Women are still the dominant force in caregiving. And this can give healthcare providers an ‘in’ when trying to secure a family’s ongoing…matronage.
The times are ever-changing. Yet some things are slower to change or may never change. Go ahead, insert your favorite ‘politicians’ joke. I’ll wait.
One thing that has been true for all of human history is that, typically, women are the caretakers. “Mother” is the root word for many words, phrases, and proverbs regarding taking care of another person. “Motherly” love is sweet and warm, whereas “fatherly” love isn’t a concept that is ever even mentioned.
It is true, nowadays, that fatherhood means more than just going out and hunting the food. There are more men becoming stay-at-home-dads or primary caregivers than ever. Many countries have begun to legally recognize that a father’s right to spend time with his children is equal to the mother’s. Equal paternity leave is on the rise.
However, women are still the dominant force in caregiving. And this can give healthcare providers an ‘in’ when trying to secure a family’s ongoing…matronage.
We’ve come a long way from the breadwinner days of the ‘50s. Even so, women are still the primary caretakers in any given family. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, published in 2018, emphasizes that this is still the case, despite the difficulties women face in getting paid time off or benefits.
Allow us to focus on that last element first: the lack of benefits. This is one of the most important takeaways of KFF’s results. “Low-income women, women who are employed part-time, and women who live in rural areas are less likely to be offered…benefits,” the study states of its findings. It then emphasizes that “the disparity in workplace benefits is particularly stark between full and part-time workers [for both men and women].”
A lack of benefits or paid time off makes it difficult for families to meet their healthcare needs. This does not mean that every family that walks through your doors will be gravely in need. What it does represent is an opportunity – one that we will expound on momentarily.
The most crucial point of the KFF study’s findings, for our considerations in this article, is the confirmation that women do the majority of the healthcare management for the family, particularly the children. On this subject, KFF notes that “[a]mong mothers, about three-quarters report that they are the ones who usually take charge of health care responsibilities such as:
choosing their children’s provider (79%)
taking them to appointments (77%)
following through with recommended care (77%)
This is “…compared to approximately a fifth of fathers who report they take care of these tasks.” According to an article by the Seattle Times, even “cardiothoracic surgeon and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz has admitted that he has deferred certain health care decisions for their children to his wife, trading his doctor expertise for the “Mister” role at home.”
These numbers represent the opportunity to win the loyalty of an entire family, as opposed to just picking up patients one-by-one. The problem lies in the nature of the diagnostics business – most patients won’t be in with any sort of frequency. After all, you don’t need an x-ray unless something is broken, and you certainly don’t need an MRI until something is potentially seriously wrong.
There are very few people who want to get an MRI (and pay for one) for kicks.
You can find the final piece of the puzzle when you combine the needs of working mothers with the lack of benefits. According to KFF, forty percent of working moms “say they must take time off work and stay home when their children are sick.” Of that forty percent, “56% are not paid for that time off”.
Back to the opportunity – if you maintain awareness of these statistics and apply leverage properly, you’re ensuring that when a working mother needs to get an injury checked out, your practice is her first thought because your staff is friendly and it was so easy last time.
A working mother with an injured child is the most stressed out person you’ve ever met. If you have impressed her previously, she will hope for a repeat. If you succeed in making this easy for her, reassuring her and her child, then you will have won her eternal gratitude.
Effective Patient Retention is Central To A Good Radiology Marketing Strategy
Despite the emphasis that we’re placing on making your female patients happy, we need to make it clear that the best ways to earn their trust is to simply implement good patient retention strategies (which work on everybody, regardless of gender).
There are many simple tips that you can utilize to make a great impression and encourage patient retention. As unlikely as it is that you’ll see any particular patient again, you never know when somebody they care about will need the exact services you provide.
Happy patients are the cheapest advertising you can find!
A happy patient has the potential to bring you additional patients through positive reviews or word-of-mouth. And, if that happy patient is a wife or mother (or both), then she has a very direct influence over the healthcare decisions of her family.
So what do you do? For starters, the most important retention strategies have nothing to do with knowledge or your skills as a radiologist. The details (positive and negative) that patients most commonly refer to in reviews are all soft skills, including:
The most effective tools in your arsenal, however, are still empathy and good customer service skills. Once you’ve mastered those, you can move on to our more thorough list of radiology marketing strategies.
