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Avoid the Pitfalls of building a Concierge Medical Practice

Are you considering transforming your medical practice into a concierge medical practice? If so, than there are a few do’s and don’t’s that can make the difference between success and failure.

The average family doctors see about 4,000 patients in their practice which leads very little time for one-on-one interaction with the patient. In order to have a successful concierge practice, you have to change your large insurance-based practice into a more patient-centric practice by reducing the size of your patient load so can provide a higher quality of care.

Starting a new concierge practice is not easy. There are many doctors who do it successfully while others have failed miserably. If you do it properly, you can reap the benefits of receiving higher pay, quality care with patients, and the overall rewarding experience of receiving cash for your time rather than the paper chase and denials of insurance-based practices.

Do: start with a business plan

It is completely astonishing that most small businesses lack a business plan that is relevant to their business services and produces as well as their position in the market place. A business plan is a road map to show you how to price points, service offerings and overall how to reach your goals. The best way to shape the future of your new business is to begin with a business plan that outlines how your concierge medicine practice will be structured. If you are planning to get financing to open your new office, a business plan is required to show the lender your financial viability to qualify for a loan. Your business plan should include information about your patient load, revenue streams, staffing requirements, and recruitment efforts to keep patient load at a sufficient level to support your business.

Don’t: use a ‘boilerplate’ business plan

There are sample business plans available online that you can purchase, and while these can be a great resource as a starting point to let you know the types of things to include in your plan, they should be treated as just an outline. If you copy and paste the information directly from the sample plan without customizing it for your area, the estimates about revenue, patient load, and other information will range from being either slightly wrong to wildly inaccurate, which can affect your success in the future. Spend the necessary time to customize your plan to fit the needs of the market and to position yourself in a more strategic place than your competitors.

Do: educate your patients of your new practice

Most patients today are very familiar with a traditional model for primary care doctor’s offices, and some may have never heard of a concierge doctor before. Change is hard for everyone, but you can ease the transition for your patients by communicating with them about your plans to become a concierge physician, and helping them understand what that means for them. If you surprise your patients one day without any advance notice or education about what a concierge physician is and why it’s beneficial, you may not be able to keep those patients in your new practice.

Don’t: assume your patients know what your new practice will be like, spell it out for them in your marketing materials

As a physician, you are very familiar with different types of practices and different models, and you know the advantages and disadvantages. Patients, on the other hand, are not familiar with all this information, and it is your job to educate them on why you are choosing to become a private physician, and how it will benefit them. If you’re not sure about the best way to reach out to your patients and help educate them, consider hiring a marketing consultant to help.

Do: hire the right team – hire slowly & fire quickly

Your new concierge medicine practice will require the support and help of a great team, including your staff, an accountant who understands concierge medicine practice models, an attorney, and a healthcare consultant with experience setting up and running patient-centric businesses. Every single employee from manager to operator needs to be on board with your patient-centric business model and culture. If one employee is not, then don’t waste your time. Fire them.

Don’t: hire a consultant with the wrong experience

There are a lot of healthcare consultants who can help you convert your practice to concierge medicine, but you want to be sure to hire one that has experience working with patients that fit your demographics, and not one that tries to make your practice fit into a “one-size-fits-all” model. I have noticed the greatest benefit that a consultant can have when being hired for a concierge medical practice is experience in developing a menu of cash services. You do not want the practice management consultant who only has experience in insurance-based medical practice business models. These two models are tremendously different. One model treats patients as if they are a number and the time the doctor spends with the patient is very limited. The other model is based on a patient-centric model whereby each contact with the patient ensures a positive experience.

Do: review your practice regularly

Constant gauging and auditing your progress is a necessary task that will show you if you are meeting your goals. Set a schedule to review your practice at least once a year to ensure that you are meeting your goals, and find areas where you can improve. You can do this on your own, or with the help of a consultant, to make sure that your practice is thriving for years to come.

Sometimes change can be scary, but both patients and physicians often appreciate the improved care that comes with a concierge practice.



