The Network

A Berry Network Blog

Marketing Your Healthcare Foundation Online

It’s an understatement to say that raising funds for your hospital foundation is a challenge, particularly in a tough economy. Having an online presence, however, can be an effective solution. Online marketing is quick, flexible, and a cost-effective means of soliciting and promoting your foundation initiatives. Still, challenges remain on knowing how to promote your foundation online, finding tools to use for capturing donations, and discovering which best practices are actually best for you. Following are some thoughts you should consider. Defining Your Target Before you begin mapping out an online strategy, you need to be clear on your objectives. Whether you are seeking donations to grow a specialty line or raising funds to hold a community event, your tactics will be different. Maybe you are looking to help support an affiliated cause such as breast cancer research – your online approach will be different yet again. By having specific objectives, you’ll know when and if you are reaching them. Growing a Specialty Line Suppose your objective is to raise money to expand your hospital’s cardiac care unit. An online blog is an excellent starting point. Blogs allow you to post case studies about local patients (with their permission, of course) that have received heart surgery and that are thankful for the technology and care they received from your hospital and staff. Another option is to have a cardiac surgeon post commentary about surgical procedures and the need for continued advancements in technology. You will likely be surprised about the level of community engagement the blog generates.   Your PR manager could also join in by posting on your hospital’s Twitter and Facebook site about the need for expanded cardiac care and the benefits it could bring to your community. Tapping into these forms of online social media provides the local community the ability to join discussions and ask questions in an open, friendly environment. Social media also provides users with the means of remaining anonymous if they so choose. Social Media widgets (mini Web applications) are available for plugging into your blog or Website for collecting donations. For instance, provides a free donation widget that you can download from their Website. The widget connects directly to e-commerce programs, such as PayPal, to give you instant and secure access to every donation you receive. Funding a Community Event From women’s health seminars, to dinner galas and children’s helmet safety programs, increasing donor income through fund-raising events is one of the most widely-used forms of foundation marketing. So, how do you get the word out about your event through online channels? If you have looked into online banner advertising in the past but thought against it due to suggestions of low “click-through” rates, you should reconsider. Online banner advertising has made significant advancements over recent years with hyper-local and user-centric targeting capabilities across large distribution networks. Most of these advertising networks can zero in on users based upon previous online history (behavioral targeting), page content (contextual targeting), and user location (geo-targeting). For instance, these capabilities would allow an advertiser to promote a bike riding event to those in its local community who are visiting a healthcare Website, and who have also visited an Alzheimer’s-related Website within the past 30 days. Some online banner programs also allow targeting by age and income demographics. If you need further evidence that online banner advertising is still viable, consider the fact that according to investment firm ThinkEquity, U.S. online ad spending is expected to reach $37.5 billion this year, up 18% over last year. Supporting a Cause  Another big question is “what marketing vehicle should I use to promote our foundation’s cause? While it’s true that mail-acquired donations is the leading medium for promoting gift-giving, you may be surprised to learn that online-acquired donors tend to give much larger gifts and give more in total revenue each year than mail-acquired donors. Whether you are seeking funds to directly support AIDS research or looking to promote your pediatric department with portions of the donations going to the Children’s Miracle Network, online marketing is a must for promoting healthcare causes. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is another very effective method of online marketing, particularly due to the nature of search – where online users are seeking relevant information, rather than having the information broadcast or pushed to them. Google Ad Words is the leader in SEM advertising. It allows users to promote local gift-giving through the purchase (bid) of keywords. For example, a hospital foundation for children’s research in Des Moines may want to bid on keywords that include cancer, oncology, children, pediatric, pediatrics, foundation, research and giving. When the user searches on any of these words and specifies Des Moines or Iowa, the foundation ad will appear in the search results. The higher the advertiser bids, the higher its ad will appear in the search results. Performance-based SEM programs are also available whereby advertisers only pay for ads clicked by the user. There are many ways to use online advertising to promote your healthcare foundation. Taking advantage of blogs, banner ads, social media, and search engine marketing is a great place to start. So, if you haven’t looked into online advertising lately, now is the time to look again. About the Author: Mark Williams is a Senior Media Strategist at Berry Network. Berry Network provides advertising solutions to national and local advertisers through a variety of print and online media. Berry Network is also the preferred advertising vendor for Novation member organizations. If you have questions or comments about this article or would like more information about online advertising solutions, please contact Berry Network, Healthcare Marketing, at 1-800-366-1264, or visit