Make Your Mama Proud
Patient retention is always important. Making patients happy should be a goal that you strive for in order to properly secure your reputation. However, we have to admit that, especially for diagnostics facilities, there is a certain logic to the idea that expending just a little more effort to ensure that women leave happy could have additional benefits in the long run.
Besides, you never know who goes to church with your mom.
When you’re starting up a new diagnostics imaging facility, you have to be prepared to hit the ground running. Construction and staffing are just the beginning of the beginning. You then have to book appointments and start bringing in patients and revenue. That MRI won’t pay for itself.
Well, maybe it will, but not without your help.
If you’re in this situation, you should already be thinking about your marketing strategies. There’s a reason why the above article, which you might have read already, overlaps with this one and mentions starting on your marketing long before construction is complete. There’s no way that you’ll begin bringing in income, much less enough to break even in the first week if you don’t start your marketing push before the Grand Opening.
So, for your benefit, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen things to keep in mind for radiology marketing, specifically. Several of these will overlap or relate to one-another, so bear in mind that ignoring one tip may impact your efforts to follow another.
If you have any questions or would like some help with any aspect of your marketing approach, contact the diagnostic marketing experts.
Lay The Foundation for Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing
We’ll start with four basic tips. These are our starting points, and everything else you do to market your diagnostic imaging services will build off of these.
1 – Website
You are pretty much required to have a website these days. If you don’t, you aren’t taken very seriously. And websites should be the first consideration you make for marketing, including the cost for developing your site in your initial investment runs.
The benefits of having a well-designed site are substantial. It anchors all of your marketing efforts, grants you additional traffic, and serves as a platform with which you can communicate or assist your patients at their convenience. These are all effects which can be major contributors to your continued success.
When designing your site, you need to ensure it meets three key criteria:
It works on all browsers and devices (especially mobile phones!)
It is designed for users to easily find what they are looking for
It clearly represents your company and services
Not all website building services are equal. Sure, a quick one pager you put together on Wix over the weekend could count as a website, but for a healthcare business like a radiology imaging center, you’ll need something much more robust and professional.
WordPress sites are the best option for most businesses, healthcare or otherwise due to their versatility, security, and ability to be updated.
If you are looking for a team to build your website, be sure to use one that specializes in diagnostic imaging websites, or at the very least healthcare businesses. Otherwise you’re going to either end up with a confusing and overly-complex site, which is difficult to navigate. Worse, you could end up doing a lot of the work yourself (which is a bad idea since we’re guessing you’re not a UX designer).
On your website, you should consider including as many of the following as possible:
Again, this website will be a core element to your marketing efforts. Most marketing today is done digitally because most consumers are online. So no matter what your overall strategy is, your website is going to be the backbone of all of your digital marketing efforts. If you’re going to go all-out on any individual element of your marketing plan, this should be the one to dote on.
2 – Social Marketing
In a word: Facebook. Facebook isn’t the only platform that can be useful here. There are also potential uses for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram if you hire a savvy social media specialist. However, Facebook remains the top dog for most diagnostic imaging centers. As popular as the anti-social media train has gotten, Facebook’s broad utilization numbers continue to swell, reaching 79% usage rates in America in 2018.
With these numbers, Facebook provides direct reach into your community and potential patient-base.
A clearly branded profile picture and cover photo (i.e. matches the logo on your website)
A call-to-action (CTA) button (typically to call you)
Post regularly (once a week at the minimum)
A member of staff needs to be tasked with reputation management, which means that responses to comments and feedback is their primary task.
Keep your “About” info up-to-date
There are other elements you can work in, such as targeted Facebook ads and analytics tools to measure the success of those ads, but those are all secondary. Make sure the page is up and running and reliable first.
3 – Lead Magnets
Technically, consideration for lead magnets should be included with the website build. You want to have this functionality incorporated at the base level, if possible. If, for some reason, it’s too late or this sort of incorporation isn’t an option, services like Sumo can help you cover that need with a variety of popups and CTA bars
If you aren’t familiar with the term, “leads” are contacts, and magnets attract; thus, a ‘lead magnet’ is something which naturally attracts people and convinces them to provide their contact info – namely, an email address. This will be a vital step towards automating your diagnostics imaging marketing plan.
