Archive for category: Articles

How to be Loved by Google – Maximizing your SEO Page Ranking

Categories: Articles

How to be Loved by Google – Maximizing your SEO Page Ranking

Is getting a second look from the targeted love of your life easier than getting a first look from Google for your SEO page ranking? When you’re trying to build more business, it probably is. Just as you try to figure out how to make yourself more attractive for finding a life partner – and use creative website design to look good online — you need to make your content attractive to Google, which actually plays as your “wingperson” when you’re out there attracting business.

There’s one key difference; your human wingperson is already a friend who’s ready to appreciate and tout your outstanding qualities. With Google as a wingperson, you need to make a convincing case to its search bots before it agrees to award you with high SEO page ranking in searches by your targeted customers.

SEO page ranking success depends on putting out the content Google and your prospects will love. As Todd Bowerman, an eHow contributor writes in How to Attract Googlebot, the process is not that complicated although it does constantly evolve. While there are some technical things you need to do, and creative website design still matters to the humans, content carries the day.

Here are a few tips:

  • Create new content for your website. The more content you create, the more frequently your site will be crawled. High-quality content usually wins in a battle for search ranking. So, add a blog or news page to your website and update it frequently. You’ll only need a little creative website design here because this is more about your keywords.
  • Create a photo album on a website such as Flickr or Photobucket and use it regularly to post images related to your business. Photo albums create vital back-links to your website and they also encourage the Googlebot to re-scan them when they are updated.
  • Create a YouTube channel and post videos if you have good video content.
  • Construct a strong network of back-links for your site. Back-links are links that lead to your website from another site and they are one of the most important tools for establishing search ranks. You can earn back-links by participating in link shares and buying links on popular sites, but the most effective method is to create interesting content that readers will share across the web.
  • There are few other technical steps to take to maximize your SEO page ranking, including building a Google sitemap and pinging your website and links to let the bots know you’ve made a change.

NicheLabs can help you with all of the technical details and content and tie everything together to make your creative website design more SEO-attractive. Our professional branding specialists, designers, content writers and programmers can work as a team to help you keep your marketing up to date and your search rankings high. We are a full-service agency for businesses that don’t have a CMO or VP of Marketing or that don’t have the people or time to do website design, manage SEO and digital/ direct marketing campaigns. As part of your team, we can create the channels for pushing out your content and work with you to get the information out to your targeted market.

For more tips and insights about digital marketing advancements, connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to read summaries of our weekly posts.

Providing the content that Google and your targets will love can attract more business. Email us at sales@nichelabs.com, call 888.978.9254, or if you are mobile, visit us on your smartphone, and we’ll dress up your website.

Destroy Your Marketing

Categories: Articles

We have the marketing equivalent of gastric indigestion. It’s that churning upset in our gut when exceptionally effective medical practice advertising inspires qualified prospective patients to phone the provider’s office—only to be rejected at the front desk.

Here’s the disturbing little back-story that upset us recently. Keep in mind this is true and, unfortunately, it’s all-too common. We tell this tale for the benefit of other healthcare providers. There are valuable doctor-marketing lessons here.

A prominent and professionally respected specialist group put a healthy budget behind their medical practice marketing. The phone was ringing. Tons of calls from prospective new patients. But it wasn’t leading to many new business appointments.

It was more than simply a lack of proper training. In this case it was pure incompetence.

Based on our real-world example, here are three sure-fire ways to destroy your medical practice marketing, drive patients and cases you want into the arms of your competitor, and damage your professional reputation. (Gastric indigestion is purely a bonus.)

Number Three: Phone calls are a distraction; dispose of them quickly. Administrative and clerical help should never put new business ahead of shuffling papers, filing charts or break room gossip. Hire a high school kid to stop all that pesky ringing noise. There’s no need for training; anyone can answer a damn phone. (By the way, when is lunch? That’s at least an hour and a half of prime business hours when we can turn off the phones entirely.)

Number Two: Have no policy or procedure regarding prospective patient calls. Have no policy, that is, other than assigning no importance to these calls and doing your best to ignore them. A vigorous “no policy” approach actively supports the “no training” and “unqualified help” dynamics of Number Three (above). It’s synergistic, plus there’s more time for the holiday party committee meeting.