3 Hard Truths About Facebook Marketing

I am a big fan of Facebook Pages. I have spent a lot of time reading, blogging, and educating myself about using Facebook Pages as a marketing tool; just look at my last few blog posts. I think Facebook Pages are a powerful way for businesses to connect with their customers. Even so, I am a realist. I know that given the media attention Facebook is getting these days, that there are a lot of misconceptions about Facebook Pages. While I encourage all marketers to embrace the use of Facebook Pages, those of us who have been through the learning curve have a responsibility to cut through the hype and inform those that are new to Facebook marketing about the realities of the medium.  With that said, below are three hard truths about Facebook marketing.   1. Facebook Pages won’t drive instant sales Marketers that build Facebook Pages looking for instant sales are going to be disappointed. Why? Because Facebook Pages are not intended to target the ready-to-buy consumer. While a very small percentage of users may be ready to buy while browsing Facebook, the vast majority won’t. So why have a business page? Because it gives you the opportunity to engage in relationship marketing and build and maintain a loyal customer following over time.  It lets you stay engaged with the not-ready-to buy market, which in most cases will be significantly larger than the “ready-to-buy” market.  It’s all about awareness and making sure that when your customers are ready to buy, your business is top of mind.   2. Cultivating Likes is hard work I have spoken to numerous marketers who build Facebook Pages. Many of them find themselves frustrated over the number of people that have Liked their page. With all the hype surrounding Facebook, many marketers have fallen prey to the “build it and they will come” mentality. The same thing happened with the dot com frenzy back in the early 90’s.  Building your Likes is not a one-time event, it is an on-going task that requires a significant amount of work.  It involves integrating Facebook into your entire marketing mix and promote your page from other channels; including every print ad, direct mail piece, collateral, press release, website, company newsletter, in-store signage, and so on. More important is the need to continually come up with interesting content that resonates with your audience and gets them engaged, which is sometimes easier said than done.   3. Few people will visit your Wall after they have Liked your Page This one hurts, especially after having spent so much time customizing your Page with carefully chosen graphics, apps, pictures, video and the like. The reality is most of your fans will see your updates in their Newsfeed, not your Wall. This does not mean that all of the work you put into building the perfect Page was for naught. First time visitors will surely explore your Page, and making a good first impression is key to turning visits into Likes on Facebook. It means that when writing updates, you need to write for the Newsfeed, not the Wall. You need to make it easy for people to interact with your brand. Avoid posts that say things like “click on our coupon app to get today’s special offer.” This is of little use to fans reading your newsfeed. It is fine if you want to reference another part of your page in your Wall posts, but remember to write for the Newsfeed and not the Wall. Include photos, videos, polls and questions to draw your audience in. Do you have any advice to share with someone new to Facebook marketing? Please share your thoughts below.

