Build Your Behavioral Health Practice, One Unique Patient at a Time

Posted on April 25, 2017

BehavioralHealthMarketing

Finding a healthy balance between the art and science of marketing

By: Mike Milligan, President

As a behavioral health clinician or leader, you've learned that no patient's situation is the same. Every patient or client has a unique situation. Some of the circumstances may be similar (depression, addiction, or other behavioral health issues), but as Julian Seifter, MD, author of After the Diagnosis says, "You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle."


Behavioral Health Marketing Requires Creativity & Knowledge, Balanced with Strategies

So profoundly true.  And ironically, you should keep these same tenets in mind when marketing your behavioral health practice.  Just as in treatment, effective behavioral health marketing requires creativity and knowledge, balanced with strategies that produce outcomes. Or as Dr. Siefter says, "Sometimes doctor and patient have to throw out the rule book and construct highly, personal, creative solutions."

Your Behavioral Health Practice Has an Unique Story

Keep these tenets in mind when marketing your behavioral health practice. Just as true for effective treatment, effective behavioral health marketing requires creativity and knowledge, balanced with strategies that produce outcomes. Or, as Dr. Siefter says, "Sometimes doctor and patient have to throw out the rule book and construct highly personal, creative solutions."

Now don't get me wrong: I still like to follow the rules. And in the world of marketing, this means creating a strategic marketing plan that forms your goals and your roadmap to achieving your desired business outcomes. But, this also is where science meets art. Just as every patient has a unique story to tell, so does your behavioral health practice.

Recently, during an initial branding discussion with one of our clients (Edgewater Behavioral Health Systems in Gary, Indiana), I asked its president and CEO, Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes, to share what she considered her current brand, and what her aspirations were for it.

Dr. Hughes, also an author and nationally renowned mental health advocate, reminded me that many people still perceive behavioral organizations to be sterile, institutional facilities. And sadly, the stigma related to reaching out for help continues to discourage many people from seeking care. So what's a behavioral healthcare clinic or organization to do? Start with smart marketing.

How to Market Your Behavioral Health Clinic or Organization

For starters, personalize your brand. Sound a bit nebulous? Let me pin down this concept with a few critical marketing must-dos.

  • Be "real" with your messaging. Yes, your staff is your biggest asset. Yes, your facilities are important. Yes, you need to let people know about them. But if you really want to connect with patients and prospective patients, you need to speak to them in the right way. That starts with:
    • Simplicity. Keep your message concise and simple. Don't overwhelm people with too many facts or terms they may not understand. They are already on "overload." Stay focused for them.

EXAMPLE:
Bad Headline: Our Providers are Specially Trained, with the Technical and Scientific Knowledge to Give You Comprehensive Treatment
Good Headline: Specialists who Make You the Priority

  • Empowerment. Help people feel that it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.

EXAMPLE:
Bad Headline: When You've Hit Rock Bottom . . . We're Here
Good Headline: Take the First Step in Taking Back Your Life

  • Empathy. Speak to people in a way that lets them know you understand the challenges in their life. Let them know you truly care - and how you can help.

EXAMPLE:
Bad Headline:
Is Your Alcohol Handling You?
Good Headline: We've Been There, and Now We're Here to Help

  • Include stories your audience can relate to. Testimonials are one of the best ways you can "sell" your services. These emotional stories of hope and recovery from the patient themselves or from the patient's family helps put the audience "in their shoes." The best ones are sad but ultimately triumphant. There are many "dos" and "don't's" when it comes to testimonials. Here are just a few:
    • DO use the actual patient or family whenever possible. When it comes from the heart, it's authentic and relatable. If you must use actors to portray a testimonial, be sure to note it.
    • DO NOT forget to coach your people! Make them feel at ease so they are camera (or radio) ready. The effectiveness of a testimonial can be lost in a stiff delivery.
    • DO include relevant details, but DO NOT alienate your audience by using so many specifics that they can no longer relate to their story.
    • DO focus on feelings and emotions.
    • DO NOT forget to end on a positive note with a strong call to action.

What's Your Story?

Your organization has a story to tell, and that story defines your brand. Sometimes that story is told through your employees, referral sources, or through clients or family members. And "how" you tell that story is critical too. There are traditional ways, such as advertising and direct mail, but there are also newer, more personal approaches, such as video and digital communications. Just as no patient is the same, no marketing strategy is either. Attracting clients to your brand is about making a connection. A connection that is real and personal and that tells your unique story.