And NUMBER ONE: Never offer a caller an appointment. Can you imagine what chaos would follow if we actively invited callers to make an appointment? This doctor advertising stuff is bad enough…it connects with people in need who are prequalified as prospective patients. Callers are hungry for any little signal that they might be welcome as new patients. Engaging a caller in conversation, building rapport and/or offering a convenient appointment at any time during the initial phone conversation carries a high risk of (gasp) new business.

Amusing? Absurd? In fact, we routinely find these, and other, self-damaging practices draining revenue from otherwise well intended and potentially successful physician marketing efforts. But among these three, the one quick and easy step to completely undermine your medical practice marketing effort is when a prospective new patient calls and no one offers to set an appointment.

The sobering reality is that in some situations, disconnecting the office phone line and burning cash at the front desk would be less costly and less damaging. Do you really know how well your office handles new patient enquiries? If you don’t know, you might find a churning upset in our gut.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, we should talk. It’s alarming, but 90 percent of practices and healthcare organizations lose money when they answer the phone, particularly when it comes to advertising generated inquiries.

Connect with Zac to see if your friendly team… are too friendly and killing revenue.
www.linkedin.com/pub/zac-wright/37/46a/3b0/

Zac Wright
Difference Maker
(Z) 470.255.2454
(O) 888.296.9545
(F) 866.356.0279
www.newpatientmd.com
Schedule time: https://www.timetrade.com/book/24PZJ

Capitalizing on Your Good Work and Goodwill — Get Testimonials

Categories: Articles

Testimonials are the lifeblood of referral marketing. Many customers and clients are happy to give them when you do a great job or provide outstanding service on a project or over the long term. Sadly, few companies then put them in the right places to capitalize on them.

Building a good testimonial requires more than just doing good work. A blog post by Cairril Mills, owner of a design and marketing firm in Bloomington, IN, goes beyond the obvious. She advises approaching the clients who are like those you really want to work with and make sure they have a compelling story to tell. Then, interview people most likely to impress the prospects you want to impress. Get them to describe the problem or need they had, how your business helped them solve that problem or fill that need and the benefits gained from their relationship with you.

The best way to get the testimonial is to do a video interview. Focus on your customer’s or client’s face – or faces if you’re interviewing more than one person – and engage them in a conversation. You want them to tell a story, not recite a bunch of answers. As you engage them, give them time to talk, and don’t worry about too much silence; it will help your editing.

If you can’t do a video interview, you can easily record a phone conversation and display a static picture or series of related images while the audio is heard.

A good line of questioning should include:

  • What was their pain point?
  • What were they doing about the pain point before working with you?
  • How did you help them identify their problem or need and implement your solution?
  • What were the specific benefits?

Once you have their story, you can tell it in a number of ways in a number of places. A blog by Kristi Hines, list six different places where you can post testimonials – each serving a specific purpose. They are:

  1. Facebook Reviews
  2. LinkedIn Recommendations
  3. YouTube Videos
  4. Local Search Directories
  5. Niche Trade or Industry Review Sites
  6. Google Alerts and Social Mentions

Local search directories and niche review sites require that the reviews be genuine – written and posted by the actual reviewer. You also need to monitor those review sites so that you can respond to negative reviews to head off major problems. (That’s the downside of opening your business to reviews; however, we can tell you is it well worth it. In many cases, a negative review can be turned in to a very, very positive review; there’s not space in this article, so ask us how)

If you’ve served your customers and clients beyond their expectations – and offer them an appropriate reward – you should be able to collect testimonials that can motivate your targeted prospects.

NicheLabs can help you develop a strategy for testimonials and then set them up on your website and social media channels helping you nurture your community and monetize your goodwill.

We are a full-service agency for businesses that don’t have a CMO or VP of Marketing or that don’t have the people or time to develop websites and digital/ direct marketing campaigns. We have the resources to help you develop an integrated marketing communications program that includes social media, website content and email marketing for a total marketing communications and digital solution. And we’ll help you make decisions you can live with.

