Your Website Should Be “Under Construction”

Medical marketing enterprises.  Every great website should be under constructionEvery great website should always be “under construction.”  Of the three types of sites;  resource, marketing and interactive, only the resource site is ever really finished.

And you know I’m not talking about web design.

Great websites must remain dynamic whether by adding a constant stream of great content or with user generated comment vis-a-vis threads and conversations.

Content Marketing is Best

Blogging, or content marketing, remains the most important marketing strategy for your medical practice or small business.  While many businesses promote their use of a social media marketing strategy, blogging remains #1 in terms of ROI, branding and value.

The success of content marketing can be easily measured.  Visitors, bounce rate, comments, click through rates are all metrics showing the likes and needs of your patients, your customers.

The expense of time spent on a social media campaign is less tangible perhaps only because social media efforts ultimately draw attention to a great website that is “under construction.”

Value, Dedication, Commitment

Your content provides your patients with value.  Your articles provide solutions (answers) to their health specific questions.  Moreover, your consistent writing also displays a level of dedication and commitment that sets you apart from your competitors.

Value is the key to any website, but by continued and consistant writing, your dedication and commitment turns you into an industry expert.

Your content also remains the key factor to obtaining great SEO…unmatched and immesurable with any social media campaign.

What Can You Do?

Develop a long range objectives for your practice, i.e. define your marketing goals.

Write articles consistently on topics related to your long range initiative (SEO best practice).

With time, your articles will begin to reach out to your patients, compelling them to write and leave comments.  Make sure to answer each of the comments in a timely manner, thus creating a dialogue.  This visible interaction and engagement is the heart and soul of a blog and will eclipse any social media based campaign with respect to ROI, branding and providing value to your patients.

Both content marketing and engaging your patients online present time challenges and require consistent and continued publications and responses.  

A great website, therefore, is never completed and, hence, is always “under construction.”

To Your Growth And Success!

Randy

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization

www.MedicalMarketingEnterprises.com

Google Plus: Lots to “Like”

Google Plus and Author Rank, Medical Marketing Enterprises.There are 3 reasons to use Google Plus.  After starting your Facebook, I recommend starting your Google Plus Account.

Your Google + account will now get you noticed on a Google Places, can aggregate any reviews about your practice (from other sites other than Google), selectively share information via Circles with new and old colleagues and starts your Author Ranking!

Google Local and Business Page

Starting a Google + Business page simply requires a free Gmail email address.  Follow the directions to get your practice indexed on Google +.

As Facebook and Google Plus plan their local search strategies, you want to make sure either you create your business page or claim one which already exists.  Simply make sure your contact information is correct.  With time, you can add more information.

Google Circles: Selective Sharing

A unique feature of Google + are the “circles.”  Circles are different groups of people based upon a common interest or relationship, for example, Friends, Family, Business, etc.

This allows you to pick and choose the group of friends with whom you’d like to share information. You can use “circles” to customize your communications….you can tailor who you’d simply like to follow versus people you’d like to share information.

At the outset, Circles are the same as “Friends” on FaceBook, but Friends lack the ability to share vs. follow and sharing may not reach all of your followers. (Facebook does not share all of your posts with all of your followers).

Circles allows  you to wear several hats yet use the same account.

Author Rank

Author Rank is the newest variable introduced last summer for SEO.  Simply put, author rank, measures your expertise and contribution to the Internet on any particular subject.  How your Author Rank is computed is another post.  The greater your Author Rank, the more credible and trusted you are as an expert.

The higher your PageRank, the higher your rankings.  Now, the better your Author Rank and PageRank, the higher your rankings.

This means two articles with very similar content, i.e. with the same PageRank, will now be ranked differently based upon Author Rank…the article written by the author with the highest rank (i.e. trust and credibility) wins!

Google Authorship via Google Plus Profile

Establish your Google Authorship!  The next goal is to inform Google which is/are your website(s).  Uniting your Google Plus profile with your particular website(s) alerts Google of your Authorship.

In your Google Plus profile, list the website(s) to which you contribute.  In your websites, attach the code to your Google Plus profile.  This is most easily done by creating a hyperlink using your name as anchor text back to your Google Plus profile page, or make sure you are using Genesis on WordPress!

WordPress and Genesis

The newest version of Genesis recognizes author rank and allows you to marry your user profile with your Google + profile by simply entering your profile code into your WordPress user profile….done!

To your Success!

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization
www.MedicalMarketingEnterprises.com

My Favorite Social Media Platforms

Start Facebook Business Page only after website is completeWhen you are ready to start using social media, I recommend starting Facebook and Google +.  Start them only if your website is up and running…and in that order.