Want To Learn More?

Register for our upcoming webinar, May 16 at 12:00 CDT "Attracting New Behavioral Health Clients - One Unique Patient at a Time". Presented by MIke Milligan, president of Legato Healthcare Marketing and Cory Valentine, Vice President of Sales of Sigmund Software


Register Now

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Webinar: Nurture, Empower, and Engage Your Community to Grow Patient Volumes

Posted on April 18, 2017

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How Rural Hospitals Can Increase Service Lines, Patient Volume, & Revenue

Register for Upcoming NRHA Webinar

By: Mike Milligan, President

As I visit with rural hospitals across the country, I hear many of the same challenges.  It's no secret that rural hospitals are struggling to compete against larger systems. But amid the gloom that sometimes overshadows our industry, there are many stories of triumph.  Of success.  Of overcoming the odds and showing us all that it can be done.

The fact is, you can not only survive, but you can actually thrive, in this competitive environment.  But it takes a healthy balance of making courageous operational decisions, balanced with implementing sound marketing strategies.

One of our clients, Howard Memorial Hospital in Nashville, Arkansas, through the leadership and vision of its CEO Debra Wright, demonstrated first hand that bigger isn't always better.  She and her leadership team focused on profitable service lines and make some tough choices.  And she engaged her community in innovative ways that will impact her hospital for generations to come.

I'll provide more details on the "how" in our upcoming NRHA webinar on April 26, and through our joint presentation on May 10, at this year's NRHA Rural Healthcare Innovation Summit in San Diego.   Howard Memorial dramatically increased primary care volumes and grew outpatient procedures by 48% in a 3-year time period.  You read that right, 48%.

It's been a journey, and it certainly isn't over.  A large part of our strategy centered around engaging with the community.  For starters, this requires:

  • Understanding your community and its needs
  • Attracting the right type of providers for your community
  • Collaboration between your hospital/providers and patients to design, manage and achieve positive health outcomes
  • Taking steps to improve employee satisfaction

It all comes down to this: When you invest in your rural hospital, you invest in your community. The right messaging, service line prioritization and strategic operational decisions can help you build volumes.

 


Want To Learn More?

Register for our upcoming webinar, April 26: "Nurture, Empower, and Engage Your Community to Grow Patient Volume."

Find out how to nurture, empower and engage both your community and organization while meeting your organization's objective of increasing patient volume and revenue. Hear how Howard Memorial Hospital used new tactics to execute campaigns and how service line developments led to higher revenue.


Register Now

 

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Are Your Patients Telling Your Story?

Posted on April 7, 2017

Doctor-and-Patient

How to Build a Patient Testimonial Program that Builds your Brand.

By: Mike Milligan, President

Healthcare is emotional.  As a father, husband and son, I know this firsthand as I've paced the hospital hallways waiting for a family member to recover from surgery, and I've fretted and worried about what the lab results might show. And, as a healthcare marketer, I've also learned how impactful these emotions are in the stories your patients share about their experiences at your healthcare organization.


Patient testimonials:

  • Creates a human link between you and your audience, lending credence and emotional connection to your messaging;
  • Help potential patients see themselves (or their family members) in the story;
  • Can be used across a variety of formats from traditional to digital media.

As important as testimonials are, they're sometimes hard to find.  Not because you don't have many great stories, but because healthcare providers - often the ones who witness the stories firsthand -- are humble people.  They may view a patient story as ordinary or routine, but in actuality, there's nothing routine about improving, or even saving, one's life.  Every patient has a unique story.

Here are a few tips for finding stories within your organization:

  • Select a point person who will be the keeper of the testimonials at your facility.  Maybe a marketing person, nurse, or even surgery manager.  The key though is that this person needs to build relationships throughout the organization to seek out stories.
  • Meet with nurses in various departments to encourage them to share potential patient stories.
  • Make reporting easy. Provide online or paper nomination forms to make the process easy.
  • Incentivize employees. Encourage your staff to be on the hunt for compelling success stories by offering rewards for nominations.
  • Routinely present at employee and medical staff meetings and encourage participation.
  • Incorporate a marketing and brand session in new employee orientation, including outlining the process for uncovering great stories.

Click here to view an example of a video patient testimonial we did for a client.

If you have any questions regarding building a patient testimonial program please reach out by calling 920-544-8102 or emailing us.

