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Caroline Ucherek

Caroline Ucherek

Caroline Ucherek has worked in medical marketing roles for many years and has developed a network of strong relationships with medical specialists, specialised providers and GPs in both sole practices and large practice groups

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b2ap3_thumbnail_blog.PNGHere we are at the beginning of a new financial year. 

Although some medical businesses have established systems in place to consistently monitor their business and financials (it’s great when we see this), many don’t - so EOFY can bring some nasty surprises. The process of gathering our financial data together can be tedious, but it’s also a very valuable time to examine how our business has performed, whether we have seen an increase or a decline, and most importantly -
what direction we want to take for the year ahead. Whether you have a robust established medical business that is experiencing consistent growth or you’re a new start up, making plans for your business and monitoring results should be part of your regular routine. Here are some key things to analyse and implement to ensure your business is going in the direction you want:

Review your current market place

Ask the following questions about your business:
Q: Have you undertaken any marketing activities? What were the results?

Why? More often than not many businesses (not just medical!) will undertake marketing campaigns and programs and have no monitoring systems in place to see what has worked. Without monitoring results you have no idea on what return on investment your marketing has delivered to you. Data capture is a vital component of any marketing activity and without it you can waste a lot of money.

Q: Have you seen an increase or decline in the take-up of your services? Have you seen a shift in the types of services being taken up?

Why? This a big indicator of how the marketplace is being influenced by market forces. Some great examples of this in recent times is urology and the shift to robotic prostatectomy, bariatric and the shift from bands to gastric sleeves, and GPs moving more into the space of providing cosmetic and skin services. It’s also indicative of whether there is more or less competition in your area.

Q: Who are you competitors? Has the marketplace become more/less saturated? How are your competitors positioned compared to you? What marketing are your competitors doing online/offline? Are your potential clients (patients, referrers, users) able to understand what is different about you and why should they choose to use your service/product?

Why? As important as technical and clinical skills and high quality products are, they are no longer a guarantee of a successful medical business. The marketplace now has factors that weren’t around 5+ years ago. First and foremost is that we now have “Dr Google” – your friendly neighbourhood expert, there at a moment’s notice, as a source of information for anyone to access to help aid them in the decision-making process of where to go and who to see, and answer in the patients mind what makes you the provider of choice.

You might be surprised to learn that recent data from Google stated that 80% of internet users look for health information online, including 44% who search for information on medical professionals or healthcare facilities.

Helping your potential patients/referrers/users understand the unique aspects of your service or product through key messaging and what value you can bring to them is an important factor in helping them in their decision making choices relating to the most valuable commodity in the world – health.

Q: Have you done a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis?

Why? An internal and an external SWOT will help you to properly identify, understand and convey your differences to your potential clients. It will also alert you to any potential problems you have so they can be addressed as well as highlight opportunities for you to capitalise on. SWOTs are one of the most valuable activities you can undertake as a business. It’s often useful to bring in a third party to conduct your SWOT as they are not immersed in your business and are not influenced by factors the same as people that are internal to your business. So you’ve undertaken the research – now what?

Remember the old adage: Don’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Take the time to set achievable goals for your business and know what you want to achieve. Be sure to include milestones along the way to keep you on track to getting the results you want. Think in terms of where your business is now and where you want it to be. For medical businesses, it’s often easier to set goals based around number and types of patients rather than fiscal based goals. The more comprehensive you make your goals the easier it will be to track results. 

How is it best to do this?

Develop a marketing strategy that will clearly identify your goals and put activities in place to achieve them. Knowing what you want to achieve as well as when and how to communicate with your potential clients is paramount to growing a successful medical business.
While there are a myriad of marketing activities that you can undertake to grow your business, your business is unique and a well-conceived marketing strategy is designed to establish what activity will be in-line with your individual businesses strengths and goals, talk to your target markets and deliver results.

Simply put – it’s not only that we need to market, but that we need to market appropriately based on our business in our marketplace. Just putting things together in an ad-hoc fashion and marketing without a plan doesn’t get results.

The ability to think strategically about your business is very different to planning day-to-day activities. Your marketing strategy is the overall guide as to what you are trying to achieve – “your goals” – and your marketing plan is the more detailed translation into what activities you are going to undertake, to deliver on these. 

There’s an old sales saying that I think really sums up the need for marketing “you can’t sell a secret”.

So - to everyone who currently has a medical business or is desirous of setting up a successful medical business our best advice is this:

Develop a marketing strategy and then take action!

The effort or cost that it takes you up front will be well worthwhile and will help ensure your business success.

If you want to grow or change your business and find that you simply don’t have the time or the interest to sit back and really think top-line about what is needed - that’s where we can help. CJU is able to look at your business from the outside in. We work with you to help you clearly articulate your business goals and vision and formulate a marketing plan designed to achieve the results you want.