Social media platforms are great and very powerful, but if you are not ready for social media, no need to draw attention to a website that either doesn’t exist or is horribly stale.

Your primary reason for starting is to broaden exposure of your website, thereby marketing your practice…and to get indexed on local search.  Both Google and Facebook have likely already indexed your office address as a local business.  More and more, readers are using FB and GP for “local search,”  that is, looking for doctors and other businesses while logged in to FB and/or Google Plus.

Setup Facebook First

Establish your Facebook first.  It is the largest social media platform filled mostly with friends and family.  Not only will you know many of your new “fans,” but, it will be much easier for you to find someone to help you get started.  Starting will be less onerous!  Chances are that someone in your own home or office can show how to get started.

Facebook is a great way to politely remind your friends and family the nature of your business and what type of medicine you practice.  Most of us don’t like to “advertise” to our friends, yet most of our friends and family would indeed prefer to use our services because of our relationship.  Your friends may be too bashful to ask you directly about talking shop or are too embarrassed to admit they forgot your specialty,  but they can look you up easily on FB.

Set up a Facebook Page or claim ownership of a pre-existing page (sometimes you’ll find your business is already listed on FB).  You don’t have to duplicate the information on your website, but do make sure you have accurate contact information.  Second, make sure you have a link to your website.

Readers interested in becoming your next patient, as is true for all social media platforms, will find their way to your website.  Your FB page (and other social media platforms) simply draw attention to you and your website.

“Liking” Facebook

In your office and on your website, ask your patients to visit your Facebook page and “Like” you.  “Liking” you ensures that everyone who does so will receive all updates made on your Facebook Page.  Also, the more likes a page receives, the more a business page will be displayed during local search.

Lastly, make sure Facebook Page is linked to an email address.  Comments and “Like” notifications will be emailed to you so you an monitor FB without logging in!

What Do I Write on Facebook?

Announce your most recent articles posted on your website.  You’ve already spent lots of time and energy writing some great content, now use your new social media accounts to share your stuff!  As you gain confidence, you’ll want to add news about the office, media releases about health related events, etc.

The idea is to let people know about your office, the type of medicine you practice, you are willing to engage in social media and you have a website.

With time you’ll find others will take notice and will be following your postings on FB and GP.

To your successs!

Next time…Google Plus!

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization
www.MedicalMarketingEnterprises.com

 

 

 

Easy Steps to Following a Website

To Follow as website is easy with RSS and Email.  Also, Social Media can be useful.Allowing your readers to follow news and events of your medical practice is easy and automatic.  Using RSS feeds and even social media is easily done and the process is completely automatic.

“Following” allows your readers to keep up to date without manually visiting your website.  ”Following” is automatic.

On the other hand, allowing your readers to follow your website is easy to do with RSS/Email and social media….if you are ready.

 RSS and Email

These are the most common ways to follow a website.

RSS (really simple syndication) is a very easy, and anonymous, way to receive information about a new post on a website.  Your readers subscribe by clicking on the RSS Icon .  This is usually now located in the upper right portion of a webpage.

Every time new content is published, the new article is sent, via the RSS feed to your “reader”, also known as an “accumulator.”  Your “reader” (for example, Google Reader) then collects all the RSS feeds from various sites and keeps them in one place!

Most websites (and your medical site should, too) also allow subscription or “opt in” via email.  By rendering their email address, patients can receive updates via email.  Simple.

Social Media Icons

Choose a social media platform easy for you to use and convenient for you.

By convenient, I mean easy for you to use and is something you’ll use often.  If using a social media platform, such as FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn is a drudgery, then don’t choose this as an option to follow a site.

Stick with RSS and/or email instead.

Remember social media platforms are great ways to follow a website and should not be expected to replicate all the information found on that website.   Social media simply draws attention to a website.

Social media platforms each appeal to its own demographic (for instance, YouTube and Pinterest may appeal to visual learners).  Twitter users (microbloggers) enjoy short and direct messages.

What Can You Do?

As a reader, don’t stress over the plethora of social media available.  Choose one or two offered by that website.  Very few webmasters are able to keep more than a few platforms up to date anyway.

As a webmaster/owner/practice administrator, don’t stress that you even have to use social media. Make sure that you provide an “opt-in” and RSS.  Only add social media when you are ready.

RSS feeds are generated automatically from your WordPress CMS (content management system).  You may link the feed to either Feedburner.com (free) or aWeber.com to email your subscriber list.

When you are ready, consider adding social media.  Choose one at a time.  Remember;

  1. You do not have to participate in every SM platform (it’s impossible).
  2. Participating in too many can be a mistake (you fail to keep them current)
  3. Placing too many icons on your website may look impressive, but probably says you don’t know what you are doing!

To Your Growth And Success!

