Posts Tagged ‘Medical marketing in NV’
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: Carmesha Thompson
Today, more and more professional industries have embraced social media as a means to grow their audience and communicate with them as well. They have turned this 21st phenomenon into more than just applications that individuals use for their personal relationships. Companies are utilizing social media to enhance B2C relationships.
However, unlike other industries, many in the medical industry have been slow to incorporate social media into their overall marketing plan. They are wary of doing so, because they may see it primarily as a method of socializing with friends and/or do not understand how their practice could fit in the social media mix. What those who are disinclined must understand is that Facebook, Twitter and others can be just another way to communicate with their audience, and unlike other methods, it’s a way to directly communicate with an audience whose attention you have.
Here are a couple of reasons that support the claim that social media is especially useful for healthcare practices:
Your Patients Are Not Just Receiving Their Health Information Online, But They Are Receiving Them Through Social Media
Gone are the days when patients would make an appointment with their doctor to ask a question concerning their health and patiently wait for the day of that appointment to take place. Now people are taking more of an active role in finding out answers to their health questions and self-diagnosing themselves by discovering the answers on their own rather than waiting on their doctor. Thanks to the Internet, the general public has thousands upon thousands of medical resources at their disposal that they can utilize immediately with a click of their mouse.
A survey done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says that 80 percent of Internet users look online for information on health topics such as a specific disease or treatment. What’s more, social media (Facebook above all) is a primary resource for users searching for health information. Over 60 percent of all Americans have joined at least one social network and over 40 percent of respondents in a survey by the National Research Corp rely on social networking for health information, and nearly all of those people (94 percent) turn to Facebook. Americans using social media for healthcare are affluent and on average are 41 years old.
Social Media Provides A Voice To Your Practice
Social media allows you to humanize and personalize your practice by providing a voice that speaks directly to your patients. It also allows for two-way communication to take place between you and your patients instantly. You should be constantly posting useful health information relevant to your practice that you know your patients are interested in and may have questions about. Your patients’ perception of your practice as being a trusted source of information and expertise is boosted and appreciated as this brings information to them that they otherwise would have had to scour the Internet for.
For example, during flu season general physicians should post tips on ways to avoid the flu as well as information on immunizations. For any information that you post, patients can ask questions or respond. Also as mentioned above, patients are looking online for their health questions and may often receive information that is wrong or incorrectly apply the context of information they found. If you are the one distributing the facts, then you know what your patients are receiving is correct.
Heidi Hurst, MA is the Director of the Northern Nevada Immunization Coalition (NNIC). She talks to MassMedia about the implementation and success of their 2010-2011 flu vaccination marketing and public relations campaign.
Heidi has more than16 years of experience in nonprofit program management. She joined NNIC in 2007 and has since lead the coalition in fiscal partnerships, strategic planning and project management. Heidi specializes in coalition building and advocacy.
How has your experience been using MassMedia’s services (scope of work, outcomes, etc.)?
Overall it has been great. MassMedia’s response has been really fast, which was important to this campaign. The campaign wouldn’t have worked without it. Also, even though there were people in the Vegas office working on the campaign and people locally in Reno working with us, everything felt seamless and ran smoothly.
Why was it imperative to create a marketing outreach campaign for the influenza vaccination?
We wanted to create something new that hadn’t been seen before. The problem with flu season is that it’s always the same message, delivered in the same way and people stop listening. We wanted to give people the message in a new and fun way.
What elements did this campaign include and were they effective?
We thought the billboards were really effective. We received several comments on them. They were colorful and well placed which made them stand out. The blog was also something we received good feedback on and that was nice since it was something new for us. We also liked partnering with the banks in rural areas. It was a great opportunity for regional outreach and it worked. The rural communities were supportive. From publishing stories in the local paper to handing out collateral, it really helped out.
Describe some of the feedback you’ve received in response to the InFLUence Others: Get Vaccinated campaign?
Our coalition members really liked the campaign, which was important to us. We do an annual strategic planning survey and through this we received really great feedback on the campaign, better than we have on previous campaigns. Our coalition members are not marketing people, so if they saw, liked and responded to the campaign that’s a really good sign. They are a sample of the general public who we also received comments from here and there at events.
