As we’ve said many times, marketing for medical practices is not a one-size-fits-all type of engagement. While marketing can take some testing and tweaking to get it right, identifying your goals can help to identify the pathway to get started. In this episode, we’ll discuss some of the most common goals we see for medical and surgical practices, and what we advise for practices to achieve those goals.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about healthcare, but how do we keep up? The days of yesterday’s medicine are long gone, and we’re left trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the talk about politics and technology, it can be easy to forget that healthcare is still all about humans. And many of those humans have unbelievable stories to tell. Here, we leave the policy debates to the other guys and focus instead on the people and ideas that are changing the way we address our health. It’s time to navigate the new landscape of healthcare together. And here are some amazing stories along the way. Ready for a breath of fresh air? It’s time for your Paradigm Shift.
Michael: Welcome to the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare and thank you for listening. My name is Michael Roberts. I’m joined here today with Scott Zeitzer. Today, we’re talking about finding the right pathway for your practice’s marketing goals. There’s a lot of sort of best practices that we talk about when it comes to marketing your practice and some different things that you need to focus on, but the end result can differ from practice to practice. This isn’t a one size fits all type of approach. It’s worth taking some time to slow down and really say, “Hey, what are you looking for? What is it that you’re really trying to get out of this marketing effort?” Because you may already have a good reputation. That may not be the thing that you’re really trying to overcome. You may have some good word of mouth already going, but you don’t have enough patients for this procedure, or you’re rolling out a new procedure, or you’re opening a new location. On and on the list can go.
We talk about marketing a lot of times as the thing that you need to be focusing on for the entirety of your practice, but there are some very targeted things that we can be working on as well. Before we really dig into all the different goals that are out there and some that we encounter quite a bit, you do need to make sure that you’ve got that foundation to build on. You can’t get into specialized marketing if you don’t have the basics there. So have that good website there, make sure it’s optimized, make sure it’s ready to go. Have good content that describes what you do and said so in a patient friendly way and explains why the patient should see you for this particular procedure.
That’s the kind of foundation that we’re starting from, Scott. Let’s talk about some of the different goals that we do here from practices once we get past things, I’ll say, that are too tactical. But we’re not just after opening another Twitter account. We’re not after just a Facebook page, but we tend of talk through all that and then get down to what are you really trying to accomplish?
Scott: It’s why we named the company P3. What kind of patients do you want to see? What kind of pathologies do you want to take care of? What kind of procedures do you want to do? It’s been very helpful slowing that conversation down, “I want to be number one on Twitter.” I don’t know why, but okay. But what are you really trying to do here? I think it does come back to, I say this to a lot of my docs that I work with: if you could sprinkle magic pixie dust. I always say that. If you could sprinkle magic pixie dust, calm down, man. Let’s take some time to think about that. You threw there some stuff out there, so it could very well be you’re a young orthopod neurosurgeon, insert that specialty in, but now you’re getting a little bit older, wiser, more experienced, and you no longer have to sit in the ER or build up your reputation with the local community. That kind of thing.
And you really want to get more targeted towards what just … I can’t tell you how many young doctors are out there. Just looking to build confidence within their own town, sitting in the ER, just taking care of patients like they’re supposed to. That’s perfectly reasonable. But after a while, you’re like, “I actually went for a couple of years extra to become a sports medicine specialist or, insert that specialty there, for that fellowship. Yeah, I’d like to see more of those.” We had that conversation, Michael. What kind of procedures? Right? Because it usually starts with, “I just want to see more of X.” What? Let’s get more specific. Let’s get more targeted. I want to be number one for orthopedic surgery. No, you really don’t. You want to be the number one Colles fracture repair man?
Michael: To jump in on that for one second. Think about the term orthopedic surgery. No one physician is handling, no one surgeon is handling all of the surgeries. All the different specializations.
Scott: I know it’s in a remote land, man, and I get it.