10 Point Facebook Checkup

If you manage a Facebook business page you most likely spend a most of your time managing your Wall content, reviewing your page analytics, or checking out the latest and greatest apps. But every now and then it makes sense to take pause and assess your Facebook health and well-being; to diagnose and treat the biggest small problems before they become big ones. With that in mind here is an 11 point checkup. 1. Review your permission settings to ensure maximum exposure (edit page/page settings)  Unlike a personal page where you want to limit exposure, the permission settings on your business page should be set in such a way as to maximize your exposure. 2. Make sure you have more than one page administrator (edit page/manage admins)  Having only one page administrator can be dangerous, as page administrators are the only people allowed to make changes to your page. Having multiple page administrators will provide flexibility and protection should the page administrator be on vacation, take a medical leave, or leave the company. 3. Set your email notifications (edit page/your settings)  Facebook gives you the option of receiving email notifications when people post or comment on your page. This allows you to easily monitor activity and respond to comments and posts in a timely manner.  4. Manage permissions (edit page/manage permissions)  Permission settings are very self-explanatory. However, if you have a Welcome Page, a special application created to greet new visitors to your page, you will want to set it to be the default landing page for people that have not Liked your page, meaning new visitors are automatically taken to the Welcome Page rather than your Wall.   5. Facebook plugins Facebook plugins such as the Like Box, Like Button, or Activity Feed on your website are a “must have” if you want to drive people to your page and increase your Likes. A complete list of plugins with instructions on how to generate the code can be found on the Facebook’s Social Plugins page. 6. Review your Wall and profile image Do they attract attention? Are they memorable and recognizable? Are they easy to read? Does the wall image use all the available space - 540 pixels high and 180 pixels wide? This blog post from Tina Cook has some great examples that may inspire you. 7. Review your More Info page Is the More Info page complete and easy to read? Is it up to date? Does it include phone numbers, websites, addresses and the like? 8. Manage your Featured Likes (edit page/featured)  Your Liked pages appear on the left hand side of your Wall. Up to five pages are shown at a time. Although the five featured Likes are presented in random order each time the page is refreshed, you can select which pages are included in the mix by designating them as a featured Like. This is a great way to highlight other pages you administer or pages from your clients or partners.  9. Review your photostrip The order of these images can’t be fixed and images are reordered each time the page loads. But administrators have the ability to hide photos appearing in the strip by clicking the hide this photo box when hovering over a picture. 10. Delete any dead apps It is important to keep the content on your apps up-to-date. Even the most famous brands sometimes have “dead” apps that are either empty or have old, stale content. An app with information that has not been updated in months can leave a poor impression of your brand, so make sure you delete any unused apps.  There you have it. Once you have addressed these 11 critical issues your Facebook page will get a clean bill of health.

Are Location-Based Services the New Social Movement? It Depends.