Also, the campaign was well branded. I just think the play on the title, tagline, the t-shirts, and everything all came together nicely. The fact that the campaign has won an ADDY Award is a testament to that. We have also submitted the campaign to the National Influenza Vaccine Summit and hope to be hearing back from them soon.
What was your favorite part of the entire campaign?
I thought having people hold the “I Can InFLUence” sign and taking pictures of them was a lot of fun. We posted these pictures on Facebook and they were well received. The Facebook flu shot application was also a great element and I was surprised to see how many were sent, it was a lot! Our Facebook fan base and interaction definitely increased during this campaign. We have never had the opportunity to incorporate social media in that way or to that extent, and it was a lot of fun!
What was the biggest challenge for the campaign and do you think it was overcome?
The biggest challenge was the timeline. I remember thinking when I was writing out the RFP that it would be tough, but everyone at MassMedia really stepped up and did an incredible job with it. We basically had everything designed, done and ready to print within the first week; I have never had that happen before.
By Danielle Longley
These days we use our cell phones less for making calls and more for managing every other aspect of our lives. With the advancement of smartphones we have the ability to access our email, look up information instantly, get directions, connect to social media networks and now, manage our health.
Mobile healthcare is an increasing trend, supported by over 5,000 mobile health applications. While consumers love being able to track calories and monitor fitness in the palm of their hand, mobile marketing has some more serious benefits for healthcare providers.
The database of mobile applications is continually growing. Many of them are created for and beneficial to providers. Mobile applications have the ability to improve physician efficiency, facilitate communications and improve patient relationships. Many physicians and practitioners are using iPhones and iPads during office visits and throughout the day. Are you one of them? If not, here’s why you might want to be.
With the ability to send e-prescriptions, you don’t have to worry about writing legibly and your patient doesn’t have to worry about misplacing it between your office and the pharmacy. Apps created for electronic health records allow you to instantly access information without turning to paper records and will soon allow you to share records with other physicians and referred specialists cutting out time, paperwork and hassle for both you and the patient.
There are apps for 3D renderings of anatomical systems giving you the ability to see all sides and angels. With this you can really show patients where and what is going on. You can access drug dictionaries with up-to-date information on thousands of drugs and have x-rays and scans sent straight to your phone for review.
How about prescribing mobile treatments? Patient’s health, to a certain extent, can be monitored and tracked through their phone. There are apps for monitoring blood pressure (there is an actual blood pressure cuff that plugs into the iPhone), medication reminders, medication trackers and more. The results and data are tracked and graphed and many of these apps allow results to be emailed to physicians. Through these apps you can remotely monitor patients’ health, enhance patient care, improve patient relationships and eliminate unnecessary office visits.
Mobile is the way healthcare marketing is going and it’s where consumers want it to be. Over half of patients surveyed in a study said they would like to be able to use mobile billing and sixty percent would like to receive their lab results on their phone. While you don’t have to create your own application, although that would be cool, just incorporating some mobile applications into your routine and tailoring your marketing strategy to include mobile resources can increase your efficiency and your customer’s satisfaction.
You can’t put a price on improving patient relationships….but there is an app for that.
By Ashley Campbell
You’ve finished updating your brand identity and logo and now ask yourself, “How should I introduce the new look to our patients and integrate it into our medical practice?”
There are a few marketing strategy phases that you should consider when integrating your updated brand into your marketing campaign.
Start by adding the new logo to your stationery, statements and invoices. When a patient walks up to the counter, they’ll notice the change on your business cards, or when reviewing their invoices and statements. It’s a subtle change but every touch point creates brand identity for your medical practice.
Your email signature can also be updated to include your new medical marketing logo and will be viewed when sending out external emails to referring physicians, consultants and vendors
Announce the revamp of your brand by creating a direct mail piece or an eblast showcasing the exciting new look and feel. This will not only allow patients to see your brand for the first time, but it is a chance to advertise your practice.
You must integrate your new logo and brand into your advertising as soon as possible. Depending on your healthcare marketing plan, you can integrate your new identity into your existing ad campaign. Updating healthcare advertising will take some time, but remaining consistent is very important when building a reputable brand. Remember to also update your medical practices’ website!