Call us today we’re happy to help: 1300 941 250

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Google search engine internetMany clients have told us a sad tale of having an amazing website built, costing them a small fortune, to then discover they are not able to find it on Google! Unfortunately this is because ‘SEO’ is now a vital component of any website, new or old.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the name given to any activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. Here in Australia this mostly refers to the order in which Google provides links to pages, as a result of a search term you have entered into your Google search engine.

No matter how well a website is designed and developed, that it looks good, engages with the target market and encourages action is imperative – but this is only the beginning. If the website does not rank well on search engines then it won’t be easily found online. SEO focuses on website content and involves the ongoing process of onpage optimisation, key-phrase analysis and link building. These help improve your website ranking within the organic listings in the search engine results pages.

Google displays links to pages it considers relevant and authoritative, depending on the search term you have entered. How it makes this decision for each of the 40,000 search queries it handles every second, is what drives a whole new industry.

This industry spends considerable efforts in analysing and trying to interpret the over 400 Google algorithm changes annually, all carried out by Google to return the most useful search results to you, thereby remaining your favourite search engine. Not only does the SEO industry have to figure out what Google wants from day to day, but how to translate this into changes, updates, links and content on your website, which will result in it ranking as close to number 1 on page 1 of Google results as possible.

Whilst there is a myriad of software which helps this process, currently ‘content’ is still king for Google. Content that has to be written well, be grammatically correct and provide information as its primary role. Google’s bots are so clever now, they not only recognise but will also penalise content that is written badly, copied, or written only for ranking purposes. Hence why previously highly successful ‘overseas’ SEO agencies are now struggling to achieve results, if they don’t have really good English copywriters on their staff.

In other words, there is no getting around it. SEO is expensive and good SEO even more so, so think twice about even having a website if you aren’t willing to pay for this. Costs for SEO are dependent on the level of online competition for specific keywords and the number of keywords being targeted, as well as the website goals. On average, Australian SEO costs range from $600 per month to $2000 or more. Add another 0 to that if you are trying to compete in the insurance, car or tourism industries.

Whilst there is no magic formula to use to pick a good SEO company, there are some questions you should be asking them:

  • Do they offer a guarantee if they don’t achieve the agreed results within a stipulated time frame? The reputable companies will.
  • Is the work carried out locally by staff with a good grasp of the English language and phrases and spelling used in Australian? If not, why pay the higher costs billed by Australian SEO companies?
  • Will they assist with offline methods and ideas of how to achieve backlinks to your website? They should, if they are genuine about improving your rankings, Google loves quality backlinks.

CJU are medical marketing professionals and can assist in developing strategies and activities for both online and offline promotion of your business. We’ll take your business to the next level. Please contact us – 1300 941 250 or fill in an enquiry form on our website at: www.cju.net.au

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We find ourselves again at the beginning of a new year (well we’re already more than a month in!). Here’s some tips on how to make 2017 a better year for your medical business.

Tip 1: Data capture

This is one of the simplest things we can do as a business – but surprisingly, very few medical businesses are doing it. If you can get this into place you will find yourself ahead of the game.
How to data capture
For all medical practices, include a field of “How did you hear about us” in your new patient history forms. If you have a medical website, include a downloadable item that requires a data capture field such as name and email address.  If you are a medical specialist, regularly review your referrer data through your practice management software. Be aware of who your top referrers are, who is increasing and who is dropping off.

Why is date capture important?

Analysis of this data will provide you with valuable insights on how your clients found you and thereby allow you to develop marketing strategies based on results. Once you have the data captured, be sure to track it month to month geographically and correlate it back to different marketing activities, ie Google AdWords, newspaper article, education seminar; so you have a consistent easy to read record of new patient acquisition

based against activities. This analysis will then help you to determine what activity is delivering results and where to spend your time and marketing money in the future.

Tip 2: Implement Surveys

Surveys can be a powerful tool and results are often very surprising. A well constructed survey can be used to dig deep into what your patient is actually experiencing at the coal face of your business and most importantly; can identify necessary changes. Quantitative research is quite a science and data is easy to skew, so survey questions need to be well considered. Survey questions should be balanced to highlight the negative and positive sections of your business. If the survey just tells you the negative things that can’t be changed it won’t be valuable to you. Carefully work
through your survey questions to ensure you are able to use the results found as a basis to identify areas of strength, weaknesses and opportunity and implement any necessary changes.

Tip 3: Conduct online audits

There is so much information online now, but are you sure your online information is accurate? Conduct an online audit on Yellow pages, White pages, True Local and other directory listings to check if your online details are correct. Check your practice details as well as each individual doctor’s details. Look for and check address, phone numbers, spelling errors. 

What is being said about you online? Check Google+, Rate MD and see if there are comments online. It might be time for you to consider a digital media program.

