Pokemon Go and How Hospitals Can Jump on Trends

Do you have Pokemon in your hospital? A Poke Stop nearby?

If you haven’t checked, you should. Don’t be afraid to capitalize on the latest trend sweeping social media this week, like Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters:

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It’s not often that hospitals can join in on the latest trending topics, but it’s extremely beneficial to your online following to find creative ways to discuss hot topics.

You’ve still got a little time to get in on the Pokemon Go trend. Try out these tactics to get some love from both media and social media:

  1. Write a blog with your top ten safety tips for playing Pokemon Go.
  2. Pitch a story to the media about how Pokemon Go could be good for fighting childhood obesity.
  3. Show how Pokemon Go is helping patients in your hospital get out of bed after surgery (may be more applicable to children’s hospitals).
  4. Post a photo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. of Pokemon outside your hospital (Don’t forget a disclaimer about how trainers need to stay out of secured areas!)

What you learn and gain from jumping on this trend could help you when the next challenge, video game or movie comes out and creates a big buzz.

Need help creating engaging social media content? Send me a message!


Top Tips for Patient Interviews

I’ll admit it: patient interviews make me nervous.

Even more nervous than interviewing that very busy, very important neurosurgeon or the no-nonsense nurse who just sticks to the facts.

When you interview a patient, you are an extension of her care. You must be just as kind, patient and respectful as all of her caregivers. Plus, you’ve got to find a way to get great quotes even though most people don’t speak in quotable sentences.

While handwritten notes vs. audio recording vs. typing up an interview is a matter of personal preference, I find that these tips help any interview go smoothly, provide the patient with great service and still give me an amazing story.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. If possible, talk to the doctor and/or nurse first and get the full story, including the medical details that patients forget. Write questions ahead of time for parts that you want to focus on with the patient. Sometimes you’ll know the answers to your questions, but you need them in a nice quote in the patient’s voice.
  • Pick a comfortable place. If possible, I like to interview people in person, somewhere private where they are comfortable, such as in their home or at the hospital or doctor’s office. If you have to do it over the phone, make the call at a time the patient chooses and from a place you won’t be disturbed.
  • Start with small talk. Introduce yourself in a warm, friendly way and let the patient do the same. Tell her upfront exactly how you’ll use her story and what to expect from the conversation. The more at ease she is with you, the more open she’ll be. Start with easy questions, “Are you having a good week? What do you do for a living? How’s your family?”
  • Let her tell it. After she is comfortable, simply ask her to tell you the story from the beginning. Every patient has her own interpretation of her story. She may leave certain parts out because she’s embarrassed or because it’s too painful to remember. Don’t push her to recall those parts of her story if she seems uncomfortable. Remember, you’re being kind and respectful. You aren’t a reporter looking for a scoop.
  • Don’t interrupt. Let her get through her story first. Write questions down as you go and circle back after she’s finished. You can definitely make conversational noises (“Yes,” “uh-huh,” “no way!”) and empathize, but don’t make her stop the flow of her own story. The longer people talk, the more detailed and open they’ll get. Interrupting may be off-putting, costing you great quotes you otherwise would have gotten.
  • Avoid yes or no questions. “Yes” is never a good quote. Instead of asking, “Did it hurt after your surgery?” ask, “How did you feel after your surgery?” Let her run with her answer. If you want more, be quiet for a second, and it’s likely she’ll share more. If not, ask a follow-up, “How did your nurses help you? How did your doctor help you?”

My very last tip for patient interviews is to sincerely thank the patient – repeatedly. She didn’t have to take the time to talk to you. She didn’t have to share her story, but she did. For that she deserves a thank-you note or email!

Want to add compelling patient stories to your marketing? Contact me for details on how I can help.


How Your Hospital Can Succeed on Pinterest

Pinterest is teeming with terrible health advice, from over-restrictive diets to claims that certain herbs can cure cancer. Health systems on Pinterest can go a long way in setting the record straight and providing reliable help to people looking to improve their health.

So how can your hospital have an active, engaging presence on Pinterest?

  1. Great graphics. Pinterest is the king of graphic content. Don’t just slap stock photos online; considering adding text or filters to your photos, creating a collage, making infographics or at the very least ensuring you have beautiful photography. Try Canva or PicMonkey for help if your designer(s) is swamped with work.
  1. Clear organization. Be specific in your boards. This helps people pick which boards they want to follow and gives them a clear idea of what to expect.
  1. Focus on lifestyle. Food and fitness advice go far on Pinterest. You can also focus on improving lifestyles for people with specific health concerns, such as pregnancy or chronic conditions that require lifestyle changes (Crohn’s, Celiac disease, diabetes) and offer help tailored to people with these conditions.
  1. Don’t be afraid to Repin. Or “Save” as it’s called now. You can save content from other reliable sources (Mayo Clinic, American Cancer Society, etc.) to your boards. That’s how Pinterest works. It may help attract new followers to your boards, even if it doesn’t immediately push people to your content.
  1. Try Promoted Pins. If you’re new to Pinterest, you can also try Promoted Pins to start boosting your number of followers. Promoted Pins are fairly inexpensive and can be very effective at getting people to your content. For the best results, pick a Pin that is already popular and give it a boost.

Not sure where to start on Pinterest? Give me a shout.

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.