Posted on April 25, 2017
Finding a healthy balance between the art and science of
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
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
How to Market Your Behavioral Health Clinic or
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
Bad Headline: Our Providers are Specially
Trained, with the Technical and Scientific Knowledge to Give You
Good Headline: Specialists who Make You the
- Empowerment. Help people feel that it is a
sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.
Bad Headline: When You've Hit Rock
Bottom . . . We're Here
Good Headline: Take the First Step in Taking Back
- 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.
Bad Headline: Is Your Alcohol Handling
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
Posted on April 18, 2017
How Rural Hospitals Can Increase Service Lines, Patient Volume,
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
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
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.
Posted on April 7, 2017
How to Build a Patient Testimonial Program that Builds your
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
- 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
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
- 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
- Routinely present at employee and medical staff meetings and
- Incorporate a marketing and brand session in new employee
orientation, including outlining the process for uncovering great
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.
Posted on February 14, 2017
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
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
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.
Posted on February 8, 2016
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
- 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
Stay tuned to hear Mike discuss their accomplishments.
Posted on February 7, 2017
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Posted on February 6, 2017
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
Stay tuned for more
of Mike's updates!
Posted on December 13, 2016
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:
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
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
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
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
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!
Posted on October 19, 2016
By: Jared Christianson, Junior
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
Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for
your orthopedic clinic:
1. Address a diverse range of orthopedic
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
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,
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
If you want to learn more about marketing your orthopedic
clinic, contact us today!
Posted on September 21, 2016
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
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
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
- Emphasize how many women don't realize they can be treated at a
urologist and showcase the variety of services offered for female
- 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
- Encourage women to help their male partners see a urologist;
men, on average, are less likely to visit the doctor for health
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
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
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!