LinkedIn for Your Medical Practice

Using Linked In for a Medical Practice, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Every social media platform attracts a specific demographic. LinkedIn appeals to business professionals. There are some lawyers and fewer doctors. Still, you should consider engaging it. Develop your medical practice as a business.

Connect via Your Personal Business Relationships

Using the concept that everyone in the world is related by six degrees of separation or fewer, your LinkedIn network will be comprised of those you know directly, or indirectly (i.e. colleague of a colleague) through your professional work history.

The immediate appeal of LinkedIn is to keep track of your cronies in the business world. As the usual business professional often changes jobs, or, the business changes name, you can still keep in touch with your associates though landlines, addresses and emails disappear which each change of job. While physicians rarely close a medical practice and change jobs less frequently than almost any other industry, this is a great place for your administrators to keep up with their colleagues.

Most users on LinkedIn do so to maintain their personal professional relationships. They are not looking for health information or to make a purchase. They are probably not looking for a doctor, either.

How Can Your Practice Use LinkedIn?

The best way to use this social media platform is to list your medical practice…as a business. Show off to other practices and their administrators! Tell them what a great work environment you have created. Brag about your latest technology.

Use LinkedIn to attract quality, highly motivated, personnel to your office.

Ask your administrator (or someone just as passionate about your businesss) to set up your account, or profile. It is free. List those attributes (and keywords) of your medical practice of which you are most proud; incentive plans, benefits, flexible schedules, etc. Use your best attributes to attract the best employees.

With time, you will create a network around your practice. Remember, this is about your practice, not you.

Find Your Own References

One way to use LinkedIn is to use your own network to follow-up on a potential employee for your business. No longer are you dependent upon the list of references that the applicant provides, you can go find your own. You will be able to find people you “know” that also know the applicant.

Establish a profile on LinkedIn. Ask your office personnel to do the same. Create your own network to tell your colleagues what a great business you have!

3 Secrets to Writing Great Copy

3 Secrets to Great CopyWriting,
Great SEO copywriting for the web means writing articles that appeal to both your readers and the search engines. Your goal is to write content that interests your readers and is search engine optimized! Good SEO practices will allow your pages to rank higher.

Copywriting, or posting for your blog, is different than writing an English essay or a research paper. These 3 “rules” should help you achieve your goals of attracting both readers and high rankings.

Choose One Topic Per Post

One of the difficulties I had when getting started was trying to whittle down my message. I tried to stuff way too much information into the same article. In short, I was trying to say so much that it either diluted my real message or completely lost my reader.

Two reasons to limit yourself to one topic. First, it focuses your task of copywriting. By staying with one message, it is easier to construct meaningful titles, headlines and sub-titles that are necessary to grab your readers attention and, just as importantly, achieve great SEO.

Second, most people searching the Internet have a very specific question. Thus, they are searching for a specific answer. By limiting yourself to one topic, you are more likely to grab the attention of your readers as you’ll be providing a more direct answer.

“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?”

You will not be reviewed by your colleagues. You are writing to your potential patients. Close your eyes and imagine one single person, patient or client to whom you are writing. Write in a style and use words that will appeal to that imaginary person, not your colleagues.

In a way, this is like writing a love letter, you want to reach out and appeal to your reader. Your writing has to strike home and make a connection with your audience. Don’t write to “show off.” Your readers will “bounce” away.

Effective writing requires that you communicate at the same level as your reader. Unlike most of your technical writing, you must write “down” to your reader. Writing “above” the reader will bore them.

One simple tactic I’ve used is to write down the hundreds of well rehearsed answers (lectures) I have given to patient questions. Over time, we all have our “pat” answers to commonly asked questions. As you know,these answers are well rehearsed because we have given them thousands of times. This is a great source of content…and you’ve already created it! Just write it down.

Size Matters

This is easy. You want your article to be about 300 – 600 words in length. Too short and you won’t index well. Too long and you’ll bore your readers and your “bounce” rate increases. Remember that your posts must grab the attention of the search engines and your potential clients!