Tip 4: Review reception area and staff

The very first face to face experience your patient has of you is your reception. Take the time to look at your reception area through their eyes and ask what impression are you creating? There are some really basic things you can do to improve the look and feel of your reception.                   De-clutter: Remove old torn magazines, pamphlet “forests”, hand written sticky taped signs. Replace with fresh new magazines, a specified pamphlet zone and make sure signs are professionally produced and hung.

What impression do your staff create?

Do they need a name tag or a uniform refresh? Do they greet patients and smile? A smile is one of the most powerful tools in your practice sales force arsenal and can set a positive impression and experience before any clinical interaction. If your patient is treated well at your reception, it will help to ensure you experience a more relaxed consultation; that they will want to come back and will recommend your practice to their friends and family.

Tip 5: Conduct mystery shops

Mystery shops are one of the best ways to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your practice. Ideally, they should be conducted in person, via phone and online every 6 months to benchmark results and improvements.
Mystery shops should look at uncovering:
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Christmas Medical

We all know how quickly the holidays will be upon us, so if you haven’t done so already - now is the time to think about how to say “thank you” “I/we appreciate you” and just generally keep in touch with your “business significant others.”


Relationship marketing is one of the cornerstones of marketing within the medical industry.


With such a busy group of professionals, it can be easy to overlook or miss the chance to take time out for some of the niceties – but it is one of the key ingredients of having a successful medical business.

He’s making a list……


When deciding on how to say thank you and who to say thank you to the best place to start is to be like Santa and make a list.

A ...

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hiring medical staff

LET’S START BY COVERING WHAT A BRAND IS

We mostly think of a brand as being a logo – but that’sjust a small part of it.

Your brand is much greater than that.

It is the embodiment of your practice – yourcustomer’s first experience from their initial contactwith your medical business to the last interaction theyhave with your service. It covers every step of their journey.

What does that include?

It includes the way the phone is answered, how apatient is treated at reception, what information they are given and how they are given it, how the reception looks and feels including the décor.

So your “brand delivery” and the “brand experience” is well underway before you have even met the patient.

Then we have our specialist-referrer, doctor-patient, provider-user relationship experience. This is a whole subject on its own and we won’t cover it in this discussion –suffice it to say that your communication with your clients, whether referrers, influencers or patients needs to be in keeping with what brand values you are telling them. ie – if you are telling them you are there to be of assistance and partner with them for better outcomes, be sure to be pro-active, take time to listen and give them your attention.

LET’S GO INTO THE MARKETING COLLATERAL AND ACTIVITY ITEMS THAT MAKE UP A BRAND…

These include:

Your logo, signage, website, social media, stationery, brochures, newsletters, education seminars.

The cornerstone of all these items is the logo. It sets and guides every aspect of your brand delivery through your different collateral.

A logo is not just a pretty picture (or it shouldn’t be)

A logo should resonate with your clients, be relevant in its graphical representation of your service and set an expectation. So how does it do that?

There are a number of elements that are used in a well-conceived logo to properly and cleverly convey the characteristics of your business. They are mostly subliminal, but are used to great effect.

These elements include:

Font

The Style of font will convey anything from Professional to whimsical .

UPPER CASE, lower case, Mixed CASE, bold. Each has its own message ie UPPER CASE IS SAYING VERY LOUDLY TO PAY ATTENTION TO ME and BOLD EVEN MORE SO.

Colour

Different colours subliminally express emotions ie blue is the colour of trust and integrity which is why we see many medical logos featuring this colour. Doctors themselves feel attracted to blue.

Imagery

The use or non-use of imagery is one of the most important considerations of a logo. If used, it needs to be in keeping with the brand values. Sometimes an image use is not appropriate and can “weaken” the brand.

Complexity

The simplicity or complexity of a logo needs to be in line with the brand values. A great example is the Nike logo.

Tagline

Can be the most powerful element of a brand. It can succinctly articulate the core values and mission statement.

There is no getting away from brand power.

BEWARE OF BRANDWAGONS

A strong brand stands on its own principles. Be careful not to jump on board because others are doing something and you like it. You want your brand to be memorable and unique.

Make sure you look at every element of your brand and check that it is a true representation of your service.

Go through this checklist and ask yourself – what does my brand say about me?

Are you…

  • Trustworthy
  • Professional
  • Ethical
  • Provide a quality service
  • Do you care
  • Are you an expert
  • Do you have high standards
  • Are you invested in your patients/referrers

Or…. Are you….

  • Sloppy
  • Cut corners
  • Can’t really be bothered to try
  • Don’t really care

HOW CAN WE HELP?

CJU will assist you with a strategy that will properly articulate your brand through all channels of your medical business from reviewing of your patient experience at your practice to the design of your logo and collateral.

Call us and find out how we can help you get your own “brand power”.

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