Filling Short-Term Availability

April 29th, 2015 by Deimante Baurinaite

Doubtless your practice is always very busy, but even the most successful business has occasional dips in forward bookings. This article discusses an approach that you can take to fill these sporadic gaps in availability to keep your utilisation high, which as we discussed in a previous article has a direct impact on your income.

Let’s Be Clear on the Objective

The bottom line here is that you need a mechanism that you can:

  • Use to rapidly gain visibility with prospective clients that need treatment

  • Turn on and turn off quickly in line with gaps in your availability

 

This requirement lends itself very nicely to a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) style campaign. In essence, all this means is that you pay the platform provider (Google, Facebook, Twitter and others) when there is interaction with your ad, but more on that later.

 

In this article we are going to focus on AdWords, which is Google’s PPC platform. In subsequent articles we’ll look at similar approaches for Facebook and Twitter as each have their nuances.

AdWords – Ideal for On/Off Demand Generation

Many practice owners and managers I talk to have an aversion to PPC (not just AdWords) and I’m not entirely sure why. For short-term demand generation or start-ups wanting to generate initial “noise” its a great way to get instant visibility with your prospective clients.

 

If you’re not sure how or where AdWords ads appear take a look at the search results below. This is a recent Google search for “Sports Massage Leeds”

 

serps_annotate.png

 

The areas shaded in blue are all AdWords ads on Page 1 of the search results. Of course this costs money but this is the place to be. Google estimates that 90% of buying decisions for local services like yours occur online. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they happen via Search but a significant proportion do.

Building an AdWords Campaign for Short-Term Availability

For the purposes of brevity I won’t go through every step of creating an AdWords campaign. If you need help getting started you might want to take a look at this playlist by Google:

 

Five Steps to AdWords Success

 

Alternatively, here’s my quick synopsis:

 

  • Choose a daily budget – so you’re in control of what you’re going to spend

  • Choose keywords/search phrases that will trigger your ad

  • Create an ad which appears when the keywords (that you specified) are entered into Google Search

  • If your ad gets clicked on you pay Google a small sum based on your bid for the keyword

  • The higher your bid the higher you appear on the page, so in the example above www.physiotherapyinleeds.co.uk/sports have bid higher than www.wahanda.com/LeedsSportsMassage

 

Ok, so if you’re comfortable with the principles we’ll now work through the key tips and tricks that will

help you fill your short-term availability.

  1. Create a new campaign and call it something like “Short-Term Availability” to distinguish it from other campaigns that you might be running (or might run in the future). All Campaigns/Ad Groups/Keywords can be disabled instantly so if you decide its not for you or your campaign has achieved its objectives you can stop it immediately by “pausing” it.

    6310599344521216.png

  2. When you create your ads you need to bear in mind the following constraints:

    5697366531244032.png

    For more information on the structure of ads go to: Google AdWords Policy

    Your ads should attempt to relate to the prospective client’s need for immediate availability. Obviously, this needs to be handled sensitively and you should avoid being overly pushy. Here’s a couple of examples:

    Headline: Example Website
    Description line 1: Painful Sports Injury? – 22 characters
    Description line 2: Emergency Appointments Available – 32 characters

    Headline: Example Website
    Description line 1: Anger Management Issues? – 24 characters
    Description line 2: Decided you need to get help? – 28 characters

    Note: Don’t include contact details in your ad. These are dealt with next!

  3. Ad Extensions give you an extra “bang for your buck” when creating an ad campaign and they make a big difference to click-through rates. (i.e. the number of times your ad gets clicked versus the number of times it is displayed in search results)

    In essence, extensions enable you to specify additional information, such as links and phone details. But for some reason they are not widely used (possibly because people don’t know about them) so here’s an example of one of our ads – where we do use them!

    adwords_anatomy_annotated.png
    The green shaded areas are the Extensions. In this case we’ve used two extension types: Call Extensions where we have specified our phone number and SiteLinks Extensions where we have specified four links to guide people to relevant information.

