3 Essential Features of A Hospital Blog

No hospital website should be without a blog anymore. A blog is the powerhouse behind all of your social media channels, e-mail marketing and website content. It improves your SEO and gives you another low-cost way to connect to patients and improve community health.

For maximum success, hospital blogs should have a few essential features, including:

  1. Graphics liven up your blog, making it colorful and inviting. They also increase the number of clicks you get when you share your blog on Facebook or Twitter. Every post should come with an image of some sort.
  2. Physician input. Use your blog to position your physicians as experts. Most (if not all) of your blog posts should either be written, ghostwritten or feature quotes from your physicians. Not only does this make your blog seem more trustworthy, it makes your physicians look like the pros they are.
  3. Call to action. Include ways for your patients to take action at the end of the blog. Invite them to make an appointment, take health surveys or quizzes or even just learn more about the blog topic or featured doctor. Always give them a way to become more familiar and involved with your hospital or practice.

Go for bonus points and add a comments section for people to ask further questions and interact with you. Use you blog to build a relationship with patients and future patients.

Have a blog, but no time to write? Drop me a line, and we can work together.

How Your Healthcare System Can Track Conversions

Google AdWords and Facebook offer a handy tool called conversion tracking. You can use conversion tracking to find out how many people take the action you want them to take after seeing your ad, for instance, buying a product or calling your office.

Conversion tracking can often help you save money and determine a more accurate ROI for your online advertising. Unfortunately, tracking conversions can be challenging for hospitals and practices. After all, very few hospitals or practices have services or products that they can sell directly online.

As healthcare marketers, we need to get creative on how to track conversions. You can track a few different possible conversions that will help you better determine your ROI on digital marketing.

  1. Online appointment scheduling
    While online appointment scheduling is growing, many practices are having difficulty implementing these systems. Online appointments can also be difficult to track since many appointments are made through a third-party site or application. If you are able to put a conversion tag on your “thanks for scheduling your appointment” page, this is the gold standard of healthcare conversion tracking.
  2. Appointment request forms
    Appointment request forms are a much more realistic option for conversion tracking since building these secure forms on your own website is much easier. An appointment request that is answered in a timely manner often means a new patient or an appointment with a returning patient, a great conversion that’s value is easy to calculate.
  3. Phone calls to your practice
    If patients can’t schedule or request an appointment online, your next best conversion method is a phone call to your practice. These can be an imperfect science since not all searches take place on a mobile phone. However, as mobile becomes more and more the preferred method for using the Internet, these conversions will become more accurate.
  4. Newsletter sign-up
    If you have an established e-newsletter, especially one specific to the service line you are advertising, you may also encourage visitors who come in through ads to sign up for your newsletter to get more information. For patients who are early in the decision-making process, this may be a valuable conversion.

I would encourage you to try to find a way to set up at least one of these conversion methods, not only to provide better ROI numbers to your administration, but also to ensure you are getting the most bang from your buck from online advertising.

Ready to get in the AdWords game or need to improve your campaigns? Send me a message; I’d love to help you!

Three Groups Your Hospital Should Target With AdWords

The difficulty with creating AdWords campaigns for healthcare organizations is that, unlike people looking for a new pair of high heels, people looking for healthcare may not know exactly what they want or need.

When I develop AdWords campaigns for healthcare clients, I focus on consumers in three different parts of the decision making process.

1. I know my symptoms.
These people know they have symptoms like dizziness, but don’t know what it means or how to fix it. Except in specific circumstances, this audience probably isn’t the one you want. After all, their symptoms may be nothing, or they may need to go to a primary care doctor for a referral before they could even approach you for business.

If you do want this audience, tailor your landing pages, ads and keywords specifically to their symptoms. Don’t bother using “back surgery;” use “lower back pain” instead. You may be able to increase awareness about your services by catching these people early, so it is always worth a shot.

2. I know my diagnosis.
This group of patients may be the audience you seek. They’ve (hopefully) been diagnosed by a primary care physician or may have self-diagnosed and are looking for confirmation. These people are ready to find someone who can help.

For this group, tailor your campaign to services and doctors that can help with their particular diagnosis. For instance, use “scoliosis,” but also “scoliosis brace,” “scoliosis surgery” and “scoliosis doctor.” Send them to a landing page with information on what to expect from treatment and easy ways to contact your doctors, such as a phone number or online form.

3. I know what treatment I want.
This group is ready to pay for treatment NOW. They’ve done their research, they’ve talked to a doctor or two, but they want a specific treatment they feel will help them. For this group, use keywords that are extremely specific to treatment you offer. Instead of “knee replacement,” use “MAKOplasty knee replacement.”

Often these last two groups can be part of the same campaign; just make sure you have an informative landing page and ads that mention specific treatments.

No matter which audience you’re aiming for, always make it easy for people to contact you from your ads or landing pages. And don’t forget (especially with audience number three!) to include any benefits that may help them choose you over a competing hospital that offers the same treatment.

+ Need some help targeting your AdWords campaigns? Contact me, and we’ll get your ads in front of the right audiences.