In the next article, we’ll cover proper formatting to capture the attention of your readers!

Your Friends and Followers, Keep Them From Becoming Fickle

Friends and Followers to Market Your Medical Practice

Is a Friend by Any Other Name Still a Friend?

Connections. Friends. Followers. These are terms that we use a lot when we discuss social media but as you have likely learned by now, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing in the offline world as they do with social relationships. They suggest a depth to the relationship which may not actually exist and needs to be fostered.

Offline followers may be willing to listen to a speaker for a period of time, perhaps on TV or at a conference. However an online follower may give you a single second of their time before deciding whether or not to move on.

Relevance Breeds Authority

Who wants to listen to someone trying hard to sell themselves? We have to continually gain and keep respect by sharing good ideas and interesting content. Relevancy matters and we have to earn the right to share whatever message we have. Relevancy can breed respect and authority, and respect can generate traffic to your website and connect you with prospective patients.

I follow several physicians because they are sharing something of value; information and perspective from a professional on topics of interest to me. What I give these physicians in return is my loyalty. When I have the opportunity to refer someone, I’ll first turn to a practice I follow.

Friends Are Not Always Here to Stay

The Internet is a fickle environment and assuming that once you have connections they are there for good is risky.

The terms and definitions will evolve or be replaced over time to better capture the ways we relate online but the necessity of relevance will only increase.

There Are Real Connections Out There

My advice, be yourself. People will be more likely to listen to you and respond positively. And don’t forget that many of these connections are genuine and that real, valued relationships (and patients) can grow out of social media associations.

Market Research: Meeting the Needs of Your Patients

Market Research:  Define the Needs of Your Patients

Marketing experts spend countless hours researching the customer to understand wants, needs and behaviors. As a Physician or Medical Practice Administrator, you are tasked with the key business issue of growing the practice, but you can’t grow the practice until you’ve defined the needs of your patients. If you have not yet begun to implement a marketing strategy, you are likely still trying to figure out the best approach for your practice. Sounds like it’s time for some simple market research.

For instance, there has been a lot of talk here and elsewhere about the benefits of developing a web presence for your medical practice using social media, but do you really believe the hype? Maybe not and perhaps this is holding you back. Why not use the people you know, and trust, as a baseline to understand how prospective patients find and commit to new physician relationships?

Poll the People You Know

Start with people outside your practice. Develop a list of questions focused on how these people might approach the problem of finding a new doctor. Pose your questions to a variety of people; young/mature, locals/transplants, low-income/wealthy, those with time on their hands/ those who are extremely busy, those you know well/those you just met.

Use the feedback you received to craft additional questions that are relevant to your practice or specialty and ask your patients for their input. Consider asking about what they would like to hear about from you and what relevant topics they find of interest. This can be as easy as an in-office questionnaire or simply asking for input verbally.

Make sure that you ask your favorite patients and those who may be a bit more difficult to serve. Sometimes the most important feedback comes from those who tend to see the glass as half empty. Most people like to give their opinion and the feedback you gather can be vital to your approach and success.

Talking to Yourself about Yourself is a Short Conversation

Developing your strategy in a vacuum will prove ineffective. For you to be successful, research and then meet the needs of your patients. Above all, listen.

Resist the urge to move forward (or not move at all) based solely upon your biases and misbeliefs . Truly considering the wants, needs and behaviors of those you are trying to reach and incorporating their feedback into your marketing efforts will help you effectively reach and retain the attention of your patients, referring physicians, and the overall community.

How to Make Your Readers Read

Making Your Readers Want to Read, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Your readers do not naturally want to read every word you write. You must format your articles, or posts, in such a way that your readers want to read the entire article and not…click away. Grabbing the attention of your readers AND maximizing your SEO is easy!

Readers vs. Skimmers

There are those that read and those that “look” or skim.

Readers are those that start from the top of a page and read every word from top to bottom and from beginning to end. I personally can’t do that.

