Podcast #43

Scaling MSOs Post-Acquisition: How to Build A Repeatable Marketing Strategy

When bringing a new MSO online, private equity groups and their partners need a repeatable marketing strategy that they can easily scale across acquisitions. Proper planning at this stage ensures that they’ll have a digital marketing foundation that can grow with them and allow them to maximize efficiencies.

Episode Highlights:

Lauren Leone

Lauren Leone: “We’re here to meet the needs of how you plan to grow, but more often than not, the name of the game nowadays, is retaining the local brand.”

Related Resources

Presenter: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast. The only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex: What’s going on everybody? Good morning, afternoon and evening, whenever you’re tuning in. Probably on your ride to work. Nobody rides to work anymore. Thanks for listening to us while you’re in the garden this morning, it’s going to be really cool. I’ve got Lauren Leon, our SVP on healthcare marketing with us. Today we’re going to be talking about something very near and dear to our hearts because our target client, 90% of our clients are PE back high-growth healthcare groups that have formed an MSL and then gone and buy a platform, and then want to do roll up, scale them Up and then obviously, offload it in the next few years.

We’re going to be talking about the most effective way from the marketing side to get that done. What are the first things you need to do to make sure those new acquisitions are rolled in accordingly and that they start scaling patient acquisition really quickly. The economy is changing, so there’s going to be very little room for error. I think this episode is going to help you get your feet on the ground really quickly in scaling. Lauren, welcome back-

Lauren: Thanks, Alex.

Alex: – to your office.


Lauren: Yes, I’ve been here all along.

Alex: Thank you all for listening. Morning, afternoon, evening, this is going to be fun wherever you are, whenever you are. All right, Lauren. High level, when you’re looking a new platform that’s coming on board, what’s your few-step playbook you need to see happen? What are you advising our team? We’ve got a proven process here, what are you looking to do the first five days?

Lauren: It is generally the same every time. First of all, looking at your technologies, your website, your online booking, how you’re going to integrate into the patient experience, so getting that consistent. Typically, we’re rebuilding that from the ground up. Then we’ve got to look at your organic. Those are things like ranking for local terms, Google my business roll out, citation, review generation. Those things can also happen immediately.

Once those things are launched, then it’s really amping up your patient acquisition. Typically, paid search is rolling out. As soon as that website launches, we’re ready to go with some patient acquisition campaigns. Then we can look down the road at things like, how does performance branding play into this? What do we need to be doing and saying on other channels?

Alex: You get calls like this all the time, new MSO has formed, they’re looking at the new platform or the first platform’s been acquired. What’s the advice you give them? High level, these are things you need to get right from the jump.

Lauren: Oftentimes, I’m getting a call from someone at the PE firm, even they haven’t even set up a marketing department yet, because this is a brand new MSO and they’re just starting to acquire brands. Really, get the technical foundation right. Think about the long term growth plan because it’s a lot easier now to implement new tech, build new websites, come up with the structure, than it’s going to be when you have 10 platforms and you’re trying to convince everyone to roll onto different technologies at the same time.

Alex: Absolutely. Starts with having the right platform for the platform, the right website platform for the platform. Let’s talk about that. When you look at the website, what are you looking to see? Do you want everybody on one? Do you want one thing that can scale and everybody keeps their domains? What do you want to do?

Lauren: We’re here to meet the needs of how you plan to grow, but more often than not, the name of the game nowadays, is retaining the local brand. There’s equity in that. There’s equity in the doctor’s name and what they’ve built. You’ve acquired them for a reason, but keeping all of those disparate systems when you have 10 platforms two years from now, is not going to be manageable. We’re looking at building a multi-site structure where every site, every brand can exist on the same general website theme, have localized elements. You can still have your logo, your brand colors, your content, but let’s build a best practices website for whatever vertical you’re in, ENTs, plastic surgeons, dermatologists. Then that makes the roll in of other brands a lot easier and smoother as they come aboard.

Alex: Dr. Stevens gets to keep her website forever. dr.stevens.com stays forever. It just looks more like the main platforms? Is it Dr. Stevens and partnership are powered by or?

Lauren: Totally up to the brand. We see a lot of co-branding, but we also see that not every patient responds well to affiliated with a larger known entity. That’s not always what’s happening. It’s more about the foundation, the back end of the website, how it’s managed, how it’s structured, the content on it being uniformed, so that there is no doubt that the variance in how these different brands are performing digitally or offline, they’re on a uniform system. The patients get the same experience no matter which of your companies they’re coming through and you can ultimately centrally manage all of those entities without having 20 different CMSs to log into.

