Corey Gehrold: Patients’ care that they’re going to be safe when they come into your office, and they don’t care about much else. So, if there’s kind of one thing that stands head and shoulders above some of the other trends and topic, it’s definitely safety.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the Growing a Successful Orthopedic Practice podcast. Join us every episode to hear from fellow medical practice administrators, staff, and physicians, as we break down current issues affecting the industry, and share real stories from guests on their way to growing a successful orthopedic practice. Let’s get started.
Keith Landry: Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Growing a Successful Orthopedic Practice podcast. I’m your host, Keith Landry. And this episode is sponsored by OrthoLive. And our guest today, talk about a marketing guru, if you want to know where orthopedic practices and practice managers will be focusing their marketing efforts for 2021, I found the guy. I happen to be a colleague of his. Corey Gehrold is the vice president of Client Strategy at Insight Marketing Group, been doing this about 13 years. And that big long title is just long for he’s the marketing guru. Good to have you here.
Corey Gehrold: Thanks for having me, Keith. I appreciate it.
Keith Landry: Always a pleasure, my friend. Corey spent the last 13 years successfully marketing medical practices via traditional and virtual, and inbound marketing methods. And when he’s not a slave at the computer screen, he enjoys innovative marketing, strategic discussions, copywriting, and loves his Orlando Magic. Why don’t we start with that?
Corey Gehrold: Well, it’s been a hard couple of years, but that’s how you know, the sign of a true fan, right?
Keith Landry: That’s right. You got to be loyal. I happen to be a Patriots fan and a Red Sox fan and…
Corey Gehrold: No need to rub it in, man.
Keith Landry: … that’s looking ugly right now.
Corey Gehrold: Right now, yeah, but the past couple of years have been good to you guys.
Keith Landry: Yeah, no kidding. Well, this is awesome. Obviously, Corey, you’re very familiar with this podcast. And what we’re trying to do is to provide some awesome insights on marketing trends for 2021 for orthopedic physicians and their practice managers. What strikes you the most about where we’re headed in 2021, especially in light of the rockish year we just had? You want to talk about some challenges marketing your practice, I think they were all rolled into one year. What are your thoughts on the year we had and where we’re going?
Corey Gehrold: Yeah, absolutely. The number one thing going into 2021 is all about safety. And that’s something that we’ve been preaching to all of our clients and something to take forward into this next year. Patients’ care that they’re going to be safe when they come into your office, and they don’t care about much else. So if there’s kind of one thing that stands head and shoulders above some of the other trends and topic, it’s definitely safety. And what I like to tell people is that patients don’t care until it’s time for them to care. Meaning, if they don’t have an appointment coming up, they’re not paying attention to what you’re doing. So, it’s okay to repeat yourself and talk about your safety protocols over and over again, because patients are not paying attention until it’s time for them to pay attention.
Keith Landry: That’s a great point. It would be foolish to assume that they know what you’re doing.
Corey Gehrold: Exactly. And so that’s actually something that comes up a lot, is people say, “Well, I’ve got it on my website. I feel like I posted enough about it. Now what?” Well, the answer is keep talking about it. Because we’ve seen open rates, click-through rates, engagement on social media, you name it, safety is the number one issue in this COVID environment. And it’s going to be like that for the foreseeable future. That’s number one when it comes to trends. And then, some of the big things that we’re kind of seeing right now, and I’ll dive into these one by one in a little bit, but, content, number one. Number two, engagement. Number three, advertising, specifically on digital. Number four, star ratings.
Keith Landry: Interesting. All right, so let’s talk about content for a minute. I’m either a busy practice manager or I’m an ortho physician. I got patients lined up, I’m just trying to provide the best care I can. And now I’m listening to this podcast and they’re saying I got to spin out a bunch of content for the new year. My first thought on content is you don’t have to be an expert at all of it, but make sure you start somewhere, maybe video-driven content or whatever it is you’re comfortable with. At least own something in that space. Start with something your team’s comfortable with, right?