Healthcare marketing collateral materials, such as brochures, flyers, posters and information kits are all items that need to be updated as well. Again, every touch point for your customer should create brand identity and should remain consistent throughout. Having a strong, consistent brand will aide in positioning your medical practice as a reputable and reliable resource.
The most expensive and time consuming marketing piece to be completed is your medical practice signage. This is usually the last piece that needs updating because of the size, location and material needed to build your updated signage. It will be expensive, but it is worth it.
By Pam Meyers
When someone thinks of a brand they tend to think of large consumer corporations such as Pepsi, Coke, Apple, etc. Why do those names come up first? They were successful at branding their product or service by being consistent with their messaging and logo. Branding and healthcare marketing is not just for large companies and hospitals; it is for all businesses that want to be recognized as a leader in their industry. Creating a successful brand can help attract patients to your practice and instill confidence.
According to Wikipedia branding is it the identity of a specific product, service, or business. What exactly does that mean? And what does that mean for your practice? It seems a lot of physicians are skeptical of the word. A better definition is that a brand is delivering on a promise consistently. Branding now extends to people, think of Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Martha Stewart, Kim Kardashian, these savvy individuals know they have to be different and stand out from the crowd. However, branding is not very common in private healthcare practices. You would be surprised to know a large percentage of healthcare practices do not use branding to establish and reinforce a specific reputation in their market.
So the good news is that most of your professional colleagues are not trying to brand their practices or promote their practices through health care public relations agencies. The even better news is that the practice that successfully brands itself will standout above the competition.
In service industries, including healthcare, effective branding is about the entire experience and relationship that patients have with you and your team. When you communicate what makes your healthcare practice different, you are setting expectations — a direct or implied promise — that patients will get the benefit of your unique value each time they visit or call.
Finally, here are some healthcare brand-building points to consider:
Guard your brand within your office. Once you’ve created your brand, make sure you monitor all printed materials and any other collateral that is created. Without someone maintaining the brand it can quickly get diluted and ineffective. Stay focused on the goals that were identified when the brand was initially created and it should be easy to maintain.
Deliver a consistent patient experience. People prefer consistent quality to surprises, and a brand isn’t really a brand if the practice doesn’t deliver a consistent, high-quality experience. Remember, just a few negative experiences can blow your brand credibility and betray the trust you’ve worked so hard to build.
Deliver consistent branded communications. In addition to delivering consistent in-office experiences, you must effectively communicate your brand message at every marketing opportunity such as your website, brochures, business cards, etc.
When you create a powerful practice brand, you’ll attract the patients, cases, and referrals that you want. Deliver your branding message consistently, and your reward will be consistent profit growth.
By Aimee Romero
People base their ideas about doctors on two things – their personal experiences with their own doctors and what they see fictional doctors do in movies and on TV.
This makes shaping people’s ideas about your practice tricky because you are neither their doctor nor are you the star of Grey’s Anatomy. You can’t control their previous medical experiences or their cinematic experiences.
So what can you control that will shape your target audience’s opinion of you and your practice? How can you make your way in to their lives and minds in a manner that will be both positive and memorable?
One tried and true method of earning positive media coverage is to tap in to the most universal expectation people have of a “doctor” and make it your calling card. That expectation is the fundamental role of a doctor – to heal the sick. Forget the money and the insurance claims; a doctor’s duty is to serve humankind, regardless of profit.
People seek out medical care because they have a medical need and often that need goes unmet because the cost of treatment is too high for the patient to pay. For so many patients, these stories of suffering and years of neglect make compelling human interest stories. We want to see these people receive the help they need and a doctor who steps in is not only generous, but is also making a smart business decision. Branding yourself as a generous doctor will attract patients and referrals and help will grow your practice.
Pro bono medical care is the most memorable and easily understood “doctor story” that the media can tell a mass audience. It reinforces what people want to believe about professional caregivers and doctors in particular. By simply donating your services to a deserving patient once a year, you can build a powerful image as “the doctor who cares and sacrifices for the greater good.” That is the kind of powerful image that sticks in people’s minds forever.