Alex: One pushes out to all?

Lauren: It’s not quite that simple, but really what you should see is that the back end of the websites are all uniform. If I need to go, let’s take an orthopedic MSO. We are entering or we have a new service around bunion surgery, just making this up. I want to roll that out across my 19 different platforms. Going in and adding that page to every site should be really simple, it should be one big push. Not, “Hey, let me figure it out on this CMS. Then this guy doesn’t have a services section. How am I going to incorporate that?” Just making it really simple.

Alex: First time bunion has ever been mentioned on the healthcare market podcast.

Lauren: It’s top of mind because I’ve spoken to a couple of podiatrists lately.

Alex: You’ve got one platform, everybody’s on WordPress. That’s our favorite, right?

Lauren: Yes. We like WordPress. There’s obviously options. People look at HubSpot or maybe Adobe. Those are a little bit more sophisticated. We’re talking about basic healthcare patient acquisition sites. You don’t need anything crazy.

Alex: Simple cheap and it’s fast, and it works well with Google. MSO makes a purchase for the platform. Platform’s going to roll in a new acquisition, Dr. Stevens. Do you say Dr. Stevens, this is the color template we’re going to keep your logo or do you say, here are three website ops. You pick one and they all work with us.

Lauren: Think about your audience and how involved they want to be. You obviously acquired them for a reason. At the end of the day, they sold their practice to you because they want to practice medicine and not worry about this kind of stuff. If you could keep it as simple as possible, take the decisioning out of their hands, I’m sure that they probably don’t want to be that involved, but, hey, you already have your logo, here’s your color book, here’s what the fonts are going to be. Have an input on maybe what some of the content is, but ultimately, we are going to produce the content that is going to rank best organically. It can be clinically reviewed, but that is going to drive leads. That’s why we’re here. We’re not here to write a clinical ebook on the surgery.

Alex: It’s not a research bunion study.

Lauren: It is not a research bunion study.

Alex: The content needs to be turned around quickly. The providers drag things along. The providers drag things along, all of a sudden, they want to say when the website’s launching, oh, we don’t have enough patient testimonials or the colors are off, all of that stuff. Set the stage early. This is a marketing decision. We’re going to take very little input from you, please, if possible.

Websites are all going to be pretty uniform. Do you start launching Facebook ads on day two?

Lauren: You do not. Maybe not Facebook. It depends, but I think the other thing that goes into the website, one more note on that, if you are from an operational perspective rolling out consistency in how you intake patients, I think, and integrating that consistently into the site is another step that– are you rolling out online booking? What is that interface going to look like? Are all the patients going to have a uniform experience? When those leads come in, where are they going? Making sure that that’s consistent and that will lend later down the road, to a really clear path and how to track the efficacy of your campaigns, your search ads, your Facebook ads, your organic, your Google my business, those strategies.

What you don’t want to do is have an inconsistent experience and an inconsistent tracking mechanism, so that you don’t know if Dr. Stevens’ practice is performing this way because of competitive pressure or they just have a poor user experience, or they have operational issues. Let’s create one uniform system on the front end, the acquisition end.

Alex: Don’t go buying a bunch of rollups when you don’t have a consistent online booking system follow ups call centers consolidated. They move too quick, sounds like.

Lauren: I think they can happen in conjunction. I know rolling out technologies and the impact on operations can take time. Getting people to adopt new platforms on how they can take patients is a process, but think about that as something that should and could happen alongside the website.

Alex: We’re not launching ads? We’re getting consistent patient experience. We want this thing showing up in Google somehow pretty quickly, right? Where do you start Google Ads SEO? I’m assuming it’s SEO with the free stuff, right?

Lauren: SEO is an inherent part of the website build, which is why a lot of groups choose to go that route instead of retaining the exact site as it is.

Alex: We discussed how to get a website, the website’s uniform, but working for the affiliates too, that were just acquired and giving them some options. SEO getting that structured correctly, technical perspective of doing the right things there, so that they show up correctly for the brand terms and on brand over time.