 

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Recap of Legato's Visit on Capitol Hill

Posted on February 14, 2017

ItsABill

All is normal in Washington, D.C.

Normally chaotic, that is. I recently returned from joining the National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) Public Policy Institute to advocate for the needs of rural healthcare organizations. It was a productive and educational experience.

Of course, the elephant (no political pun intended) in the room was the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Will it be repealed, replaced, overhauled, adjusted?

The takeaway for me is that the words "repeal" and "replace" have negative political connotations. Consensus among rural healthcare leaders and members of Congress is that there are positive aspects of the ACA, as well as areas that need improvement. One concern, of course, is making sure that short-term changes don't take away access for patients. Another is that costs are higher than anyone would prefer. My opinion is that the ACA won't be totally repealed and replaced; that just doesn't seem practical.

The healthcare industry leaders in my delegation (Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative) focused on issues such as making sure the 340B program remains, as well as its impact on sustainability for rural hospitals throughout the nation. Leaders such as Black River Memorial Hospital, CEO Mary Beth White-Jacobs explained how the revenue received from this program helped the hospital meet community needs such as hospice and homecare programs.

Robert Van Meeteren, CEO of Reedsburg Area Medical Center educated members of Congress on the importance of fixing the CMS 96-hour rule and its current impact on rural hospitals. Watching people's responses, I genuinely felt that the real-life stories helped legislators see the true face of those who may be affected by their decisions. They learned how a rural hospital's success is not simply about providing healthcare, but it's also the foundation for the economic stability of the entire community.

Thank you to NRHA and to RWHC, for allowing me to join this important event. And thank you for helping me understand the issues in even more depth, thus allowing our team at Legato to use this knowledge in helping you achieve your business goals and effectively compete in the marketplace.

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Mike's Day 3 Journey Update

Posted on February 8, 2016

 

ItsABill

 

Today Mike was at Capitol Hill where Senators spoke about these issues surrounding rural health:

  • Senator Al Franken discussed how rural healthcare is not a partisan issue.
  • Senator Shelley Moore Capito focused on deploying broadband in West Virginia to increase access to care through telemedicine. She also discussed her fight against opioid addiction, which unfortunately also is prevalent in rural America.
  • Senator Shelly Moore Capito says, "We are definitely going to repeal the ACA, but not until we have an even stronger replacement in place."

Stay tuned to hear Mike discuss their accomplishments.

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Mike's Journey Update

Posted on February 7, 2017

ItsABill

Mike Goes to Washington Part 2

Mike Milligan is at the Rural Health Policy Institute and while he's always a vocal advocate for rural healthcare, he's also actively listening. Here are some highlights from the conference:

  • According to Andrew C. Adair, J.D., Government Relations Representative, American Academy of Family Physicians, MACRA is here to stay. "MACRA is not affiliated with the ACA directly, and has strong bi-partisan support. Legislatively, it's not going anywhere. However, there is some uncertainty regarding how nominee HSS Secretary Tom Price will refine it."
  • According to J.R. Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Psychiatric Medical Care, if Medicare Advantage plans continue to expand, or Medicare is privatized, CAHs will need additional financial support to survive.
  • Heather Dimeris, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, advocates that telehealth can provide the same quality of care as many inpatient settings.
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp states, "We cannot leave rural healthcare behind." She encourages us to think for the future and look at all options:  different payment models, telemedicine, "But CMS needs to get out of the way with its over restrictive rules."
  • Rep. Evan Jenkins encourages everyone to hold Congress accountable, not just on the Hill visits this week, but year round.  He suggests advocates keep the pressure on, invite legislators to your hospitals, and organize grass roots efforts in your communities.
  • Brian C. Tabor, Executive Vice President, Indiana Hospital Association, discussing Medicaid expansion and Indiana's HIP 2.0 program states, "I love to see innovative solutions to finding the delicate balance of providing access to care for all people, while understanding the tremendous cost impact for our communities and our nation."
  • Sen. Cory Gardner touts the merits of telemedicine in rural healthcare, explaining that it provides access to quality healthcare, reduces over utilization, and lowers costs for hospitals and patients.

Stay tuned for more of Mike's updates!

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Mike Goes to Washington

Posted on February 6, 2017

ItsABill

On Feb 7-9, 2017, NRHA will host the largest rural advocacy event in the United States at what may be the country's most critical turning point. Legato's own Mike Milligan will be at the event, advocating for rural healthcare as part of the National Rural Health Association Policy Institute. Among other topics, attendees will be discussing the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid program, and the recently passed MACRA. Mike is learning firsthand about the impact on rural patients and providers, while representing the voice of hospitals and clinics facing uncertainty.

