Social media and review sites are here to stay. In fact, 47 percent of patients check a provider’s online status before scheduling an appointment and 24% of physicians reported getting new patients from social media.
So like it or not, your profile is out there and you’ll get reviews.
How do you protect your online reputation?
First of all, be proactive to avoid getting negative reviews.
Emphasize keeping in touch with patient needs and perspectives. Timing is important -- the key is to give patients a chance to give feedback and comment to you first -- before they broadcast it on social media. Having an option for patients to flag and address concerns in the office will help improve the patient experience; reducing the chances of the patient airing that issue online.
Patient satisfaction feedback can also be complimentary; helping highlight what you and your staff are doing well. There are many ways to obtain and measure it, either in the office or immediately following the visit or service.
But even the best practices occasionally get negative feedback, so be prepared. How you handle the response affects your online reputation as well.
What are the keys to handling a negative review?
Act Promptly. Monitor reviews of your practice. Although it might be tempting to ignore a bad review, it's not going to go away. If an unflattering review or complaint comes up, it needs to be addressed right way. But before you answer, take a step back and try to see the situation from the patient’s perspective.
Respect Privacy. It’s important to be careful of any HIPAA protected information. Even if the patient shares their medical information, make sure you don’t confirm or deny its validity. Ask them to contact your office, and if the patient identified themselves, contact them privately to discuss.
Acknowledge their viewpoint. If there was a misunderstanding or mistake, apologize. Show them what is being done (or has been done) to address the situation. Often, once you solve the problem with the patient, they’ll take down their post.
Be courteous and professional. While it may be tempting to answer a rude post with the same tone, or hide, delete or even ban a reviewer, it’s much better to show the reviewer that you care about all patient opinions. Always thank patients for taking the time to share their opinions and let them know you value the feedback they provide.
There are some exceptions:
If a review contains libelous statements or is from a person who has never visited your practice, have them taken down immediately, before it causes any damage. If you send them a clear explanation as to why the content is problematic and why it is important for the content to be removed, most review sites will take down any libelous statements; legal action can be used as a last resort.
In this world of social media and reviews, it’s important to keep your online reputation positive. Get regular feedback from your patients and encourage them to leave you reviews. A variety of reviews can dilute any negatives. It will also give individuals researching a better perspective of whether your practice will be a fit for their needs.
Thanks for reading!
Broad Reach Marketing provides practical, effective marketing for healthcare providers and other professionals. Contact us if we can help you with branding, patient satisfaction or communication processes.
Business cartoonist Chris Lysy asked me what I thought was the biggest challenge small businesses face. In a quick note back, I said "It varies from business to business, but I’d say wearing multiple hats — managing the many facets of the business in the amount of time available." I thought that was a pretty good guess ... but is it?
Agree? Disagree? Voice your opinion on the poll below or in the comments.
Hope you enjoy the cartoon!
Once again someone has asked when you are going to get a new website. You're definitely not excited about spending the time and resources it would take to get it done.
Do you really need to do it? It's an important decision – in this digital age, your website is a critical part of your business’s success. It’s often the first—and in some cases the only—interaction customers have with your business.
Answering these questions might make your decision easier ...
Is your site:
Why are these important?
1) A great representative of your brand? Because first impressions are important -- you should evaluate if the site makes the impression you'd like. Has your target market changed since you launched your site? If you’re not sure, try asking recent customers or prospects what they think of your site.
2) Fast loading and easy to navigate? As companies grow, they often add pages to their websites. Adding pages that way can create a site that is difficult to navigate. Customers may become frustrated if loading is too slow or it takes too many clicks to get to their information. You can check if this is a problem with Google's free analysis.
3) Mobile friendly – Mobile is becoming increasingly important. Over half of internet traffic now comes from a mobile device. If you love your site, it may be possible to transfer the content to a template that looks good on both a PC and mobile phone (responsive design) at a lower cost and effort than building a new site.