It doesn’t matter what your specialty is, you can make a positive pro bono story out of anything that your practice can donate. Whether it’s life-saving surgery, or something as simple as donating old copiers and laptops to a local school, it shows that your practice cares about the community.
Even plastic surgeons do not have to be stuck with the image of Nip/Tuck or Dr. 90210. Reconstructive work on accident survivors, cosmetic dental work and other types of reparations make very effective PR outreach, especially when the cosmetic work is life-changing for the patient.
Finding the story that will build your image is actually rather simple. Remember why you were attracted to medicine and why you find it fulfilling and use your skills to change someone’s life and make the world smile.
By Carmesha Thompson
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a dinner party and began chatting with a doctor who specialized in otolaryngology. If you’re like me and have no idea what type of specialty this is, it means ear, nose and throat. After telling him, I worked in the public relations, marketing and advertising industry, he admitted that even though his sister worked in PR as well, he could never gain a firm understanding on the industry as a whole.
After providing a general summary of public relations, I suggested he give MassMedia, an agency that specializes in healthcare public relations, a call in order to grow his practice. He said he understood the benefits of healthcare advertising and medical marketing, but didn’t see the added value in public relations.
“I’m sure being on the news for something good can’t hurt, but I don’t see why I should put so much work towards it or why I should pay someone else to do it,” he said.
I started thinking that if this doctor felt this way, then there are probably more that feel the same way. It’s important for doctors to understand the full positive impact that excellent PR can have on their practice and oneway this impact can be felt is by being positioned as a credible expert source.
When viewers see anyone representing an industry on the news, they automatically assume that that person is an expert in their field whose knowledge can be trusted and valued. That is because the news is an objective third-party. It is an impartial source (i.e. no hidden agendas) with an established reputation. Unlike advertising, people can not pay news stations and papers in order to be featured, mentioned or quoted. Viewers know this, so when they see an industry representative on or in the news, they automatically trust that representative and believe the suggestions or information they are providing to be true.
The media is always looking for healthcare expert sources to comment on stories. With all of the media coverage that the flu season has been receiving lately, there were numerous news stories and articles that the doctor I talked to could have been quoted in as a source since he is an ear, nose and throat doctor.
If he had been in the media, people that saw him or read an article in which he was used as a source would have thought of him as a premier expert in his field, whether he is or isn’t, with no hesitation and this might have lead them to look him up for service. That is how powerful the media is and that is a key component of healthcare public relations.
So how do you get in front of the media? That is where MassMedia Healthcare Marketing, a public relations firm in Nevada, comes in. When they need a source, the media is never going to randomly look up a doctor in the phonebook or on the Internet. They are going to turn to a public relations firm that represents healthcare clients, such as MassMedia, to bring the reliable and readily available sources to them.
However MassMedia doesn’t wait for reporters to come to them. They go to the healthcare reporters by ensuring that the media know of their healthcare clients and by pitching their healthcare clients for feature articles and news segments. There are additional ways to get in front of the media, but positioning yourself and/ or your practice as a credible source in your industry is an excellent start.
By Danielle Longley
Internet medical marketing, digital healthcare marketing, web marketing, online physician marketing or e-marketing, whatever you want to call it, it’s more important now than ever. Internet marketing is the marketing of products or services over the Internet.
Online presence is vital to healthcare marketing. More and more American’s 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.
So how do you take advantage of the Internet to promote your medical practice? Start, by knowing your resources. The Internet offers a plethora of information through a vast variety of sites and search engines, but before you can decide what’s right for your practice, you need to know what’s available.
Start with a website. Your healthcare website should be geared to 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 to your site 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 your audience, well.
In just the past few years social media has exploded onto the scene as an affordable way to market healthcare products and services. It’s easy, convenient and continually updated. Hospitals, physicians and other healthcare professionals are gradually entering and participating in social media. Social media is extremely important for healthcare professionals because at the center of all the updates and chatter, are trust and relationships. It offers physicians and their practices the opportunity to interact with their audiences in a peer-to-peer environment, outside the exam room, and in a less serious setting. It’s essential for your practice to stay ahead of the curve through the use of social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ICYou, WebMD, and more.