Corey Gehrold: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great point. The quality of the product itself doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as the quality of the information is very good. For example, one thing that we’ve done recently is a lot of testimonials and doctor interviews via Zoom, because people are used to the quality that you get from Zoom. And yeah, sometimes the lighting is not great and maybe it’s a little grainy, but that’s okay because the content that they’re covering is fantastic. And so because of that, it doesn’t have to be a big professionally-produced piece that’s going to take weeks and weeks to get out there. You can do these things quickly, you can do them comfortably in your office, and you just have to hit Record on Zoom, and then you’ve got a great piece of content.
And I do want to say this, so when it comes to content and really the strategy as a whole, there’s two things to kind of focus on. Number one, new patient acquisition. That’s what everybody wants. We want full clinic schedules. We want new patients coming in the door, and ideally, they’re candidates for surgery at your orthopedic practice. And then, there’s the existing patients. When you’re talking about marketing, you’re going to have two distinct messages for these folks. The existing patients, maybe they’ve come in and they’ve had a hip surgery and they’re very happy with the outcome. So, what now? It doesn’t mean that they’re never going to come back and see you again. And there’s specific way and there’s different methods that you can use content to talk to these folks and re-engage them so that they can share their experience with their friends, their family, their loved ones, and say how great it was to go to X orthopedic practice. And you’d recommend Dr. Smith until the cows come home. And if you can keep them re-engaged, you can very easily fill up those empty clinic slots.
Keith Landry: And Corey, tell the listeners about how your team in Insight Marketing Group’s been doing that very effectively. In other words, if you got a happy patient and you ask them to make a testimonial video, most of them will say, “Yeah, I’m happy to do that because I’m already recommending my doctor to people.” And tell them a little bit about how your team is adding production value to that with something as simple as a cell phone video.
Corey Gehrold: Right, yeah, that’s a great point. We were just saying it can be a Zoom video, it can be a cell phone video, or you can go the highly produced route. But at the end of the day, we’re just telling stories. And these are stories that the patients are telling to people that they know anyway, and we’re just kind of amplifying those. And so what we’ll do typically is we’ll get the video like you were just saying, then we’ll turn that into a bunch of different pieces of content and use it on different mediums. For example, we’ll get a video, and then we’ll turn that into a long form written blog piece that’s SEO friendly. We’re using some keywords, we’re talking… Let’s take the example of a knee surgery. Patient says, “I came in. I felt really safe, and COVID wasn’t even on my mind. The doctor was fantastic. The front desk people were incredibly warm. I’m back to chasing my grandkids around with my new knee. And the only regret I have is that I waited so long to do it.” Well, that’s awesome.
We’ll use that on social media. We’ll turn it into long form piece of written content for the website. We’ll email that out to existing patients. Again, we want to re-engage the folks that have been there before. We’ll put it on the website, we’ll use it in some advertising. And we kind of say it’s the gift that keeps on giving because we’ll schedule these things over and over. And we can just keep talking about that message because that message, the patient you’re sharing, there’s no expiration date on that. It does everything that we wanted to do. It talks about safety. It talks about how the orthopedic practice is like a center of excellence, and you trusted them. It talks about how you’ve gotten back to doing what you love doing. And it talked about how easy it was to actually go into the office and have that access to the physician. So that checks all the right boxes for us.
Keith Landry: And here’s the thing about those videos is that it’s such a real person. I’m always a big believer-
Corey Gehrold: So authentic, yeah.
Keith Landry: You got to tell the stories of real people. You don’t want some academia experts standing at a lectern. You want to hear from real people. And these folks are so happy with the results that it’s so genuine that if you’re watching that video, you’re like, “Wow, this is the real deal. And the way they’re talking about that doctor’s the real deal.” And they usually comment on how their pain was horrible and now it’s either minimized or entirely gone. What an effective message that is?
Corey Gehrold: Yeah, exactly. That’s a great point. And one benefit that we’ve actually seen from doing the cell phone style videos or the Zoom style is there’s an element of authenticity to those that you cannot replicate with a real production crew. Because if someone’s holding their cell phone up and they’re looking at the camera, it’s like you’re having a little FaceTime with them and they’re sharing their message. And you can’t beat that because it is so real, like you were saying.