In a nutshell, your lead magnets, for radiology marketing, will generally look something like:
You write a blog article about “What to expect during an MRI”
You create a PDF checklist that tells “Everything you need to know to prepare for an MRI exam”
You put a lead magnet on your article that pops up or is shown in a sidebar asking readers to enter their email to receive the free checklist.
When someone enters their email, they are sent the checklist as a file (usually a PDF) and they are added to your email marketing list.
4 – Google Places
This one is crucial to not overlook! Many business owners, in numerous industries, neglect to think about setting up a proper business profile for Google Maps. This can make all the difference for your patients when they’re trying to figure out where they want to get their testing done or when they’re trying to figure out how to get to your facility for their appointment.
The best thing about Google Places is that searches done on the Maps app have a focus on local. This means that you’re only competing against other radiologists and diagnostics imaging providers when somebody searches for “MRI” or “CT Scan”.
And, even then, only when those providers include those keywords for their business.
Setting up a business profile is not difficult, either. It’s a three-step procedure:
Just make certain to use crisp, high-quality images for your listing and keep your information up-to-date.
Building Up Your Medical Imaging Marketing Scheme
Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to start building onto them.
5 – Corral Your Providers
This is the most important thing to do in this section of the list. It’s the one thing that isn’t, strictly speaking, building off of something you’ve already done. However, this is also something that is strictly its own beast, and a crucial element of any diagnostics practice’s radiology marketing strategy.
If you have any experience with healthcare, you likely understand that, as important as all of the other things are for your long-term success, referrals from various physicians will provide the most reliable source of patients in the first few months. And they will continue to provide a solid, foundational baseline for your practice in the long run – if you keep them happy. Remember that the referring physicians and their staff are working hard every day, too. Make their jobs easy, and they will continue to refer to you.
Also, keep in mind that the majority of your referrals will come from only about 20% of providers. If you have not planned to track referrals, change those plans; if you’re already operational and not doing this, then change that procedure. You will want to put in a little extra effort to keep your top 20% especially happy. Just keep anti-trust laws in mind as you’re dropping them little tokens of appreciation.
6 – Use a Blog to Draw Additional Organic Traffic
The internet is just where people flock to for information nowadays. That’s the entire point of it. Ergo, if you can position yourself as a local authority on your specialty, people in your area who look for information related to your specialty will not only want to check in with you about other inquiries they may have relating to CAT Scans or Fluoroscopies, but when they or a loved one need one of these diagnostic imaging services performed, guess who is going to be the first one they think of…
No, not Bob Dole, silly! You!
Side note, WordPress sites are the king of blogs and SEO, which we’ll talk about next.
A blog should be an essential element of your website, and can be used to place lead magnets, as well. It can also be used to attract more visitors to your website when you make use of…
7 – Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the practice of fine-tuning your website so that it ranks well on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Of course, Google is the big one, and if you can get your home page or your blog article to rank in the top three results for the right keywords, then you’ll find that your website is, essentially, a super-powered patient finder. Properly done SEO can make a supermassive difference in Digital Marketing efforts for Imaging Centers.
SEO is not easy, though, and Google is fine-tuning its algorithm all the time. Still, there is a process that consistently works if you know how to work through it:
Brainstorm keywords that you think people would search for when they should be finding you.
Pick out your best keywords. These are the ones that are relevant to you, have the highest search volume, and have the lowest competition
Use those keywords in the text on your website and blog
Repeat these steps for each page and article on your site
Note that you’ll want to use different keywords with each blog post. You don’t want to try to get an article about Thyroid Scans ranking for MRIs (it wouldn’t work, anyhow, as Google’s algorithm has gotten good enough that it would notice something weird).
PRO-TIP: When you’re deciding on your keywords, reference Item #9 on this list! Include words in at least some of your keywords that focus on your local area.
If you don’t want to spend much effort on this, there is another option (see #8), though the most effective method is to use a combination of these tools.