4) Attracting needed traffic? Your website might be fine, but you can generate a higher ROI by enhancing the digital strategy that drives traffic to the site. A digital strategy can include complementary components, like SEO organic traffic, Adwords and / or Bing Ads for paid traffic, content marketing and social media.
Thanks for reading!
Broad Reach Marketing provides practical, effective solutions to connect with your customers.
If you’d like to discuss any of these points or find out more, contact us !
Social Media - it's everywhere!
Both large and small organizations use social media. Large companies are most visible and usually use multiple channels, but small businesses are active as well – in fact, over 41% of small businesses use Facebook to support their marketing efforts.
And no wonder -- social media can be used for both outgoing and inbound communications. Organizations can listen and monitor for customer service and public relations feedback as well as communicate and engage their target market.
But you may have noticed that some organizations get more out of their efforts than others. Their audience likes, shares and comments more often, resulting in greater awareness and better connections.
What are the keys to these successful social media programs?
1) Specific Goals
First, these organizations are not just "doing" social media. They start with objectives that are aligned with organizational goals and values. Social media is often used to support specific objectives, like growing awareness for a new offering, communicating brand and organizational values, or supporting recruitment.
2) Audience Knowledge
The program is built on knowledge of the target customer and what interests them.
3) Offers Value
Social media should include information and topics of interest to engage. Posting information that is entertaining, or that customers might not find elsewhere (like exclusive notices of sales or coupons), and encouraging interaction is key. These organizations think of social media as a conversation with their followers rather than a sales announcement tool. With social media, you have to earn your following, so any sales messages have to be subtle and sprinkled through the other messages – less than 20% of the content.
4) Prioritized Tactics
Successful social media programs take time and consistent effort to build a following. To maximize resources, efforts are focused on channels that appeal most to the target market and fit the organization’s content. They try to be where the potential market is, but don’t try to be everywhere! Better to excel at two channels than have a scattered presence on five.
5) Team Effort and Coordination
Coordination helps get the best out of social media. For small business as well as larger ones, a designated team and coordinated calendar are essential. Planning consistent messaging across platforms, knowing in advance of events and other initiatives, leveraging the following on one channel to point to content on another, and having a reliable source of fresh content are benefits of a well-coordinated team.
6) Clear Guidelines
Many industries have regulations and restrictions on what can be made public. In addition, it is a good idea to have ground rules that employees may refer to when posting or re-posting/retweeting information about the organization.
7) Measurements, Analysis and Adjustments
Success social media efforts are tracked and measured so they can be continually improved. Simple measures like shares, likes, retweets and comments can indicate engagement. A growing number of followers can indicate awareness. Depending on the goals, there are other measures as well:
Great social media programs have their finger on the pulse of the audience and stakeholders. Feedback collected from customers and employees is used to refine the content and can be valuable to marketing and business growth decisions.
Thanks for reading! How does your organization run their social media programs? What have you found that works best?
If you have questions or would like to explore team-based social media marketing, please contact us.
Image credit: John Atkinson's Cartoons
Broad Reach Marketing helps professional practices and local businesses engage and retain customers with practical, effective branding, strategy and promotions.
We love to help good ideas and organizations grow!
Other articles you may find interesting:
How to Make it Easier for Patients to Find Your Practice
4 Tips for Protecting your Online Reputation
This is the third and final blog in our series of three focusing on rebranding a business.
The first blog, “When is Rebranding the Answer?” concentrated on the questions to ask and situations where rebranding may be the strategically right thing to do for renewing or expanding your business.
The second, ” So You’ve Decided to Rebrand- What’s Next?” focuses on the process of researching and defining your new brand.
Our final blog, "The Nitty Gritty Rebranding Check List" is just that - a tool developed to assist you as you go about your re-branding effort.