Keith Landry: Yeah, good stuff. Well, let’s talk about engagement because you can have a lot of ideas about creating content. You can bring the whole team together around the conference table and say let’s do this, let’s do that. But in the end, if you aren’t engaging both your patients and potential new patients, you’re sort of spinning your wheels.
Corey Gehrold: Yeah, that’s a great point. And so when we’re talking about engagement, we’re not just talking about social media engagement as an example. We’re talking about engaging your employees, engaging your patients, new patients and existing patients. And there’s a couple of different ways that you can do that. Number one, is through events. And you might be saying, “Well, how am I supposed to have an event now?” And the answer is you take it virtual. This kind of combines content and engagement, but one of the things that we’ve done and had a lot of success with are webinars. They can be patient-facing. For example, you can have, let’s say, a hip surgeon, and he’s going to walk you through a presentation, everything you’ve ever wanted to know about hip surgery.
In the past, this may have been an in-person event at your practice. Now, you can do a Zoom or whatever your platform of choice is. Webinars. You have the physician come on, he walks through the presentation, or maybe you have a surgery that’s already filmed, and then he can kind of talk patients through that surgery. And then, they’ll get a chance to ask him questions through the chat feature of the platform. They get a chance to know that particular surgeon and really kind of create a connection before they even come into the practice. And the great thing about that is… So you have this live event, when it’s over, now you have a downloadable on-demand piece of content that you can use to engage employees, patients, over and over and over again. And you can list build through that.
Let’s say, we’ve got this webinar done and it’s all packaged up. Great. So what do we do with it? Well, we’re going to go back to our distribution channels. We’re going to put it on social media. We’re going to put it on email, website, et cetera. People go to the site, they sign up and say, “Yeah, I’d like to watch this.” So now you know who’s interested in getting the surgery done. You can send them an email. That’s totally HIPPA-compliant because they’re not patients yet. And then, they can watch whatever that footage is. They’re highly engaged because they had to fill out something to get it so we know it works. And then, they can again share that with their friends, family, and loved ones. And it just keeps on snowballing from there.
Keith Landry: Very interesting. Another element of that, Corey, is if you do this video that’s an educational video about exactly how our surgery is going to work, that removes an element of fear of the unknown and might prompt someone to say, “You know what? I think I will go through that sooner rather than later in order to get rid of this awful pain.”
Corey Gehrold: Yeah, and that’s one thing that we’ve seen, especially with the surgical videos, is it’s a minimally-invasive procedure. A lot of people have an idea in their head of what the surgery looks like and they think that it’s maybe a huge incision and they’re going to be laid out for weeks. And then they see this surgery, and it’s two inches and it doesn’t look that bad at all. There’s not a lot of blood, it’s not gory. And it answers a lot of those questions before they even get into the clinic. And again, we’re not just talking about patient engagement. That’s one side of the coin. The other side is the employee engagement, and I’m not going to elaborate the point too much, but that can be social media contest where you’re just asking folks to send in photos, and whoever gets the most likes or comments, whatever, they’ll get some sort of prize that your admin team decides.
And we know that highly engaged teams wind up being about 21% more profitable. That’s a stat from Forbes. And disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year. Again, another stat from Forbes. And I don’t know about you guys, but I know that $550 billion is a lot of money. And so if we can keep employees engaged and we’re going to save some of that, that sounds great. There’s multiple ways that you can do that, again, through the social media contests. Just keep your employees in tune with what’s going on at the practice. We’ve seen people have just the regular memos and emails and things that they send out, and people don’t pay attention to those. So, find some unique ways that you can kind of connect with your employees. And some of the ways you can do that is a printed newsletter. You can go live on a employee Facebook-only group. We’ve had success with that in the past. There’s plenty of things you can do even in this COVID environment virtually or in the office.