8 – Pay-Per-Click Ads
Also known as PPC, services like Google Adwords can provide a ‘shortcut’ if you’re willing to just pay for the ads. However, the shortcut isn’t necessarily simple. There is a learning curve to it, and you still need to decide on specific keywords which your ads will appear on.
Regardless of whether you choose to run PPC by itself or use it to bolster your SEO efforts, it can be a very handy tool. And if you plan to make use of it, we recommend starting with this handy guide to ensure that you get off on the right foot.
Time For A Full-Scale Rollout of Your Diagnostic Imaging Marketing Strategy
The building is done. The following three tips are all things to put into place as policy during launch and after – as things are really getting started.
9 – Keep Your Marketing Focus Local
Your marketing dollars are precious. If you’re doing it right, your cost per acquisition of each patient should be a small fraction of the profit that the patient brings your business. If you try to throw money at an urban center a hundred miles away – how many potential patients are you going to convince to drive one hundred miles to come to your facility when there are likely three or more to choose from within twenty miles of their home? Even if you get one or two, the hundreds or thousands of dollars you spent to get those one or two actually create a deficit which you then need to fill with more efficiently-found patients.
As your patients come in, track what zip codes they’re from so that you can know exactly where your patient-base is. Then, focus your marketing in that area and begin treating them like your neighbors. Afterall, they likely are your neighbors. Talk to them, get to know them. Often, you can get some insights from them about things that will help your marketing efforts.
You can also utilize these six common opportunities to maximize your efforts:
Sponsor after-school events for the top school or schools in the area.
Run Facebook ads to the businesses in the specified locations.
10 – Use Your Generated Leads For Automated Marketing
Automated emails can be a blessing when utilized properly. This doesn’t mean that you’re trying to spam your patients or annoy them. Quite the opposite: one of the first automated emails that you can set up is a follow-up for each appointment, giving patients a chance to provide feedback (the importance of which we’ll discuss in a moment).
You can also use value-based emails, sending out promotions that recipients can use for themselves or give to loved ones who may need your services. Think ‘specials’ like women’s month means a discount, or free box of chocolates or roses for the ladies coming in for their mammograms.
These can be especially valuable for you – not only do you get business, but you might also endear yourself to a large portion of your patient base if you use this tool in the right way.
Then, there are the content-focused emails for leads who opted in based on previous content. When you publish a brilliant new blog article (not every article, but perhaps the best one every week), you can notify your audience of that article, drawing a fresh round of clicks, keeping your audience attentive and educating them on important elements of radiology. Speaking of which…
11 – The Benefits of Educating Your Patients
Most of your patients won’t be returning as patients – because they won’t need to. Very few people need an MRI more than once per lifetime, much less multiple times in a decade.
But they’ll probably know somebody else who needs one eventually.
Because of this, educating them on various aspects of radiology, how different tests work, etc, can help them to help somebody else down the line. And when they think of that knowledge, they’ll think of who they learned it from.
Lastly, you can also send an automatic educational email when appointments are booked. These emails can include links to articles or videos which explain the procedure which the appointment was just booked for. This can provide value and comfort to the patient, who is now not only better prepared for their visit, but also, reassured about their choice to book with you.
Your Radiology Marketing Strategies Should Be Cyclical
Even if you don’t expect to see most patients more than once, there are still things you can do to ensure that each patient leaves happy and thus makes it easier and cheaper to attract the next one. These are all great long-term policy tools to use.
12 – Show Your Personality
People don’t trust robots. Robots are decidedly lacking in charisma (generally speaking). Some can be absolutely adorable and lovable – such as the ones that are programmed to show a little personality.
Your patients will feel more at home with a professional staff who is willing to, well, be human with them. Most patients will be nervous. Your staff can ease that.
You can also show that human factor online. On your Facebook page, your blog, or your website, you can include any of the following elements:
Patient testimonials with or without pictures
Employee of The Month notifications
Pictures of office parties
Testimonials from referring providers
A diagnostics center walkthrough, showing all the rooms with all the modalities. You can just do this on your iPhone or Android, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.
These items make you more approachable, more real. It’s not unprofessional to be human.
13 – Stay Visible
Another thing you can do is to keep yourself involved in your community and in the minds of your patients. There are a few simple, easy-to-use tools for this:
Surveys allow you to get feedback about your practice (more on this in a moment).