The Rebranding Checklist
Phase I – Creation
Complete your market research
Gain Feedback - Inputs from:
Re-define your positioning
Gain Stakeholder Consensus on Re-Branding Profile
Finalize your new strategic direction:
Clear Vision Statement
Company Culture & Values Statement
Clear Marketplace Value Proposition
Finalize Creative Logo tag line and styles that represents the organization as defined above
Phase II – Internal Re-alignment
Employee / Management Education and Consensus:
Why the new emphasis – What’s in it for the business and them
How it affects everyone behaviorally
How the change will be measured
Phase III – Non Web-based Re-alignment
Phase IV – Web-based Re-alignment
On-page SEO: Titles, Keywords, Meta Descriptions
Opt-in form for Email Newsletter
Phase V – External Notification
Who to Contact How to Contact
Notification methods may include:
Written Notification (letters, forms etc)
Social Media Announcements
Launch Luncheons or Festivities
Thanks for reading!
Contact us for a free copy of this checklist (spreadsheet format).
This is Blog 2 of a three part series on Rebranding. The first post is "When is Rebranding the Answer?"
It’s the beginning of a new year and you plan to make some changes to your business. And one of them is to rebrand as you revitalize or expand.
So what steps do you need to take? As you work through the process of creating a new brand, please keep in mind the definition of a “brand” as defined by Seth Godin:
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that,
taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or
service over another.”
1) Understand your current image
Using that definition, the first step to successful rebranding is finding out what current customers, employees and key stakeholders REALLY think of your organization and the brand that represents it.
When gathering this feedback, pay particular attention to:
2) Identify Brand Characteristics
Once the feedback is collected, the next step is to identify the key characteristics of the new brand.
The output from this analysis will be a statement of brand attributes.
3) Get Creative
Now the fun begins! Set up a brainstorming session to generate options for the desired brand name, logo, tag-line and/or other branding symbols. Then, keeping in mind target customers’ demographics and perspectives, narrow the brainstorm list down to 2-3 potentials. Even if you hire an outside agency, be sure to invite key employees, management and stakeholders to participate in this process – they can be sources of creative ideas and their participation will help to increase buy-in and support.
4) Check Availability
Sometimes everyone’s favorite option isn’t available, so be sure to check the availability and suitability of the final choices.
Here’s an example of what can happen if you skip this step.
A local Pesticide company wanted a new look to reflect a change in management. The old branding included a dark brown logo of a tank. The updated look included lighter colors, predominantly yellow. Seemed like a good change. But when they implemented the new branding, they ordered new yellow shirts for the service crew. Unfortunately, the shirts showed dirt and sweat easily; the technicians disliked them for this and customer impressions were poor. After a while, the company listened, reversing their decision and returning to brown shirts, but this could have been avoided by involving key individuals in the rebranding creation process.
When selecting your new brand, remember to test before full implementation takes place.
Does the new brand convey the right message?
Is the tag line appropriate?
Does the logo have a hidden (unintended) meaning or symbol?
Testing may seem time consuming, but even well established companies have made the mistake of not testing and incurred embarrassment and negative impacts.
What can happen:
When Airbnb unveiled this logo, it generated a wave of criticism for its design.
Some likened it to a triangular paperclip or something else unintended.
6) Plan Implementation
Finally, the devil is in the details! Take the time to plan for every aspect of implementing the new brand. The best branding is consistent; therefore updating everything customers come in contact with is important. Often it is advisable to include a “soft launch” before announcing your new brand.
Our third and final blog entitled the Nitty Gritty Rebranding Checklist will include a handy list of common items to update during your implementation phase. Please watch for it!
Thanks for reading, and as always comments and additional thoughts are appreciated. If you have questions concerning your rebranding efforts please contact us!
This is the first in a series of 3 Blog posts focused on Rebranding
When is Rebranding the Answer?
So You’ve Decided to Rebrand – What’s Next?
The Nitty Gritty Rebranding Check List
When you think of branding – what is the first thought that pops into your mind? Was it a logo or mascot?
This may be due to the fact that branding originally referred to marking for ownership. Think of old west cowboy movies and a scene of cowboys branding calves!