For more tips and insights about digital marketing advancements, connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to read summaries of our weekly posts.

To speak with our team, please Email us at sales@nichelabs.com, call 888.978.9254, or if you are mobile, visit us on your smartphone. When you and your customers and clients have good stories to tell, NicheLabs can help make sure they’re seen and heard.

Dollars & Cents

Categories: Articles

There’s nothing like a real-life success story to illustrate the bottom-line, dollars-and-cents value of staff phone skills training.

In this case, a physician group specialty practice more than doubled its new patient revenue by training their staff to more efficiently and more effectively answer the phone and convert callers into made and kept appointments.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to capitalizing on physician advertising. There’s an up side and a downside, and the difference is in how the office is trained and prepared (or unprepared) to handle inbound calls. And frankly, nearly every practice has something to learn and much to be gained. Even when a practice does zero advertising, we see the same staggering new patient results.

Our President, Zac Wright, whose official job title is actually Difference Maker, provides the following numbers from this vein practice in a central time zone with four locations and an average case size of $2,900.00 per new patient. “Accounting for each location,” Zac reports, “they went from 185 new patients in September last year to 347 new patients in September this year.”

Doing the math, the new patient revenue more than doubled from about $536,500 per month to over $1,000,000. Zac—who is understandably diligent about tracking results—says that, “Overall, they realized an across the board increase of about 50 percent for all locations in the three months following training.”

So, you might ask, just how did they do that? The answer may be a bit of surprise.

The “Anti-Sales Philosophy”
Zac tells us “all we did was leverage their existing staff—their largest overhead expense, by the way—and turned them into revenue producers.” In other words, this practice didn’t change its personnel, and what’s surprising is that the training created “revenue producers” and “brand zealots” using an anti-sales philosophy.

“That’s right, anti-sales.” Zac says, “We never want the staff to sound like they are selling anything. In fact, they are not ‘selling.’ Training is about helping the patient appreciate the quality of care, understand what’s involved in treatment and the support that the office provides each patient. And they set an appointment for the prospective patient in an entirely new way… a patient-centric way.”

The core idea is that the patient can’t benefit from the services of the doctor or the practice over the phone. They can only help the patient once they come into the office, and a first appointment is the beginning of a process of caring for the individual. Onsite staff training—Patient-Centric Scheduling—works from the perspective of helping the patient and boosting revenues for the practice.

Connect with Zac to see how training your team is the proven, pragmatic, foundation for boosting your revenue. www.linkedin.com/pub/zac-wright/37/46a/3b0/

Zac Wright
Difference Maker
(Z) 470.255.2454
(O) 888.296.9545
(F) 866.356.0279
www.newpatientmd.com
Schedule time: https://www.timetrade.com/book/24PZJ

Steps to Increased Revenue When the Phone Rings

Categories: Articles

For a doctor or office administrator, the first red-flag warning sign is when the office phone is ringing, but the inbound inquiry calls are not converting to new patient appointments. The practice was not prepared to handle the calls properly and opportunity was lost.

For one practice, with a typical case size of $2,200-$3,200, it was a huge problem. Fortunately, they saw the symptoms and acted quickly. Many healthcare advertisers—about 90 percent—lose money on the phone with advertising generated inquiries.

In fact, we encounter this problem so frequently that we use a comprehensive rating system to chart and report the effectiveness—or lack of it—in handling initial inquiry calls. We’ll gladly tell you more about how this works, but in outline form, successful practices train employees around a proven process from inquiry to new patient appointment.

There are five core components to the system that are critical for success. Think of these as stages in a process that begins when doctor advertising causes the phone to ring.

  1. EFFECTIVE GREETING: There’s a lot more to it than simply saying “hello.” The key component is “effective;” a call can easily be “DOA” without a proper start.
  2. INFORMATIVE ANSWERS: Surprisingly, staff members may not be prepared, and unscripted and incomplete answers to caller questions erode confidence.
  3. CONTROL OF THE CONVERSATION: A prospective patient probably does not know what to ask or how to progress to the next steps. Guiding the conversation delivers useful information and leads it in the direction of a first appointment.
  4. CAPTURE AN APPOINTMENT: Knowing when and how to “close” and set an appointment is a critical step. (Simply failing to offer an appointment is the number one killer of opportunity.)
  5. FOLLOW-UP: Questions about the patient and their needs and interests help secure the appointment or provide background for a subsequent follow-through with an unscheduled caller.