Speaker 2: In a recent McKinsey study, 76% of patients preferred to use telehealth moving forward. And 74% were highly satisfied with telehealth. Telehealth is here to stay. And since 2016, OrthoLive has helped more than 1000 orthopedic providers treat more than 500,000 patients. Our 100% HIPAA-compliant platform delivers one-click connect telemedicine appointment functionality via an app or a web browser. And our live US-based support team is here to help practices, providers, and patients connect and complete their visits. Find out just how quickly OrthoLive can turn your challenges into solutions while improving the patient experience. Visit ortholive.com to schedule your demo today. OrthoLive, the world’s leading orthopedic-specific telemedicine platform.
Keith Landry: I think part of it is just to show your employees you care about them, that you’re going to be there for them for the long haul, because it really has been a tough long grinding year for employees, no matter where they work, trying to balance their children and distance learning, and everything going on with COVID, and just means something when you keep them engaged by showing them you care.
Corey Gehrold: Exactly. It is all about building a brand, right? And your employees are a part of your brand. They’re a part of your team, part of your family. And they should be treated as such. Because if they’re happy and they’re engaged, the patients are going to pick up on that, and they’re going to become part of the brain, part of the experience as well. And it all leads back up to them being patients, having a great outcome, and then singing your praises to their friends and their family. And then, like I said earlier, are going to naturally kind of fill those clinic schedules.
Keith Landry: Awesome stuff. All right. So let’s move ahead to the topic of advertising and trends in advertising in 2021 for our orthopedic physicians and their practice managers. And when you think advertising, the old school deal was, “Well, I’m going to take out a little spot on the radio, TV, or get a print out in the local newspaper.” It’s come so far. And Cory, I got to say, this is really one of your areas of intense expertise. So let’s share some of these tidbits you’ve got about digital advertising and the other things you want to share.
Corey Gehrold: Yeah. The nice thing about digital advertising is just in a nutshell it is three to four times more trackable than anything you do from a traditional standpoint and what we can track down almost to the individual. It gets kind of scary how granular you can get with some of this stuff, especially some of the trends lately. For example, you can, I think most people listening will know what Google ads are. Ad-words. And that is you just put in a couple of search terms. And then if someone types in that term, your ad shows up, they click on it, go to your website. Great. The evolution of that is really kind of what’s called geotargeting and getting really local. For example, you could geotarget gyms, CrossFit, places, vitamin supplement stores, things like that, where you know that there are a lot of active folks parks in your area.
And if their cell phones sort of enters this geo-fence area, they will see your ad. And you know that the people that are going to these places are prime candidates for your office, because they’re out, they’re active. They’re the exact person who is going to have a knee or hip or foot issue, whatever the case may be. Then, on top of that, if you want it to, you could even say, “Okay, so I want to target people that are 35 to 50, and they go into these areas. And they’ve gotten insurance, or they make $50,000 more a year. They’ve got two kids, and they have a credit score of 700 or above.” That’s a list that you could buy, and you could very easily implement a campaign to go after that prime target for a knee replacement or whatever the case may be. And it’s just so different than it used to be, even just a couple of years ago.
Keith Landry: Amazing. So with a little bit of planning and just some real thought about your exact demographic, what’s coming to mind for me is weekend warrior men…
Corey Gehrold: Exactly.
Keith Landry: … who are 55 and up, who are going to have worn-out joints.
Corey Gehrold: Yep, exactly. Or, if you’ve got a walk-in clinic, that’s another one where you might have a lot of people that on Monday morning, they realize that their back hurts from the honey-do list over the weekend, and they’re looking for a place that they can go see an orthopedic specialist right away without a wait or without a referral. And right there is your prime target to do some search advertising.
Keith Landry: Awesome. Well, I won’t let the opportunity slip away here. I’m going to ask you to give us some more tidbits on digital advertising, because this is where you shine above all others.
Corey Gehrold: Yeah. One thing that I think a lot of people, when they consider digital ads, it’s that they think the barrier to entry is so high, and it’s really not. One of the common questions we get all the time is, “Well, how much is it going to cost?” And the answer to that is, well, it’s going to cost as much as you want it to, because Google and Facebook, they’re going to take all of your money if you tell them. You have to set the budget. And so people will say, “What’s a good budget? What does it even matter? Where do I start?” The answer to that, it depends. What you have to do when you’re coming up with your budget is you can figure out how much a patient is worth to you or how much one of these surgeries will actually met your practice. And then you can back into a budget number from that.
