Social Media and Blogging: What to post and what to write about.

So you want to write a blog and post on social media?

Today’s digital marketing requires more than just a static website. Social media and blogging have become popular ways for practices to boost their online presence. Baby boomers are active on social media and blogging offers a great way to increase your SEO — so both activities attract potential patients — but thinking a blog needs to be a 2,000-word article or that posts always need to present new content can stifle the work that needs to be done.

To help get you started on your path to delivering online content, here are some tips to consider when starting:

  1. Develop a realistic schedule. Posting once a week on Facebook for a year provides more information to your patients than posting every day for one month. Similarly, a monthly blog ensures articles are up-to-date. Make sure you’re providing interesting content on a regular basis. No one likes reading a blog with outdated content!
  2. Provide relevant information. Don’t focus on one patient demographic. Instead, make sure you’re developing a mix of content that is useful for current hearing aid users, prospective patients, custom hearing protection for musicians or loud work conditions, and general hearing health information.
  3. Keep it personal. Your relationship with each patient is the basis of your practice. While you do want to be professional, you should make your posts relatable and inject your personality into your writing.

Here are a few tips for starting a social media strategy:

  1. Share content. Social media content need not be new or original all the time. Sharing video clips from relevant TV shows or news broadcasts, articles from scientific studies, and manufacturers’ posts can make up as much as 50 percent of your social media content.
  2. Create relevant stories. When creating your own posts, steer clear of the hard sell! Event invites, product announcements, patient testimonials, and introductions to blog posts are all great ways to get traction through social media.
  3. Have fun. Every so often, pepper fun human-interest content into the mix. Everyone likes a heartwarming video of a baby getting their first hearing aids. If you live in a tightknit community, local events outside of hearing might be relevant as well! Make it personal occasionally — do your patients know you’re in a tribute band? Feel free to let them know where you’re playing next.

Interested in blogging? Here are some tactics to get you started:

  1. Write for your patients. While you may be interested in scientific journals, it just may be too in-depth for your patients. You can always feature a study, but write about how that study relates to your patients and their hearing health. Also, 400 words is a good length — a little more or a little less is okay, too!
  2. Think in keywords. Including industry-relevant keywords throughout your blog makes the content search friendly and can increase your rankings in search engine results. Search engines have gotten smarter, so you no longer have to repeat the same phrase over and over again. Instead, include different variations of your SEO keywords. For example, if there is a new product launch, use the manufacturer and product names both together and separately throughout the blog.
  3. Plan ahead. Consistent blog writing is much easier to commit to when you have a plan in place. This limits the chance that you’ll get writers block because you feel you must get a blog out today. Keeping a content calendar will allow you to plan for event-related invitation blogs and product releases that may provide you with some pre-written content.

As digital marketing trends continue to evolve, social media and blogging are great ways to develop an up-to-date digital experience for both your current and prospective patients. If you have concerns that planning for and implementing these tactics will take too much time away from your patients, let the Consult YHN marketing team recommend a solution for you!

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.

Common Elements of a Successful Website


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.

Advanced Digital Marketing Strategies: SEO vs. PPC

seo vs ppcAs 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:

seo

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.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

 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:

ppc

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!

Digital Marketing is more than just cool tools

In today’s business environment we’re fortunate to have access to a variety of marketing tools that let us communicate easier with our customers and prospects, observe competitors, and scrutinize the market. Many small business owners are competing more effectively using digital media (and extending the value of their traditional marketing efforts). These newer digital tools foster greater competition by enabling our businesses to reach interested prospects with highly relevant real-time communications and get measurable feedback almost immediately.

Successfully acquiring new customers through digital marketing is best handled by employing inbound marketing channels to obtain visibility and leads. These channels include search, social media and email marketing, all fueled by content marketing.

This post outlines the best types of tools and the most popular tactics in each category based on our experience.

digi mktg infographic

We’ll start with a concept known as Content Marketing. Content marketing is the primary focus for business owners seeking to use digital marketing to increase reach, leads and sales. So, what is Content Marketing? Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and well understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Content marketing fuels:
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Event marketing (in person events as well as Webinars)
  • Paid media including Pay per click and display advertising
  • Lead generation and conversion rate optimization (through landing pages)

How do you go about developing a content marketing strategy?

Here is a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Define business opportunity for content marketing
    • Define key segments or target audiences
    • Review current content marketing
    • Review competitor content marketing
  • Define your content marketing strategy
    • Define content marketing plan
    • Prioritize audiences and personas
    • Prioritize content assets for audience
    • Define content marketing resources
    • Create communications timeline
  • Implement and manage your content marketing strategy
    • Update your editorial calendar
    • Manage social media distribution
    • Manage email marketing distribution
    • Manage SEO effectiveness of content marketing
    • Review analytics for content effectiveness

Great. Now what? Time to consider the tools.

One of the tools your likely to be using in your content efforts is social media. In our case, we strongly recommend Facebook as the starting place, but use the platform you are most confident in to get started. (More on social media selection in an upcoming post).

Why focus on social? Leverage social to help find ideal prospects and accelerate list growth. The adage that birds of a feather flock together sums it up nicely. People with similar issues, concerns, challenges, and life experiences typically are connected to others much like themselves. Social is all about connections. Go on, engage your audience.