What’s the score in your medical practice? Are you using a systematic approach that includes these five components? If you are one of the many healthcare providers that is converting only one in ten prospective new patient callers, your physician marketing and advertising dollars are being squandered, and worse, your new business opportunity has the sound of a deeply annoying busy signal. www.linkedin.com/pub/zac-wright/37/46a/3b0/

Zac Wright
Difference Maker
(Z) 470.255.2454
(O) 888.296.9545
(F) 866.356.0279
www.newpatientmd.com
Schedule time: https://www.timetrade.com/book/24PZJ

Build Trust in You and Your Business Through Communities

Categories: Articles

BuildTrustThroughCommunities

Back in the old days of marketing – the 2000s – businesses pushed out a lot of messages to customers, clients and prospects. That approach doesn’t work as well anymore.

While you still need to push out information to introduce yourself and feed the marketplace as well as the search engines, it’s the conversations in the communities of your customers and clients that help people trust in your business. The community dynamic is something you need to understand and embrace as part of your Continuous Improvement Process.

Technology has always played a major role in how businesses communicate, starting with newspapers and magazines. But readers had to take the word of reporters and editors that they printed as the truth. By the 1950s, TV had become commonplace in most homes, and people could say: “I know it’s true because I saw it on TV.”

The Internet opened more direct communications channels for businesses to reach customers. You could publish websites, blogs, newsletters and even news releases. You don’t have an editor from a news outlet as a gatekeeper. You could start Facebook pages and invite friends (who may or may not be customers or clients) to “like” your business.

The common denominator is that you, the business, pushed out all of this information (and opinion) to your market. People sarcastically started to say: “I know it’s true because I saw it on the Internet.”

The problems with past tactics are:

  • Lack of trust of the message
  • Lack of trust of the messenger
  • Not what I need or care about
  • Can’t find your message among the clutter and noise

Today, it’s about communities that build trust in your business and its brand – everything you stand for. In 2014, communities are built on people who know and trust you and your business:

  • Brand advocates
  • Influencers
  • Community members

One way to tap into a community is through LinkedIn groups, where your claims are subject to comment among the group. When people without a stake in your business comment favorably about it or about your message, it gives you credibility. That leads to trust.

Because technology evolves at breakneck speed, your Continuous Improvement Process requires close, regular attention to new developments.

That’s where we come in. Yes, this is about pushing out a message to your company advocates and your community.  When you have the need for marketing solutions but not the time to design and implement them, Niche Labs can your trusted advisor. We are a full-service agency for businesses that don’t have a CMO or VP of Marketing or don’t have enough website development and digital/ direct marketing resources (people or time). 

We can work with you to:

  • Conduct a marketing assessment of your company and its market.
  • Find new customers by increasing website traffic through communities
  • Strengthen your online presence with a new, high quality e-Commerce website or by improving an existing website
  • Engage your new and existing customers with community-building activities

For more tips and insights about digital marketing advancements, connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to read summaries of our weekly posts.

To speak with our team, please Email us at sales@nichelabs.com, call 888.978.9254, or if you are mobile, visit us on your smartphone.  Let’s build a community together.

Provided by Hal Schlenger of NicheLabs,
(770-335-0077 or hschlenger@nichelabs.com)

Lease Language… The Devil is in the Details

Categories: Articles

The focus of most medical lease negotiations is on the business terms and while they are certainly critically important, after coming to agreement on business terms you should not forget to spend the time necessary to negotiate a good lease document. 70 to 80% of any lease document will probably never be used. Most of the language in a lease is like an insurance policy, it is only important if there is an event that invokes it. Many of the non monetary issues are given only cursory attention during the negotiation process.