Michael: Right. Out there. If you’re in a major market, it’s not going to be necessarily a single surgeon. It’s going to be the hospital that’s particularly known for that. And these are major dollars being poured into this. I think talking about what you’re willing to commit to and what you’re willing to jump in on, a big, broad term like orthopedics surgery, these are hospitals, these are major practices [crosstalk 00:04:24]
Scott: Medical device companies, pharma companies, et cetera.
Michael: All that stuff.
Scott: That you’re bidding against and working against in terms of getting found via organic natural search. And you’re right about that, the way to stay ahead of them is to be more focused. It’s actually helpful to yourself. If you really want to do more, I’ll make something up, artificial disc replacement, and that’s what you want to be known for and you just want to get more patients for that, then let’s talk about that. Where’d you get your training? How experienced are you? If a patient came in and wanted to do that kind of work. That’s what our content marketing is all about. We walk the surgeon through that conversation about that and we pulled that information out. That allows you to have a better conversation online. First, with good content, and then there’s so much you can do with that content.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Getting content that’s different than the WebMD content that’s out there.
Scott: Oh, my gosh, that’s so important. I can’t tell you how many times, Michael, I’m on a call with a practice and they said, “Oh yeah, I got content on the blah, blah, blah, robotic system from blah, blah, blah company.” I’m like, “Great man. There’s 500 other sites with that same information.” Walk people through that, Michael.
Michael: When you’re reading that language, it has a different, I don’t know, pattern to it, and you just like, “Oh yeah. I’m hearing the same spiel again.” And people are getting faster and faster at detecting that kind of stuff. They’re seeing that, oh yeah, this is another one of those. It’s almost like stock photography versus real photography. Oh, there’s the pretty people. Okay, That’s another one of those kind of glossy images that you’d flip right past. Having content that talks about, “But Dr. Smith does this. This is why you can see that this is going to help you because Dr. Smith has done over 700 of these surgeries in his career.” Something along those kinds of lines where you get this reassurance that, “Okay, this person knows what they’re doing. This is not out of the norm for them in any way. I can feel confident about going through this process.”
Scott: I really, I’ve had this conversation so many times. It’s, “Look, I get it. You copy and pasted some WebMD content or you put together. It’s like a ball and socket joint.” Guys, it’s actually going to annoy some of your patients, some of your prospective patients. They’re actually going to say, I’ve actually seen a few people go online when we do testing and they’re muttering to themselves, “Oh my God. He’s trying to tell me what a total hip is. I know what a total hip is. Why would I go to this guy and listen?”
And so, I get it. It’s much easier to copy and paste this spiel, which is what it is. But that’s not what’s going to help you get more patients. Let them go to WebMD to get their content. Why are they getting a total hip done by you just to stick with total hip? And that will be sincerely the win, so to speak. When you have that good content, Michael, you can really work with that. It’s not just about getting found. Google will index you. Now you can really use that. You can use that for ad campaigns and so many other things, right?
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think that one thing that you always have to pay attention to is what’s the intent of the patient. What’s the intent of the person that’s coming to your website? Are they in this kind of more searching mode? Are they ready to book some sort of appointment? Because an advertising landing page is going to look different than just a regular content page where you’re just informing people. But you’re going to overlap content quite a bit. That Google ads landing page should look pretty, have a lot of similar material as to what your regular landing page should look like.
You’ve got the opportunity. And even as you’re thinking through, if I were to click on an ad and go to your website to try and understand what it is that I would need to know in order to feel confident enough to call your practice, to fill out that form, or all of the different steps there that I would need to know. Do I understand where you’re at? How easy is it for me to get there? We’ve even talked about this some, Scott, in terms of, are you thinking through even some of the caregiver concerns? What’s the process to get in there? How hard is this? Is this something that you have done a lot of times? All of these things that you can do to help inspire confidence, and then you can also match that up with all of the technical components of it. Do you have the keywords you need? Do you have clear calls to action? Do have an easy way for people to move forward. If you’re paying to send people to this page, is it pulling its weight?
