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Practice Marketing | Patient Engagement
The Solutionreach Blog

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December 16, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

A Viral Social Media Success

Slacktivism or genius marketing? Does ‘liking’, ‘tweeting’ or ‘sharing’ really demonstrate true interest in supporting a worthy cause?

Regardless of your opinion, statistics show that these actions, along with the healthy competitiveness of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, ignited enough curiosity about the off-the-wall worldwide idea to inspire further action.

The results couldn’t be disputed: 2.4 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos, 28 million likes, and over $100 million later, the goal to raise awareness about a disease that—in the last 75 years—hadn’t seen a cure or any real advancements, was achieved.

“One of the reasons social media is an integral part of many people’s lives is that it allows people to participate and feel connected. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge appealed to so many because it engaged and connected people. In a social media culture obsessed with selfies, contributing content on the internet, and making connections online, engaging in a challenge for a cause seems natural.”

Read here to find out why utilizing social media to promote a cause works and some tips and strategies you can implement to get the word out about what you are passionate about.

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Tagged Topics: Social Media | Success Stories

December 15, 2014

Marketing Monday: Facebook is Changing (Again)

What you need to know about the upcoming crack-down on promotional Facebook posts

Just when we think we have a handle on Facebook’s latest changes, they decide to change things up again. In the typical fashion, it’s time for another switch: Come January, 2015, reaching people who have ‘liked’ your Facebook page will get even more difficult. 

Facebook is changing

Before I explain the changes, let’s make sure you understand the FB lingo:

Engagement: In the Facebook world, ‘engagement’ refers to how people are interacting with the posts they see from you. ‘Liking’ your post, commenting on your post, sharing your post, or clicking on your link all qualify as ‘engaging’ with you.

Reach: When I refer to the ‘reach’ of your posts, I mean how many people actually see your post. Due to the way that Facebook determines what we see in our news feeds, not everyone who has ‘liked’ your page will see whatever you post.

Organic Posts: If you are just writing on your Facebook page and not paying to promote an ad, it is considered ‘organic.’

Facebook Ads: You can create an ad for Facebook that will increase your post’s visibility. When you use the Facebook Ads creation tool, you can include images, links, and a limited amount of text. You can even include tracking links to see how many people are going to your website. When you create an ad, you set a budget and Facebook stops promoting your ad when your budget has been exhausted. You are also able to set parameters for your audience based on quite a few criteria, so that you make sure you’re maximizing the success of your promoted post.

You may see Facebook ask you if you want to ‘boost’ or ‘promote’ a post you have already put on your Facebook page. Boosting a post is basically like creating an ad, without using the Ad creation tool.


So what’s changing?

Facebook is already pretty picky about how many of your organic posts will show up in the newsfeed for people who’ve liked your page. Typical reach is about 6%, but it can be much lower if no one is engaging with what you are posting.

Once January hits, you’ll have to pay even more attention.

Facebook surveyed their users and found that we are much more interested in ‘story’ type posts than promotional ones (go figure.) Because of this new insight, they will now be cracking down on organic posts that they consider ‘too promotional.’ 

In case you skimmed that last part, here is an important thing to remember: the new regulations only apply to organic posts. If you’re paying to promote your posts, they won’t be affected.

How do these changes affect you?

I’ve always told practices that the best way to use your Facebook is to connect with patients on a personal level. Fortunately, if you’re using Facebook the way you should be using Facebook, you’re not the type of small business owner that will be overly affected. Still, it’s important to know what is happening in Facebook land.

Why?
As you (hopefully) know, social media is a very valuable tool for engaging your patients. Since the majority of people connect with each other through sites like Facebook, finding and interacting with your patients on these sites is a smart idea. The more connected they are to you, the more likely they will be to stay active/current with their visits and the less likely they will be to switch to a new provider when the opportunity presents itself.

Plus, Facebook can be a great tool for marketing your practice.

If you don’t pay attention to the success of your Facebook posts, you are missing an enormous opportunity to maintain and grow an active, loyal patient base.