Each day we will provide you with updates on Mike's journey.

2/6/2017 National Rural Health Association Policy Institute Update: Mike has arrived in DC! But he didn't wait until landing to begin the conversation. In fact, Mike sat next to Michigan Senator, Debbie Stabenow and Wisconsin Senator, Tammy Baldwin on his flight and they discussed how rural hospitals are the economic engines of their communities.

Mike-Debbie

Stay tuned for more of Mike's updates!

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The Importance of Storytelling in Healthcare Marketing

Posted on December 13, 2016

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By: Liz Paulson, Copywriter

Hi everyone! Liz the copywriter here. So, some of you may remember my post about my favorite part of my job: interviewing people!

I've told you why I love telling people's stories and what it does for me personally, but I'd like to expand a bit on why this kind of storytelling is also good for business: how compelling, emotional narratives can help drive patient volumes and establish your facility as a trusted leader in the community.

Let's start by reminding ourselves why we love stories. Why do we watch TV, go to the movies, or read? Why do children sit in rapt attention when someone is telling them a story? Why did those early humans at Lascaux feel compelled to draw on cave walls?

  • Stories connect with us emotionally
  • They make us think
  • They help record history and shared cultural values
  • They help us process and make sense of a chaotic world

Believe it or not, this is what the right kind of storytelling does for your audience. There are a lot of ways to use storytelling for your facility, and the first we will discuss is testimonials. First person testimonials are tried and true ways to grab an audience's attention and put them "in their shoes." Whether it's an elderly gentleman telling how his knee replacement added life to his years, the mom of an addict gratefully acknowledging the rehab facility that saved her son, or a middle-aged dad who enjoys a better quality of life now that he got his sleep disorder under control, these stories tug at heartstrings and allow your audience to see themselves in these real-life examples.

If you're not used to it, finding these kinds of testimonials can be intimidating at first. Just keep at it! In short order, you will be able to sniff out a good story like any beat reporter.

I know what you're thinking at this point: Wait, what if these people don't want to talk about their experiences?

Don't worry! In our experience, people are tremendously happy to share their success. When you speak to a potential testimonial, assure the person that he/she will have complete approval over their portrayal, and in the case of behavioral health, know that name changing and other anonymity measures are totally acceptable.

Once you have your story, be sure to make the most of it! Don't limit yourself to one iteration of your story. If you were doing an on camera interview for an online testimonial for your website, consider an edited version to use on a TV spot. Take still photography so you can use this in a print ad. Mark what words and phrases stick out that would lend themselves to a radio spot.

It may seem obvious, but telling compelling stories will help you build your brand in no time. If you want to learn more about how you can use storytelling for your healthcare facility, contact us today!

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Specialize in Pain Treatment, Not Painful Marketing

Posted on October 19, 2016

Specialize in Pain Treatment, Not Painful Marketing

By: Jared Christianson, Junior Copywriter

Injuries to bones and joints can happen to anybody. With the common nature of orthopedic conditions, it should be easy to attract new patients, right? Not without an effective marketing strategy!

Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for your orthopedic clinic:

1. Address a diverse range of orthopedic services.

Focus the majority of your marketing on the most common injuries or treatments - such as shoulder, knee, and hip conditions and procedures - but remember to advertise a wide range of services and conditions. Whether it's spine care or foot and ankle treatments, many people don't realize that orthopedic clinics cover an extensive number of conditions.

2. Highlight your talented specialists.

Patients are drawn in by friendly and warm providers, so introducing them, in addition to highlighting your services, can help increase patient volume. Include a "Meet the Providers" section on your website, create YouTube videos interviewing some of the orthopedic surgeons, and post on social media about different staff members. People like when medical professionals seem accessible and up-to-date with social technology.

3. Show off the impressive features of your facility.

If your facility is modern, comfortable, and appealing to the eye, offer plenty of pictures and videos displaying the inviting features of your facility. Potential patients will see the modernity of your facility and assume that your healthcare and technology are equally new.

4. Come across as less traditional, yet still professional and innovative.

Orthopedic clinics treat patients ranging from kids to the elderly because injuries and pain can happen to anyone. Because of the wide variety of ages, you have to market to them all. Produce marketing campaigns covering anything from high school sports injuries to walking up the stairs safely after hip procedures. Patients appreciate advertising traditional services in a creative, modern fashion.