Scott: So guys, we just talked a little bit about a lot of key elements of thoughts that we go through when we create an ad campaign, but it starts with, Michael, what you suggested was this landing page. Very often for a lot of our customers, it’s the article that we wrote for them about, I’ll stick with total hip arthoplasty for whatever reason, it was about total hips. And so, we wrote the article. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to talk to the surgeon. I get all excited about why they like the anterior approach, posterior approach, et cetera, but hey man, they’re into it. It’s cool. I love it that they are. They talk about maybe that they’re working in an ambulatory surgical center and they’re going off, man. It’s really great. We get all that and we have it written there and now Michael’s making some points about what to do with that.
It’s like, “Okay man, we can do an Google ad campaign and this is what needs to have happen on it.” And to your point, if you’re paying money to Google, to Facebook, which we’ll talk about in a second, hey, would you at least make sure it’s easy for people to make an appointment with you? You’re spending that much money. Come on. You just spent all this money to click, somebody found the ad and they actually clicked on it. It’s like, whoo! Then, they get to a page that maybe somebody wrote up and there’s not even an appointment request form. Or the page that you’re connecting it to, I’ve seen this and I’ve gently told them they need to fix this, but it’s literally not even the page. There’s an ad for total hips and they’re going to Doctor X’s page, the bio page. The practice thinks that, “Oh, they’ll connect the dots that that doctor does that.”
Michael: They’ll figure it out.
Scott: I’m like, “No, they don’t.” No, they don’t. They really don’t, man.
Michael: And you pay more for that.
Scott: Not that. What’s that?
Michael: You pay more for that as a product. The systems themselves that are serving up these ads, they’re looking for relevant content. They’re looking for something that does have as close a match as possible. This is Google’s number one way of making money. I was actually just-
Scott: And they love it.
Michael: I was just talking with somebody recently that was out in the Bay Area and was talking about some of the different people that they know that work in Google and all this kind of stuff. It was like, “Let me guess. You do something with ads.” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s what we do.” This is the primary outcome.
Scott: It’s how Google makes money, everybody.
Michael: And so, if that experience isn’t good. If Google is regularly serving up ads that don’t match their consumer’s requirements, it makes Google look bad. That means people use Google, that’s not what’s going to happen.
Scott: They don’t show your ads as much. They lower you or/and they make it more expensive. They’re quite good at those algorithms. So everybody, if you’re going to start an ad campaign, you got to have a good landing page. That’s what that landing page is. It’s where they land after you click on it. Sorry, we didn’t jump on that explanation. Oftentimes, it’s really, hey, there’s an ad for jumping jacks. Here’s an article about jumping jacks. Here’s an article why the doctor’s very good at jumping jacks, et cetera, et cetera. And here’s how you could quickly make an appointment.
Michael: I’m half tempted to go Google jumping jacks, just to see if there is something.
Scott: I’m sure it comes up. I’m sure it does. Maybe it does. Maybe there’s a good jumping jacks out there. But I generally do that because I get flustered with myself. I talk too quickly and then I don’t realize what specific thing were we talking about that particular procedure, so I just stick with jumping jacks.
P3 Pro Tip
Hey, this is Michael with your P3 Pro Tip.
We always talk about how important it is to have good content on your practice’s website. One way to ensure your content is useful is to consider how you can proactively provide information to your patients. Think about the information your patients are most likely to need about your procedures, services, and office processes and policies. What are the common questions patients have while they’re in your office? If you can include content on your website that provides that kind of information up front, you can have a more productive conversation with patients while they’re in your office, because they will already be aware of the basics.This kind of content can also be a good reference for patients post-appointment. It’s easy to misplace a paper handout from your office so having all of your key information available online ensures that your patients always have what they need. Patients will appreciate the proactive steps you take to keep them informed every step of the way.
Michael: If you’re just joining us, this is the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare. I’m Michael Roberts joined here by Scott Zeitzer. We’re talking through some of the things that practices need to consider when they’re getting out there and they’re doing their advertising. What is the main thing that you’re after as a practice? What are you really trying to accomplish?