The educational emails that we have already discussed, but which really shouldn’t be forgotten, can help to provide long-term value for your patients.
Patient referrals can also give your previous patients additional value, as well as the new patients you’re gaining. Allow them to refer their friends who could also benefit from your services, and give them both something of value in return – a gift card or a chance to win a Big Green Egg, for example. The savings in advertising dollars means you’re not losing anything here.
14 – Seek out feedback!
Not every patient is going to leave happy. There’s nothing you can do about that. However, you can have most patients leave happy. The steps for this are actually pretty straightforward:
1 – Allow every patient a chance to provide anonymous feedback
2 – Do not assume that a patient who leaves seemingly ‘neutral’ is a positive; they could be seething, yet too uncomfortable to say anything
3 – Once you have consistent feedback coming in, find the common denominators and make corrections.
4 – Gather more feedback, find more consistent issues, repeat
As long as you’re actively addressing issues, then you should be reaping the reputational benefits online. All you need to do is ensure that enough people are posting reviews, as a higher review count leads readers to trust those providers more – they’ve been more thoroughly tried and tested, after all.
15 – Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Finally, figure out what makes your team, your entire business, work. What are patients loving? What advantages do you have over your competition?
Figure those things out and leverage them.
Then, as #14 emphasized, ensure that you know where you are underperforming and fix those areas. If you can do these things, you will quickly become a powerhouse.
Good Radiology Marketing Strategies Can Make All The Difference
The modern healthcare market is anything but certain. Patients are uneasy and have understandable concerns about where and how they spend their precious healthcare dollars. But if you work hard to come up with a cohesive, smart strategy for marketing your medical imaging practice, you shouldn’t have any trouble becoming a successful provider of diagnostics expertise in your area, especially if you make good use of these fifteen radiology marketing tips.
We wish you the best of luck! If you have any questions or would like some help with any aspect of your marketing approach, contact the diagnostic marketing experts.
Working in the healthcare industry in modern times is a constant balancing act. Leading in the healthcare industry now is a balancing act on a tightrope stretched over a pit of lava while juggling the most priceless things in the world: the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.
Leading an imaging center is a challenging position to be in. There are so many things to juggle, and all of it revolves around money. You always need more of it, but raising prices could very possibly cut your income irreparably.
If you want to see what other tricks we have up our sleeves, contact us to see what Diagnostics Marketing can do for your imaging center.
MRI Marketing Strategies: The Core Focus
Let’s face it: the MRI is not only the most commonly used imaging device – it’s the poster-machine of medical imaging. Not every imaging center has (or needs) an MRI, but most use this machine as their headliner. With how much the machine costs, maximizing profit with this one machine could make or break your entire practice.
So how do you approach this beast? There are several effective methods and approaches that you can use. To begin, we’ll start with three broad MRI Marketing strategies that draw specific demographics.
1 – The Low Cost Strategy
Nobody needs to know the exact cost of an MRI to know that it’s expensive. Because of this, in many cases, people who could benefit from an MRI will avoid getting one if it isn’t absolutely necessary. Even with imaging centers advertising “low-cost” MRIs, people tend to think about that “low-cost” in relative terms; $1,000 is cheap compared to $2,000, but still unaffordable for most people.
Because of this, if you’re going to try and utilize affordability as a key element of your overall strategy, implement it with transparency in mind. Potential patients will be much more likely to respond favorably if they can get a solid idea of what their costs would be before they even schedule an appointment. This can be implemented through a tool or widget on your website which allows visitors to input their insurance information and a few other details that would affect pricing, giving them a direct quote to show them what their out-of-pocket cost would be. This gives them the chance to place their long-term health ahead of their budgetary needs when they see that their actual cost would be much lower than they feared.
2 – The High Tech Strategy
Potential patients also respond well to evidence that a provider has the best technology or uses the most cutting-edge techniques. It is no secret that our collective scientific knowledge progresses continually. Even without following the specifics, the general population expects for their to be advances in medical care year-over-year. And, especially if they can afford it, patients want the best care they can get.
If they believe that you can provide that, then many will flock to you regardless of cost. This includes patients who are looking for second opinions as well as family members or caregivers who have a sense of responsibility toward the patient.
