HealthCareSuccess.com – Stewart Gandolf shares years of real-world marketing experience
Stewart Gandolf has been involved with healthcare marketing for over 15 years and has worked with over 1,500 clients. He has worked with J. Walter Thompson and other Fortune 500 companies. Gandolf has been privileged to speak at numerous professional meetings, including American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Foundation for Facial Plastic Surgery, Pri-Med, Mentor Corporation and Lumenis Corporation.
Gandolf is a founding partner of Healthcare Success Strategies, a full-service marketing company that serves healthcare organizations of all size. He began a company blog in August of 2009.
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Mequoda – Which CMS (ie: WordPress, Typo) are you using?
SG – WordPress
Mequoda – Are you blogging for your company as part of you job (ie corporate) or is this a personal passion?
SG – Both, it is for my company but it also raises my professional profile and is a creative outlet free from the constraints of our “how-to” articles.
Mequoda – Has your blog enhanced your professional reputation? How?
SG – Thought leaders in my industry are already reaching out to me. Until now we have been very focused much more on impressing clients than marketing colleagues.
Mequoda – How often do you post a new blog?
SG – My goal is 3 x per week, but given my multiple competing priorities, the reality is once a week on average.
Mequoda – Who is your target audience?
SG – Anyone in the healthcare industry who can help us: doctors, hospitals, pharmas, marketers, device manufacturers, etc. We find readers include both potential clients and strategic partners.
Mequoda – What are you doing to grow your audience and to create customer loyalty?
SG – I have been growing an audience thru Linkedin, Twitter, my email newsletter base (8,000 subscribers) and my corporate website. I am happy for it to go organically beyond that.
Mequoda – How are using social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) to promote your blog? Has that changed the way you blog?
SG – I tweet every post and I usually find a reason to post on Linkedin. For example, I found an engaging headline and promoted both my blog and firm’s website. I try to make posts relevant to each of the groups that I post on. We also have a Facebook Fan page, and post through there as well, though we have more traction through the other social media.
Mequoda – What is your main source of revenue: ads, sponsorships, products sales, donations?
SG – Ad agency services
Mequoda – Approximately what percentage of your overall revenue comes from product sales vs. advertising/sponsorships or other sources?
SG – 0% sponsored advertising, maybe 20% product sales and the rest of our revenue is from services.
Mequoda – What is you main source of referrals?
SG – Most referrals come from search engine optimization, pay per click, social media and happy clients.
Mequoda – What key metrics do you monitor to analyze the health of your business?
SG –We closely watch Google analytics but especially track inquiries, revenue and profits. Everything else is important but frankly, 1,000 new email subscribers is not the same thing as revenue here and now.
Mequoda – How many sites have you linked to in the last 30 days?
SG – Several.
Mequoda – What changes have you seen in your market since you began blogging?
SG – We only began recently but I feel that I am much more on the pulse because of the interactive ways I am promoting it.
Mequoda – Any interesting experience you’d like to share?
SG – We are happy that the more marketing savvy readers seem to appreciate the blog more – they get it. Better still, while I mentioned a moment ago that we don’t give our enewsletter the attention as it deserves, we have had some success with it. For example, the President of a Fortune 500 corporation was reading our enewsletter without our knowledge, and “popped out of the box” in response to one of my “point-of-view” enewsletter articles. We later did a deal with him. In fact, that experience convinced me to finally launch the blog, since it is a better forum for emotional posts, as compared to our educational enewsletter articles.
Mequoda – What advice would you give a new blogger?
SG – Get the look down and have a sense of where you want to go before you begin. Also, I think you have to enjoy it, and be a good writer.
I would recommend writing some articles before you launch with fanfare, so that both you and your audience will know what it is all about. You may find that your articles will evolve into a different mission and feel than you contemplated at the start. Give it a few articles at least to find your voice, before you run into the marketplace announcing your arrival.
For example, when we started I didn’t expect to write much about the economy, but it has turned out to be very relevant to what is going on in healthcare marketing. I therefore respond to economic news a lot, but always from a healthcare marketing point of view. Because I am passionate about the topic, I also think it provides interesting reading. Based upon everything I see in the economy today, I believe the economic news will provide plenty of fodder to for me to rant about for the foreseeable future.
Mequoda – What ways are you planning to expand over the next year?
SG – I will continue to cover stuff that doesn’t necessarily fit my website. I love being able to also respond to other people’s content, like this piece on baby boomers and social media. I didn’t have to do the research, yet I can leverage the information.
Mequoda – Is there anything you’d like to share?
SG – It is really fun so far, but it definitely takes time. I am glad I can write. This would be hard to delegate to a staffer.
In addition to all of this, Stewart has authored numerous articles on healthcare marketing, including Dental Economics and is co-creator of the most successful healthcare practice marketing CD series.
To learn from his years of marketing experience, check out HealthCareSuccess.com.