4 Strategies for Branding Medical Practices

4 Strategies for Branding Medical Practices

Branding Your “Branded” Medical Practice When you hear the word “brand,” your first thought may be a logo or a tagline, especially if you are tied to a branded health system. However, branding your medical practice is much more than that, and more complicated. Your medical practice brand should create a unique space in the minds of your key customers and help you attract new patients. The goal behind a branding campaign is to develop messaging that will raise awareness and engagement among potential customers.  It should help you stand out from the crowd and then get customers to use and prefer your practice so that when the need for your services arises, they automatically think of, and choose, YOU. So, what does this mean to your medical practice? Defining your brand will help you identify where you are now, and where you want to be in the minds of your customers. With this information, you will be able to chart your future course, prioritize your plans, use your resources effectively, inspire your staff and stakeholders, and ultimately increase patient volumes. So, how do you go about building a brand for your practice? Here are four strategies: 1. Identify your core competencies You must first identify your where your practice is now, in terms of core competencies, including: competition market trends key services unique benefits target audiences as well as customer knowledge, attitude and usage The goal is to identify the unique equity (your overarching market position) for your medical practice and the appropriate strategy.  This includes brand platform, essence, and overall “story” to the marketplace that appeals to the unique traits and needs of your prospective patients. 2. Determine your brand story Uncovering your unique equity will help your practice discover your core brand story. In addition, you have the challenge of complementing the system brand for your enterprise. Springboard’s approach to positioning engenders a greater appreciation of your brand essence and generates an in-depth understanding of your brand promise to the marketplace. Your medical practice story should encompass the common strengths, personalities and competencies of your physicians and office staff. This will help develop the most effective and powerful ideas to communicate the new brand platform. 3. Engage internal audiences Once the desired brand position has been established, you must ensure that brand is reinforced by all members of the practice. Your brand is something your patients feel, hear or see when they visit your office, interact with you or deal with your staff. It includes all touchpoints with of your practice; from the sign over your door and the usability of your website to the educational and promotional collateral you provide to patients, such as brochures and direct mail. The success of your brand ultimately depends on your patients’ experiences, and how they perceive your practice. Energizing and engaging your internal audiences is key. 4. Promote your story to external audiences Now it is time to deliver your story to your target audience. This process involves developing the most effective and powerful ideas to communicate your new brand platform, then promoting your messaging via online and traditional marketing tactics such as websites, landing pages, digital and social marketing, print ads, online videos, etc. In terms of communications, Springboard believes there should be a smooth transition of the brand strategy into creative execution and market implementation.  The key here is that the brand strategy does not get “lost in translation” when bringing it to the marketplace. Springboard has full-service capabilities in the development and implementation of brand strategies and communications programs, bringing campaigns to life in all media; traditional and digital.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help develop and tell your brand...
5 Great Marketing Strategies for Medical Practice Growth

5 Great Marketing Strategies for Medical Practice Growth

The best healthcare marketing strategies, offline, online, traditional and new media all have to work together.  They must reach, motivate, and engage healthcare consumers. In order reach and motivate your target audiences to choose you over another practice, your brand needs a “heartbeat.” A heartbeat creates an emotional statement about your organization. A promise to the marketplace that focuses on the benefits consumers will gain by becoming a patient of your practice. Whether yours is a large medical practice or small physician office, it’s important to ask yourself the following on a regular basis: Do your marketing strategies deliver on your customers’ expectations? Is your brand’s messaging delivering on that strategy? Is your creative really breaking through? What’s the competition up to? Working to develop your brand’s heartbeat, and marketing strategies to address all of these things is crucial to creating a creative and compelling message that will engage your specific target audiences. The next goal of your brand should be to meet your key audiences’ interests, needs and passions, and creating and executing a tactical plan to reach those audiences. Below are some marketing strategies for taking this next step – 1. Offline/Traditional Offline marketing, also known as traditional marketing, includes radio, television, billboards, print collateral and direct mail, among others. These can be considered antiquated and ineffective but should still be considered as part of an overall, integrated marketing plan. There’s a reason you see so many healthcare/pharmaceutical ads on TV and receive so many special offers via the mail. For the right demographics and with the right strategy behind them, they still work. Especially when combined with the right online tactics. 2. Website/SEO Increasing numbers of consumers begin their search for healthcare online. Having a website is one of the most important things you can do for your practice. If you don’t have one, get one! Having a website means more than just having a single page with your name, phone number and location. It’s important to be the “go to” source of information for your patients, and more importantly, your potential patients. You need to provide the most relevant and engaging content possible (and have a plan to continue to do so) to rank high in Google search results, attract patients, and to compel them to act (call, click or come in). 3. Social Media Social Media is a great, inexpensive, and fun way to promote your practice, special events, and your activities in the community, as well as for recruiting. Advertising here can be hyper-targeted to your desired potential patient pool. Of course, you must be careful to protect patient privacy and remain HIPAA compliant.  Establishing ground rules and a plan to implement your social media strategy is imperative. 4. Mobile According to Google, “People are making decisions faster than ever before, and they expect to be able to act on those decisions instantly.” People are using their mobile phones to search at the exact moment of need and looking for places that can meet their immediate need. In order to capitalize on this “micro moment” trend, you first need to ensure your website is optimized for mobile experiences (visit Test My Site to see how yours measures up), you can then develop a strategy, such as a click-to-call mobile campaign to drive traffic. 5. Email While many will say they get too many emails, email marketing can still be one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your patients engaged with your practice. Some important things to consider when embarking on an email marketing campaign include mobile optimization, creative subject lines, personalization, relevant content and clear and concise instructions. Your emails should be engaging, interesting and concise.  They should make the reader feel inspired to take the action you are requesting of them (click, call, share, etc.). Are you marketing your medical practice? Share your experiences, challenges or success stories with us. We’d love to hear from...
3 Steps to Write a Medical Association’s Value Proposition