Blogging has become a way to establish your expertise. It is an informal, reliable, direct source of information. It’s an easy and efficient way to get your practices viewpoints and expertise into the market. Blog about your medical services and related topics, describe the problem and provide a solution. However, remember a blog is not a sales pitch. It’s valuable information to the client to broaden their knowledge and help them make their own decision. The less salesy and more personal you are, the more respected you will be by your readers, also known as, your potential clients. Even if the person reading your blog doesn’t need your services, chances are good that they know someone who does, or they wouldn’t be there.
To win at Internet marketing you need five things: 1. Know who your audience is 2. Know where are they online 3. Create audience specific content 4. Be a resource 5. Participate. The Internet is a two way street, that’s why it works. You can participate through updating your healthcare website or blog, responding to comments and taking part in conversations. If you have something valuable to say, say it. If you appreciate a great review a patient wrote, thank them. The more valuable information you put out there about your services and the solutions you offer, the more potential patients will find you, know who you are and trust you.
By Kristi Morris
Increasing your marketing effectiveness is as easy as outlining a well-rounded healthcare marketing plan and staying consistent with your brand. A good integrated medical marketing plan is essential to the success of a small medical practice or business. In fact, the ability to properly market your healthcare practice or product is on of the most important aspects of your business. Learn the basic components and considerations of a strategic healthcare marketing plan, and you will be well on your way to increasing the effectiveness of your marketing dollars.
Focus on Relationships
The most effective healthcare marketing plan is not always the most expensive marketing plan. In this economy, focusing on the people you already have relationships with will go a long way in promoting your business, or practice. Treat your patients, clients, even vendors as if they are your strategic business partners. Build customer loyalty by keeping it personal, and treat each person you come in contact with as though they are your friend. Establish a culture of customer service, and put the needs of your patients first. Taking the time to learn who they are, and why they have come to see you will contribute to your success, and the success of your practice. And don’t forget, good old fashioned face-to-face meetings are the best way to maintain a patient and client relationship.
While successful healthcare marketing used to be a straightforward formula of ‘you get what you pay for’ the new marketing landscape is a little bit different. While traditional paid media such as television, print or billboard still plays a major role in healthcare marketing, now more than ever, a practice needs to have an online presence. As many as 69% of consumers are now using the internet to make well informed healthcare decisions. Meaning if your practice is not on the web, you could be missing out on substantial market share. A physician’s website is a very important aspect to an integrated healthcare marketing plan.
By bringing your organization, whether it be a hospital, dentist, pediatrician or weight loss clinic into an arena where you can stay in constant contact with more people, you will have the opportunity to not only build a better perception of your organization, but also to build a stronger affiliation with your brand. An online presence no longer means just a doctors webpage. Social networking allows healthcare providers to get the word out, generate excitement, and receive valuable feedback.
Consider an online newsletter, a physician blog, tweeting live procedures, or simply using the internet as a means to communicate in times of crisis. Healthcare providers can leverage social media networks to provide real-time updates both for those directly affected by the crisis and those watching from afar.
Media and Community Outreach
You have a great practice with a reputation for focusing on your patients and you have an online presence with a medical website and doctor’s facebook. What’s next? Get your medical practice noticed. And the best way to get noticed by potential patients is to get noticed by the media with a solid medical public relations campaign. Give the media a reason to come knocking at your door. Host an event, or a day, and send out a press release to generate media excitement. Maybe it is flu season, and you are offering free flu shots to the first 25 people in the door. Or maybe it is National Diabetes Month, and you want to encourage people to get tested for diabetes. Either way, write up a press release, and send it to the media. The media is constantly looking for an opportunity to feature a promising business or practice. All you have to do is give them one. Using a healthcare pr agency can help you accomplish these tasks.
Integrating with the community you serve is a vital move for your practice. There are several opportunities to reach out to your community. Form a strategic partnership with a non-profit organization such as United Blood Services. Or consider participating in an educational speaking commitment where you can act as an expert witness for anything from losing weight to maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Find ways to educate the community at large on your area of expertise through webinars, seminars and trade shows.
Marketing for healthcare can seem overwhelming, but follow those simple tips and you will be on your way to success.