Among the issues which should be considered are:

Use – Most tenants pay very little attention to the use provision but you should make sure in deciding on the description that it is sufficiently broad to cover all of the things you currently do as well as future services that you may offer as your practice and medicine continue to change. You should also try to keep the use sufficiently broad to allow flexibility in the event you should need or want to sublease in the future.

Permitted and Restricted Uses – Particularly in buildings on hospital campuses but also in buildings which may now have or have in the past had tenants which were owned by hospitals you need to pay particular attention to the Permitted and Restricted Use paragraph. Hospitals in an attempt to drive ancillary services to the hospital have put a range of restrictions on tenants of Medical Office Buildings (MOBs) which they have touched by the hospital either as a tenant or a building owner. Make sure that you will not be restricted from offering a service which may now or in the future be important to your practice. The areas they tend to restrict include imaging services, laboratory services, physical therapy and some types of procedures. Ultrasound, for example, is a procedure which is generally restricted by hospitals but is also frequently used in the normal course of diagnosis by a wide range of specialties. Failing to address any such service which is a restricted use puts you at risk of being declared in default in the future. Also remember that just because the landlord chooses not declare you in default when they discover the violation does not mean they won’t choose to declare you in default at some point in the future.

Damage & Destruction – This paragraph covers damage to the premises which is either partial or total as the result of fire, water damage, acts of nature or terrorism. It is important to remember that this is an issue which effects both the Landlord and the Tenant. There are no winners in negotiating this paragraph, rather it is everyone’s intent that they just survive such an event. The language covering both partial and total damage should specify a reasonable time for reconstruction. Notice of the Landlord’s intent should ideally be given within 30 days but certainly no more than 60 days after the event. This paragraph should also discuss what happens if the Landlord gives notice to the tenant of its intent to reconstruct the space within a certain timeframe and doesn’t follow thru.

Assignment & Subletting- It is important to remember that there is a difference in an assignment and a sublease. In a sublease the tenant brings in a subtenant to share the space or take over the space entirely but in a sublease the original tenant remains liable for the obligations of the lease most notably the monetary obligations. In a true assignment the original tenant is allowed to assign all of it’s rights and obligations including monetary obligations to a substitute tenant. Most Landlords are reluctant to allow for an assignment of a lease because just like a bank they want to keep as much collateral or as many guarantors backing the payment of rent as possible. The landlord should however be willing to allow a sublease provided they approval the substitute tenant’s financials and use of the space. The landlord’s approval should be qualified to say that their approval shall not be unreasonably withheld, restricted or conditioned.

On your next lease hopefully you will spend the necessary time and attention on these and the other non monetary points in the lease to insure that if one of these items occurs that your practice will be able to survive it. The business points are an early measure of negotiating success but careful negotiation of the lease language may ultimately be more indicative of a truly successful lease.

Provided by Stan Sharp, President of HealthOne Realty Advisors.
(770-578-4996 or
ssharp@healthonerealty.com)

Document Management Solutions: Reducing Paper

Categories: Articles

Running a business office often equates to paper usage mounting up and HIPAA security procedures being compromised. Within many medical offices across the country, documents are printed freely, correspondence continues in the hard copy paper format and many internal documents will still be printed without security measures in place as opposed to being distributed digitally and securely. It doesn’t matter how many members of staff individually attempt to cut down on paper usage, it still seems inevitable that stacks of paper cover every flat surface. To truly devote resources to cutting down on print and paper usage and in turn drive down print costs, it is important to implement a culture of change from the top downwards, and until this takes place, many offices continue to be strewn with papers, and important space continues to be inhabited by filing structures.

Cost of storage
The cost associated with filing papers and storage might not be obvious enough to immediately strike you, however storing and retrieving multiple documents is a much greater inconvenience in modern times than newer, more streamlined electronic options. Storage cabinets, files and print costs all add up, and can have a substantial impact on your bottom line while drastically having a negative impact on efficiency.

Employee time
While it may be an expense to establish a paperless office that relies on a digital system which you’ll need to implement through staff training, in the long run it will work out as a much more cost and time effective strategy. One of the biggest costs associated with a paper filing system is largely hidden from view; the cost of your employees’ time. The more time your staff spend trawling documents for items they require the less time they have to spend on tasks that really contribute to the practice as a whole. The higher the salary of a person looking for a document, the more it’s costing you.

