Stress-Free Social Media
Social media has been called the 21st Century’s word of mouth. Learn how to achieve maximum results with minimal effort.
Many of your new patients come through word-of-mouth referral. However, instead of calling your office, today’s referral patient goes online to learn more about you, your practice and your services before deciding whether or not to book an appointment. This new trend has altered the traditional referral system, probably forever. The modern practice must have a strategy for engaging referral patients even before they arrive at the office.
Fortunately, the same methods used to engage referral patients also allow you to reach a broader online audience. In fact, the Internet is teeming with potential patients — both those who have already been referred to you as well as other friends of your current patients who are looking for information on the services you provide. Enter social media. Facebook, Google+ and other social media platforms are an intersection between your current patients, “friends” (read: potential referrals) and the Internet. With a modest effort and minimal resources, you can achieve the maximum benefit from these programs.
Conflicting Reports, Social Confusion
With all the buzz surrounding social media, there is a lot of pressure to get involved. But how? And is it worth it? On the one hand you read reports from respected research entities (PEW Research, etc.) suggesting that a relatively small number of people use social media to research healthcare. On the other, you read that social media is all you need to successfully market your premium practice. So the question is, is social media valuable to your practice? Absolutely. However, to achieve maximum success, it is important to understand how social media is (and is not) being used for healthcare information, and to design your strategy accordingly.
Social Media Done Right
Social media is a great way to connect with current patients. This, in turn, increases loyalty and encourages them to refer their friends — be it through Facebook or by phone — to your practice. Though Ceatus’ research shows only a small percentage of patients arriving directly from social media, there’s no denying that it’s a growing means of communication. When it comes to visibility, it’s important to be where potential patients are, and this now includes social media platforms.
But perhaps the best news about social media is that it doesn’t take much to realize the maximum benefit. By simply establishing a quality presence on Facebook and Google+, you place your practice in front of millions of people — and thousands of potential patients.
Here are a few social media elements you can address without spending an inordinate amount of time or money:
Design – Establish a custom design that reflects the image of your practice. Social media networks are a good venue to brand your practice identity. Your design can and should mirror your practice website’s design, and can be implemented with ease.
Posts – Posting comments twice a week will probably suffice, but check your account daily so that you can respond to comments from current and prospective patients. This allows you to take advantage of “social dialogue.” Your posts can be about changes in your office (new staff members, new technology), specials or special events you are promoting, or even news items such as developments in health and nutrition. Good posts are anything that connects you to your “followers” and reminds them that you are interested in them.
Pictures – This is a social venue, so be sure to include a few professional but friendly images of you and your staff.
Testimonials – Positive testimonials from real patients are a great endorsement for your practice and require no management or upkeep. Include photos for those patients who are willing to consent.
Ceatus Can Help!
Ceatus can build your social networks for you and make upkeep easy for your practice — without breaking the bank. To learn more, contact us today.
Read about our Case Study of the Month
Headed out of town for a conference? Treat yourself to an afternoon off at one of these dazzling golf courses.
Langara Golf Course
Located less than 20 minutes from the convention center, Langara Golf Course resides on a spacious, 6,261-yard stretch of luscious turf beside the harbor. This par 71 public golf club is open from sunrise to sunset and boasts a ranking of 68.1. Using contoured, tree-lined fairways, Thomas McBroom designed each hole to give golfers a peaceful experience away from the city. Langara is one of only 816 golf courses worldwide to achieve Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status, a distinction given to courses in recognition of exceptional environmental standards. The hardworking staff and beautiful fairways make Langara the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is one of the most unique, and legendary, cities the United States has to offer. French, Southern, and Caribbean influences ensure the food and culture have no equal. With its iconic Southern architecture and gorgeous greens, English Turn is a great place to experience this amazing city. Its 43,000 square foot clubhouse has a fully stocked pro-shop as well as a bar and grille (with full bar) that is open Tuesday through Sunday. Though the clubhouse is amazing, the greens are what make this par 72 course worth seeing. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, English Turn makes use of the city’s natural landscape by integrating water into the layout of each hole. Though water is not used as an obstacle on most holes, there are bunkers and hills that make the course challenging. When you make it to the famed 18th hole of English Turn, your reward is the opportunity to experience one of the most challenging holes on the PGA Tour. If you want to walk in the footsteps of the world’s greatest golfers while enjoying a golf experience like no other, take a trip to English Turn.
