both potential and loyal patient’s experience better. Content drives action. The content on your physician website should be built specifically for your target audience. Tell them a story about your services and your practice that they can relate to. What visitors really want is content that first describes the problems they face and then provides details on how your practice solves these problems.To do this, you need to know your audience well.
Next, hire a professional consultant. I know most of you have a cousin or a sister who can throw together a website, but if you are going to do it, do it right. Find a consultant that specializes in healthcare, understands how to market to a specific target audience and clearly understands how a website can increase your practice’s patient volume.
It is also important to remember that all marketing initiatives should be strategically integrated into your site and should ultimately tie back into the website as it can assist in tracking and measuring the success of marketing tactics.
4. What is SEO? Does every website need to have it?
Your website should be one of your practice’s greatest marketing tools. If your customers go online looking for your product and services and they can’t find your website, they will seek out another provider or another source. Even worse, what if they type in keywords specific to your practice and your website does not come up. What’s the point of a great website, if no one can ever find it?
It’s no longer enough just to have a great website. It needs to be created and formatted correctly so that your potential customers can find it. We believe if your website does not rank or appear on the first page of a search on Google, Bing or Yahoo, that you are losing potential customers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies work to get your practice placed on the first page of searches by utilizing keywords your customers are typing in to find you. Web developers and programmers specialize in SEO services. They work with each of the major search engines everyday to make sure they are up-to-date on their unique specifications and that they have a keen understanding of what is new and required of our customers to land on page one.
Great SEO will increase traffic to your site, which will increase the opportunity for your practice to gain new patients.
Paula Yakubik is a partner with MassMedia Healthcare Marketing. You can follow her on Twitter @Pyakubik. She can be reached directly at (702) 433-4331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Pam Myers
As if getting through medical school wasn’t hard enough, physicians today now have to successfully market their practice, engage with their patients and monitor their reputations online. Those are just a few marketing and public relations challenges physicians face in today’s competitive health care market.
To have a successful practice, integrated marketing strategies are essential. Long gone are the days when a professional practice could survive on the skill and training of the physicians alone. With that said and with the new era of marketing with social media….a good question comes to mind: Should doctors tweet?
Personally, I would like to view my doctor in a more human way and read about any conferences or continuing education they attend to bring their practice to the next level as well as their point of view on current medical procedures. However, I do worry about my visits being discussed in 140 characters or less. Is there anyone who regulates or monitors Twitter for patients’ rights (HIPPA violations)? Since all posts are stamped with a date and time, a tweet that reveals what a doctor observed could be potentially linked to a patient’s appointment.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Katherine Chretien, a hospitalist at the Washington DC VA Medical Center, and her colleagues published in the February 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that:
- Approximately half of the 5,156 tweets by the physicians they analyzed had to do with health or medicine
- 12% were self-promotional
- 1% recommended a medical product or service
- 3% were flagged as “unprofessional”
From this study Chretien concluded, “This research helped us to identify how physicians are using social media and has helped us gauge whether or not there is a need for greater accountability for physicians who use social media.”
So, should physicians use Twitter? That can really only be answered by the physician, but here are a couple of questions they should ask themselves:
- Do they have something interesting to share?
- Will they be able to consistently tweet?
- Do they fully understand this online platform?
- Have they reviewed the American Medical Association social media guidelines?
One last thing to keep in mind is that social media is just another communication tool and nothing should be tweeted if it wouldn’t be said at the office/hospital. Once you hit “send” there’s no turning back.
Follow Pam on Twitter @pammyers310 or email her at email@example.com.