Then you’re really ramping up patient acquisition. Quickest way to do that is Google Ads and that’s the majority of what our PE back find growth and healthcare groups care most about. I love SEO, it hurts my heart, but that’s the truth. What do you suggest when you’ve got a new platform coming on? Do you wait for websites to be finished? Do you launch landing pages? Do they work? Certain verticals work more than others, what do you find? What’s the quickest way to get Google Ads scaling while we’re building websites or getting everything uniform?

Lauren: If you acquire a platform and you have urgent needs around capacity of providers you need to fill books, getting paid search up and running during that website process is totally possible. I would caution that if you do not have your patient booking experience sorted out, at least to some degree, where you can take phone calls well, you can do callbacks, then don’t launch media until you’re able to do that. If some of those basic infrastructure are in place while we’re building the website, we can always stand up on landing page. It’ll take about two to three weeks to do so.

That’s another thing that we can make uniform across the number of different platforms, is that user experience at the website or on the landing page side and then we can start driving patient acquisition campaigns. The name of the game, if we’re really focusing on new patient acquisition is going to be demand captured. Out there on the internet, exists a subset of people who are already looking for your service, we just want to be there when they’re looking,

Alex: When websites launch, do you keep the campaigns on the landing pages or do you redirect– do you start sending the traffic to the main site where there’s more content?

Lauren: There is not a right or wrong answer to that. It performs differently in a higher consideration decision, like looking for an orthopedic surgeon, for example, or selecting maybe a behavioral health provider, you really want to do your research. You may want access to some more content. If you are looking to book a dental appointment tomorrow for a tooth emergency, then you don’t need that. You just need to know when are you available, when can I get in?

A/B testing that is probably a good strategy. Let’s split our traffic between the two and determine what performs best. It may also be that your new website that we’ve just launched for you, has that improved patient experience that wasn’t in place for the landing page because we didn’t have online booking. You may then have to go back and revisit your landing page strategy.

Alex: New campaigns that launch for these new platforms, are we tracking actual patients or just leads?

Lauren: We would love to, but it’s going to take time and anyone who’s implemented a CRM or change DHRs knows that that does not happen overnight. I typically like to say, let’s crawl, walk, run. Crawling would be things like, let’s implement a dynamic call tracking partner, and understand, is the phone ringing? When is it ringing? What keywords are causing it to ring? Let’s set some benchmarks on the duration of that call, so that we can see, did it get answered? Did it last, at least, 60 seconds? Was it a quick call of hang up?

If you do have online booking, then we’re getting things like, at a bare minimum, the click into the booking experience. Depending on the booking experience that you have, we may be able to see what happens inside of it. Those are basic benchmark one-on-ones.

Alex: All right. We’re getting to a cost lead within 90 days.

Lauren: Cost per new patient opportunity we like to call it, right?

Alex: CPMP.

Lauren: CPMP.

Alex: Is that what we’re doing?

Lauren: Yes. We know the name of the game is ultimately the CAC, so the cost per acquired customer.

Alex: How long does that take, a year of data or something like that?

Lauren: Yes. We’ve got to build structures and systems, so that you are understanding when a patient comes in, what their source was, so that we can then tie it back to the marketing effort and the dollars spent against that effort.

Alex: Separate episode.

Lauren: It’s a process.

Alex: That’s going to be a separate episode entirely. All right. Today episode, with your new platforms, we talk about getting the websites right, making sure that the acquired practices feel good, giving them options that everybody’s staying consistent. SEO is scaled, done correctly or technical, and the right content on site and then launching Google Ads landing pages, et cetera, tracking them correctly to get your platform up and running. Please don’t come to us with five acquisitions in the first 30 days all on different websites and stuff like that, we can to take longer.

Lauren, thanks for joining us on Ignite. I hope your all enjoyed the episode. As always you all, if you want to make sure that you’re hearing from Lauren every single week, make sure that you subscribe to this on Spotify and Apple Podcast. I think it’s like hit follow on it, so that every time we launch a new one, which is every week, you’ll be notified.

If you’re a high-growth healthcare group and you’re the PE side or the marketing director there, you’re going to want to hear from Lauren. We’re also going to have other experts from our team and we’re going to be doing interviews this year. Make sure you tune in and we will keep you ahead of your competition.


Presenter: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing, subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.

Healthcare Marketing Insights At Your Fingertips

Listen and subscribe to Ignite wherever you get your podcasts.

Get Started

Ready to Grow?

Great partnerships start with great discoveries. We start with your business goals and budget, and then help you find the right digital marketing strategy to fuel growth.

Fill out the form to get started!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.