3 Steps to Write a Medical Association’s Value Proposition

According to Deepak Chopra in his bestselling book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, “How can I help?” is the only question that truly matters. “It coaxes and expands your awareness out toward the service and care of others.” Many medical associations struggle with articulating an effective value proposition that helps their members expand awareness and services. Establishing this in clear and compelling manner is an essential step if you want to communicate how your organization can provide the keys to your members’ success. There are some important steps you must take before embarking upon creating your medical association’s value proposition. It all begins and ends with research. So where do you start? Here’s a brief 3-step plan for medical associations. 1. Refine your target audience First and foremost, you need to determine who your “key” target audience is. You can’t be “all things” to “all people.” Many have tried, and failed. But by clearly defining and refining your true core audience, you can be all the right things to the right people. It’d be easy for medical associations to assume that their target audience is “anyone in a certain specialty and/or those who use those particular services.” But having such a wide audience would make it nearly impossible to tailor its strategy to specific types of individuals for specific purposes. The key to success here is knowing who to target, and why. The increased focus and definition will result in a much more effective strategy. 2. Be the go-to organization for the value you provide in the industry you serve When thinking about the opportunity you provide to that core audience, start by asking, “How can we help?” The number one reason that people don’t join, or renew their memberships in professional organizations, is because of cost and perceived lack of value from their membership. What is it that medical associations provide to members that they can’t get anywhere else? What is the problem you solve for them, and why are you distinctly better than the alternatives? It is imperative that association’s position themselves as the number one resource for education, support, advocacy, information, or whatever it is that your members want and need from your organization. 3. Translate the value proposition to key benefits of membership Members pay dues and join an organization because of the perceived value and benefits that come with the membership. What benefit do you provide to them and how do you do it uniquely well? What can you do better, or what services or resources can you provide to meet the needs that aren’t already being met? You must be the first place your members think of when they are looking for help…their “go-to” source for what they need to be successful. If you do your homework up front, coming up with 2 or 3 potential value propositions for consideration will be much easier. Using the information you uncover during your research, you can use the following template as a starting point to begin crafting your statement. For   ___________________________          (target audience) who ___________________________         (statement of the need or opportunity) _______________________________         (Association name) is the   ______” Go to” _____________ that ____________________________        (benefit/solution) Once you have an option or two, it’s a good idea to go back to the beginning, and test them with your target audience. Developing your value proposition can be a tricky endeavor, but if you start with “How can we help?” it can be an easier endeavor. Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy is here if you need help. After all, what good are the best programs you have to offer, if no one knows they exist? But that’s a subject for another blog. Stay...
Three Important Steps to Winning with Online Owned Media