The answser to the question above depends on whether you are trying to find a business, sign up for offers, or wanting to be found. When someone asks my opinion on location services, that’s the question I must ask first before I can respond. The value of location services isn’t something that can be addressed at face value. The answer comes after you break down location services based on three basic needs of the user. In the first need, you are searching for a business or offer, the second involves opting-in to local offers based on your profile, and the third is being found with pushed offers and messages based on your physical, geo-location.  1. Searching for Local Businesses Naturally, Google comes to mind when conducting a local business search. In fact, according to Google, “20 percent of all search queries are local in nature." So, it’s no surprise that the search giant is concentrating on improving relevant results for local search queries. Google’s Places, now launching through a phased-in approach, combines local and organic listings intended to cluster search results around specific locations so users can more easily make comparisons on the information they are seeking. Google also uses business reviews from Yelp, Foursquare, and other location review sites to enhance information on the sites in Google Places. Other major players are bolstering their local capabilities as well – just look at Bing Maps, Yahoo! Local, CitySearch and MapQuest. Each has contributed to the local search year-over-year growth increase, as reported in a recent study from comScore and TMP Directional Marketing. I won’t go into each of those here, but if you haven’t looked at them lately, it’s worth checking them out.   Yellow Pages directories have also found a way to bump up their presence to stay relevant in a marketplace shifting more toward digital media. Usage of Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), for instance, as a primary source for local information is up from 21 percent market share in 2009 to 22 percent in 2010  according to the comScore study. That may not seem like much of an upward trend but with all the new services, platforms and devices on the market today, any growth or market share increase is commendable. And, don’t forget about print Yellow Pages (PYP), in fact, PYP ranks second behind search engines as the most-used secondary source for finding local business information.   Yes, social media platforms are jumping on the proverbial wagon too. Microsoft and Facebook have joined forces in an agreement that combines Facebook's "like" function with results from Bing. When Facebook users search for something on Bing, such as a company or product, they will get results that includes “Like” tags by their friends. Bing searchers will be able to see what businesses and products their friends recommend. Just ask any business owner you know, one referral from a friend is worth many multiples of an ad impression.   Twitter recently announced it has enhanced its ability to help users find businesses and products with an advertising model that places ads inside the Tweet streams of users. Twitter’s ad platform was first launched in April based on subjects in the users Tweets. For instance, if you searched on Tweets about Disney, you could receive ads by Disney served up on the side of your page as a “promoted Tweet.”  But with the new enhancement, beginning November 2, ads are not only inserted into the users Tweet stream, they are served up based on the people, companies and products that the user follows. I refer to these ads as de-facto search results. Twitter is also launching its new program in a controlled release. And let’s not forget about LinkedIn. Earlier this year, the service added the ability for members to follow companies more easily on the site. Some 30 million LinkedIn users are now following over 1 million companies to find out about company updates, job openings and promotions. 2. Opting-in to Local Offers Based on Profile You all know how ads are served up based on your member profile … Facebook, Amazon, eBay, they all do it. They serve up ads based on your likes, gender, purchase history, and demographics stored in your profile. However, what seems to be gaining steam nowadays are e-couponing services offered by services such as Groupon, LivingSocial, TownHog and HomeRun. Consumers are catching on and signing up to receive these “deals” pushed to them from businesses within their local area.   One of the newest buzz makers is Facebook Deals. Facebook Deals, lets local businesses offer discounts and deals to people who check-in using Facebook Places (discussed below) on their mobile phone. Basically, the feature gives Facebook users incentives to embrace Facebook Places and share it with friends. Facebook Deals also empowers businesses on Facebook with a valuable lead-generation and loyalty marketing tool.   3. Being Found for Offers Using Location-based Services Smartphones allow users to find locations or businesses while on the go. The reverse of that—being found based on your GPS coordinates—is where businesses are getting excited. Knowing where you are at any given moment allows a business to push a message or offer to you when you check in or are simply within proximity of the business. The hope too is that you will share your location with your friends and contacts. The down side, according to a Pew Internet Study, is that today “only 4% of Americans use these location-based services” such as Foursquare or Gowalla to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby. And, “on any given day only 1% will be ‘checking in.” I, on the other hand, believe that location-based services will grow at an unexpected and rapid rate over the next few years, exceeding predictions by most analysts.  We’ll see if I am right. One of the newest players in location-based services, and certainly the most significant, is Facebook Places (Anything is significant when you’re talking about 500 million users!). Launched in June, Facebook Places lets users "check in" on their mobile phones so friends know where they're hanging out and what they're doing. Facebook is also taking Places a step further with a feature that lets businesses “claim” a location or place, much like individuals have been able to do since earlier this year. And, yes, Twitter says it is considering altering its Twitter Places location-tagging function for use by businesses. So, are location services the new social movement? Like I said ... it depends. Where are you?    

News Flash: Not Everyone Thinks Like You

One of the more frustrating parts about being in marketing is that the ideas we come up with are often scrutinized by others that only see things through their own eyes. They make the assumption that everyone thinks and acts just like them. Take social media; if you are like me, you have probably heard statements like the following: “I don’t understand why we need to invest in Twitter. I tried Twitter and didn’t like it.” - Despite that over 50 million active Twitter users do like it and use it. “Why should we invest in Facebook, only college kids and teenagers use it.” - Despite 38% of Facebook users are age 35 or older and the growth rate for those 55 and older is 59%. “The only thing LinkedIn is good for is to find a new job.” - Despite that LinkedIn can help you get answers to tough business questions by connecting you to experts in your field. You get the picture. The example above is not limited to social media. Take the Yellow Pages. Sure, usage of printed Yellow Pages has declined, but the way some bloggers and others in the media are talking you would think the Yellow Pages is on its last leg, despite the fact that U.S. adults made over 12 billion references made to print Yellow Pages last year. The bottom line is that we can’t allow people to judge our marketing plans based solely on their personal beliefs. It’s a diverse world out there. Some people use Twitter, some don’t. Some people use print Yellow Pages, some don’t. Some people read blogs, some don’t. The good news is that in today’s world there is a wealth of data we can use to support our marketing decisions. Marketers need to arm themselves with this data and defend their positions. We have to have the courage to remind the people who may criticize our marketing plans and that not everyone thinks and acts just like them.