I love to skim the entire page in search of clues as to where to read and what to read. I don’t want have to read an entire article. I’ll read highlighted areas, captions, headings and subheadings.

Great copywriting will satisfy both types of visitors, both the readers and the skimmers.

Reading Behavior

Most readers scan in the following manner;

1. Headline: Read from left to right

2. Vertical Scan: Scan down the page looking for subheaders

3. Read the first line of the opening paragraph

Headline

While careers are made developing catchy headlines, grab their attention by giving them a clue about your awesome content. Remember: readers on the Internet are looking for answers, your headline should grab their attention by quickly telling them what lies within your article.

Sub Headers

Sub headers have three functions. It quickly clues in the reader about points you will be making urging the reader to continue!

Sub headers are also indexed (as is the title/header) by the search engines to improve your SEO. While it is true that the search engines catalog every text file and .pdf on the Internet, headers and subheaders receive slightly higher priority than text for SEO purposes.

Sub headers also physically break up what can be a long ominous looking paragraph into sizeable “chunks” of reading!

Bullets and Lists

Bullets and lists can not be overemphasized. The eye naturally gravitates to bulleted lists. Make the list about 3-5 items long. In this way your point is quickly made. It is a simple tool to motivate your reader to continue reading.

Short “Paragraphs”

Avoid long sentences and lengthy paragraphs. Sometimes you can’t avoid a long sentence, and I’d suggest curtailing any paragraph to 3-4 “lines.” So too, with the paragraph, keep them brief and no more than 3 sentences or so.

Smaller blocks of text are easier to read, give the feeling of brevity and speed to the reader.

Remember, you’ve spent a lot of time on your copywriting. You’ve written some powerful articles. Make sure that you give your readers every opportunity to read your content!

Comment Spam: What it Does

Comment Spam Ruins Blog, Medical Marketing Enterprises

“Comment spam” can ruin your site. Comment spam, aka blog spam, abuses the reader’s ability to leave a “comment” on a blog. Unlike a usual comment, “comment spam,” however, has no meaningful content and has no value for you or your readers. Spam contains meaningless no-value text, gibberish and hyperlinks back to the author’s page… all to generate traffic to their site.

Spam Can Decrease Your Web Page SEO

If too much spam hits your site, the web crawlers can’t sift out the real, meaningful content. Your SEO drops and your site loses relevance.

Don’t Distract Your Readers

Your readers are looking for answers. They are looking for answers quickly. If they have to sort through meaningless comments/spam. They’ll get bored and distracted. They came looking for your content and if they can’t find it…they’ll leave.

Ever read a thread on a blog? Imagine you’ve found someone asking for help for the exact problem you have…but you can’t find the answer because it’s buried in a pile of useless comments.

Using Your Blog as a Portal for Spam

Spammers hope to publish their spam using your blog as a portal to the Internet. If lucky, they can get a comment “approved” on a blog that doesn’t use a spam blocker or has a webmaster that scrutinizes new comments.

Once published, repeat comments from an identical IP address usually get published immediately, bypassing scrutiny of the software and webmaster.

Spammers now have a portal in which they can publish at will.

Comment Spam Blockers

I use Akismet. It is free for personal use and is very cheap for a business site. Check their site for specifics. Akismet is very crafty in filtering about 99% of the garbage directed at my sites. I never see it, and thus, there is no chance for the stuff to be published.

I have more time to dedicate to writing and responding to my legitimate readers.

Occasionally, well constructed spam does sneak through, but it is usually easily recognized by yours truly. I have some tips on how to recognize spam.

Spam can be a huge distraction from your work and your blog. Don’t waste your time or your readers!

Writing with Feeling: The Key to Effective Marketing

Medical Copywriting, Provide Solutions for Your Readers, Medical Marketing Enterprises

When you take the time to educate your patients, you position yourself as being the expert in your field. Not only are you providing a noble service, you are also making a very strong case as to why a prospective patient should use your services as opposed to your competitors.