Randy

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization

www.MedicalMarketingEnterprises.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Practice have a Story? Are Your Employees Proud to be Part of That Story?

Medical Practice Branding, Telling Your Story to Brand Your Practice

A story can help you create a brand.  Your story can engage your patients.  Tell a story and make your employees part of it.  Does your medical practice have a story?

Approximately twenty years ago I (about Amy Wong) took a summer job working for, Katzen Eye Group, one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the state of Maryland.  This summer job lasted eight years and I only left because I decided it was time to go to law school.  So what kept me at a summer job that was only supposed to last until I found a job in the field for which I was trained.  The answer is I became part of the Katzen Eye Group (KEG) story because I knew that together we really did make a difference in our patient’s lives.

***As you are reading this consider whether any of your employees, twelve years from now, would refer their friends, family members and colleagues to your practice.  If you’re not sure, then now is the time to create a story that you and your employees are proud to not only be a part of, but one they enjoy sharing.

The Story Background

When I first started working at Katzen Eye Group I was hired as a receptionist; however, within a month, at my request, I was being trained by the lead technician to learn the duties of an ophthalmic assistant.  Shortly thereafter, I was shadowing the owner and director, Dr. Leeds Katzen; or to those lucky enough to be in his inner circle, Jack Katzen.  Note:  You’ll have to ask him yourself how, as young boy, he got this nickname and why it has stuck with him his whole life.

What makes Dr. Katzen different from his Colleagues?

Dr. Katzen has an innate ability to make everyone (his staff and patients) feel at ease.  He is non-assuming and contrary to most of his counterparts spends more time listening than treating.  His patients, all of them, even the PIA’s are valued.  This sometimes may have meant taking 30 minutes with a patient that was supposed to be a 10 minute follow-up exam.  Now in most practices this would likely have caused disgruntled patients and disgruntled staff members for the remainder of the day…not for us.  We rarely got complaints and when we did they rarely left the office unhappy.    Keep in mind our normal schedule without add-ons usually started with approximately 50 patients.  By the end of the day we had likely seen closer to 60.  So how did he do it?  He did it with his story and by developing that story with his team who supported him throughout the day.  His story, my story, our story evolved each day we were together and, if asked, continues to be retold to this day.

His Story

As a young boy, Dr. Katzen, liked to play ball in Patterson Park and when the sun would finally set he would return to his small row house in Baltimore City, Maryland.  His sleeping quarters were small and for the most part, there were no material luxuries in his life.  His parents were not working professionals so he didn’t have the connections that are usually associated with getting into medical school. In short, nothing was easy for him and he had to work hard to attain everything he achieved, but he had a vision and worked tirelessly to achieve his vision.

His Success Lies in the Fact that he Never Forgot his Story

Dr. Katzen never forgot where he came from and never failed to show his appreciation to those who helped him continue his vision each day.  To this day, he is passionate about his practice, patients, and staff members.

While working with him I enjoyed listening to him reminisce with his patients about what it was like to grow up in Baltimore City, as well as the lessons he learned while in his first years of practice.   It is only now, some twenty years later, I realize this was his way of breaking the perceived doctor/patient barrier.  His stories put everyone at ease and facilitated the entire exam process.

Lessons Learned

To create a memorable story that is worth retelling you will need to engage with your patients as people first and patients second and more importantly, as Dr. Katzen so astutely realized, engage your staff as people first, and employees second.

Knocking Down The Ivory Tower

Creating and Image and Brand, Medical SEO, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Last week I posted an article challenging physicians to take down their diplomas and meritorious plaques and replace them with pictures of themselves, friends, kids, favorite activities, etc.

The goal is to give your patients some flavor of who you are instead of reminding them what you are.  This concept is crucial to understanding social media.

Go ahead, “redecorate.”

Placing your favorite artwork on a wall, a picture of the kids’ soccer team, a picture of  you sailing on a boat or fishing gives patients an idea that your doc is…um, human.  They, too, are a person!  It gives patients information and chance to bond with their physician.

It is a version of Social Media.

By giving a person a glimpse of who you are, gives the opportunnity for that person to engage you in a conversation.  A true dialogue vs. the traditional monologue too often seen in doctors’ offices.

Creating an Image, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Here, Try This:

Imagine a medical school diploma on a wall.  What does it say?

A.  It says that this person went to medical school.  No kidding, really?

Now, replace with the cycling picture above:  Now what does it say?

A1.  Likes cycling
A2.  Likes exercise
A3.  Likes to be healthy
A4.  Prefers a certain type of cycle.
A5.  Likes solitude
A6.  Uses a particular brand of helmet.

Etc.  Get it?