The first thing that we’re talking about is really getting patients for a procedure. This is a procedure that maybe people are already aware of. All the examples that we’ve been and talking about are fairly well-known things that patients may need to go find. They go to their primary care. They say you need to see a physician to go get this kind of procedure done and they go, “Okay, that’s what I want.” We’ve definitely seen as physicians have been keeping up with the latest in technology, keeping up with the latest in techniques, as they come out with this and this surgical system, or this and this way of getting this particular procedure done.
There’s a lot of new things that keep on coming out. Depending on the practice, depending on how aggressive they want to be with rolling out some of these new techniques, this is something that can really be a differentiator. It can really be something, if you’re a physician that’s out there, if you’re a surgeon that’s out there introducing this to your practice, you’ve got a real opportunity to become known for that thing if people know to look for it.
Scott: Correct. That’s the important thing. I want everyone to hear that. You got a real opportunity to be known for that thing if people know what that thing is to even look.
Michael: For sure. For sure.
Scott: We’ve dealt with this because new stuff comes out on a regular basis. That’s part of the reason I like that set of specialties we actually focus on: ortho, spine, neuro, et cetera. That’s really cool stuff that comes out, but maybe that no one knows anything about it. And that’s a different conversation that’s happening online. A robotic system may come out with a new company and the surgeon’s using that robotic system, and all they want to do is put in the name of the robotic system because the surgeon thinks that every patient knows that the blah, blah, blah robotic system, everybody knows about that. No. Not that many do. That doesn’t mean, and I really mean that it’s not just you, the orthopod neurosurgeon, et cetera, insert specialty here. Yeah, all of the orthopods, or whatever specialty we’re talking about, know about it. It’s the general public that doesn’t know anything about it.
Michael: For sure.
Scott: How do we attack that when that happens, Michael?
Michael: There’s a lot of tools that you can use to understand what people are searching for.
Scott: Got it.
Michael: What are the search volumes on a monthly basis that that happens for, let’s say, hip replacement versus robotic surgery that, and I’ll go switch over to knee replacement, just because I know that there’s more systems out there around that particular topic. So, robotic surgery for knee replacement systems versus this particular type of robotic surgery for knee replacements. You see that kind of funnel of level of awareness. “Hey, I need to get a knee surgery. Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I got something that involved robotics?” And they actually understand what that means. It’s not a robot doing the surgery like all of those kinds of things, but that’s a level of awareness that you have to overcome.
Then, a specific company’s product around all this. There’s just a huge variability in how much people are aware of around that. You can’t run an ad … You can, but you’re not going to get much traffic for an ad that’s specifically tackling that one brand or that one way of labeling it. You got to have to look back up the levels of awareness. Move back up that level. If there are enough people in your market that are searching for robotic knee surgery, maybe that’s a good place.
Scott: Not with the brand itself, which may not be as well known. I’m going to send out this caveat again. When the medical device company comes to you and says, “Don’t worry. We have all this great content on the blah, blah, blah system. That’s nice. You can add it to your site. Nothing wrong with it at all. But remember, couple of things. One, it will not help you get found for how you do it. It will not. There’s too many other sites with that content. Two, it’s basically an ad for the medical device company. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Or maybe you like the medical device company. But I want you to know that just because they provided you with some content to add to your site that says, blah, blah, blah, robotic system, it’s an ad for the blah, blah, blah robotic system. Now, the win is how experienced are you using that system. What can patients expect out of that, Michael?
Michael: Yeah, for sure. It’s funny because we have this conversation with, we also talk with other companies that are rolling out these systems. One of the companies that do that sort of thing, I was meeting with them just recently and we were talking through some of the different content that they’ve got out there. Here are these different hospitals that have adopted their systems and here are the results that this hospital has seen with their system. Of a much different conversation than copy and paste. Here are the benefits of this system. The level of impact that content can have the level of patient confidence that it inspires, they’re just drastically different. Again, there’s value in it, but you need to do something to help, say, this device, plus me, the surgeon-
Scott: There you go. That’s the key.
Michael: That’s what’s going to be the win.