    If you have trouble finding the Ad Extensions the screenshot below should help.

    ad_extensions.png

    For your ad I would start off by adding a Call Extension with your phone number in case the prospective client just wants to call you and I would create two Sitelink Extensions. One should point to your homepage or perhaps your “credentials/about you” page and the other should point to a “Call to Action” page (more on this later). When you’re done your ad should look something like this:

Sports Massage – your_practice.com
www.your_practice.com

Painful Sports Injury?
Emergency Appointments Available

01234 567890

Client Testimonials
Read what other clients say about us

Book Appointment Now

Short-term appointments available

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you could also add Review Extensions and Location Extensions although both of these require you to have a presence on Google My Business.

  1. Once you’ve got your ads sorted you need to choose which keywords (or phrases) are going to trigger your ad (or ads). There is no absolute science to this but you need to put yourself in the position of your prospective client – what would they enter into Google if they were looking for a service like yours. Here are a just few examples:

Physiotherapy

Dietetics

Psychotherapy

Back Pain Halifax

Sports Injury Leeds

Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Tennis Elbow Specialist

Eating Disorders

Dietary Advice

Weight Loss Treatment

Depression Treatment Halifax

Anger Management Calderdale

Couples Counselling

 

I’ve included examples here with and without locations because some of your prospective clients will undoubtedly include a geographical element in their search phrase.

Note: It doesn’t matter how many keywords you specify. Ideally, I would suggest having 10-20 keywords/phrases, however bear in mind that more keywords is likely to mean that your ad will be triggered more often (up to your daily budget).

  1. If you have followed these tips along with the guidance provided by Google (referred to earlier) you should be ready to “turn on” your campaign.

Call to Action

This is an oft-used phrase by marketing types! In essence, all we’re talking about here is making it easy for the prospective client to take the next step i.e. make a booking!

 

By adding your phone number to your ad (via the Call Extension) you’ve already added one possible “Call to Action”. This is particularly impactful when the user performs the search on a phone as the phone number becomes an instantly clickable link – see below (highlighted in blue)

 

Calltoclick.png

You could also add a Sitelink that point towards the contact page of your homepage as long as your contact page has all the appropriate information (phone, email address etc.) that the client might need to take an action.

 

The optimal solution would be a link to your online booking system. This provides a perfect mechanism for the prospective client to get exactly what they want (i.e. a near term appointment) with just a few mouse clicks.

Junk Food Will Make You Lazy

November 13th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

The commonly held view that fat people are lazy has been turned upside down by a new psychology study which revealed that junk food is making us lazy.

Researchers from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) conducted the study in 32 rats which were placed in 2 diet groups for 6 months.

Group 1 were fed healthy unprocessed foods and Group 2 were fed lower quality processed foods with added sugars.

The rats in Group 2 became obese after three months whereas the other group’s weight remained healthy.

During the study the rats were given simple physical tasks to undertake. Those being fed junk food took breaks twice as long as those who were put on a healthy diet.

Aaron Blaisdell who led the study has said that these findings suggest that a junk food diet can result in laziness. He also switched the rat’s diet for 9 days and demonstrated that this didn’t have any short-term impact.

“Overweight people often get stigmatized as lazy and lacking discipline. We interpret our results as suggesting that the idea commonly portrayed in the media that people become fat because they are lazy is wrong. Our data suggest that diet-induced obesity is a cause, rather than an effect, of laziness.”

Blaisdell also added “the highly processed diet causes fatigue or the diet causes obesity, which causes fatigue.”

Rats have a very similar physiological systems to humans therefore scientists strongly believe that the findings of this study are applicable to humans.

 

About Pathway Software

Pathway Software (www.pathwaysoftware.com) specialises in the design and development of patient information systems for Allied Health professionals.

Its flagship product, Therapy Manager, is an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system specifically designed for Therapy Services to provide decision makers with the ability to track and manage clinical activity and analyse cost of care by patient, episode or service. The system also demonstrably reduces administration time and the costs of managing Therapy Services.

Digital Body Monitoring Devices

August 13th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Tech giants such as Apple, Samsung and Google are all developing amazingly innovative health monitoring products. This is no surprise as it has been forecast that the global fitness and health monitoring market will be worth around $2.8 Billion by 2018.