Copywriter Robert Collier said, “Your copy should join in on the conversation that the prospect is already having in their mind.” Think about this every time you communicate. It’s quite powerful.

Your communication should be so closely matched to what your patient is thinking and feeling that they feel as if you are reading their mind. The key to writing successful articles, posts or marketing materials is to write about what your patient wants, not what they may need, but what they want. If you are able to focus on the core “needs” of your patients you will be 99.999% ahead of your competitors.

As a physician, you have been trained to analyze, diagnose and treat. The touchy, feely components are not considered necessary to successfully treat a patient; however, it is the touchy, feely aspects of your practice that will differentiate you from your competitors.

The key to marketing your medical practice is to be able to describe in print the care you provide. The descriptions you convey should allow prospective patients to feel the experience and the emotions associated with the care that is received at your medical practice.

With this in mind, when you are developing your website and future blog posts, remember the key to writing is not to just describe what you do, but rather to give the reader a feel for how your services are provided.

Does Your Web Page Market Your Practice?

Top 10 rankings for your web page should be your marketing goal.

Does your web site market your medical practice effectively? Chances are your web page is “pretty good” and serves more as a reference site, but not as a highly effective marketing tool.

Your Patients Already Know You…

A typical medical practice has constructed a web page that serves only as a resource, or reference, for new and existing patients. It may contain hours of operation, participating insurance carriers, pictures of the office staff and a bio of the doctors.

This is a great resource for existing patients, but does not have any ability to attract new patients surfing the Internet looking for a new doctor.

How to Attract New Patients

The key to attracting new patients with your web site is to achieve high “top ten” rankings on search engine results pages. These are the results that are listed after you search, or “Google,” a particular subject.

Imagine your rankings souring to the “top ten” and the visibility you’ll receive!

SEO to Achieve “Top Ten” Rankings

The key to getting great search engine rankings is by adding fresh, relevant content to your web site on a regular basis. There is no substitute. This is technique is referred to as search engine optimization (SEO).

By simply adding new content (articles) to your web site, your site will become more noticeable. Get in the habit of routinely adding an article to your web site every month or every week…just make it a routine.

As a reward for your efforts, Google (Bing and Yahoo, too) will start list your web site higher and higher. It will recognize that your web site contains relevant and refreshed content…on a regular basis. Your site will start to rank higher than your competitors on search results pages.

Patients looking for a new doctor will start to see your web site as it rises through the rankings.

Maximize the power of your web site by providing content on a regular basis. Your web site has the potential to be the most powerful marketing tool you own to promote and grow your practice.

Recognizing Comment Spam

Block Comment Spam from Your Web SiteCan you recognize comment spam? Even though you may be using a spam blocker, occasionally a suspicious comment sneaks through. It’s worth your while to learn how to identify comment spam and keep it off your site!

Very Few Words or No Words

The text of comment spam often either makes no sense (random strings of characters) or is quite short, such as “nice job” or “great site.” In general, a true comment is either going to ask a legitimate question or contribute to your site by providing a meaningful comment that is relevant.

Spam and Hyperlinks

Look for hyperlinks within the text of the comment, or, look for a URL itself within the text. This will be a clue that the author is trying to set up hyperlinks to their own site.

Not all spam is vulgar or inappropriate. Spam is anything your receive that is unwanted. Many times I will not approve a comment, even though benign in language, if it has nothing to do with my site.

On my sites, approved authors can automatically get published on my sites. “Approved” means they have commented before, legitimately, and I have published their comment.
Thus, I don’t approve anything that is not obviously relevant as the author could place comment spam subsequent to the first submission.

Signature

Look at the signature of the author. Spammers will also usually leave a URL in the signature box of the comment. I’ll often check out the URL before allowing the comment to be published.
Overall, with the use of a spam blocker, such as Akismet, and using these tips, I’ve avoided most spam on my sites. Remember spam is unwanted comments to your site. It can reduce your SEO and turn away your followers!