Responsive Websites Rank High on Google SERP

Just when you think your web site is up to date, Google changes its algorithm yet again. This last month’s change has Google’s pack of 7 down to a pack of 3 business web sites on the organic search page listing. In addition, addresses and phone numbers have been removed altogether. As you can see, only three web sites are listed for “medical weight loss Las Vegas” and are supposed to be listed based on proximity and relevance of the search. However, these businesses that are listed are not close to my location nor are they weight loss centers. So what does this mean to business owners?

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Well it actually means more than you might think. It means that for you to be even somewhat competitive, you need to update your web site to increase your chances of being in the top three along with staying on the first page of Google’s organic searches. So how do you increase your chances to be in the top three on the local pack of Google? Here are five recommendations:

  1. Your website address is now more important than your phone number. In the new local pack, the address and phone number are removed from the main search result. Instead, the search results show your store hours, reviews and offers a link to the website and directions. Of course, you can still see the spot on the map where your business is, so address is still important. But it’s interesting to note that they make your website URL prominent and not focus on your other contact info. Make sure that your search listings have a Website URL, and it can’t hurt to make sure your hours are filled in too. Also, it’s extremely important for you to make sure Google has your address listed so you come up to the nearest prospect who is looking for your services.
  2. Google is taking away its emphasis on Google+. Google also removed the links to Google My Business pages. This makes Google+ less relevant, which might be a relief to a lot of people who felt forced into creating a Google+ account. In the meantime, it’s still best to keep up with your Google+ pages while we wait and see what The Big G chooses to do next with their social media service.
  3. It’s going to be even harder for a local business to rank here. While we always want to be as high as possible in search results, now it’s even harder. As you can see on the example above, there is A LOT of local competition in our area for the medical weight loss industry. I would be willing to bet that it’s similar in most other industries. This means that the majority of businesses won’t be listed on the local pack of Google. My prediction is that customers will rely less on this first page as a result. They might get into the habit of expanding the local pack to see all 20 top results, or looking in a different area for local results. People like options! If this happens, businesses will not place such an emphasis on ranking locally. Of course, it could be the exact opposite – competition for that 3 pack could greatly increase. In that situation, only the best, most relevant sites will prevail.
  4. It’s more important than ever to make sure your website is optimized. As you can see, Google is not going to slow down any time soon in aiming to give people the most relevant search result possible. This means that it is extremely important to make sure your website is helpful, mobile-responsive, complete, and relevant.Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 5.09.04 PM
  5. Adding video on your website increases your rankings on Google’s organic searches. As you can see Unicorn’s YouTube channel is helping it come up in rankings on Google’s search engines. It’s not one or the other for testimonials, we recommend both as some prospects may want to read about other patients’ experiences while others may want to hear it. Giving options to your patients is key to success.  As you can see in the screenshot below Unicorn Medical Weight Loss & MediSpa tops the list on the organic search and it’s YouTube video is #4 on the first page of Google’s organic search engine.

Does your website need an SEO facelift? If you think you need to update your site and boost your organic traffic, click on the image below to learn about our website packages.





Facebook to become the “Holy Grail” of targeting new patients

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and a host of other social networking sites were created for personal use. All of these companies require revenue to operate so it’s been interesting to watch them pick and choose their revenue path. Like any perilous journey, if you guess wrong on the direction you take your enterprise, it can quickly become obsolete. Do you still have your My Space account?Long term survival for these companies have forced their attentions to “the land of milk and honey”- the world of business and those big juicy ad budgets.

Their big marketing pitch to us business types is compelling. Businesses have spent six decades throwing ad dollars at a big broadcast media wall to see what sticks. Now, social media offers a more refined wall to it throw at. Actually it’s not that bad. The digital media wunderkinds that conjure up new algorithms to create revenue models to sustain their social media companies, are coming tantalizingly close to offering businesses a truly great opportunity to target their advertising dollars.

Social media companies have always had their hands full trying to convince advertisers that their media channels were neither the exclusive domain of attention deficit teens, nor Silicon Valley hipsters. Slowly but surely the important role of social media has taken root in the business community. Social media has become a mainstay in the lives of most consumers including consumers that also happen to be business owners. Hence a comfort level in spending ad dollars on social media, and a downright giddiness at the prospect of getting a message right under the nose of a targeted consumer.