Three Important Steps to Winning with Online Owned Media

Creating a winning digital strategy takes the right combination of ‘earned,’ ‘owned’ and ‘paid’ mediaUnderstanding what those are, and how to leverage them to create a successful plan can be confusing. A great way to tackle this is by thinking of earned media, owned media and paid media as a triumvirate. Each is an important part of your organization’s strategy, and combined, they can contribute to a successful digital marketing plan. For the purposes of this blog, we are going to focus on owned media. Owned Media is any communication channel or platform that belongs to your brand that you create and have control over. This can include your website, any content you publish, your social media channels, and the content you distribute on those channels. The cornerstone for any digital owned media strategy is a good website. For many, building a website can be an overwhelming prospect. But building one doesn’t have to be such a monumental task. It’s important to remember that the goal is to build that website, and get your organization online. A website is not a “one and done” project. It is a living, breathing entity that you can enhance and refine over time. What you start with does not have to be your end game. Unlike the catalogs and printed materials of days gone by, your website can be modified quickly and easily as you learn what messaging and design resonates with your audience(s). If you build it they will come? While goal #1 is getting online, merely creating a website with your name on it will not help you meet your business goals. Make sure you establish clear objectives for what you want visitors to your site to do. It is important to keep your audience in mind as you embark on building your website.  Also keep in mind on what you hope to accomplish. The key is to create a site that will attract customers and help you achieve and measure your goals. Know your audience Not sure what your website should include? Start by talking to your existing customers. Set up some time to interview them; why they chose you, how they found you, and what problems you solve for them. The key is to go beyond the general demographics like age, gender, income and ethnicity.  You need to gain better insight into their needs, behaviors and pain points. This kind of exercise is commonly called customer journey mapping.   “A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.” – Harvard Business Review Give the people what they want Now that you have a website, the next step is creating content that tells your story. It should connect with your customers and ensure it will be found by your target audiences using search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is imperative for making sure potential customers can find your site.  (Click here to read our SEO Blog and learn more). High-quality, relevant and engaging content has a significant impact on SEO. And how you rank in search engine results when people are searching for your keywords and search terms. New content published regularly, and relevant content with naturally placed keywords will help your website rank organically. The higher your site appears in the search results, the better exposure and engagement you will have with consumers searching online for content. This content is great for SEO purposes.  But it’s also the best way to attract users to the website and keep them engaged and on the site for longer. You may be tempted to create just a homepage with a lead form.  Or a contact us button can collect emails and snail mail addresses for future outbound marketing. You will eventually find that your page will have a high bounce rate and very little engagement. You must put yourselves in the minds of your prospective customers; make your content answer the questions that they need answered. A well-planned website with case studies, testimonials, video and a blog all with highly relevant.  Engaging content will also attract more users and inspire them to spend more time on the site while visiting multiple pages. Content is what gets you found in online searches. Content that provides value is what people share with their friends and family on social media.  And done right, it will generate more leads and more conversions/transactions. Go to where the people are In order to reach your target audience, it is vital to listen to your existing audience to identify who and where they are, when they are online, how to reach them, and with the content they are looking for. Social sharing is one of the highest levels of engagement that there is. When your target audiences share content from your website, it means they’ve enjoyed the experience. They want their friends to benefit from it too, or they think your content is so good that they believe sharing it will make them look good. It’s important to make sharing your content easy to do. Have your webmaster install code so all users have to do is click of a button, ensuring that people will be more likely to engage. This will help you amplify your reach and potentially grow your owned audience. In summary, your owned media strategy needs to be focused on delivering the content that your target audience wants. If your content is seen as engaging, educational and/or entertaining, it will sell itself as part of your overall outreach process. Once you have a good owned media strategy in place, adding a paid and earned strategy to the mix will help your business achieve even more of its business goals. Contact Springboard for more information on owned...
Medical Association Branding: How to Gauge Success?

Medical Association Branding: How to Gauge Success?

Medical associations support their members through educational opportunities, networking forums, mentoring programs, public awareness activities, leadership activities and advocacy efforts, among others. But how do they determine how successful they are? Membership growth? Member retention? Seminar attendance? Member engagement? Member satisfaction? Revenue? Visitors to websites? Facebook likes? Patient interactions? Advocacy wins? The answer is – all of the above and more. So how do you measure your success? For associations, it begins and ends with the members. Membership Growth Membership growth is a hot topic. Most, if not all, associations strive for membership growth.  More members = more revenue = successful association, right? So how do you market to and attract new members? Start with your existing membership, and how well they know your brand, what you stand for, and your perceived value to them as medical professionals. Understanding your most dedicated membership can help you learn more about how to deepen their relationship with your association. Determining your brand values and promise is the first step into finding new ways to communicate with your members and potential members. Medical Association Branding Springboard has worked with multiple medical association branding clients to help develop their value propositions and programs to meet member needs. Member marketing toolkits, eNewsletters, landing pages and microsites, testimonial videos, marketing videos, among others, are all within your reach. Again, starting with member needs is that first step. Many member businesses do not have the resources to develop marketing materials on their own, so providing templated marketing materials to your members can help improve their volumes, and will demonstrate a real value in their membership, resulting in greater member satisfaction, retention and recruitment. This is just one example of how Springboard can help your medical association branding – Learn what your members, and potential members value and need. Develop a program to communicate that value and address member needs. Implement that program. Measure the results. Contact us at Springboard to learn more about medical association branding and how we can help your association...
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