Branding has evolved from there, and it’s good to remember that a brand is much more than a logo. When considering rebranding, remember that the brand is how your target market, investors and other stakeholders perceive you or your organization. It includes every aspect of your business – culture, operations, product, communication – and every interaction you have with customers and the community. Personal branding is often described as what people think or say about you when you leave the room.
Are you contemplating a change?
Whether it's for a product, organization or person, effective rebranding can help revitalize your image and boost sales. But it is not something to do on a whim, it’s an important strategic decision. To make sure your investment of time, effort and resources pays off, first think through and determine why the new branding is needed and have a plan to support the new brand.
Questions to consider before rebranding:
Are you repositioning for growth?
A recent example of positioning for growth is the Carolina RailHawks. They recently rebranded as North Carolina Football Club -- part of their strategic intention to increase revenues and interest in Soccer by positioning themselves to become a major league soccer team.
“This is a brand restatement,” said North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik. “We aspire to be at the top level of both men’s and women’s professional soccer, so we are pursuing MLS and NWSL bids as well as a new stadium. We made a conscious decision to brand ourselves as North Carolina’s professional club. A united soccer community will be one of the keys to reaching these goals.” To read about the background and thinking behind the new branding efforts, check out this link. http://www.northcarolinafc.com/news/2016/12/05/we-are-north-carolina-fc-our-story
Insight: Have a clear vision and branding strategy that encompasses every aspect of your business. Include operations, product, place, customer experience and community.
Does your current branding no longer connect, resonate and communicate what you offer? Are sales stagnant and you want to reenergize?
Has the market changed? Are there new products and competitors with contemporary images encroaching on you target market?
Here’s an example of a company that was around for years with sagging sales due to market shifts towards a new product application (body wash) and contemporary images. Thanks to former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa - "A man, your man could smell like", Old Spice suddenly became new Old Spice. Since the first commercial launched, the 70-year-old brand's ad campaign generated tens of millions of online views.
Old Spice followed up with 186 related videos in which Mustafa directly responded to digital queries from bloggers and celebrities including Perez Hilton, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alyssa Milano. The company's rebranding efforts were successful -- sales of Old Spice Body Wash rose 11 percent over a 12 month period, and sales continued to gain momentum.
Insight : A clever ad + smart use of social media can produce a fresh identity, even for a brand that many associate with their grandfather's deodorant. "Old Spice didn't change its logo, it changed the experience," said Marc Shillum, principal at Method, Inc. a consulting agency for brand designs.
Why and what needs changing? What problem would new branding fix, or what opportunity would it leverage?
Given the right situation, changing your brand can have a strong upside. It may be essential due to technological developments, new entrants into a market, or shifts in consumer attitudes / behaviors.
But be careful, you could run the risk of alienating a loyal customer base eroding repeat business or referrals. So before considering any rebranding activities, thoroughly understand customers’ wants, needs, attitudes and buyer behaviors - what they like about the current branding, what do they identify with? You can read additional information on gathering and analyzing customer opinions here.
This is a step that can be overlooked -- a classic example of a large corporation not doing customer diligence before making a branding change is Coke-Cola’s rebranding efforts of New Coke.
When Coca-Cola changed the formula for its famous Coke brand in 1985, the public reacted as if the company had ruined a symbol of America. Sales plummeted and Coca-Cola received very bad press. Customers basically revolted! It took less than three months for Coca-Cola to pull their New Coke product from the shelves and return to the original formula, which they rebranded as "Coke Classic."
Insight : What happened to cause this huge costly rebranding error? Marketing experts believe that Coca-Cola failed to ask the simplest and most important question: "Do we need to re-engineer our product” and “What do the customers like / dislike with our brand.”
Can You modify or add a brand extension rather than rebrand?
Rebranding is obviously a very strategic and resource intensive initiative. It facilitates the realization of your company vision. Therefore, if you have a strong core business with a loyal customer base, it may be advantageous to add brand extensions or modifications rather than implement a total rebranding approach.