Just as a pictures says a thousand words.  A diploma doesn’t say much more than anything you don’t already know.  A diploma reinforces the “ivory tower,” whereas, mementos start to reveal a person tucked beneath the white coat.

Patients of today are looking for anything human to relate with their chosen doctor.  They are not looking for just another doc.  There are tons of those.

So, too, on the Internet.  Doctors willing to share just a bit about their office, their staff or themselves are more likely to develop a following than those that don’t bother.

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!

Social Media Marketing: Make the Time

Social Media for Medicine: Take the time, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Is the Day Ever Long Enough?

A fantasy of mine is to have a personal assistant who will take care of all the things that need to happen in my life, but don’t necessarily need my personal attention. He or she will waltz in each day and know just what I need to accomplish and will tackle it all with ease. Like I said; fantasy. In the medical practice industry, there are office staffs, teams and business partners who successfully do the tackling on a daily basis, yet the struggle to manage one’s own schedule effectively continues.

I Can’t Find the Time

For years, I thought I needed to “find” time. I have recently come to believe that the idea that we can “find” time is a cop-out, we have to make the effort. There is no easy way to do it, we have to commit and it takes focus and attention. When we decide to make a commitment and what it means for the outcomes we’re seeking, establishing a routine can be a pretty important consideration. It can also be anything but “routine” to get started…

I struggle with this myself. I’ve noticed recently that my priorities have shifted in a few areas of my life and I am devoting more time to the things I want to accomplish, rather than the things that seem to get in the way. (Insert applause here.) The biggest challenge has been maintaining some semblance of my daily routines, personal and work- related, while finding enough hours to make sure that these new priorities have a place a place, too. Sound familiar? I don’t quite have a routine yet, it’s going to take…. wait for it…. time.

Investment is not Just Money

We tend to forget that investment is not always monetary. Any investment that your medical practice makes in an effort to expand and provide a return will also be time. In this context, time often includes education, research, planning and implementation. The process is cyclical and as the effort progresses, the amount of effort invested tends to decrease as efficiency increases. Once you establish a process and a web presence/following, the ratio of time to return changes in your favor.

Time is of the Essence

We’ve all read statistics about the year over year increases in people joining social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others. And who knows, in a few more years they could all be passé as we shift to ever more progressive methods of interaction and communication. My point is this… if you believe that social media can be a marketing tool to help you grow your medical practice, there is no time to waste. The medical practice industry is one last industries to embrace the web as a means to improve the return on marketing investment.

Making the Best Use

At the risk of being cliché, I’ll wrap this up with a quote from Ben Franklin who officially coined the phrase “Time is Money” long before the rise of industry and technology which we rely upon so heavily today. “In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; i.e. Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both.”

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Social Media is the New Yellow Pages

Social Media is the New Yellow Pages

Social Media Turns a Physician Listing into a Needle in the Yellow Pages Haystack

Finding a new doctor, despite the Internet, is still too difficult. I am surprised to find most doctors don’t use the Internet to grow their practice. I moved a little over a year ago and have been looking for a primary care physician ever since. I started where everyone does and asked my friends who they recommended. Four of them saw the same person and raved about her, so it was a “no-brainer.”

As I tend to do, I took my time in making an appointment, and while I dallied she left her practice and has not joined another. Now we’re all looking for a new doctor, and we’re having a difficult time.

Missing Out on Your Target Market

Last month, I turned 38, and I keep hearing about how my physical condition is pretty much a slippery slope from this point forward. I’m an upwardly mobile professional with a flexible schedule and great health insurance. I was raised to believe that preventative care and regular visits with a doctor are important. I am probably your target market… but I can’t find you because you don’t have a Web presence!

Finding a New Doctor

Let me explain what I mean by “find.” I’m not talking about the Yellow Pages. And yes, I did receive a few cards in the mail from one practice or another welcoming me to the neighborhood, but I found they smacked of desperation more than anything. The listing of physicians that have a partnership with my health insurance company is obviously important to my search. But when I say “find,” I am specifically looking for more than your name, phone number and location. I am looking for information that indicates you have a strong reputation and you’re open to sharing information, learning from others, and interested in having a dialog with your community.

I am interested in learning something about you, and I want to learn it on the Web.

Social Media for a Medical Practice

The use of Social Media can allow potential patients to find you by increasing your internet search rankings. It can also build your practice’s reputation, help both you and your patients stay up to date on credible industry news and information. Engagement and dialogue are becoming paramount in the way that people are making decisions. If you are not participating in the discussion, you will increasingly be overlooked.

So, while I continue my quest for a physician that I can get to know a little before making an appointment, I challenge you to consider what you can do to put yourself out there and invite a conversation with your community. And if you are part of the small percentage of physicians who have already headed down this path, I’m just sorry we don’t live in the same town.