Scott: This device, this robot, this whatever, plus me. Nothing wrong with the content as long as you take advantage of the content and start talking a little bit about why you’re good at it, why you’re using it, why you’re experienced with it, how it can help your patients, what they can expect because you’re using it. That’s the story that needs to be told. Not just, “Hey, thanks.” Yeah, I got it on there. I don’t know why no one’s finding.
Michael: Let’s start about advertising techniques around that. Let’s get to the real tactics about it because we did talk a lot about Google ads in terms of here’s a well-known procedure, people are already looking for it, here’s how you can stand out within that field. Now, people don’t know this procedure as well. And so, we’re trying to find what level of awareness is going to work. This is where Facebook ads can be a real big help. I got to be honest. I’m really not a fan of Facebook ads. It’s not my favorite platform. But it does do a great job of raising awareness. Hey, I do have this new surgical platform that I’m using, this robotic platform I’m using, and it can benefit you the patient in this way. That kind of message on something like Facebook is a really good fit.
Scott: It does resound much better on Facebook. It really does. It helps inform. It helps get the word of mouth out online about the higher level, shall we say, of further up the funnel, so to speak. It really has been quite effective with a lot of our customers, that type of ad.
Michael: And what’s interesting about that, and it goes back to this conversation about how to use the materials that you’re provided, so we run ads for surgeon that do use particular robotic systems. And so, there’s an ad where you can have just the robot being shown off, or you can have sometimes the physician and the robot in the same photo. Every time that we’ve included the physician, the click through rates have been so much higher.
Scott: Much higher.
Michael: So much higher than even like stock photography of other people. It’s not just because they’re seeing a person. It’s like that person with this device is a good story.
Scott: That’s right.
Michael: It’s something that will slow you down as you’re going through the mindless scroll process and go, “Wait, what was that about?”
Scott: It’s interesting because I talked to so many surgeons and they’re always like, “With me, no one cares about me anymore. We just can’t.” No, they really do. It was really interesting because we’ve run quite a few of these ads now and we have come to learn very clearly that if you just show a picture of the robot, whatever, the knee system, just insert technology here, you just don’t get as many clicks or interaction as you get when the surgeon is added.
Because ultimately, the surgeon is the captain of the ship, man. And so, you could talk about the hospital, the ambulatory surgical center, the robotic system, all of that. But if you don’t trust the surgeon to use that thing, you’re going to lose, which takes you back to why I keep screaming. Stop just taking content and copying and pasting it from the med device company. They’re not trying to hurt you in any way. They’re just trying to give you a starting point and then it’s cool. But you got to do something with that. You got to explain why this is important. It goes back to just as something as simple as surgeon with picture of robot versus robot. That simple.
Michael: Like I said, it even beats out stock photos too. Everything’s gone well. But seeing that, when you talk about people caring about the physician, caring about the surgeon, that has tested the best for us on several different types of campaigns.
Okay, let’s move on. We’ve got a few more that I’d like for us to cover before. So we’ve talked a marketing goal of getting well-known and getting patients for particular procedure when people already know that procedure.
Scott: They don’t know it.
Michael: What if they don’t know that procedure? Let’s talk very quickly about regenerative medicine. This is an area that we’re working in more often. If regenerative medicine is a particular goal for your practice and getting more patients for that, you just really have to look for the opportunities where they are. Google is not promoting regenerative medicine. They’ve gotten a lot stricter about which types of procedures they do promote. They don’t. I think they’re trying really hard not to get too regulated right now. They’re being extra cautious and all that kind of stuff.
Scott: They’re very nervous of Washington right now.
Michael: I don’t blame them. It’s actually funny. I’ll throw this in as a quick caveat. As we’re recording this, Google is making a really big push on local businesses to help them fight against the rules that Congress wants to make to limit their powers on local listings and on that kind of stuff. The politics of all this are always there for sure. So, speaking of political entities, Facebook on the other hand will run those kinds of regenerative medicine.
Scott: They’ll run anything.
Michael: We’ll run them all. They are getting a lot stricter about political ads. I’ve just very tangentially related to that and saw that.
Scott: Let’s stay away from that.
