SEO Urgent Care

You may have heard of Google, but has it heard of you?

As a hospital, physician or a surgeon you need patients to find you. The question is will they find you and your website in their search?  Research shows that almost eight million Americans search for medical information online each day. But to ensure that even a small segment of those people make it to your website, you need to increase your site’s search engine visibility with SEO.

An SEO-friendly website is the key to success for any online marketing campaign. An effective medical SEO strategy requires constant care and effort. Here are some tips to optimize your next medical marketing campaign.

Pay attention to keywords

A keyword/phrase refers to the word/phrase that describes the product or service offered through a website. These are the words that a person looking for information types into the search column of a search engine. To make your website stand out, focus on key phrases instead of words. The best way to attract new patients to your website is to achieve high rankings on search engine results pages. These are the results that are listed after you search, or “Google,” a topic.

Build and distribute

Another important and effective way to increase traffic to your website is through link building and link distribution.. Link building is the process of getting websites to publish a link pointing to your site. This is also referred to as “back links.” There are many ways to obtain back links. One way is to submit your website to search engines and directories. Another good way is to find websites that might be interested in publishing a link to your website. You can also distribute links to your articles with the use of marking sites such as Digg. This will not only give your hospital or medical service more exposure, but it will also provide more links to your site.

Be unique

Your website has a better chance of not getting lost in the shuffle if contains content-rich web pages with carefully chosen keywords placed throughout the text. Each of the major search engines scours the Internet constantly looking for the most relevant websites to deliver to their search engine clients. If your website is not well written or has repeated content, it will not receive high placement during searches. 

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Promises, promises…

You’ve seen the slick TV commercial dozens of times. The camera slowly pans across a long row of smiling physicians and nurses. Orchestral music swells as an authoritative male voice promises “the latest technology and the most qualified physicians and nurses – Hospital X; we’re here when you need us.” 

Now you do need them. When you call, the phone keeps ringing. Finally there’s a click, followed by a couple of chirps and a beep. Then, a coarse voice – not at all like the confidence-inspiring announcer, says, “Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line or choose from the following menu options…”

You hang up and dial the number for the next provider on the list.

We’ve all had experiences like this – a business overpromises and immediately underdelivers. It is always frustrating, particularly when the shoddy performance is related to something as important as our health. Why do hospitals, physician’s offices, testing facilities and other medical providers so often disappoint us?

In my experience, it’s because the exciting process of conceiving, creating and executing the tools of an advertising campaign too often overshadows the critical, but less sexy, need for effective strategic planning and realistic evaluation of resources. This is frequently the root cause of cognitive dissonance like that created for the caller above.

No matter how clever the campaign, how compelling the selling proposition, or how effectively targeted the audience, promising a level of service you can’t deliver is the quickest path to long-term failure. Consumers are smart. It doesn’t take them long to come to their own conclusions about your organization. Those thoughts, not your radio campaign, will determine their likelihood to recommend you to others – or not.

So, what’s the answer?

First, customer satisfaction is based on their perception of whether the product or service they received lived up to what they expected to get. No more, no less. Think about the last time you stopped for a snack at your local fast-food restaurant. You didn’t get linen tablecloths and an attentive wait staff, but, if the place was reasonably clean and efficient and the food was hot, you were probably totally satisfied. If the person at the cash register was exceptionally pleasant, you might even report that you were extremely satisfied. So when you consider a go-to-market plan for any business, your first question must be “What can we do well?” followed by “What don’t we do well?” A realistic evaluation of your people, processes, culture and facilities might be painful, but it is critical.

Second, keep in mind that as tempting as it may be to try to take market share from your competitors by promising customers the moon, the smarter course of action is to underpromise and overdeliver. Not the other way around. It may seem counterintuitive, but it works. By accurately aligning your potential customers’ expectations with reality, the customers  you do get will be happier and more likely to recommend your establishment. That will buy you time to work on the things that need improvement. That way, when the authoritative announcer on your next campaign claims “the highest patient satisfaction scores in the region,” it just might be true.

Have you experienced exceptional customer service in your life recently? Tell us about it.

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Attention Hospitals: Blogging Is OK, Too!

As recently as November 2010, Ed Bennett, Director of Web Strategy for the University of Maryland Medical System, was reporting via his Hospital Social Network List that nearly 900 hospitals were utilizing some form of social media tool. Here’s the breakdown:

Facebook – 701

Twitter – 662

YouTube – 437

LinkedIn – 431

Blogs – 106

What’s surprising isn’t that Facebook tops the list but that so few hospitals have established blogs as a communication device. Now, let’s be honest – it certainly takes more time and resources to build, maintain and monitor a blog than it does to set up a Facebook page or Twitter account. But let’s look at the value proposition.

With Twitter, you’re limited to 140 characters at a time to relay your message. With blogging, the sky’s the limit. Yes, you can send quick tweets regarding everything from “How to handle a burn?” to your new internship program, but blogging would do that and more.

If Facebook is the best social media tool to demonstrate your hospital’s personality, then what better way to extend that positioning within the community than by a well-constructed, well-thought out blog? During this economic downturn, where consumers are less likely to utilize hospital services because of cost considerations, providing them with useful, free information is a benefit to all involved.

For the 800 or so hospitals who have embraced social media in some form or fashion, but who haven’t taken to blogging just yet, I implore you to reconsider. Building customer/patient relations begins well before an individual enters your doors at a time of need. Fostering a positive, trusting relationship can start today. Become that online resource and voice of healthcare knowledge within your community today… and blog away!

If you’re a marketing management professional for a hospital or hospital system, let us know whether you’ve set up a blog and how it’s been received.

Posted in Blogging, Content, health, Healthcare Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Interactive, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online marketing, Public Relations, Social Media | Leave a comment

It’s a Jeep … I Mean a “Social” … Thing

Sometimes when you write a blog, your own guilty little pleasures are exposed.  Consider me busted!  In this case, I wanted to showcase the new www.jeep.com.  Between my wife and me, we’ve had at least one Jeep Wrangler in the family for nearly 15 years.  We both love these vehicles and my last sedan was quickly replaced by yet another one as soon as the lease was up. 

Jeep enthusiasts will agree that the slogan “It’s a Jeep thing” speaks well to idea that this vehicle is more of a lifestyle than just a car.  What’s impressive is how the new www.jeep.com has taken bold steps to capture the essence of this owner experience.  I had seen a mention in a recent SmartBrief e-newsletter by Sapient describing the new website design as “an iconic site built with a live social portal rich in user generated content, gear and events.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Six years into my current Jeep Wrangler, I’m considering a new vehicle and with two young ones, I’m interested in one their extended models.  In going to www.jeep.com, I was impressed with the attention they’ve given to making the researching and buying experience as community-driven as possible.  Prominently displayed are links to their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile social media touch points.  Who better for consumers in the market for a new Jeep to talk to about buying one than actual Jeep owners? 

Even better, they’ve built this experience into a Live user portal that introduces each of these social components from the company’s and the Jeep owners’ perspective.  They’ve displayed each of these options simply as From Us and From Them.   Ease of use at its best!  You have instant access to Jeep owner events around the globe, real-time photo and video feeds and featured product updates.

Whether you’re a Jeep lover like me or just an interactive marketer interested in best practice studies, you should see what’s going on at Jeep.com.  When it comes to intertwining design, functionality AND embracing the benefits of social, Jeep just plain gets it.  Check it out for yourself …  you never know, maybe you’ll come to understand what it means when they say “It’s a Jeep thing!”

Posted in Branding, Content, Creativity, Design, Integrated Marketing, Interactive, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online marketing, Social Media, Web Design | Leave a comment