Healthcare Lead Generation

If you have a business in the healthcare sector, you will not want to miss today’s podcast! In this three-part episode, I speak with Shereese Maynard, a healthcare strategist and founder of Envision Care. She is also a contributing writer at Healthcare Analytics News. This is an amazing conversation – we cover a huge range of marketing issues that any healthcare vendor can relate to.

In our chat, you’ll learn about:

    • Part 1: Are White Papers Still Viable? (06:21)

Shereese and I dive into the world of white papers. Find out the #1 mistake we see vendors make with them!

    • Part 2: Native Ads, Sponsorships and Healthcare Conferences (07:04)

Here we talk about using native ads and sponsorships – and how to get the most bang for your buck from healthcare conferences.

    • Part 3: Social Media and New Directions in Lead Generation (10:26)

Finally, we explore the best way to use social media to promote your company – and warn of the treacherous allure of purchased lists.

This is an episode of the Leading with Health podcast, formerly titled “Healthcare Lead Generation.” In this podcast, healthcare IT disruptors, innovative healthcare providers and health sector company leaders join host Jennifer Michelle to discuss growth strategies and navigating change.

Jennifer Michelle, MPH, EMT is a marketing consultant specializing in the healthcare sector. President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, she has a Master’s in International Health & Epidemiology and currently volunteers as an EMT. Her unique background allows her to bring unexpected insight and depth to every interview.

Podcast Transcript – Part 1

Jennifer: 00:03 Hi everyone, I’m Jennifer with Michelle Marketing Strategies today in Healthcare Lead Generation, we are talking with Shereese Maynard, a healthcare strategist and founder of Envision Care. She’s also a contributing writer at Healthcare Analytics News. Shereese, welcome. I’m so glad to have you on the podcast.

Shereese: 00:23 Thank you Jennifer. I am excited to talk to you anytime. Our conversations are always fruitful.

Jennifer: 00:26 Well, what I feel lucky about, and people listening don’t know this, but the first time I met you was at the Healthcare IT and Marketing Conference last year and then we had this amazing conversation last summer that I still remember because we just talked right and left. And so I thought how awesome if you would come and do an episode with me. So I’m so delighted and since I know you are a strategist and you do a lot with lead generation with your customers as well, I just thought this would be a fantastic conversation. So

Shereese: 00:54 I think it’s an excellent topic. Yes.

Jennifer: 00:57 I think it is because I think so often when people think about marketing, they still think about branding and I think lead generation is so essential to growing a business that I’m always amazed that there’s not more discussion of it. But anyhow, one of the things that I wanted to talk with you about, first of all, and this is partly because we did touch on it when we had that amazing conversation last summer, and I still remember it is white papers and the role of white papers in healthcare because, as anyone in healthcare knows and certainly anyone who does selling to health systems, white papers are, they’re ubiquitous, they’re everywhere and everyone’s doing them and you have to start wondering, you know, who’s reading them? Are they reading them? What is the purpose of them? And that’s what I thought would be a great kick-off. I mean, what is the role of white papers?

Shereese: 01:46 Well, here’s the thing, first of all, because you know, how specifically we get so many of these new buzzwords and new shiny things and that type of thing. So if a topic is not on the tip of our tongues, it usually goes away, so to speak, but with, I’m going to tell you one of those things where we can truly use the phrase “the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated” because nobody’s doing white papers anymore. But I think that, with white papers,

Shereese: 02:18 What’s happening is we’re redefining what type of white paper content we’re willing to consume. They have to be more interesting more so than they were in the past. Like it can’t be an enormous time suck for anybody. But they’re still around and I think still of great value to particularly to healthcare brands because they are so informational.

Jennifer: 02:44 I think that you’re absolutely right. I think that it’s, you know, when people are learning about a new technology, especially in an area that maybe they’re not very familiar with and there are a lot of technologies in any health system. There are a lot that need to be incorporated and they raise lot of questions. Sometimes the only people who are really going to understand the implications are the vendors, which is a tricky situation, but still the case. So I do think white papers can be very valuable. Unfortunately, getting someone who can really write them well, is the issue and you know, you see so many that are either sales pitches, which to me is not what a white paper should be. In fact, I think if you’re talking too much about yourself, you’ve missed the point of the white paper or its role in the funnel. You know, for me, I always think white papers should be kind of to get people just to start thinking about your focus area. It’s not going to close the deal for them to choose you over a competitor and if you’re at that stage and you’re using a white paper, I think that there’s a disconnect there. But I do find that oftentimes they just become glorified sales pitches and I’m always alarmed by that. What do you see as some of the pitfalls that people have with white papers?