What you need to know about ‘promotional’ posts

So you need to crack down on how promotional your posts are. Here are the qualities that Facebook has deemed too salesy.

  1. A post that tries to convince people to buy a product. This includes services or programs that you offer, if you include text that insinuates something like ‘Click the link to buy now.’

  2. A post that tries to convince viewers to enter promotions with little context surrounding it. The rules surrounding this are still a bit hazy, so just make sure that—if you are encouraging people to enter some sort of contest—you add plenty of supporting text to the post promoting it.

  3. A post that uses the same text as one of your paid ads. Keep organic posts unique.


So what should you be posting?

(click Read More to keep reading)

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Tagged Topics: Social Media | Tips & Best Practices

December 8, 2014

Showing up ‘On-the-Line’

5 steps to saving your practice through your online presence

I recently spent some time with a practice that was failing. Really, truly failing.

The failure had come as a shock to the doctor; his practice had been remarkably profitable for nearly 25 years. He was deeply loved by his patients. He had excellent bedside manner. He took great care to spend time getting to know and engage with his patients while they were in the office. He sent out Christmas and birthday cards.

Piggy bank with bandages

The problem wasn’t that he was losing loyalty from the patients he already had. It boiled down to this: As normal attrition started to decrease his existing patient base, he wasn’t generating enough new ones to make up the difference. 

As a result, (and right as he was approaching retirement age, no less), his practice was suffering so severely that he had to work harder than ever just to keep it afloat. Not only could he not retire, he was forced to foreclose on his home because all of his money was going into the practice.

So why had this previously successful practice suddenly become so desperate for a solution to getting new patients in the door?

The Explanation

I’ll give you a hint:  It’s the same thing that has quite literally transformed the way we spend our days over the last decade. To steal a phrase from this doctor… His practice wasn’t showing up ‘on the line.’ 

That is, he had absolutely no web presence.

Why did he have to be ‘on the line’?

Let’s look at how you used to generate new patients.

Maybe you sent out a quarterly mailer or even sprung for a bigger section in the Yellow Pages. Regardless, you relied on word-of-mouth and referrals to keep new patients walking in the door.

But business has changed. If you sit around hoping that your patients will tell their friends and then those friends will keep your phone ringing, you’re going to see the same sort of attrition to your patient base that the practice I was working with had been suffering from.

Don’t referrals count anymore?

Robot holding a sign that says Here's A Referral

Referrals have always been the most powerful form of new business, but they now come with a caveat: We don’t just take our neighbor’s word for it. They tell us how great their doctor is, give us the phone number, and we say we will call. But do we? Not until we Google them. Even the internet dummies are smart enough to know that they need to do a few searches before making a decision.

Basically, if prospective patients don’t find anything when they google the name of you or your practice, they aren’t going to schedule an appointment even if you come highly recommended.

The Un-Referred

How are prospective patients that haven’t been given a referral finding a provider?

With a few clicks of the keyboard, or even just a voice request to Google or Siri, they are jumping online and searching for a provider in their area.

In fact, the importance of an online presence has increased greatly just in the last year. A recent study from Opticall analyzed data regarding the sources of new appointments from January to December in 2013. ‘Internet Sources’ was just as strong of a lead motivator as ‘word of mouth/referral.’

‘Cyber-stalking’ providers isn’t just about doing our due-diligence. We simply don’t find things the way we used to anymore: We don’t use phone books, we don’t just pop into the practice on the corner, and we don’t pay attention to the junk mail solicitations (which, let’s face it, is what your mailers would be considered.)

We use technology to look up and evaluate our options.

So how are they going to find you, if you aren’t showing up the only place they look?

Getting ‘on the line’

This was the problem for the office I started working with: Patients weren’t finding his practice when they looked online, even if they already knew his name.

50 yard line to play on being 'on the line'

When I told him that this was the problem, his shoulders slumped. He isn’t the youngest doc on the block. He could barely figure out how to perform his own search result, let alone comprehend how to make his name show up on other people’s searches.