5. Advertise using broad networks.

As mentioned before, use social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to your advantage. Remember to also maintain traditional marketing strategies like direct mail campaigns and television and radio ads. The more coverage you provide through advertising, the more people you will reach. Examples can include a Facebook post about increasing football injuries because fall is arriving, or a television commercial about an older couple that is able to return to daily activities because of your clinic's services. To make the most effective use of these strategies, know where different audiences are and adopt your messaging to reach the right audience through the correct channel.

6. Use statistics to your advantage.

Every 1 out of 5 adults suffer from diagnosed arthritis. 90% of knee replacements last more than 10 years. Positive statistics like these influence patients dramatically. You can talk about the impressive outcomes from your treatments all you want, but facts and statistics are what stick.

7. Communicate the positive results.

We helped one orthopedic clinic increase new patient visits by 23% in just 10 months. Of course we are going to display that result for other people to see. When people notice positive results, they realize something good has to be happening at that clinic. They would rather go to an orthopedic clinic gaining patients than one losing patients.

All of these tips can help bring in more patients to your orthopedic clinic, but make sure to stay consistent when following them. Just because you created a few successful marketing plans doesn't mean it's time to relax. Always stay aware of new marketing strategies and upcoming trends. It will help separate you from your competitors.

If you want to learn more about marketing your orthopedic clinic, contact us today!

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5 Effective Strategies for Marketing Your Urology Clinic

Posted on September 21, 2016

5 effective strategies for marketing your urology clinic 2

In a world where transparency is vital to a business' success, urology clinics face some obstacles. There can be difficulty in promoting treatments of urologic issues when many people are uncomfortable with the subject matter. However, much like GI clinics and other specialties, urology clinics are becoming increasingly accessible through new attitudes in marketing and social media habits.

Rather than shy away from sensitive topics, embracing your treatments, procedures, and recovery options can be extremely beneficial for your business. Issues like kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and sexual dysfunction are some of the most common disorders in our country.

1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. 11% of couples will experience some sort of fertility issue. 500,000 people suffer from kidney stones each year.

To not market the services you provide for these conditions would be to miss out on potential client growth and satisfaction.

With that in mind, here are 5 practices to effectively market your urology clinic.

1. Use statistics for your benefit.

The statistics regarding urologic conditions are staggering. With the common nature of urologic problems, you can use statistics to inform, surprise, draw in, and even shock people. If someone sees or hears an advertisement describing prostate cancer without statistics, they might just brush it off and continue with their day. If they hear that 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, they might contact their urologist in the near future for a checkup.

2. Promote new technology.

Whether it's new robotic surgery or Greenlight XPS Laser Technology, there are new and innovative developments appearing daily. Promoting these technologies helps potential patients feel safe knowing they will be receiving the best care with top-quality equipment. New technology advances also show a pursuit for constant change and improvement in the urology field.

3. Know your target markets.

Urology clinics treat many female patients, but male patients make up most of the business. You should still use about 40% of your marketing efforts to cater to women, but focus the majority of the marketing on men. When marketing to women, remember these strategies:

  • Emphasize how many women don't realize they can be treated at a urologist and showcase the variety of services offered for female urologic conditions.
  • Make sure you feature your female providers or mid-level providers in marketing plans as well; many women feel more comfortable being treated by other women when it comes to urologic care.
  • Encourage women to help their male partners see a urologist; men, on average, are less likely to visit the doctor for health issues.

4. Broaden your reach.

You can't expect people to hear about you through word-of-mouth or to somehow stumble upon your website on their own. With the incredible number of outlets for advertising in the world, use them to your advantage. Television, radio, social media, email, and direct mail are just a few of the methods in which you can market your services.

5. Provide variable content.

If you broaden your reach in as many channels as possible, you can't just use the same content for each format. Determine your target markets, develop a plan and calendar, and define your service line priorities. You can create a Facebook post that links to a blog written about prostate cancer prevention, and the blog directs the user to an eBook on your website. You can put together YouTube videos of provider profiles to display their accessibility and personality.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to marketing formats and strategies. The key is to take advantage of the possibilities. If you follow these tips when developing a marketing plan for your urology clinic, you're bound to improve your results.

When it comes to marketing your urology clinic, obstacles can present themselves along the way. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to get you started, contact us today!

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