San Diego, CA
Perched above the vast Pacific Ocean is Torrey Pines Golf Course. Home to many tournaments, this PGA tour stop is one of the most recognizable of the year. Perhaps its most memorable moment came in 2008 when Rocco Mediate and an injured Tiger Woods played for the championship. After 90 holes of intense play, the match culminated in a sudden death faceoff where Tiger Woods came out on top. Torrey Pines was voted one of “America’s Best Municipal Courses” by Golfweek Magazine in 2009, and was named in Golf Digest’s “America’s Best Public-Access Courses” for California in 2006. Commonly referred to as a “golfer’s paradise,” Torrey Pines is also a challenging course due to its design and weather. Located on the cliffs of La Jolla, the course is often overcome by fog and wind that test even the most seasoned golfers. The Torrey Pines golf course is a must-see for any golf enthusiast visiting San Diego.
Spread out across vast pineapple fields and unique geologic formations, Kapalua is host to one of the PGA Tour’s most beautiful golf courses. This 7,411-yard, par 73 plantation course is host to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions each January. Countless golf legends have graced the fairways of this majestic course, including Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, Vijah Singh and course record holder K.J. Choi, whose score of 62 set in 2003 has yet to be surpassed. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the course is located at the Kapalua Resort, which boasts fine dining in the form of Plantation House restaurant. Here golfers can unwind by overlooking the ocean and enjoying the fresh seafood prepared with produce and herbs grown in the resort’s own Kapalua farms. For the avid golfer, there is no greater place to be than Kapalua Plantation Golf Course.
Experts and recreational golfers alike speak fondly of their “home course” — the course that they are used to, that they have carefully chosen because of the amenities and scenery. Greencastle Greens Golf Club is a bit like a “home course away from home.” Set near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, this golf course overlooks a mountain landscape and features 6,892 yards of rolling fairways, lakes and even a few waterfalls that add to the difficulty — and the beauty — of the course. Before setting out for a round on this par 72 course, take a swing at the 16-station grass tee driving range to help you prepare for your game. The Greencastle Proshop is stocked with the leading names in the industry to ensure that you are well prepared for the course. And if you’re interested in more of a workout, this club offers a fitness room and classes. Greencastle Greens Golf Club is the perfect place to escape for a beautiful day off.
Cantigny Golf Course
The 27-holes of Cantigny Golf Course sit on the former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, long-time editor and publisher of the Chicago Union Tribune. McCormick is a legend in journalism, having built the Tribune from one paper into a major media organization of newspapers, radio, television, and newsprint operations. After his death he set aside his lands to be used by the city of Chicago and the people of Illinois for recreation and education. Each of the nine-hole courses was exquisitely designed to feature different aspects of the surrounding landscape. In 2002, this par-72 course was named among the top 100 golf courses under $100. In 2003 the course was updated by Jacobson Golf Course Design, and it now has a rating of 76.1. After a hard day of golfing, feel free to relax in the clubhouse grille and restaurant overlooking Cantigny’s Swan Lake. If you want to visit a golf course steeped history, look no further than Cantigny Golf Course.
Ask the experts
Q I bought a website from an Internet company, but I am not sure who created the content? How important is it that I find out?
A Very! Website content is important for two main reasons. First, Google’s algorithm is designed to select the best online resource for a specific topic area. If your website content is duplicate to 20 other websites, Google cannot possibly view your website as an authoritative source of information. Second, consumers often review your website before contacting your practice, no matter how they first heard of you. If your website content is the same as other sites, it can be a turn-off. Your website content should be unique and compelling. (There are several easy tests to determine if your content is duplicate. Contact us to learn how.)
Maximize Your ROI
Here’s how to knock it out of the park
Last month we gave you some tips for assessing your Internet marketing program’s return on investment (ROI). If you discovered that your ROI wasn’t quite what you had hoped, you’re not alone. Now let’s talk about what you can do to fine-tune your game plan and maximize your ROI. Follow these steps and you just may hit it out of the park!
Dust Off Your SEO
The Internet is teeming with potential patients looking for information on the services you offer, and the place they often start is Google. Think of Google as the umpire. If you want to walk away victorious, it’s a good idea to do what the search giant likes. First, make sure both your name and the name of your practice are present on the home page of your website and in the meta description and page title (space permitting). Also be sure to place your practice location in a prominent location (i.e., not the bottom of the page!). If the primary area from which you draw patients extends beyond the town or city where you are located, make sure the names of other important cities in this area are mentioned on your website. (Note: do not mention these cities on your Google Places page, as Google may eject you from the game. See last month’s article on Google Places for more information.)
