As a physician, you are among the brightest individuals in the country! You have survived years of rigorous schooling and training, learning words most of us cannot even pronounce. But this new era of marketing has got you scratching your head in confusion. From social media to google reviews, and beyond, you don’t even know where to start. Good news! That’s where we come in!
As fellow healthcare professionals, we understand all that you are up against. In addition to providing marketing, we are working with physicians to help them sustain their medical practices; also, we are opening new medical practices, providing practice management support and more. Who better to be the voice for physicians than a company who is living in their world, slaying the same giants? Commonly, physicians will say things such as, “I don’t understand this social media stuff”; or “We never had to worry about marketing until now, we just worked really hard providing great care, and the patients followed”. That was the era prior to Google ads, social media, and private equity backed medical groups. Let’s talk about what that all means.
As a minimum, practices need a decent website, and a social media presence. That’s assuming you have a practice name and are not just using your legal name. It may sound silly to say that, but we had a client who never had a name beyond their legal name that used their last names. They sounded more like an accounting or law firm. Prior to retaining Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting, they retained a well-known, expensive marketing agency, with the intention of identifying a name and a brand. That consulting agency charged them $15,000 but never provided them a name they liked. So, the marketing agency made out quite nicely, and the practice walked away with $15,000 less in their bank and no name. When Cornerstone came on board, we ran a contest among the staff, allowing them to propose a name they thought the practice should adopt. Upon review of the staff suggestions, they ended up selecting one of them as the new practice name, without paying $15,000. From there, we were able to coordinate the design of a practice logo, website, social media, and more.
Most of the time, physicians recognize the need for a good website. They realize a website is the present-day version of the yellow pages. However, they don’t always grasp the importance of social media. Why is social media important? This is where potential patients are! When patients need a new physician, the first places they are likely going to are Google, and possibly Facebook. On Google they are checking out your reviews, and on Facebook, they are reviewing your photos to get a sense of who you are, what the environment is like, etc. Beyond that, content is king! While we are all looking for the quick easy fix to increase our website search engine optimization (SEO), it is often the same laundry list of tasks that need to be done to be successful in that endeavor, with one of the items on the list being content creation.
It’s not just potential patients who are reviewing your social media accounts, but also potential employees. Like potential patients, potential employees are checking out your Facebook pictures, attempting to gain a sense of what the environment is like, if the staff look friendly, etc. The social media pages can say a lot about the practice. One of the ways Cornerstone seeks to be different, is we shy away from boring “corporate-like” posts that have the look of desperation for just putting content out. We take pride in being personable, promoting the physicians and staff, and the amazing things they are doing. Also, because of our healthcare background, we actually have some knowledge for what we are promoting. This is especially useful when generating blogs, and how certain topics may create more patient questions than answers. Understanding the practice operations significantly helps as well. It allows us to consider how the marketing will impact the staff answering the phones, and other practice logistics. And let’s not forget about HIPAA! Yes, we are well informed of those laws, abiding by them regarding patient photos, information, etc. Working with a marketing agency that does not understand these laws can leave a practice vulnerable.
We understand it is a big jump for most practices to agree to launch social media pages. The big question they often have is which pages are needed to get started. There are many ways to answer this question, such as based on specialty, target market, etc. First and foremost, a Google My Business page is a necessity. If you want to keep it simple, a Facebook page is a great start. If you create a Facebook page, it just makes sense to also have an Instagram page. If your practice isn’t quite ready to spend the money on a marketing agency, there are lots of resources that are easy to use, and either very affordable, or even free. A few examples of these resources are as follows:
Canva – Allows you to create attractive content. There is both a free version, as well as a very affordable Pro version. There are already custom sized templates available per the size requirements of the social media platform you are posting on.
InShot and CapCut – Video editing apps for your phone that are very easy to navigate. CapCut even has a shortcut version that designs videos using the content you populate it with. Like Canva, they offer both a free version, as well as very affordable pro versions.
Hootsuite – Looking for efficiency, with the ability to post the same content across multiple platforms? Hootsuite is a great option. The free version allows you to add up to three of your social media platforms.
Later.com – When browsing Instagram, you may have seen the Link in Bio feature. To add this feature, you can do so for free on Later.com. Like Hootsuite, you can schedule and publish social media posts from this one location. Their free version offers up to 15 social media platforms.
MailChimp – In need of something to help you with email marketing? MailChimp provides a free version that allows you to have up to 2,000 contacts.
Many of the above resources can integrate with other programs. MailChimp, for example, can integrate with Facebook, as well as Survey Monkey, who you may be using for your patient satisfaction surveys. If that all still sounds way too confusing, and you just want to outsource your marketing, give Cornerstone a call! We will work with you on a plan that complements your practice in all the best ways possible, including affordability.
Lastly, once medical practices make the decision to develop a marketing program, they tend to get a bit overzealous and want us to dive into everything immediately. While we love and respect your enthusiasm, you will hear us recite the need to first form a foundation for which we can build from. Marketing isn’t the only service we recite the need for a foundation. In fact, I think we recite that for all our service lines, because we think it’s that important. With respect to marketing, it must start with a website, then social media, so on and so forth. Google ads for example, can be very effective, but without an established website, you are limiting the effectiveness. In addition to Google ads, once the foundation is laid, we can work on patient satisfaction programs, physician referral programs, and more. Interested to learn more about how Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting can help you with your marketing needs? Click HERE to schedule a consult!