Shereese: 04:00 I think the problem is, and again, this is specific to healthcare, that I see marketers fail to realize that what we’re doing now, people – patients, doctors, other brands – do not want your sales pitches; they have no interest in that. Nobody wants to be sold to. We want to share something. We want to experience something. So what we, you know, what brand or healthcare companies need to be doing is make their content targeted, personalized and relevant period. And you know, that doesn’t mean selling me something. I don’t care what you do. I want to know how what you do solves a problem for me and I need to get all that content consumed quickly and in a way that I can comprehend it. And I think that’s somewhere where they’re missing the mark. I still see a lot of pitchy type of white papers and that’s not a good look.

Jennifer: 05:00 I think you’re right on. And what amazes me is that’s just a basic of any type of marketing. You know, you always stop talking about yourself because that’s the first thing that is going to get in your way. And I blogged about it. I’ve actually been planning to do just a, a small podcast episode on that because it’s the first area where people slip up and I think it’s because you get, you know, salespeople, you get CEOs, you get the developers who are so excited about their product and i understand that, but it’s not going to close the sale for them. And that’s the thing. I don’t mind if at the end of a white paper there’s a transition to if you want to learn more, you know …

Shereese: 05:42 Exactly sort of a call to action and that type of thing. But don’t sell me something from Line 1, you know, just the work and it’s not what people want when they are trying to look for content online. And you know, we have an environment now where, you know, one in 20 searches online is for health information. That information has to be relevant and personalized for the individual who’s for it. Don’t tell me something. Make me feel something,

Jennifer: 05:42 Absolutely.

Podcast Transcript – Part 2

Jennifer: 00:03 So here we are with Part 2, I’m with Shereese Maynard and we are talking about lead generation in healthcare. I’m sure, Shereese, I know we just spoke a lot about white papers. One thing I want to talk to you about also is the role of native advertising for healthcare vendors and I think a lot of that takes the form of sponsored white papers or sponsored webinars.

Shereese: 00:03 Yes.

Jennifer: 00:26 And what, what has been your experience in that? Do you think that that is being useful to people?

Shereese: 00:34 It could be useful. I think, with native advertising, first of all that’s one of those buzzwords, but it’s actually been around for a very long time, like at least the last 10 years in healthcare. But how it’s used I think is important. So I find that some of the great uses for physicians, if they, if you’re working with a physician, that practice and that type of thing because you can do native advertising in a way that’s very informative for your audience. So let’s say if a practice hires like a new surgeon or a new pediatrician or whatever, you could run articles and content that has to deal with like, you know, avoiding sports injuries or that type of thing. And it works. Do you have to be careful about it because people like transparency, particularly in the healthcare field, but I think native advertising still has a place in healthcare.

Jennifer: 01:34 I think actually it’s interesting that the example you gave because I think that follows into like a classic perspective of public relations and PR, getting articles placed and I think even native advertising, with the sense of placing an article that’s really written by the vendor is something that goes way back into print media where people would have like a “Ask the Doctor” column or “Ask the Mechanic” column or something like that. I have found that when they’re promoted by like a Modern Healthcare website or a Becker’s that people do get good returns on that. It’s just obviously very cost prohibitive. So you have to find other areas. What do you think about advertising within like trade show environments and conferences?

Shereese: 02:21 You know, my reason on this the last couple of years changed. You know you see some of these trade shows have grown tremendously. They’re too big. So it’s like what are you doing? Any type of marketing for brand particular healthcare, you have to get the right information from the right people at the optimal times. So when is that? With the conferences, we see the advertising, there’s so much coming at you and then you have appointments you’ve set before you’ve even arrived at the conferences, things you have to get done. It’s a lot. So I think the smaller, more intimate conferences and we say like HITMC as an amazing one particularly in how can marketing your brand. HIT is another one that comes to mind, but HIMSS and that type of environment, it’s too big for your point to be made in that span of time and that huge amount of space.

Shereese: 03:17 So I always think if you’re going do any type of conference level advertising, it needs to be in the smaller venues so you have time to talk to participants, where you have time to get the right content in front of the people you really want it in front of. And where it can maximize, the value is maximized because a lot of that advertising and stuff, it’s very, very costly. So depending on who you are as a brand, you may see that as a vital investment. But for me, I think it’s, for most organizations, the smaller conferences give the most value.

Jennifer: 03:52 I think that’s a very good point. One thing I read as a recommendation is not to go to conferences where you’re not speaking and I don’t know that that can be a rule for all vendors because in some situations you have to be at certain ones. But I think, I think people sometimes expect advertising to carry the weight of lead generation in a way that it’s not really built to do, you know, advertising is great for awareness building or if you want to give people a coupon, which is not usually what we’re doing in healthcare. But I think sometimes if you can either when you go to a conference, you can get a talk and then you can lead them to get, you know, give them an invitation to a different webinar or co-sponsor a webinar with the conference so that you have bigger impact or even, I think for smaller vendors, have you ever seen people who do this where they don’t even have a booth? They register and then they go and mingle and they network.