Internal communication
One way of cutting down on storage needs is to make sure your organization truly utilizes digital life. Emails are a great form of communication, and although many of us have an inbox that is inundated with messages, there’s no need to print out reams of correspondence. Many people turn to printing out a hard copy when their inbox gets overwhelmingly full, in an effort to make sure important conversations aren’t misplaced or deleted. However, in the thriving digital workplace there is no need to print out documents simply for them to be read once and then thrown away. Rather than turning to print, opt to employ a thorough filing system with your emails. It’s important to categorize your incoming correspondence to make sure you know where it is. While it might seem simple, it is an easy step to reduce costs.

The more frequent use of tablet and mobile devices in the modern workplace now means print technologies are required at a much smaller frequency. Many staff are beginning to see the value in bringing their own device (BYOD); however even if staff manage to utilize this in a way which helps to eradicate printing, there are still practices like record keeping that require documents in hard copy form.

In the modern workplace, high print costs are an unnecessary expenditure, so if you’re interested in getting greener and reducing print costs, please email rsimons@edgeatl.com.
Rich Simons is the head of Strategy and Managed Print division for EDGE Business Systems. He helps improve efficiencies for medical practices providing analysis, customization and recommendations to create an efficient work environment for all document processes. Feel free to connect at rsimons@edgeatl.com.

Provided by Rich Simons, PE, Vice President of Sales, EDGE Business Systems
(404-304-5177 or rsimons@edgeatl.com)

Financial Wellness is Sponsor Focus

Categories: Articles

Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Hot Topics in Retirement survey found that retirement plan sponsors will continue to emphasize the overall financial wellness of employees this year.

Advice options expected to grow

Nearly half (44%) of responding employers currently make investment advice available to employees, and an additional 14% are very or somewhat likely to add this service this year.

About one-third (35%) of companies offer access to third-party advisors by phone. Another 14% are somewhat or very likely to provide this support in 2014.

Almost one-quarter (23%) make in-person meetings with financial advisors available. About 10% of employers are very or somewhat likely to offer this support during this year.

Other support is or will be offered

About 25% of companies say they are very likely to offer budgeting advice to employees so that they can handle expected expenses and still have money for savings.

Aon Hewitt’s report is at http://tinyurl.com/2014HotTopics.

For plan sponsor use only, not for use with participants or the general public. This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.
Kmotion, Inc., P.O. Box 1456, Tualatin, OR 97062; 877-306-5055; www.kmotion.com
© 2014 Kmotion, Inc. This newsletter is a publication of Kmotion, Inc., whose role is solely that of publisher. The articles and opinions in this publication are for general information only and are not intended to provide tax or legal advice or recommendations for any particular situation or type of retirement plan. Nothing in this publication should be construed as legal or tax guidance; nor as the sole authority on any regulation, law or ruling as it applies to a specific plan or situation. Plan sponsors should consult the plan’s legal counsel or tax advisor for advice regarding plan-specific issues.

Provided by Jay W. Cohen, MPA, CPA, CFP®, of Monterey Wealth
(404-201-2284 or jay.cohen@lpl.com)

Providers Should Expect Patient Questions about new Medicare Data

Categories: Articles

On April 9th, 2014, CMS publicly released data on the amount Medicare paid individual physicians in 2012. The data can be broken down by CPT code so the public can see exactly how many of each procedure a physician billed Medicare for and what they billed and were paid for those procedures. The data does not contain any reference to a providers cost for performing those procedures or the quality of care that was delivered. However, now that the information is in the public domain and easy to access, practices and their providers that perform services to Medicare patients should expect to get questions about this data.
Linked Copy

The data can be access at
http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/Physician-and-Other-Supplier.html.

Note that the data is in very large Excel files and will take some time to download. The files are broken by last name. Here is a alternate link that is a searchable database.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/09/health/medicare-doctor-database.html?_r=0

Provided by Bart Segal, who can be reached at 770-579-0719 or
bsegal@trimedsolutions.net.
www.trimedsolutions.net

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