Imagine that you see a great pair of shoes at a store that you really, really can’t pass up, but you notice that they’re four sizes too small. The store is out of other sizes, so you purchase them anyway, knowing deep down that no one will ever see them.
That anecdote seems illogical and highly unlikely for anyone, but it’s something that happens all the time when companies begin to develop their plans or choose their company for online marketing. The important thing to note is that online marketing certainly isn’t one-size-fits-all, and shouldn’t be treated that way if you intend to see success.
In a perfect world, every new marketing plan would bring results in a short amount of time. While it’s evident that some (if done right) will bring fast results, it’s even more evident that a plan and follow up is always necessary. These are a few proactive questions that you can ask yourself that may help you pick the right person or company to handle your online presence and set yourself up for success:
Why do I need online marketing for my business?
The first question is always the “why?” People will often listen to a pitch from a company about their marketing services and assume that it’s always something they need. Sure, it was flashy and sounded great, but is that expensive retargeting campaign going to work for your particular medical practice? (Quick answer; Retargeting should never be used for healthcare). Take a step back and assess what you really need and why. Below are some examples, but keep in mind that every situation is very unique, hence the theme of this article!
- Are you looking for new patients? A combination of PPC campaigns and organic SEO is going to be your best bet. PPC allows you to quickly gain traction within the specific keywords you’d like to target by creating ads at the top of search engine results pages, or SERPs. SEO will allow you to immerse yourself in a specific location by getting ranking for specific keywords over time due to quality content, listings, backlinks, and more.
- Are you looking to rebrand? A combination of listings cleanup and creation, SEO, Social Media, and Web Design is your best bet, with high importance on the cleanup and creation aspect. Your NAP (name, address, phone number) is the key to your overall presence. If it’s in any way wrong, you risk potentially losing a great deal of patients or customers due to confusion. Make your brand strong and consistent, and the marketing will be much easier.
- Are you looking to promote a new line or procedure? Content development and PPC are going to be your best friends here. Having strong, rich content about the procedure or line will allow your site to rank over time, potentially even as a suggested answer to someone’s question. Because of this, the page on which you created that content ranks and pulls you in new patients. In addition, PPC allows you to play ball with the big dogs with regards to ranking. Let’s say you are trying to promote “laser hair removal,” but you know that there are 15 other practices that do the same thing. PPC, paired with a strong budget plan, will allow you to rank at the top of the page and push more traffic to your specific procedure. Over time, Google finds trust in your site and ranks it organically, which is a direct win-win!
If a company comes to you and just throws out that you need all of the above and you accept, you could get yourself in a monetary bind before you even see results.
What industry am I in?
You surely don’t need to ask yourself this (hopefully), but it’s something that marketers should always be aware of when starting any sort of plan. The process by which you market yourself will strongly depend on your competition, rules and regulations, and information sources. For example, if I were to start marketing for a restaurant, it’s imperative to market the satisfaction patrons get when indulging in the delicious food. However, if I’m marketing for a cancer research center, it’s going to be more research and wellness based, as most people will be looking for information and answers.
While you don’t always necessarily have to go with a company that works in a specific industry, you may find yourself feeling much more confident in their work history and knowledge, which can mean less stress on your plate and more patients or customers through your door.
Who are you trying to reach?
Segueing off of the “what” question asked above, it’s important to determine who you are trying to reach before getting started. Do you think that AARP tries to market to 16 year olds? Nope, that’s not their market. So why would you take the time and effort to promote your business to the wrong demographic? One of the most important parts of Social Media, PPC, SEO, content, and more, is that you form a persona and then develop the campaign from there. This allows you not only to send the message to the right people, but in the long run it could save you a decent amount of money in the right areas. For example, if you’re looking to gain followers on social media to build engagement, don’t purchase 10,000 likes from a foreign country unless you intend to market to those people. Numbers aren’t necessarily helpful in this instance, and can ultimately cause a terrible user experience and be a waste of your money.
How are you judging your results?
“But Mr. Client, you’re ranking on page one for an obscure term. That’s exactly what you wanted, right?” Sure, ranking is a fantastic factor, and is oftentimes a statistic that should be used to judge how your site is performing. However, it’s not the only thing that you should look at. When you first begin a new online marketing campaign, it’s important for the marketer to ask you questions about how you intend to view success. Is it by leads generated? Is it by new inquiries on a service? Is it about ranking for a specific set of questions? Is it about branding your new practice across the local area? All of these things are wildly important, but the process by which you intend to judge results should play into your overall plan:
Discuss client’s goalsDevelop marketing plan Deploy marketing plan Assess results Adjust or strengthen marketing plan Get results!
If your marketer or company intends to give you a run of the mill report, complete with the same statistics one can easily pull on his or her own, you’re probably not getting the results you should, and might just be wearing those too-small shoes.
When are you going to start with us?
This is the most serious one of all! All joking aside, we’re firm believers that each marketing plan should be customized for the individual entity, or in our case practice or physician. If you’re looking to get started on a new online marketing fast-track, or are just seeking someone to check out how things are going and provide an assessment, you’ve reached the right place. Contact us today to get started!