When it comes to stuff like stem cells and PRP, et cetera, Google, very strict. You’re not going to be able to utilize that platform. But for sure, you can use Facebook. And if you happen to be on Healthgrades and doing work with Healthgrades, we do work with Healthgrades via Doctor.com and the folks at Press Ganey, so I can say it correctly. I think that’s another option as well where you can get advantage of that.
Michael: These are other places where you should think about even things that we don’t necessarily start off with on recommendations for practices.
Scott: That’s right.
Michael: Something like email marketing, something like that kind of stuff, where you’re giving people more awareness of what all of their options are around this. That’s a very fast look at regenerative medicine. The one that I do want to make sure that we’re talking about as well is patients that are outside of your geographic area. One surgeon really described it as like expanding the reach of his practice. Not just this part of town, but being able to cover the entire metro area. Maybe being able to cover a larger part of the state because that surgeon is worth seeing for this particular procedure.
But you’re going to have a really hard time getting that kind of coverage organically. It is possible. It can be done. But it’s something where you’re having to tag in like press, some public relations kind of stuff to help you get more press, and get more coverage in your state. So a cheaper way, a more cost efficient way-
Scott: No doubt about it.
Michael: … and just frankly, an easier way to get this process going-
Scott: A good ad campaign.
Michael: … is running ad campaigns, really localizing the content to that particular part of this, “Hey, Dr. Smith, we’re in the state of Louisiana.” Dr. Smith is serving the entire Louisiana area. This something that we’ve worked with patients from all around the state. But really digging into that and making sure that you have enough information about where you can stay, what your caregivers can expect, where you can go to be able to get around town and get what you need on that kind of thing. It’s something where you can’t just turn on an ad campaign and expect the same kind of results. It is a higher lift getting somebody to come across the state to come and see you. But it can be done and we’ve helped practices do.
Scott: To your point, we call it the travel page, the medical tourism page, whatever, and you can have a lot of good information. Which is helpful for patients.
Michael: For sure.
Scott: What hotel they can stay at. How long, if he does work at the, if the patient needs surgery at the ASC, this is how many days you need to stay there. If it’s information for the caregiver, as well as for the prospective patient. I think the other part of that is if you expect people to pay out of pocket and travel four hours, the people answering the phone, and you’re paying all this money. So you’re good at what you do, your experienced at what you do, you really feel like you can have people driving from far away to see you. And you could be the best, I’ll be an idiot again, jumping jack surgeon in all of state X, in all of Louisiana, as that’s where we’re from. And you want to start pulling people from Texas or wherever. Hey, you’re going to have good content on your site about that. You’re going to have an ad campaign about that. Those are critical components.
But please do not have someone answering the phone who basically says something like, “Doctor’s office!”, and all they want to do is schedule the appointment. They have no idea about the particular procedure you’re trying to … This happens a lot.
We’ve had podcasts with Care Sherpa where they literally have RNs who answer the phone and walk people through that process. They’re quite effective at getting people to come. Hey, there’s a cost with that but I think you’ll find more patients will actually agree to do the travel. You could train your staff. You know about what you’re doing. Stop. Don’t live on an island.
I don’t talk to many orthopods who basically say, “I got a lot of time. I can do what I want.” No. They get up at the crack. They do surgery. They see patients. They go round on their patients at night. They hope to get in time to go kiss the kids before they go to bed, blah, blah, blah. All good. They work hard. That being said, if you’re not taking the time to train your staff about what you’re doing, get them caught up about what you’re doing. What do you expect from someone answering the phone? You got to be able to do that.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And also, look into what your telehealth options are around that. That’s something that we’ve seen some practices starting to move forward to.
Michael: How can you give the patient some sort of sense of confidence before they make the drive?
Scott: That’s right.
Michael: What level of engagement can you have? We’re already at, at full time. I want to go ahead and wrap up, but thank you for taking the time to stick with us in this episode, for listening. We hope you have a great week.
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning in to The Paradigm Shift of Healthcare. This program is brought to you by Health Connective, custom marketing solutions for med tech and pharma. Subscribe on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.