Health tracking technology could really change and improve the way that we manage and monitor our health and wellbeing. Here are just a few recent examples.

Diabetes Monitoring

Last week Google and Novartis revealed that they are teaming up to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels.

One of the prototypes contains a device about the size of a speck of glitter that measures glucose in tears. A wireless antenna then transmits the measurement to an external device. This design would ease the burden of diabetics who have to prick their fingers to test blood sugar levels.

“I have many patients that are managing diabetes, and they described it as having a part-time job. It’s so arduous to monitor,” says Thomas Quinn, the head of the American Optometric Association’s contact lens and cornea section. “To have a way that patients can do that more easily and get some of their life back is really exciting.”

Quinn stated that tears also contain a chemical called lacryglobin that serves as measurable indicator for breast, colon, lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. Monitoring lacryglobin levels would be especially useful for cancer patients in remission.

Health & Wellbeing Tracking

Samsung have presented their prototype for Simband at a press event in San Francisco. Simband is a wristband that can be fitted with third party sensors to present a range of health information about the wearers body such as precise heart rate, blood flow, respiration, galvanic skin response, hydration and gas and glucose concentrations in the blood as well as data about substances present in the air.

 

They suggested that to help users interpret the data they would present them with a “wellness score” that would evidence how well the wearer was looking after his body.

Total Health Tracking

Apple, working with a team of fitness, nutrition, sleep and medical experts, are currently developing what is expected to be the most advanced body monitor yet.

“If Apple delivers, this could be to health tracking what the iPod was to music,” says Mark Gurman, a Senior Editor with website 9to5Mac.

Just some of the features that iWatch is most likely to feature include:

  • Monitoring Blood Sugar – enabling you to see how what you eat affects you both immediately and over time

  • Read Body Temperature

  • Measure O2 Levels – allowing you to know when you are fully recovered from exercise which is crucial for optimum workout results.

  • Detect Muscle Engagement – measuring how hard you are working when doing a specific exercise.

  • Get Hydration Levels – confirming how much more water you need to drink for optimum health.

These monitoring devices could allow us to understand our own bodies better and in turn help us stay healthier as well as unidentified health problems.

Moreover they provide an amazing opportunity for users to share this data with healthcare practitioners and eventually the possibility of real-time guidance based on highly accurate data.

 

Innovative Way To Identify Healthcare Professionals

July 15th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Do you need to uniquely identify healthcare professionals on printed documentation?

One of our NHS clients, employing over 1,100 AHP’s, came up with an innovative but simple solution to include the staff HCPC number after the name of each clinician in their user field.

Gareth Lloyd-Hughes, Clinical Lead of Operations: Podiatry & Orthotics commented that aside from the obvious governance benefit it had also resulted in a number of other advantages, including: enabling the recipient (and the creator) to easily check HCPC registration, enhancing the credibility of documentation, reducing confusion where staff members have the same name and avoiding embarrassment for staff by avoiding the need to publish their DOB.

Scientists Are Getting Closer To Developing A Blood Test For Alzheimers

July 11th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Research carried out in over 1000 people has led to the discovery of a set of proteins in the blood which predict the start of Dementia with 87% accuracy. Scientists believe that this could eventually lead to a blood test for Alzheimer’s and improve clinical trials for Alzheimer’s drugs.

Alzheimers is the most common form of Dementia most commonly affecting people over the age of 65. There are 44 million people worldwide currently living with Dementia, however this number is predicted to rise to 135 million in 2050. Sadly there are no effective drug treatments for Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe this is because patients receive treatment too late, however the symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t usually appear for around 10 years after disease onset making it very hard to detect.

“A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments which could prevent the progression of the disease,” said Lead Researcher Simon Lovestone in a news-release. “The next step will be to validate our findings in further sample sets, to see if we can improve accuracy and reduce the risk of misdiagnosis, and to develop a reliable test suitable to be used by doctors.”

A co-author of the study has said that the team are currently looking for commercial partners in order to combine their findings into a blood test for the global market.

Whilst this news offers hope to those at risk of Alzheimers unfortunately it will be some time before this breakthrough makes it into day to day use as extensive clinical trials still need to be completed.

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