Shereese: 04:58 You know who does that really good? What’s his name … John, Tech Guy. He does that, John goes around, he mingles and I actually learned that from him because I’m quite the introvert.

Jennifer: 04:58 Really? That surprises me.

Shereese: 05:12 A lot of people say that … but yeah, I am. But I started … like HIMSS is huge, but I would rather mingle and get to know some of the people there who are actually involved in development and that type of thing. And then it has greater value for me in those sizable conferences. And you’re right, it’s like if you’re not presenting information at these conferences, it’s very hard. But typically, if it’s a larger conference, to get people to come to you just to consume content because the whole idea is convenience for individuals who come to conferences, they want to get what they want to get, but they don’t want to have to look for anything.

Shereese: 05:47 So it’s hard getting people to your booth and that type of thing. They don’t know where to find you. That’s another area where the smaller conferences are a better value. But if you think of it on a macro level, why we, the whole lead generation thing is based on building a relationship with a brand, a patient, a doctor. Can you do that if you’re at these large conferences, just throwing this advertising at everybody and like we’re saying earlier that people don’t want to be sold to, I want to consume, I want to have an experience so I can build that relationship with you. The doctor I go to is someone I’ve built a relationship with. The brands I go to online are those that I have a relationship with and it’s no different in healthcare. We want to build a relationship with those practices and those sources that we use and those sources need to be available to build those relationships.

Jennifer: 06:44 You know, I think that is a really good point and it leads to the next topic I wanted to us to discuss in Part 3, which is new directions for lead generation … so let’s take a pause and come back and talk about that.

Shereese: 06:56 Okay. Thank you.

Jennifer: 06:56 Thanks!

Podcast Transcript – Part 3

Jennifer: 00:05 Welcome back, Shereese. In Part 3, we’re going to talk about new directions in lead generation in healthcare. One of the things I thought you were just talking about really, really beautifully was the relationship-building. And again, this, it’s funny to put that under “new directions” because it’s so classic, but I do think it gets lost and I would love your thoughts on it because one thing I always see is new vendors, especially, they really want to be able to force a relationship. Where, I bought this list, we’re going to plug it in, we’re going to email and email and email and email and it’s going to work. And invariably they come back and say, well, we’re really not getting a lot of response even though I think our emails are good, the information is solid, the titles are right and we’re not, or some of these emails were bad and we paid a fortune for this. I’ve heard that one and it’s like, really? The list isn’t good? You know, and, and I do see the point, you know, you, if you have a database, you want to stay in touch with them. And I do believe in email marketing, I think it’s very useful. But where is that line to walk between how do we reach out to people, you know, when we can’t really wait to, you know, until a thousand people have heard of us, how do we get out to them quickly? And what are some options for that?

Shereese: 01:28 Well, the best way for brands now, particularly healthcare brands to build relationships is through social content, social media and that type of thing. Cross content curation where you know, with some congruency to work and build those relationships that way. Because if you are putting out content on a regular basis and it’s of value to the individuals who are consuming it. They’re going to build a relationship with you and you don’t, you know, you don’t have to be constantly depending on one line of defense, like email marketing, that type of thing. Even then what I find, and you may find this to be true also, people who reach out to me, a lot of these brands, these healthcare brands are always trying to get me to promote something for them or trying something for them. They’re constantly tweeting or sending out content or sending out emails that’s all about them.

Jennifer: 01:28 That is my biggest pet peeve. Exactly.

Shereese: 02:31 You know they’re sending me these links, oh, we’ve done this, we’ve done this, we’ve done that, and it’s like, okay, that’s not what I want to see and that’s not going to make me come to you. You need a cross content strategy where you’re putting out things that are of relevance to me and also my clients and people I deal with. If you are a healthcare brand, you need to be doing that for patients and doctors, not shamelessly self promoting all the time is what I’m saying. You see so much of it and it’s like, okay, that’s not what people want and I think that’s one of the lessons that healthcare brands haven’t exactly learned yet, but they’re getting there. I’m like, one person was debating with me the value of Instagram for the healthcare brands and I was reiterating with them it has great value because what you’re showing is how a brand can affect the community, affect outcomes and that type of thing.