So if you know how much money the surgery is going to give to your practice and you know how many appointment slots you want to fill, you can pretty easily determine how much you’re able to allot to get a lead. For example, if it’s $150 for a patient to convert into a knee surgery, is that worth it? Yes or no? The answer is most likely going to be heck yeah, that’s pretty cheap for the return that we’re going to get. So, how many of these knee surgeries do you want? And then you multiply from there, and there you go, that’s your budget. A lot of these platforms also have made it way easier than it was, even a year or two ago, to actually get started. So even if you have no digital marketing expertise or experience in the past, they have quick setup guides where you can sort of hop in there.
And if you give yourself like an hour or so, you can have a campaign off and running. And will it be as advanced and as targeted as some of the stuff we were talking about a few minutes ago? Probably not, but it is going to work to drive patients into your practice. And at the end of the day, it’s a numbers game. So if more people are seeing your ads and they’re clicking on your website, percentage of them is going to walk up in your office, and a percentage of them is going to wind up needing a knee replacement, like what we were just talking about. And what’s nice, again, everything is trackable. You can see how many people see the ad, how many people click on it, where they’re actually going once they’re on the website, and then how they convert from there. It is a great way to track your return on ad spend, and to produce some really good reports that make it look like you know what you’re talking about, so win-win.
Keith Landry: I can see the thought bubbles right now over the heads of our listeners. The practice managers are saying, “Corey’s got some really good points there. We might want to take a look at doing this if we’re not already,” but the question becomes, how long should you do it before you try to measure the success of it?
Corey Gehrold: Yeah. You always want to give your campaigns a little bit of time to establish a baseline, and then make adjustments from there. Again, that’s another benefit of digital advertising. It’s not like where you produce a TV spot, you go back and forth on edits, and then it’s out in the wild, and it’s going to cost a pretty penny to make the edits on that. The digital ads, you can hop in and make adjustments on the fly. What we always suggest is to start the campaign, give it a couple of days, and then go in and look at what’s really working and what’s not.
Specifically with search, you can put, let’s say, a keyword list of 50 keywords, and you really believe everyone is going to click on, in your mind you’re thinking, “Yeah, everyone’s going to click on best knee surgeon near me.” And then, it turns out that that winds up costing like $6 a click, and it’s only got two clicks by day four. So you turned that off in favor of other key phrases that are really performing and driving people to your practice. So you’re kind of behind the scenes, you’re turning the knobs and the dials to really get the most ROI on your budget. And again, you can do that after just a few days of the ad actually running.
Keith Landry: So as we track the marketing trends for 2021 for our medical practice, as we’ve talked about content and engagement and advertising, and something else that the practice managers and the doctors themselves should think about is star ratings. What do you want folks to know about that?
Corey Gehrold: I’m going to pull a couple of stats from a recent study from a group called Womply. And I’m going to share those with the listeners. A physician practice with a rating between 4.0 and 4.9 stars earns the most revenue. In other words, if you have 3.9 or below, you’re not going to earn as much as somebody that has a four out of five. That’s pretty basic, but totally makes sense, right? The higher rated you are, the more people will sort of innately trust you, and then more people are going to book at your practice. A 4.5 to a 4.9 star rating, they earn 20% more than the average healthcare practice. If you’re not in that 4.5 to 4.9 range, that’s your goal. That’s where you need to get up to.
And locations with four fresh reviews or more, again, earn 20% more than average. What that tells us is that you want reviews, you want them to be recent, and you want them to be between four and five stars. And if you do that, you’re going to earn more money than your competition down the street. So at the end of the day, thing to take away about star ratings is that they are factoring into the decision-making process more than they ever have before.