It’s no surprise that Facebook has lead the way in attracting ad dollars. They are perfecting the art of placing your ad in front of prospective customers without the use of cookies like Google uses. Their Custom Audiences feature that they introduced in 2013 allows an advertiser to model the audience by demographics and basic interests. They expanded the feature to allow an advertiser to import a contact database and match emails as well as phone numbers. If you have other data points like age, gender, and interests, simply divide your lists up into those separate groups along with your customized message for each group. And bingo, you have virtually dropped a message onto the Newsfeed of the exact customer in which you intended. (Remember that Facebook gives much higher ad placement to video content.)


There are certainly other social media channels that are making their mark with ad dollars, but Facebook is probably the whole package for those businesses that want to get on board. If you want to create a social media strategy, call us at 702-682-8300. Start targeting tomorrow’s patients, today!


Video Testimonials – Most Powerful Marketing Channel

Video is a powerful tool for persuasion. We are now talking, sharing, producing and consuming in a mobile world and video content has a greater impact in all of these areas than anything else. The ease of distributing video content has also resurrected the art of personal persuasion- real people, to whom you can relate, expressing their true feelings about something and suggesting you do the same. There is nothing more powerful than a real satisfied patient, client, or customer expressing themselves to other real people.



The production is first class, and the message is simple, short, unscripted, and compelling. It meets all of the communication demands of today’s consumers. It is also a component of a larger campaign in promoting Cataract Awareness Month. As part of promoting Cataract Awareness Month on behalf of our client, we are rolling out testimonials on laser cataract surgery that will be distributed throughout the various digital media channels. The above video is one of many that will be used to help with SEO ranking and consistent messaging throughout the digital media channels like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and the web site.

Social media channels are now awash in video content. It was only a matter of technology catching up to our insatiable appetite for moving images. Today we expect to be talked to, entertained by, and persuaded with video. If there is one phrase that optimizes our rules of engagement it’s, “If you want to tell me something, say it, don’t’ write it”. YouTube is a perfect example of how popular videos are used by businesses for messaging. The stats on YouTube alone are staggering.


  • YouTube has grown to be the largest social media site surpassing Facebook in 2014
  • YouTube has more than 1 billion users
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google
  • Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views
  • The number of hours people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50% year over year
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • Half of YouTube views are on mobile devices
  • Mobile revenue on YouTube is up over 100% y/y

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With the exception of brands and businesses that cater to millennials, the rest of the world of commerce lags behind their respective markets in the video medium that is the most effective with consumers. I began to approach my medical clients a year ago about integrating video content into their social media marketing. My suggestions weren’t met with reticence as much as a sincere lack of understanding why a video medium would be desirable to market products and services. The reaction lead me to do a bit more research on the web to see how doctors and their practices were using video in the digital world.

Most of the doctors that had a presence on Facebook, You Tube, and on web sites, although positioned professionally, had a remarkably unprofessional quality to them. Many of them were self-produced and consisted of a doctor talking into the little imbedded camera on a computer screen, under florescent lights, and talking at length. I felt like I was sequestered in some digital dungeon being force fed content for CME credits. The lack of quality reflected poorly on them as professionals and they clearly didn’t understand that this was probably their worst foot forward.

Today that’s beginning to change. Medical professionals recognize they are in an ever increasing competitive market that demands authenticity and excellence. Recording rambling video in something that resembles your mother’s basement doesn’t cut it. Consumers expect the highest quality services and products in the field of medicine and they want to hear about it from people like them. Make your happy patients your best sales people.

Creating excellent video messaging is becoming an imperative for marketing success. I would love to help you achieve that. Feel free to contact us at 702.682.8300.


Branding: Your Market I.D.

What Are You?

“Branding” is quickly earning its way onto my Banned Words List. It’s still essential to successful business marketing, but it is in danger of becoming nothing more than a trendy buzz word. And trendy buzzwords too often become a cheap substitute for a little heavy lifting that any business needs to be successful.

