Today’s marketing landscape requires a multi-media approach and digital marketing is an ever-growing part of a strong marketing strategy. The Pew Research Center has found that now, more than ever, when people see a direct mail piece or newspaper ad, they are more likely to search for you online to evaluate if your practice seems credible.
A strong, hard-working website answers a few basic questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” The best websites not only provide the most basic practice information clearly-office hours, phone number, and address-but also educate potential patients as to why they need to visit your practice over your competitors.
Great websites have a few things in common; here’s a list of key components to take into consideration when looking at your website:
- Content Rich Website: A content rich website is imperative as we head into 2017. Having information like hearing health, device styles, manufacturers, and a blog, which is regularly updated ensures that visitors see your practice as the local expert. A “Frequently Asked Questions” section is also great information to include on your site and easy to develop; the questions your patients regularly call your practice to get answer for is where to start!
- Mobile Responsive: Making sure your website is mobile-friendly is nearly required. Google has said mobile-friendliness now plays a role in their organic search rankings and sites get a ranking boost when they are indeed mobile-friendly. With more than 50% of the baby boomer generation access the internet through their tablet or smart phone, it only hurts a practice to automatically lose such a large chunk of online traffic.
- Calls to Action: Your site should have several distinct calls to action. Guiding visitors around your site through clearly labeled pages, making sure they can find your contact information (phone number, address and contact form), and something as simple as stating “Schedule Your Appointment” are all key elements to engaging a visitor enough to have them reach out to your practice and not your competition.
- Contact Form: Including a contact form is simply smart business in our digital era. Ensuring that your patients can contact their provider online, after your normal business hours, helps to engage with both prospective and current patients. Contact form submissions from your site are also very important when it comes to follow-up. A site visitor that completes a form is one of your best prospects since you know they’ve been to your website, probably read about the practice, and requested more information. These people must be contacted within 48 hours (and added to your practice management software to make sure the prospects are included in future marketing efforts.)
- Reviews: In our digital world, word of mouth and great reviews can go much farther than any direct mail piece can when trying to make a prospect a new patient. Whether you include this feedback on your site through simple links to review sites, a dedicated testimonial page, or you utilize the Consult YHN Online Review Program, great reviews are worth their weight. Here is another blog post that talks about the importance of capturing online reviews Online reviews: WOM meets digital age.
- Social Media Links: Social media should function as an extension of your site and promote your brand. Including upcoming practice events on your social media, which is then linked back to an events page, helps to engage visitors of both pages.
While digital design trends will always evolve, having a website that entices prospects, engages current patients, and reinforces your practice’s brand, will ensure you’re the local expert. The Consult YHN Marketing team can provide website assessments if you feel it may be time to renew your . Need a recommendation for who should update your site or simply overwhelmed by the whole process? Consult YHN works with several digital marketing vendors so you can rest assured that the Consult YHN team will work with you and any vendor of your choice as a liaison during the entire process to make sure you can focus on what you’re best at — treating patients.
As business-focused professionals, we all know that simply having a static online presence is no longer an option if we want to drive traffic to our websites and ultimately into the business. There are a plethora of advanced digital marketing strategies for attracting online traffic, but which ones are best for your practice? If you currently have a robust online presence with a content-rich website, you’re ready for at least one advanced option. Let’s examine both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and help you to determine what is the best tactic to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy.
When attempting to understand the difference between SEO and PPC and which one to implement, let’s first define the differences and benefits of each:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Overview: The purpose of implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to get your website to rank organically near the top of page one in the search results. For example, if a Google search with the keywords “deep dish pizza in Chicago” is conducted, the organic results that populate at the top of the search engine are dependent upon several factors, one of which is SEO. Here’s an example of the search results for that specific phrase:
Based on the results, it appears that the businesses Giordano’s, Pequod’s Pizza and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria have invested in SEO tactics such as reviews and keyword optimization on their respective websites. We can determine this since they’ve appeared at the top of the organic results, based on our keyword search.
How does it work?: Google (and other search engines) use proprietary algorithms to determine how relevant the information on your website is when someone searches a specific keyword or phrase. In the example above, the results for “deep dish pizza in Chicago” generated listings for three popular pizzerias; obviously the results are relevant to the keyword search and in turn, the content on the respective websites is optimized for those keywords. Therefore, it’s important to understand that when incorporating an SEO strategy, you must focus on adding relevant content to your website via keywords. This ensures that your products and services are promoted authentically to match the terms that consumers are searching.
Cost: An investment in SEO typically begins at a few hundred dollars per month if working with a digital marketing partner.
Overview: The overall goal of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is to quickly generate new leads for your website. In essence, businesses pay a “media” fee through Google AdWords to appear at the top of the search engine and hope that they’ll click on the first ad they see. For this example, let’s conduct a Google search for the keyword term “Starbucks coffee.” Here are the results:
In the example above, you can see where Starbucks has sponsored an “Ad” in order to appear at the top of the search listings (arrow A). You can also see that companies such as Jet.com and Staples which carry Starbucks products have purchased sponsored content (arrow B). With any keyword search, PPC ads will display above and below the organic search results. Adding PPC to your digital marketing strategy can create traffic to your website quickly, but you want to make sure someone is monitoring the results closely.
How does it work?: The advertiser or sponsor pays each time someone clicks on the link that is included in the ad; if no one clicks, the Google AdWords account is not debited. PPC costs are determined by bidding and can be set based on keyword searches and geography. In the example above, Starbucks is targeting anyone that searches the keywords “Starbucks coffee,” no matter where they are located in the United States. With PPC, you want to ensure that the person managing the account understands the bidding of your specific keyword terms and can properly manage the Google AdWords (media spend) each month. You also want to make sure that one clicks on the PPC ad it is directed to relevant information on your website and it encourages them to call the practice.
Cost: An investment in PPC has two components, the media buy (paid directly to Google AdWords) and the management fee. Expect to pay a minimum of $500 for AdWords and $300 in management fees per month if working with a digital marketing partner. The AdWords budget is typically determined by the keywords and your market.
Which strategy is best for you?
SEO and PPC typically work best when they co-exist within a digital marketing strategy; attaching consumers from both organic and paid searches. We know that’s not always feasible from a readiness or budgetary standpoint, so let’s approach the “best” strategy by understanding the goals of the practice. If a practice just opened or has added a new location, PPC is the short term solution to get new patients in the door quickly. SEO, in contrast, is a longer term strategy and may be best for a practice that just completed a website update or doesn’t have much competition. Your practice goals combined with the maturity of your online strategy and digital marketing budget will help determine the appropriate next steps.
Regardless of which strategy you decide to pursue, ensure that you are tracking effectiveness via Google Analytics and following your investment through to sale, if possible. You’ll want to ensure that all of your marketing dollars are spent effectively.
Consult YHN can help! Consult YHN partners with several digital marketing vendors that offer both SEO and PPC programs. The Consult YHN Marketing Team is also available to consult on your digital marketing strategy, including reviewing proposals, developing budget suggestions, offering recommendations, and more. Contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com to get started today!