Patients are saying, number one, “What office is closest to me?” Number two, “Are they in network?” Number three, “What are they rated?” And that’s how they’re deciding where to go, especially for these elective procedures in orthopedic space. The more reviews you have, the better, because you’ll be protected from the squeaky wheel, let’s call it, that is going to wind up leaving you a review, someone that’s not so happy with your service, or they waited too long for the doctor, or had a rough experience with billing, or whatever the case may be. Those are going to happen. There’s not much you can do about those. So if you go on the offensive and you have a lot of reviews, you’ll be insulated from those. And then by having more reviews, the data shows us, you’re going to earn more money. And if that doesn’t make you look good for all of your physicians and your stakeholders, then I don’t know what will.
Keith Landry: That’s awesome information there. There’s no doubt that we live in a Yelp world and there’s no ignoring stars going forward.
Corey Gehrold: Exactly.
Keith Landry: What if I’m at 3.6 stars? What do I do?
Corey Gehrold: Yeah. The number one thing to do is get more reviews. That’s really what you have to do. There’s a ton of different ways to do that. A lot of times, practices will have some sort of feedback system already in place. If you have someone that’s monitoring your reputation and giving you regular reports on these things, ask them what they can do to actually get more reviews for you, because oftentimes, they’ll have a solution where they can text a review to a patient or send them a link. Other times, we’ve seen practices actually email out something specifically from a team member for the physician and they’ll say, “Hey, it’s great seeing you today. If you’d like to leave us a review, here’s the link,” and they’ll target people that way. We’ve even seen physicians actually handout review cards. These specially made cards that say, “We really appreciate your feedback. Go to…” whatever the link is, Yelp, Google, et cetera, “and leave us a review.”
Recently, kind of thanks to COVID, people have gotten really familiar with QR codes, because when you go out to eat, you have to scan the menu on a QR code. It’s picked up the awareness for QR codes. So, some of these review cards will actually have a QR code on them, put your phone over it, takes you right to the Google link, and then you put in your five stars and say it was fantastic. This is a question we get a lot too. If there is something that’s a negative review and you can prove that whatever they’re saying is false, the chances of it coming down are good. If you cannot prove it’s false and somebody was just being mean or unhappy, then most likely you’re out of luck and that review is going to stick. So it’s going to stay, and the only thing you can do to combat that is get more reviews.
Keith Landry: Sort of bury it, essentially.
Corey Gehrold: You got it.
Keith Landry: Good deal. All right. So the art for 2021, here comes the balancing act, it’s going to be providing the very best medical care, improving the patient experience, keeping your employees in the tent while focusing on content, engagement, advertising, and star ratings. Any last advice you’d like to give for our listeners?
Corey Gehrold: If you can figure out how to do all of that and still get home by five o’clock, call me because I want to know.
Keith Landry: I think that’s the most appropriate close of the show right there. Listen, Corey, you’re just a genius at this stuff. And I mean that, and anybody can read up some of your posts in social media and so on. How can folks get ahold of you to sort of pick up on that extra digital advertising knowledge and engagement and content knowledge you offer every day?
Corey Gehrold: Sure. Yeah, thanks a lot for having me again, Keith. I appreciate it. If people want to follow us, Insight Marketing Group. Insightmg.com is the website. And then, Dr Marketing Tips is the handle for all of the fan social media channels of your choosing, so D-R Marketing Tips. And then, we also have the Dr Marketing Tips podcast, so you can hear me every week talking about this stuff and how you can implement it at your practice.
Keith Landry: Awesome. Corey Gehrold, the vice president of Client Strategy at Insight Marketing Group. Always a pleasure and always brilliant to sum it up easily. And that’s going to do it, folks. We’ve wrapped up another session, another episode of the Growing a Successful Orthopedic Practice podcast. I’m Keith Landry. We’re going to do this again soon. Thank you so much for listening.
Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the Growing a Successful Orthopedic Practice podcast. Please consider pressing Subscribe on your podcast player so you never miss a future episode. And if you haven’t given us a rating or review on Apple Podcast already, we ask that you take a spare minute to help us reach and share our medical practice growth stories with peers.