Branding only seems difficult because it requires a business owner to take a longer and deeper look at their business. After all, it so much easier to just desperately struggle every day chasing customers that have absolutely no idea why they should trust you! The exercise of branding your business begins not with an over-priced trademark or logo, it begins with a philosophical question, “What or who are we?”


I ran across a great article in Forbes where the author said that building your brand starts inside your organization with defining your corporate culture. You have to mold your own set of values and behaviors if those characteristics are ever going to be recognized in your brand. Every department and person in your business should be keenly aware of what your brand means. When you have really committed to building your brand you will begin to understand the need to hire people that reflect your corporate culture and properly represent your brand in the marketplace.



A well-recognized and regarded brand is about owning the market, not competing in the market. When the customer believes in your brand they stop comparing you to the competition. They form an emotional attachment to your product and service. It’s not a question of how many times they see your logo, it’s about what stands behind it: integrity, a great product at a great price, caring customer service, etc. It’s your customer’s emotional attachment, and your brand discipline, that will sustain you through the rough patches, the pretenders, goofy trends, and market swings.

Marketing your brand is an act of discipline too. The ROI on an effective branding campaign is not going to deliver short term results like a standard retail campaign would, but it will be priceless in the long run. Some mediums, like social media, are going to be more effective for branding than it will be for generating direct sales. A video testimonial, because of the visual medium’s emotional appeal is likely to have a greater impact than a newspaper ad.


A brand is more than a catch word, it’s the definition of who you are and what you represent. It’s on which everything else sits. It’s time to build a foundation for your business. Build a brand. For a consultation, call me directly at 702-374-1944. Let’s start today!

Marketing Plan

Are you a man with a plan?

Marketing plans are like travel plans-if you don’t have one you can find yourself wandering around in circles. A plan compels you to look ahead, and a good marketing plan is a product of thorough research, conservative forecasting, a good chunk of expertise, and a dash of imagination. Unfortunately, too many business owners get the ingredients confused and instead decide that their marketing plan should have a big chunk of imagination.


Set you inner “Mad Man” aside, and get your arms around the less exciting, but more crucial elements of a successful marketing plan, The Four Ps. The Four Ps are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. Each one of these components is essential. So let’s break it down:

Product: The marketing plan identifies the ‘hook’ for a product or service. You better know who your target audience is, and why they should be willing to buy what you are selling. And you need to tell everyone why they should buy yours instead of your competitor’s.

Price: What pricing strategy will your practice follow for this product/service? Is the plan to sell large volumes so the economies of scale can keep the price low? Or will be marketed as a boutique practice, which keeps the service and products more exclusive but the prices higher?

Promotion: What is the advertising strategy? How will the service/product be packaged? Are you using your satisfied patients and customers as your best salespeople? Are you using advanced technology to promote your practice, and the wealth of knowledge of your physicians? All of these questions need to be addressed and written down so that the marketing campaign is focused.

Place: How will the product/service be distributed? Will it be pushed out through social media channels, print, traditional broadcast media outlets, or all of the above?

These are just the first steps in developing any marketing plan. There is always a ton of fine tuning once you deal with the basics, but at least you are going to be headed in the right direction. As we all know, summer is around the corner and can be a seasonally slow time for elective medical services, so you need a marketing plan more than ever.



It’s not too late to put a campaign together. You need a strategy to build strong and loyal patient relationships, as well as grabbing a bigger share of the market. I can help you do that. Give me a call directly at 702-374-1944.


Take It Personally

Personalizing Your Practice

We have all sat in those marketing meetings where the talk is all about the newest and greatest gadget that will attract new patients, where we have armed ourselves with the storyboard comparing our unique practice to the competition’s. But when all is said and done, the process and strategy of reaching new patients starts with the basics:  Personalizing Your Brand Leads to a Connection 

And the end result of being personable and connecting to prospective patients increases conversions. The graph below shows on average the benefits of a personalized media campaign. As you can see, personalizing your message increases engagement and conversions.


In order to start a conversation with a prospective patient you need to define who you are. Are you the cosmetic high-end dentist? Are you the family eye doctor? Do you have a fixed menu of services or is pricing not discussed with the healthcare provider? When prospective patients see your practice, what comes to mind? Now that you have defined what you think you are…you need to personalize your brand to your prospective patients. Defining who you are and being disciplined in conveying that to patients sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how quickly you can stray from your brand and confuse your patients.