Don’t Copy the Cross-town Rival
It may sound obvious, but if you want to maximize your Internet marketing ROI, you need new patients. While your website obviously needs to appeal to those who are searching specifically for you, it also needs to attract potential patients who are looking for more general information and who haven’t made a decision yet on who will provide the services. To accomplish this, Google and other search engines must view your site as a valuable resource for topics related to your specialty (LASIK, breast augmentation, porcelain veneers, etc.).
Having unique content is key to this goal. Create separate, unique, consumer-targeted pages for each procedure/treatment you offer, and include such information as risks, results, recovery and cost. Don’t even think about using “canned” content. If your content is duplicated on other sites or contrived in any way, you may be penalized by Google. The search engine’s much discussed “Panda” update (a recent change to its core algorithm) was designed to punish sites with duplicate, generic or low-quality content.
If you want to convert website visitors to patients, you need to make it easy for them to contact you. Make sure your contact form is easily accessible throughout your website. In addition, your practice information, address and phone number need to be prominently displayed, up-to-date and accurate — both on your website and on your Google Places page. Also update this information in any listings with medical societies or organizations.
Know How to Close
An experienced Internet marketing firm will certainly help you cover the bases, but these efforts are hampered (or even negated) if there is no effective game plan in place for when prospective patients contact your practice. The role you and your office staff play in maximizing your ROI cannot be overstated.
Unfortunately, many practices inadvertently sabotage their marketing efforts. Emails are left unanswered for days (or even weeks) and phone calls are frequently answered, sometimes abruptly, by busy office staff members who are in a hurry to get back to their patient duties. In both cases, YOUR potential patients are left with the impression that your practice is not really interested in their needs. As we all would, they go on to seek a practice that is.
Make sure that your office staff understands that every contact with a patient is an opportunity to promote you, your practice and your services. We recommend bonuses to staff members for increasing the number of consultations and procedures. It is critical that your practice email be checked daily (or more often) and that email leads are responded to immediately. Phone calls should be answered promptly and in a friendly, welcoming and unhurried manner. Once potential patients find you, they must feel that your practice is the place they need to be.
The bottom line: a well-executed Internet marketing plan coupled with an effective in-office patient strategy will ensure that you achieve your maximum ROI!
CEATUS Case Study of the Month
Case Report March 2012
Background: Dr. Richard Champagne has a successful cosmetic dentistry practice in Morganville, New Jersey (northeast New Jersey). In 2008, he was spending thousands of dollars per month on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to drive prospective patients to his website. This program was successful, but he felt his practice would benefit if his own website ranked for the search terms he was purchasing.
Solution: He contracted with Ceatus Media Group to improve his organic rankings and, as a secondary benefit, reduce his expenditures for PPC ads on Google. Ceatus took over management of his existing website (www.drchampagne.com), and within six months his site was ranked #1 on Google for the most highly competitive search terms relating to his region and specialty (below).
- Cosmetic dentist New Jersey
- Cosmetic dentist NJ
- Cosmetic dentistry New Jersey
- Cosmetic dentistry NJ
- Dental veneers New Jersey
- Dental veneers NJ
- Porcelain veneers New Jersey
- Porcelain veneers NJ
In 2009, Dr. Champagne wanted to expand his presence with a new website focusing on a broader range of high-end services, including dental implants and sedation dentistry. In early 2010, Ceatus designed, constructed and launched a new website for Dr. Champagne (www.champagnesmiles.com). This new site also zoomed to the top of the search results, while Dr. Champagne’s previous website retained its top rankings. His new website now ranks in the top 3 on Google for highly competitive search terms, including “implant dentist new jersey,” “sedation dentist new jersey,” “dental implants new jersey,” and many others.
Result: Dr. Champagne now has top visibility for highly competitive search terms that prospective patients are searching. With two websites at the top of the Google search results, he has captured prime real estate at the expense of his competitors. Thanks to his impressive organic rankings and visibility, Dr. Champagne has been able to significantly reduce his reliance (and expenditures) on Google PPC ads. This strategy has been so successful that he is considering a third website to further expand his reach!