Fortunately, I told him, getting your name on the web isn’t really that big of a deal.

There are a lot of small steps you can take, but we started with the basics. After just a few hours, he had created his own little place on the web. Within the month, he began generating new patients—some from referrals that checked out his practice website before calling, and some that were just the stray patient that needed a doctor and called on good ‘ol Google.

I’ll discuss the following tips in more detail one at a time in my Marketing Monday tips, but even this high level overview can give you the direction you need to get off and rolling.

Identifying the problem

I’d venture to tell you that, even if you do show up online, you will still benefit by revisiting and improving your online strategy every once in a while. This is a good time to start.

Do a good search for providers in your area. If you’re a dentist, try something like “best dentist in chicago” or “great ohio dentist.” If you aren’t someone that performs many google searches, ask people around you what they would search for if they were looking for a provider and then use that phrase.

Where do you show up? Do you show up?

5 Basic Steps for Establishing your Online Presence

(click to read more)

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Tagged Topics: Tips & Best Practices

December 2, 2014

3 Key Benefits to Automated Appointment Reminders

Carpool, parent volunteer time, soccer games, dance classes, boy scouts, late night runs for those last minute school project items (this happens WAY more than it should)...  It’s hard not to want to pull your hair out just thinking about it!

Time is scarce and sanity can become limited on occasion, affecting our ability to keep up with what should probably be a lot higher on our priority list: Our health. Keeping track of when our kids, (or ourselves, for that matter) are due for regular continuing care appointments can often fall to the back of our minds.

Unfortunately, the feeling that there is too little time in the day is not an uncommon one; it’s likely that your patients suffer from it, too. With the technological advances that have been made in the healthcare industry, there is almost no excuse for forgetting to schedule or showing up for your family’s upcoming healthcare appointments.

 

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Tagged Topics: Electronic Messaging | Patient Engagement | Patient Relationships | Recare & Patient Reactivation | Tips & Best Practices

November 20, 2014

Grant Your Wishes ASAP

If you had 3 wishes for your practice, what would they be?

You can probably think of more than 3 things you wish you could change or improve about your practice, but—in case nothing comes immediately to mind—let us make a couple guesses:

Wish #1: Increase my revenue!

No hesitation on this one. Everyone wants mo’ money!

Sure, everyone would like to see an increase in revenue within their practice. But what does it take to achieve this goal? You got it: keeping your schedule full.

Having a full schedule is a good feeling. Unfortunately, life happens and last minute openings will occur. A patient’s memory may fail them, a family emergency may arise, or an appointment may just simply need to be rescheduled. There’s not much you can do about a no-show, but trying to fill a last minute cancellation can be just as stressful.

Stay tuned—we have a solution!

Wish #2: Save me time (and effort!)

How about filling those empty appointment slots, so you can stop wasting time (and losing revenue) on last minute cancellations…without having to frantically call every patient on your wait list?

You know the drill; a patient calls to cancel the day of their appointment, maybe less than an hour before they were scheduled. What do you do now? If you’re like many practices,  you grab your wait list, pick up the phone, and begin calling patient after patient until you (hopefully) fill the empty slot before that appointment time has passed. If the appointment is 30 minutes or an hour from now, you may need a little luck to fill it in time.

Keep reading—your wishes will soon be granted!

 

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Tagged Topics: Electronic Messaging | Patient Engagement | Tips & Best Practices

November 10, 2014

Technology in Healthcare: Increasing the Capacity to Treat More Patients

Our 2nd Runner Up in the Solutionreach Scholarship Essay Contest

Jeremiah Jensen, a sophomore and journalism student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas is our second runner up in the Solutionreach scholarship essay contest. Jeremiah shares a great perspective on how improving communication between provider and patient will improve long term health outcomes and how technology frees up time for doctors to treat more patients. Great job Jeremiah!