When you Personalize your Brand, you are Connecting to Patients


Remember after you ask a question, you need to listen. One company that has been effective and very successful in listening to its customers is Starbucks. Although they stumbled badly last week with their “Race Together” initiative they heard their customers and did a quick about-face and discontinued it yesterday. In a company where the “experience” compensates for the high prices, it is in Starbucks’ best interest to receive feedback directly from BrandsFocusingPersStrat_61-74_infographicthe customers themselves. Starbucks has created a consumer portal, “My Starbucks Idea” where employees discuss ideas that are being implemented while responding to other suggestions.

Another company that has seen tremendous success in personalizing their brand is Southwest Airlines. Southwest has effectively used social media to show what makes them unique and uses social media activity and community engagement to highlight their uniqueness. From promoting a viral video of a rapping flight attendant on YouTube to informing customers of delayed flights, Southwest has successfully created a personable image that conveys a friendly, unique, and intimate brand to its loyal flyers. In fact, a customer on a flight randomly filmed their experience that was posted and quickly went viral. Southwest executives thought it was fun as well, and looked at it as a great branding opportunity, and promoted it on all its social media channels. Since the video was published, it has been on major television networks, talk shows, and news networks.

warkprofileprofessionalIt’s never too late to define, empower, and personalize your brand. Whether you have been around for twenty years or are just opening your doors, defining who you are in the marketplace is essential in attracting and retaining prospective patients. Then, remember to follow-through by meeting and exceeding patients’ expectations.

Call me directly at 702-374-1944 and let’s start branding your business today.

A License to Succeed

In my last blog, a couple of weeks ago, I commented on how rewarding it was to be part of the licensing and exam boards in the dentistry profession. A license to practice in the medical field is a precious commodity. It is the result of tremendous resources spent over many years and rigorous training.

These are career preparations that few of us in the business world will ever choose to face on our path to success. I have a well-earned MBA, and while that is an attractive achievement in some client’s eyes, seldom do they ask me at what school was it earned. But we are genuinely interested in where are doctor or dentist got their degree. Could you imagine ever getting the response, “The school of hard knocks”?

While the world is full of successful business people who are self-made and are not required to present themselves to others to be judged competent or worthy, there is an important lesson that we can learn from that dynamic.

Outside of a handful of professional services that must undergo a state licensing procedure and its accompanying oversight, you don’t have to be licensed to go out there and make a living. That unfettered independence will on occasion make even the best boss insular and tin-eared. After all, unless you have partners or run a public company you don’t have to answer to anyone. The office suggestion box, as anachronistic as it now seems, was as close as most owners ever got to the fiery pool of accountability.

It really is refreshing to play a part in a profession where its members submit themselves to rigorous examinations, rules, procedures, and licensing in order to ensure that they and their profession deliver the highest quality service possible. Now that’s accountability-willing to face criticism from their peers and even discipline. The system works and the professions flourish.

warkprofileprofessionalPerhaps a softer form of this could be gently applied to the rest of us. When you open yourself and your management team to suggestions (or even, God forbid, constructive criticism) from your peers and your employees you can’t help but run a better ship.

Have you created ways to hold yourself accountable, in order to improve yourself professionally? I would appreciate hearing about it. You can email me at





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Accountability Counts in Building Your Brand


One of the great privileges that I have had over the last several years is too serve as the Public Member on the Nevada Board of Dental Examiners , and nationally, on The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA). Both boards serve the dental profession as essential professional institutions of accountability and quality control. Last week I was nominated by the CDCA to be the Chairman of the Public Advocacy Committee, with responsibilities to help communicate to other public members in other states about their roles in observing licensing examinations.

A Public member exists on every state dental board as a voice to represent the perspective of those not employed in the profession. Until I was appointed by the Governor of Nevada almost seven years ago, the closest I ever got to the dental profession was a good teeth cleaning every so often. But that is the whole idea of having a public member; somebody who can be part of the process, offering feedback and participating in the process of making dentistry an important partner in the health and welfare of the citizens of Nevada.