An example of this is Pabst Blue Ribbon, a Milwaukee lager best known for being a low cost beer and the drink of choice among college students. However, Americans may not recognize their PBR when traveling in China - Labeled "Blue Ribbon 1844" (the year the Pabst Brewing Company was founded) and retailing for $44 a 720ml. This product is different from its American counterpart - it's a special mixture of German malts and aged in oak whiskey barrels, brewed and sold in China through distributors who license the Pabst name.
China is the world's biggest beer market with a demand for high-end alcoholic drinks among the Chinese rising class. Blue Ribbon took advantage of developing a new brand extension without changing its image and positioning in the US.
Insight: Depending on your company’s structure, target market, and core customer base, implementing a brand extension or modification maybe the best strategic option.
In conclusion, rebranding is a comprehensive strategic initiative. Knowing your core customers opinions, shifts in the market, and having a solid vision of your company’s positioning in the future is key to deciding on whether to rebrand or not.
If rebranding fits your situation, please watch for the next blog in our series entitled:
So You've Decided to Rebrand - What's Next?
Everywhere you turn, there are signs that the holiday selling season is in full swing. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday...
Many B2C small business owners take advantage of the season – are you one of them?
They started planning weeks, if not months ago, clarifying objectives, identifying target markets and creating holiday offers and messaging. Market planning helps make the most of this season, but if you’re a new business or have been too swamped to plan, it’s not too late!
Depending on the type of product/service your business offers, you can:
But whatever you do, don’t forget to say "Thank you" and let your loyal customers know that their business and referrals are appreciated.
Thanks for reading!
If you'd like help with developing your marketing for next year, contact us for your copy of the 7 Step Framework for Marketing Success.
Having a documented marketing plan is one of the keys to successful business.
But not all organizations have a marketing plan -- and smaller companies are even less likely to have one. In fact, only 56% of small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) have one developed.
Marketing plans aren’t the only thing that some companies are missing -- 23 percent admit they don't have specific marketing goals. And specific goals are important -- as the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?
So if marketing plans are such a good idea, why don’t all businesses have them?
To explain that, let’s meet Joe, who's been a business owner for four years. He’s extremely busy but making it. He feels okay about his business, but knows he could be doing better.
Here is his thought process and internal dialog – see if you find it familiar in some ways.
What Joe says:
Why don’t I take the time to work on a marketing plan? …
Let’s face it, I’m busy just trying to keep things running and bringing in new customers. I can’t waste time on thinking and formalizing my marketing options – that’s just extra paperwork that I don’t have time for!
But in the back of Joe’s mind, he’s thinking –
But creating an effective marketing plan could simplify my efforts and help me get more customers. It would also make me set objectives and help align my marketing resources with those goals. It would also ensure I’m targeting potential “ideal customers” and offering what they value.
But I don’t need that -- of course I already know what I’m doing! Got it all up here in my melon!!
But then again, I've got a lot to think about. A plan would formalize my ideas and concepts – maybe help pin point the most effective ones. I guess writing them down would help think through the feasibility of certain marketing approaches and help me know what resources I would have to plan on dedicating to get it done. Plus it would help keep efforts focused - there are so many marketing tools and technologies available today, it’s easy for me to become distracted and lose sight of the intended outcomes of my efforts. Just like that tweeting thing I do every night – I "fall in" and forget why I'm there sometimes!
I could pull that old marketing plan out I did 3 years ago, I don’t think I’ve done even half of it.
Maybe if I followed a good framework and formula it would help establish tasks, timelines and milestones. Also give me a way to track progress and adjust when needed. I guess marketing wouldn’t seem so overwhelming. I read somewhere that a good marketing plan includes clearly defined objectives that make it easier to identify the tasks that need to be done. Adding time frames and milestones is also helpful, and necessary if sales are seasonal or event related. Yes, this could be worth the effort!
But then again, I like to go with the flow, not be tied down.