Shereese: 03:33 If your content is directed that way and if you had that same strategy across other platforms, people respond to that. So it is a useful platform, but with, if we’re talking in terms of lead generation, what we need to think more in terms of what’s new and what’s, what’s going to move forward on any of our missions and healthcare is, micro content. You know, you think people consume content in little bites. They don’t have time to spend a lot of time trying to figure out all these links you sent them. And that type of thing. Yeah, you know, micro content is 10 to 30-second thing that you give to people that they can consume quickly and get what they need to get out of it. Copy or imagery or video content, which is huge right now. And you know, and that type of thing, VR, which is growing in healthcare, but it gets the information, like I said, to the right people at the right time and it’s optimal and gives you a lot of bang for your buck. And then a lot of times you’re not even paying for it. So it’s a win.

Jennifer: 04:44 That’s a really smart thing. I mean, I feel like we’re kind of, we’re, we’re, we’re at an intersection here. I feel like the old guard very much was talk about how amazing your company is, make it sound bigger. And that was really huge. You know, before the Internet was around. And then at the beginning of the Internet it was … you had, you couldn’t seem like you were just like everybody now is working out of their own basement office. Originally, you had to seem like you really were IBM and of course, or even if you were it, so what? But now I think that that is still permeating healthcare and the vendors want to sound huge and they feel like they need to sound huge. What I feel is they need to sound human. They need to sound like, you know what my problems are so deeply that you can in two sentences ask a question and I know that you get me and I know that I need to talk with you about the problems I’m facing. That that’s the thing. And it’s, it is true that, there’s a lot of talk about other stuff there. What else do you see? Like, where do you see social media being used really effectively right now in healthcare?

Shereese: 05:54 I think when you’re talking in terms of, business-to-business, I think, you know, and I’ve certainly known for a long time that Twitter is a great space for healthcare brands. And if you think about healthcare brands that are for lead generation, for either patients or other type of client types. Those who can optimize that platform, and do it properly, are really, getting great gains there. And we talked, you know the one platform we normally talk about is Facebook, but, for healthcare, I haven’t found that Facebook is the platform of choice and I don’t think that’s necessarily the place where the right conversations around healthcare are happening. I think they’re actually happening on Twitter and on Instagram and I think in the next year or so, particularly with Instagram, you’re going to see the healthcare environment kind of take over there, as far as putting out content that way and in behind the scenes kind of contact for patients and doctors and stuff to consume.

Shereese: 07:00 And doctors are really doing well on Instagram

Jennifer: 07:00 Interesting.

Shereese: 07:08 Doctors are great social listeners. Doctors don’t always put themselves out there, in that way. But what I noticed because of the contacts that are made to me, are that doctors are really listening so they might not be liking a thousand pictures or following a bunch of people, but they are listening socially and what they do is they find a way to find you. So if brands aren’t on Instagram, I think it’s going to, it’s like leaving money on the table. I think healthcare brands need to be there in those spaces. And definitely Twitter and the way Twitter needs to be used and is being used by the healthcare communities for informational chats, chats where they’re sharing business ideas and sharing ideas of inclusiveness with, in terms of patients, advocacy and support groups. It’s just really a robust community for healthcare. And I think it’s a good space for it to have those conversations.

Jennifer: 08:02 I think you’re right. You were actually the one who introduced me to a lot of that and it has been amazing. In fact, one thing I know you do on Twitter is, the book club.

Shereese: 08:02 Yea, we love that book club!

Jennifer: 08:19 I still need to get on that, I still do, but I always like to wrap up these conversations with your favorite book. So is there a favorite book right now that you would recommend for people?

Shereese: 08:35 Now, right now … my favorite book of all time, is The Swimming Pool Season by Rose Tremain. I love, love, love that book. And of course right now I’m reading, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, you know the Golden State Killer book that Michelle McNamara started before she passed away and they finally finished it for her, but I’m reading that right now. I’m actually really enjoying that and I did kind of tweet about that last week and then I was starring it. So right now that’s my favorite book, but of all times it’s definitely Rose Tremain is my favorite author. I’ve read everything she has written. Swimming Pool Season and The Way I Found Her are my two favorite books by her. And then, as far as our environment, healthcare, if you have not read The Checklist Manifesto, by Dr. Atul Gawande, it is probably the best book right now, let’s say for our field. It’s like he tells you how to apply the idea of a to-do list to our environment and it’s just a really good book and I always encourage that. I’m like, in this field, you need to read that book. So those are my book choices that I think should be on everybody’s shelf.

Jennifer: 09:48 That’s wonderful. I hope everyone gets them and I’m going to check out Rose Tremain because I’ve not heard of her. So that sounds fantastic!

Jennifer: 09:55 Shereese, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. And talking to me for so long this morning! For everyone listening, you can find Shereese on LinkedIn at And to learn more about lead generation strategies for health companies, you can also visit me at See you all next time!

Shereese: 09:55 Thank you.

Jennifer: 09:55 Thanks, Shereese!

If you enjoyed this interview, visit Healthcare Lead Generation with Jennifer Michelle for more episodes of this podcast.