3 – The Comfort Strategy
MRI scans are known for being uncomfortable, claustrophobic experiences. However, with advances in the technology and design of the machines, this is no longer a necessary element of the process. Some of the newer machines have larger bores or even entirely open formats which can still give accurate results without any of the anxiety associated with the traditional machines.
If you have one of these machines, you should heavily consider placing that fact at the fore of your marketing efforts for your MRI program. This will draw a lot of attention from patients who suffer from claustrophobia, or for whom comfort is a higher priority.
Effective Digital Marketing
No matter which of the above approaches you focus on for marketing your MRI program, you should ensure that you do not neglect the digital format while formulating your overall plan. Most patients seek out answers for their medical inquiries online now. If you utilize a smart web presence, you can easily double or triple the number of patients coming through your doors in a short amount of time.
Google Places (to include business details and reviews)
A reputation management strategy that includes Google, Facebook, and one or two other review sites
And that list only scratches the surface. Utilizing the internet as a primary marketing medium is generally cheaper than traditional advertisements and more effective in today’s marketing environment.
Which brings us to…
You cannot neglect the importance of reaching out to physicians’ offices and hospitals in your area. Their referrals will provide a significant portion of your business. However, you must be aware that there are strategies that do and do not work for this. “Random Acts of Marketing”, as an article from DiagnosticImaging.com puts it, do not necessarily work out. Foisting pens and notepads onto your contacts at referring physicians’ offices just distracts them from the work they need to be doing. The net gain is minimal, and the costs can really stack up.
Instead of presenting your referring providers with empty gifts, take the time to get to know the members of their staff who you have to interact with as part of the business aspect. Focus on building a relationship with them. Genuine relationships will get you further than “Random Acts of Marketing”.
This does not mean that you cannot provide gifts or little “thanks yous” to your referring providers. However, you should be careful to ensure you do not get carried away.
Pro-Tip: Always be mindful of anti-kickback laws to ensure that you do not unintentionally land your organization in trouble.
How to Cut Costs in Your Medical Imaging Business
Increasing Revenue isn’t the only way to increase imaging center profitability. Increasing profits for your medical imaging business can also be done by intelligently (this really must be stressed) trimming your overhead. If you can meet all of your needs for $100k cheaper each year, then think of how that $100k could be redirected once it’s freed up.
Don’t Sacrifice Long-Term Success for Short-Term Gain
In other words, don’t be short-sighted. Be careful how you make your cuts. Cutting employees, employee pay, or benefits could be especially harmful. The healthcare industry, more than most others, relies on the expertise of its employees. Cutting into that foundation of expertise could do more harm than good in the long run.
Invest in Updates
Some cost-cutting efforts may involve some heftier up-front payments to upgrade systems or train employees on new processes. However, you may find that the updates pay for themselves in short periods of time. This article by imsimed.com includes a few good examples, such as putting an end to CD-burning for patient images. There are now several options to move more processes to the cloud for patient convenience, which could ultimately prove to be cheaper.
Lead Magnets and Automated Emails
Lead magnets are a great tool for building a contact list. This process typically involves writing articles, which can be buffed by smart SEO content or boosted by a small ad pay, which attract an audience by answering questions or giving advice that people actively need and want. These can focus on things like “MRI at an imaging center vs at a hospital” or “Three easy tips for making your next hospital visit cheaper”. Then, readers will be prompted to give an email address to receive more, similar content.
This gives you an easy method for gathering email addresses, which can be useful for ad pushes or for building a knowledgeable reputation among your subscribers. These users can be targeted by your email campaigns as needed. Using combinations of magnets and marketing automation like this can provide an easy method for pulling in more revenue for an imaging center.
Getting More Revenue for Your Imaging Center Will Take Work
This much is obvious, sure. But it needs to be said. It won’t be easy, even with these tips – but we’ve worked to make it as easy as possible for you. Utilizing a mix of cost-cutting and advanced MRI marketing strategies, you should be able to give your imaging center’s profitability a boost. No more balancing over that pit of lava – let your competition do that.
If you want to see what other tricks we have up our sleeves, contact us to see what Diagnostics Marketing can do for your imaging center.