Technology’s purpose is to improve the efficiency and proficiency of operations within any given field. It is one of the most important avenues humanity has for improving its overall quality of life. Thus, it is no surprise that one of the fields technology is most involved in, is the field of medicine. Healthcare is and has been one of technology’s primary beneficiaries. Technology’s steady progress paves the way for healthcare improvement.
One form of technology on the forefront of healthcare’s improvement is medical communications technology. This technology enables increased patient to doctor contact, perhaps the most critical part of a patient’s healing process.

Diagnoses and treatments come from contact with doctors, thus increased communication equals increased health, generally speaking. Advances in medical communications technologies are vital to the advancement of medicine, for when communications are clear, exchanges of information can occur between health professionals and patients the world over. Therefore, it is clear that better communication technology expedites the progress and potency of healthcare in the world, and that doctors ought to continue innovating and integrating such technology into their practices.

 

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Tagged Topics: Electronic Messaging | Patient Engagement | Patient Relationships | Recare & Patient Reactivation

November 7, 2014

Free CE Association Events you don’t want to miss!

Join us!

We are no doubt preaching to the choir, but Continuing Education courses— although necessary for the dental profession—sometimes end up being nothing more than fulfilling state required education hours for your practice with no real long-term benefits.

Solutionreach and Free CE Association Logo Banner

Free CE Association is on a mission to change that! They bring cutting edge topics presented by the most dynamic and influential presenters in the dental industry.

Please join us along with Free CE Association at the following Free CE Association events to extend your knowledge:

Free CE Schedule Image

Click Read More to view full details.

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Tagged Topics: Solutionreach News

October 31, 2014

Some Halloween Humor

Have a happy holiday!

A little Halloween humor, brought to you by the Comic Genius at Solutionreach!

Happy Halloween from Solutionreach
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Tagged Topics: Solutionreach News

October 27, 2014

And Our First Runner Up Is…..

Solutionreach Fall Scholarship Essay Contest

Lindsay Burton, our first runner up for the fall essay scholarship contest, is a junior at Azusa Pacific University double majoring in Computer Information Systems and Theater Arts. She will graduate in May 2016. She hopes to work in entertainment (with a focus in sketch comedy and improv) and tech after graduation. Check out Lindsay’s research and perspective on patient engagement technology in the healthcare industry:

Communication Technology in Healthcare

It seems that our lives quicken pace as time goes on. This is largely due to the rapid introduction of advanced technology. While many mobile apps for communication have been introduced, the healthcare is in dire need of new technology to maintain communication between healthcare providers and their patients. Patient engagement technology is key to healthcare’s success and it needs to introduce new technology in order to create a stronger healthcare provider and patient relationship.

Patient engagement is one of the most crucial trends in the healthcare world. Three trends increasing in popularity are PHRs and text-based programs. PHRs are health record systems which provide one concrete database for a patient’s personal records. Companies like Google and Kaiser Permanente introduced their own PHRs. Within the most recent years, tethered PHRs, which are controlled by healthcare providers and can be viewed by patients, were introduced.

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Tagged Topics: Electronic Messaging | Patient Engagement | Patient Relationships | Secure & Protected

October 24, 2014

3 Reasons You Need to be Using Your Patient Surveys

and tips for doing it better!

Have you ever had a patient post a negative review about your services?

Did you then wonder why they hadn’t talked to you first about the issue they were having so you could resolve it before they lashed out?

Fortunately, there is a simple way to drastically improve your chances of addressing the issue before it escalates that far.

The simple solution is to utilize your patient surveys tool more effectively.

You see, patients will rarely bring their frustrations to you without being prompted. You have to proactively reach out to them and ask for their feedback.

Your Solutionreach platform comes with the ability to send customizable, automated or on-demand surveys to get you that crucial feedback you need to solidify patient relationships and improve the service you are providing to your patients. Here are the 3 reasons this will work to your advantage:

 

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Tagged Topics: Generating Patients | Patient Relationships | Patient Retention | Patient Surveys | Tips & Best Practices

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