Online reviews

Today’s consumers check out online reviews before making in-store purchase! Reviews are known as ‘user generated content’ or UGC.

But remember, you must craft content that does more than just ask contacts to buy. Your customers aren’t always in the market to purchase. If all they hear from you is “buy this,” can you blame them for tuning you out? To avoid this predicament, try creating content that helps your contacts solve problems, buy better, and even find interesting things they wouldn’t have uncovered any other way.

Here are a few topics to talk about besides “buy this”:
  • Present information that helps customers use your products correctly.
  • Go behind the scenes by introducing customers to key employees. Show off your offices or factories. Talk about your company philosophy.
  • Add customer voices to your emails by featuring reviews, endorsements, photos and other user-generated content (UGC).
  • Become the authority in your market niche by sharing “insider” news and information.
  • Improve onboarding for new customers with information that helps them find what they want faster or navigate better around your website.

What about email?

Do you collect email addresses? From whom – everyone that you meet, just customers, all appointments, third parties? Think it through. Why not collect them all if they’ll share them with you? Above we discussed the use of social media to interact and extend the reach of your audience. Those names are gold, email address gold to be exact.

Now that you have defined the ways you’ll collect email addresses, let’s turn to what to do with them. First, and this is a critical component, you have to keep track of where the names came from! Two reasons for this – first, to be CAN-SPAM compliant you must have permission to use the addresses (if you’ve been given the information freely, you’re good here – no buying or renting email addresses!). The second reason is more practical, since you absolutely want to tailor your messages to each type of audience you identified in the first step of the checklist.

What emails will you send? You really need to ask yourself what messages will resonate with the audience I am targeting. What do they want to know, what is important to them? This is not about your agenda, it must be content that is relevant to them first – then when you have their attention you can ask them to act a certain way, or react to your content. The opportunities are endless, and they are similar in nature to the list of content topics we explored for social media. This is all very connected. In fact, the more connected the content and media, the more effective you will be.

Time to jump in

That’s enough to get started, but remember, the foundation of any digital marketing plan is your website. All of the other digital tools and efforts rely on your website as the central element for customer and prospect communication and an informational base. Don’t overlook the importance of investing time and effort into shoring up your website from the content perspective!

Consult YHN Marketing has turnkey programs and solutions to get you started, just give us a call and we’ll review your situation with you and offer recommendations to get you digitally marketing in no time.

Even the Changes are Changing

Not so long ago we learned how to “Google it” to learn anything we wanted to know. It was a rapid rise to freedom of information and instant knowledge.

Over the years since then there have been shifts in the Google landscape. Many people who wouldn’t even THINK of themselves as technical by nature have taken up conversations about the mysterious Google algorithms and the secret sauce to getting to the top of their search pages.

Numerous studies have been conducted that look at how we, as search engine users, relate to the search results presented by Google. According to a recent report from Mediative, the way people engage with the search engine result pages (SERPs) has changed significantly over the past decade.

serps-mediative-2005
2005

In 2005 they conducted a study using eye tracking and found that users tended to focus their gaze on the top-left corner of a SERP where the first result was usually displayed. This area became known as the “Golden Triangle.” Look at the heat mapped image of the 2005 study, you can see for yourself that the area in that upper left corner was the focus of attention for most participants.

serps-mediative-2014
2014

Today, the Golden Triangle has all but disappeared. A look at the 2014 results demonstrate how strikingly different behaviors are from those observed a decade ago. Users tend to scan down the page more now and vary their focus on other areas depending on their particular search. The 2014 heat map image indicates a much broader area of observation.

This change in behavior is partially the result of changes Google has made to its SERPs along with the impact of our increased use of mobile devices.  Consumers have become conditioned to scan vertically more than horizontally.

Back in 2005, the most relevant results were nearly always in the upper-left corner of the page. Google has introduced a number of new elements since then including the Knowledge Graph, Carousel, and Local Listings among others.

The study reveals some interesting details:

  • Users now tend to scan pages more quickly. In 2005, searchers spent just under 2 seconds viewing each listing; in 2014 that has dropped to 1.17 seconds.
  • The impact of a Knowledge Graph result varied significantly depending on whether or not the answer was relevant. Participants often skipped irrelevant Knowledge Graph results and went straight to the listings below them. However, if a Knowledge Graph result was relevant, it drew away a significant amount of attention from the subsequent listings.
  • Google’s Carousel—an image strip at the top of the page accompanied by other information such as ratings—had much less of an impact on the searchers results than did Knowledge Graph.

But, the most interesting details to emerge are these:

  • The highest placed organic result still garners roughly the same amount of click activity (32.8%) as in 2005. However, with the addition of the new page elements, the top search result is not viewed for as long, or by as many people.
  • Organic results positioned in the 2nd through 4th slots now receive a significantly higher share of clicks than they did in 2005.

Overall this means good news for smaller businesses in competitive markets. Search has evolved to allow for consumers’ attention to include more than just the highest position. The spots from 4th on up are seeing 30% more attention today than was the case in 2005 (see the chart). The coveted top spot is still the master of the page, but as consumers come to realize their needs are often broader than the largest or most invested participants. Those who make the “above the fold” group in the first five spots on page one will see their efforts rewarded.

Clicks are evolving. The top 4 slots have improved 30% since 2005.
Clicks are evolving. The top 4 slots have improved 30% since 2005.