Dentists are highly schooled, highly trained medical professionals who, by virtue of the requirements of their state licensing, must hold themselves accountable to their peers and the public. As someone who has spent all of her adult life in the entrepreneurial environment of small business, I can’t tell you how strange it would be to go to work every day knowing that if I made a mistake or wasn’t up to par, I would have to answer to my peers or even my customers.

An added benefit of licensing often escapes medical professionals – the power of branding. Licensing creates an official quantifiable benchmark that is recognized by both peers and the public. There is also the added opportunity for many physicians to become board certified in specialized areas. This presents a powerful branding opportunity not available to other businesses. But medical professionals are slow to grasp the marketing advantage that they have even within their own specialties.

The digital world has given consumers an even easier opportunity to seek out the medical professionals that they will patronize. They are making their decisions based on what people are saying in their social media posts, but also what practices are saying about themselves. You have worked hard to be licensed, achieve certifications, and elevate the reputation of your practice. Don’t make it a secret! The wide world out there wants to know why you are “better” than the competition. They are going to make their choices predicated on what you are willing to tell them.


Building your brand is not about bragging, but it’s not about false modesty. No doubt you have spent much treasure, time, and perspiration on licensing and certifications. Consumers care about that, and now expect you to tell them about that.

Have you created ways to hold yourself accountable, in order to improve yourself professionally? I would appreciate hearing about it. You can email me at Talk to an experienced marketing professional as to the best way to brand “your best foot forward”. Folks outside your doors are potential patients, clients, and customers waiting to find out if it’s worth coming in.







Did I just throw my marketing dollars down a digital black hole?

What am I paying for? It’s usually the question that you ask after you write the check. That’s not a good thing.

Return on Investment (ROI) shouldn’t be a mystery, but when it comes to the return on marketing dollars, to paraphrase Churchill, ”It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Every business markets itself, and most will market across multiple channels. Radio, television, and print sales folks will tell you what the latest ratings are, extrapolate a rough number of viewers/listeners/readers, and then spur your imagination with a vision of throngs of people clamoring for your products and services. After this first adventure in media buying, most owners are filled with hope. And then you wait and wait for those mythical throngs. And the second guessing begins.

In the digital age, the mystery of marketing ROI deepens. An increasing number of consumers depend on digital marketing to make most of their decisions. This has created a dramatic movement of marketing dollars from traditional media to digital media. So why is it so difficult to quantify the ROI. Duke University’s CMO Survey of the top businesses in the country last fall revealed that 90% utilize digital marketing and social media, 80% percent use primarily for branding, only 15% say that they can actually quantify ROI.

roi-funnelBranding is hugely important but most business owners want to cut to chase. See the commercial. Jump in the car. Buy stuff. Busy humans aren’t wired that way. They want to be reminded continually in a digital language that they understand and talk to others about their buying decisions. You can certainly track the last click that goes to your website or calls from the smart phone, but what about the first click? When was the first time they heard about you, or did they just make their decision based on a person-to-person recommendation? Even the best digital marketers in the country can’t quite figure the mystery out.


warkprofileprofessionalBefore we throw up our hands and surrender to the Unknowable, let’s try a few things to put your mind at ease.

  1. Find out why your customers are patronizing your business. Chances are you thought that information was being collected through a short customer survey by the nice person at your front desk. Check it out. Maybe you need to reevaluate the ROI from your personnel dollars! If you can get the customer info, you are much closer to solving the marketing dollars mystery.
  2. Turn your customers into a sales force. Give them ways that they can share their good news with their friends like special invites, a short video testimonial, some free stuff, etc. You will increase your sales and create a sales conduit that you can easily track for ROI.
  3. Look at utilizing a good Customer Relationship Management System. It will help you organize and track all of the touches between you, your customers, and potential customers.
  4. Make sure you have a digital marketing plan pay attention to it.
  5. Hire a knowledgeable digital marketing person you can trust to help you make prudent marketing decisions.

You now have taken the first steps in solving the mystery. Call us to help ensure your journey at 702-682-8300.


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