Hummm, of course planning ahead can help take advantage of discounts and events that require advance notice. Or I could plan multi-channel campaigns that reach target audiences at the exact time they are looking for our service. I guess if I keep in mind a marketing plan is an enabler and a flexible document, not a straitjacket, I could leave some room and budget for opportunities that come up from time to time when things are hot. This could make my marketing efforts much more economical and effective!!
Well, I guess it is a good idea to work on an effective marketing plan to help ensure my businesses success. But how do I get time? Is there someone that can help make this easier?
Yes! If you see yourself thinking thinking about any of these comments, contact Broad Reach Marketing Services
Or get your copy of the 7 Step Framework for Effective Marketing!
Let's create a strong marketing plan together!
In a conversation about my last blog post on Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), a business acquaintance remarked:
“It’s interesting how a big brand or shining new business gets word of mouth to work for them. But I have a reliable small business. I don’t want to be famous or go viral, but I’d like to grow my referrals. Can I still use WOMM?”
“Sure!” I answer. “One of the things you can do is WOW them with your customer service. And a WOW is the key to having great WOMM! When you give your customers or clients excellent service, they’ll say great things about you, driving referrals and supporting your overall business.”
“Great! But how do I make sure my service is excellent?” she asked.
By implementing a customer satisfaction feedback process.
1) Measuring customer satisfaction can help you understand what people are currently saying, what they really appreciate and what might be improved.
There are several ways to do this:
Observation - Be aware of your customers’ body language and expressions as they interact with you and your staff. If your business has multiple locations and / or staff, make it part of your routine to discreetly observe your business operating real-time. You can validate your observations by casually asking customers their impressions of the service and environment.
Interviews – Interview a sample of customers by asking a set of questions over the phone or in person. The advantage of this method is that it is more comprehensive than observation. The interviewer can take the time to ask follow up questions and learn more about the why of a particular answer.
Social media listening -- Some people are reluctant to give opinions verbally, but feel more uninhibited online. Also, avoid unwanted surprises by asking questions in your postings. Finally, “listen” to what people are saying by monitoring your business name and keywords on several social media channels. Some tools that can make this easier include:
Focus groups – This method is also interactive and gathers feedback from groups via dialogs with follow up questions and exploration of situations. One of the keys to successful, productive focus groups is having a skilled facilitator to make sure the more talkative participants don’t dominate or sway the group.
Surveys – Conducting a survey is the most common method used for measuring customer satisfaction. Surveys have the advantage of scale – if you have many customers, surveys give you the ability to get a large sample size to express their opinion in a short time. This can provide statistically viable observations and metrics, although the process can have a bias towards people with the time, energy and motivation to complete the survey.
All of these methods require a clear vision of what you want to learn. So keep it simple and focused – only ask the questions that will provide useful feedback. For example, don’t ask about your location if you’re not willing to move.
Which brings us to the next step in the process:
2) Analyze the information you’ve gained from your customers - to do this, look into these areas:
What your business is doing well -- and should do more of
Where improvement is needed
Services/products that are needed that you may not provide
Net Promoter Score – (for surveys) standard measure of how likely your customer is to refer your business. How does it compare to your industry and expectations?
3) Build an action plan to address any customer concerns, leverage your positives and this will ultimately improve overall satisfaction.
4) Measure your customer satisfaction ratings against your action plan on a periodic basis. This way, you will know if the actions you’ve put into place are having the desired effect. If they are, you’ll see your metrics moving in the right direction. If they are not, adjustments will need to made.
“So it sounds like my business could use this but… won’t it take time, resources and cut into my profits?”
According to Gartner Research, companies that prioritize the customer experience are 60% more profitable than those who don’t. That’s an average, but you could look at your own data – what is the cost to acquire a new customer compared to retaining a current customer?
To learn more on this topic and how to implement it painlessly, please contact us or visit here.
About our Blog:
Marketing Tips is dedicated to providing busy professionals and local businesses with information on marketing trends, strategy and tactics in a way that is both accurate and easy to read.